Rebels in Paradise, by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, a look at the SoCal arts scene of the 1960s. The book is a hot mess at the narrative level and it’s a bit of a Ferus Gallery retread (as in: non-white, non-male artists are virtually non-existent). But it’s laced with plenty of funny interviews and tasty anecdotes.
One bit on Robert Irwin versus a critic from Artforum on page 58:
The early 1960s was the apotheosis of reverence toward the automobile in Los Angeles; the new Corvette convertible had a role as memorable as any of the stars of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip. Irwin took the critic out to the San Fernando Valley to introduce him to a kid who was working on a 1929 roadster. “Here was a fifteen-year-old kid who wouldn’t know art from schmart, but you couldn’t talk about a more real aesthetic activity than what he was doing…The critic simply denied it.” Irwin tried to explain, but the critic refused to acknowledge the possibility that such an activity could be considered a form of art. Finally, an angry Irwin pulled his car over. “I just flat left him there by the road, man, and just drove off. Said, ‘See you later, Max.’ And that was basically the last conversation we two ever had.”
I’d love to hear the critic’s version of this story.