The Gonzo Gallerist

Published July 6, 2017

Today’s contemporary art curators owe a monumental debt to Walter Hopps, the man who practically invented the position. Hopps is known for cofounding the influential Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in the late 1950s (a daring, often reckless, and intermittently profitable space that, in 1962, was the site of the first exhibition of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans). But as this collection of interviews by Anne Doran, The Dream Colony: A Life in Art (Bloomsbury), reveals, Hopps’s impact on the art landscape cannot be limited to a particular movement, decade, or building. Although Hopps died in 2005 before the book was completed, its editor, Deborah Treisman, brilliantly shaped his vivid remembrances into what should be required reading on the history of art on the West Coast. Over 336 pages, Hopps recounts risking his security and sanity to chase his passions-a pursuit that changed American culture at every turn. With appearances by more boldfaced names than a Warhol portrait exhibition, Hopps has chronicled an inspiring, revolutionary scene that is as fun to read about as it must have been for the maestro himself to experience.