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The idea for this book grew directly and logically out of the work of the Archives of American Art on the West Coast. In 1986 Stella Paul, the Archives area collector based at the Southern California Research Center, located at the Huntington Library in San Marino, organized a symposium entitled "The Visual Arts and the Myth of Southern California, 1900-1950." This groundbreaking conference brought together seven scholars and critics who initiated a discussion of primarily modernist art, artists, and institutions in Southern California before the emergence of the younger generation of avant-gardists associated with the legendary Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. By the early 1960s these and a handful of other artists, including Edward Kienholz, Edward Ruscha, Robert Irwin, Ron Davis, Billy Al Bengston, Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud, and Sam Francis, had attracted national—and would shortly thereafter attract international—attention to the California artistic scene.

It was as if modern art had appeared full-blown, without antecedents. Part of the "myth" of Southern California was the notion that no creative activity took place there during the first half of the century. This perception would have astonished the pioneer modernists who, along with the distinguished émigrés who gravitated to Hollywood during the 1930s, were dedicating themselves to new ideas and forms.

The success of the Huntington conference inspired a second Archives symposium, which I organized, on Northern California during the same period. Held in 1988 at San Francisco's California Palace of the Legion of Honor, "Earthquake to Albright: Modernism in Northern California, 1906-1945" convened twelve authorities who provided the other half of the story for the period prior to mid-century. (Thomas Albright continues it in his admirable Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-1980 [University of California Press, 1985]).

The original symposia contributors had not been required to address the issues of modernism, regionalism, neglect, and opportunity in the story of California art. Nonetheless, these topics emerged as the central themes of the dialogue. For this book four


of the original symposia presenters were asked to focus (or refocus) their essays accordingly, and seven other contributors were invited to deal with topics that seemed essential to the study as it evolved.

As is the case with any multiauthor project that develops over several years, this book and I, as its editor, have incurred a debt of gratitude to a number of institutions and individuals. Chief among these are the four organizations directly involved. I am particularly grateful that the Archives of American Art saw the importance of the original symposia and the value of a publication based on the ideas generated. Especially supportive at various stages were the former director, Richard N. Murray; the current director, Richard J. Wattenmaker; and the deputy director, Susan Hamilton. Each one understood that this complex endeavor would take a significant amount of my time.

With a generous grant from the Ednah Root Foundation, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco provided essential support for the preparation and production of the manuscript. These funds made possible the services of an editorial assistant. Furthermore, through their Publications Department, the Museums served as the link between the Archives and the University of California Press. The former director of the Museums, Ian McKibbin White; his successor, Harry S. Parker III; and the associate director, Steven A. Nash, were instrumental in fostering this three-party relationship.

Two other individuals deserve special mention. The project especially benefited from the involvement of Derrick Cartwright. His participation—including the creation of the chronology—went well beyond that of editorial assistant. The other person most closely involved with the project from the beginning was my wife, Ann Heath Karlstrom. As director of publications at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, she played a critical role in preparing the manuscript for submission to the Press. The authors deserve both congratulations and thanks for their patience and cooperation throughout this long editorial process.

Many other individuals and institutions deserve thanks for special favors and services. Most prominent among these is the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens, the primary home of the Archives of American Art on the West Coast. Much of the editorial work was conducted at the Huntington with the encouragement (and critical suggestions) of colleagues among the distinguished group of scholars I met there. In this regard Allan Casebier, Elizabeth Goodenough, Barry Menikoff, Marjorie Perloff, and Richard Cándida Smith should be singled out for special appreciation. Others who provided assistance and extended various courtesies are James Bednarz, Paul Bockhorst, David Brigham, Gerald Buck, Wanda Corn, Stuart and Beverly Denenberg, Charles Eldredge, Neil Harris, Michael Kammen, Stella Paul, the late Ednah Root, Naomi Sawelson Gorse, and Donald Stover. Among the Archives staff, special assistance was provided by Peggy Feerick in Washington and Barbara Bishop, Caroline B. Jones, and Laela Weisbaum in San Marino. At the University of


California Press, Fine Arts Editor Deborah Kirshman was involved from the earliest stages of the project, expressing her continued enthusiasm and helping to guide and shape the book at critical junctures. Others at the Press whose efforts contributed so much to the final product were Stephanie Fay, Steve Renick, and Danette Davis.



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