Culture Watch: 'Rebels in Paradise' by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp
(Henry Holt & Co.: $32.50)
"Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s" arrives just in time to provide a big chunk of the social setting for "Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980," the fall exhibition extravaganza unfolding at virtually every museum in Southern California. "Rebels" is less a standard art history, as those shows will be, than it is a smart, entertaining romp through intersecting worlds: artists' studios, Hollywood studios, politics, fashion and popular culture. They all jelled to establish the city as a national force.
Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, a frequent Times contributor whose 2004 book "Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe" is the definitive biography of arguably America's most popular painter, tells many good and previously unknown tales. They're informed by scores of interviews, including the last ones conducted with Walter Hopps, Henry Hopkins, Patricia Faure, Betty Freeman and other now-deceased players in the scene. Prepare to be surprised.
-- Christopher Knight