Cool School, The (Story of the Ferus Art Gallery)

A FILM BY Morgan Neville

Best of the Fest... Lively and analytical.
-Ron Stringer, LA WEEKLY
A fast-paced educational and entertaining romp through L.A. of the late 1950s to early 1960s.
The definitive document of this era in art.
A quick-witted, delightful documentary.
-Ron Stringer, SEATTLE TIMES


How do you build an art scene from scratch? How do you balance the contradictions of money and purity in the messy art world? How do you make art matter? Toward the end of 1956, med-school dropout Walter Hopps met artist Ed Kienholz for lunch at a hot dog stand on La Cienega Blvd. The two drafted a contract on a hot dog wrapper that stated simply, "We will be partners in art for five years." And with that the Ferus Gallery was born. Under the leadership of genius autodidact Walter Hopps, and then the smooth-as-silk Irving Blum, Ferus groomed the art scene in Los Angeles from a loose band of idealistic beatniks into a coterie of competitive, often brilliant artists. What was lost and what was gained is tied up in a complicated web of egos, passions, money, interpersonal relationships and artistic statements - this is the subject of THE COOL SCHOOL.

Original Languages: English
Genre: Documentary
Running Time: 86 min.
Year: 2007


Jeff Bridges
Morgan Neville