A love letter to the best of beach culture, the forthcoming exhibition “Swell” explores the heavy influence surfing has held on artists worldwide, with a particularly in-depth look at the major movements surfacing out of California’s Venice Beach during the 1960s. Spread among three galleries in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood, the combined works amass to hundreds of photos, paintings and sketches for one of the largest surf-inspired exhibits in history.
The two strains of minimalist art originated in Venice Beach are Light and Space and Finish Fetish. Oft-using surfboard materials such as plastic and resin to create works of art, both groups experimented with bright colors and geometric patterns. Light and Space artists evoked transparency and the airy atmosphere of the West Coast, while the Finish Fetish offshoot fixated on the high-gloss surfaces of surfboards, hot rods and plastics.
“Swell” also highlights other movements influenced by the spirit of beach and surf culture, such as Assemblage, Beat Art and Pop Art, as well as boards by renowned shapers. With works by Ed Ruscha, Robert Longo (pictured at top), Olaf Breuning, Catherine Opie (above right), Larry Bell (top right), DeWain Valentine(top left), Craig Kauffman and many more on display, “Swell” is sure to cause a wave of beach culture enthusiasm among NYC this summer.