Explore the Era

Delve into the postwar Los Angeles art world in this online archive, which provides additional material related to the exhibitions on view at the Getty Center. Learn about hipsters and happenings, and the venues across the city where all the action took place through images from the archives and first-hand accounts with the artists.

Action Exhibition in the Merry-Go-Round Building at the Santa Monica Pier

Action was an exhibition that opened on May 18, 1955, in the merry-go-round building on the Santa Monica pier. It was conceived by ambitious young curator Walter Hopps, who was motivated by what he perceived as a widespread failure to recognize work being made on the West Coast. Action featured a number of large-scale abstract paintings by artists working in California, including Craig Kauffman, Jay DeFeo, and Sonia Gechtoff. Atypical by design, Action pointed both to the lack of opportunities available to artists in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s and to the creative solutions that such restrictions could bring about.

Historic Map Locations