The Cool School
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New York City has long been regarded as the heart of the American art movement, but near the end of the 1940s, as the post-war rise of Abstract Expressionism became the new wave of painting in the United States, a small but determined band of painters, curators, and collectors on the West Coast were determined to make themselves known. Filmmaker Morgan Neville examines the rise of the Los Angeles art scene and how it brought a new and vigorously American slant to contemporary painting in the documentary The Cool School. Neville profiles Walter Hopps and Irving Blum, owners of the Ferus… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Morgan Neville's 'The Cool School' is a slickly packaged document of the burgeoning modern art scene in LA during the late '50s and early '60s which sadly submerges its fascinating subject matter in technical clutter and contrived set-ups."
‑ David Jenkins, Time Out
"The Cool School, a breezy, lively documentary about a thin slice of the Los Angeles fine art scene in the 1950s, is easy on the eyes, and the ears too."
‑ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"The Cool School is a history of the LA art scene which will be most interesting for those who are involved in it."
‑ Wendy Ide, Times [UK]
"Breezy doc lives up to its title."
‑ Geoff Berkshire,
"Definitely proves that, contrary to certain opinions, Los Angeles is not a cultural wasteland where fine art is concerned."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"Veteran documentarist Morgan Neville's illustrated history of the painters and sculptors associated with Venice's Ferus Gallery (1957-1967) is at once lively and analytical."
‑ Ron Stringer, L.A. Weekly
"Cool School is a must for anyone interested in 20th century American art."
‑ John Anderson, Newsday
"Occasionally too reverent, this remains an effective evocation of a vibrant and interesting art scene, not to mention a touching paean to lost youth."
‑ Sam Jordison, Film4
"Makes the case that there's more than basket weaving and freeway driving going on in the seedbed of originality we know as the Great Basin of L.A."
‑ Jules Brenner, Cinema Signals
"Surf's up in Southern California as the modern art world invades Nixonville and Reagan City in the 1950s. A fascinating look at the start of something big: modern art in Los Angeles."
‑ Ron Wilkinson, Monsters and Critics
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"Smart, jazzy and unafraid to deflate egos, Morgan Neville's fast-paced, finely critical study makes for a pungent intro to a movement now esteemed as a key alternative to the New York AbEx stranglehold."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"The Cool School is neither as lively nor as complete as it could be, but as an introduction to modern art, it's a fine freshman course."
‑ David Cornelius,
"Sweeps you off your feet with quick-witted visuals and cleverly used archival footage."
‑ Sara Maria Vizcarrondo, Boxoffice Magazine
"Thoughtful and thought-provoking."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for The Cool School on Rotten Tomatoes

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