The present lot was one of several works from the Diana Zlotnick Collection included in Southern California Assemblage: Past and Present, at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum September 20 – October 25, 1986. Diana Zlotnick contributed the essay "Art Collecting – Then and Now" to the exhibition's catalogue.

"Art Collecting – Then and Now"

Diana Zlotnick

Concord #8, as illustrated in exhibition catalogue for Southern California Assemblage: Past and Present

The writing of Gerald Nordland in Frontier magazine, c. 1959, led me to acquire a John Altoon abstract painting from the Ferus Gallery. Thus began my collection in earnest. Shortly afterward, Daniel LaRue Johnson sold me a work of art as I was strolling along La Cienega Boulevard. He later came to see my Altoon. Soon, Dan was bringing his own assemblages for me to see – simple statements with a doll's head embedded in a box of wood, painted black. Soon after followed the War Babies Show at Henry Hopkins' La Cienega gallery, where I was first introduced to the work of Ron Miyashiro.

Hungry Eyes

Diana Zlotnick and Post-War Art in Los Angeles

Diana Zlotnick arranging artworks at home, accompanied by her family Photo: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA

A voracious collector, comm­­unity builder, and champion of emergent contemporary artists, Diana Zlotnick tapped into the Los Angeles art world at a particularly charged moment of post-war creative ferment. Today, the art milieu of the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s Los Angeles has taken on nearly mythic qualities, conjuring Bohemian fetes in canyons, the experimental openness of CalArts, Venice Beach warehouse studios, and, broadly, an explosion of material and conceptual inquiry through performance, sculpture, video, painting, publication, and more. Zlotnick immersed herself wholeheartedly in this atmosphere, led by fearless curiosity, dedication, and deeply felt connections to the works that she brought home.

Collect art that cancels out the rest of the world…—Diana Zlotnick, Newsletter on the Arts, 2013

Born in 1927 and raised in Los Angeles, Diana Zlotnick (née Shirley) attended Fairfax High School and would later support herself as a schoolteacher. She met Harry Zlotnick at a USO dance, and, after a whirlwind romance, the couple married on July 3, 1955. Being a schoolteacher was decidedly not Ms. Zlotnick’s calling, nor was being a dental hygienist (she flunked the program). Encouraged by her husband, who was able to support the family as a veterinarian, Zlotnick stopped working—and started collecting. With determination, savvy, and a healthy dose of chutzpah, she went on to amass an extensive collection from major artists as their stars were rising – among those who most captivated her were Wallace Berman, Chris Burden, Llyn Foulkes, George Herms, Channa Horwitz, Gloria Kisch, Ed Ruscha, and Richard and Shirley Pettibone.

There aren't many collectors like Diana Zlotnick, though there ought to be...Not content to play the passive art consumer, she quickly began circumventing the gallery system, approaching artists directly — visiting studios, exploring work in depth and developing real relationships.

Doug Harvey, L.A. Weekly, October 27, 2005