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Modern Art in Los Angeles: A Tribute to Walter Hopps

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2005, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required.

The recent death of Walter Hopps marks the passing of one of the most influential figures in postwar American art. In a career that spanned over 50 years, Hopps gained a reputation as a groundbreaking curator, a champion of artists, and one of the most innovative thinkers in contemporary art.

A distinguished panel of artists and museum professionals will discuss Hopps as mentor, colleague, and friend. Scheduled participants include artists James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, and Robert Williams, curators Hal Glicksman and Lynda Hartigan, and conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro.

Walter Hopps / Crossley

About Walter Hopps
Hopps was a Southern California native whose initiation into the art world began as a high school student with visits to the home of collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg. The Arensbergs' collection of modernist masterworks sparked a lifelong passion in Hopps for cutting-edge art and a devotion to its public exhibition.

In 1957, Hopps and Ed Kienholz founded the Ferus Gallery, where they pioneered the exhibition of assemblage and Pop Art and introduced a new generation of California Abstract Expressionist painters and Light and Space sculptors.

Hopps left Ferus to become curator and later director of the Pasadena Museum of Art, where he organized The New Painting of Common Objects, the first museum exhibition of Pop Art, as well as the first U.S. retrospectives of Joseph Cornell and Kurt Schwitters and the seminal retrospective of the work of Marcel Duchamp.

Hopps went on to hold numerous distinguished positions, including the American curator of the São Paulo Bienal (1965), the director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1969), senior curator of 20th-century American art at the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum), and American commissioner of the Venice Biennale (1972). He moved to Houston in 1980 and became the founding director of the Menil Collection (1987), where he organized such pathbreaking exhibitions as Rauschenberg: The Early 1950s and Max Ernst: Dada and the Dawn of Surrealism.

At the time of his death, Hopps was holding a curatorial position at the Menil Collection, while serving as adjunct senior curator at the Guggenheim Museum, where he organized the recent James Rosenquist retrospective. He was also hard at work on his memoirs, titled "The Dream Colony."

Walter Hopps's participation and guidance were essential to the creation of the Getty Research Institute's Modern Art in Los Angeles series, of which this program is a part.

Walter Hopps

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.