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

Raymond Pettibon b. 1957

The younger brother of a guitarist and songwriter for legendary punk band Black Flag, Raymond Pettibon's early history is grounded in the Los Angeles underground music scene. As part of this subculture, Pettibon began to draw graphic, comic-inspired imagery for zines, band fliers, and album artwork. His distinct style combines drawing and text for poetic — and often acerbic — commentary on American pop culture writ large, striking a chord in particular with counter-culturally minded youth of the era. Among the impressive roster of bands that have commissioned the artist for album covers are Sonic Youth, Black Flag, and the Minutemen.

After his first gallery show in 1984, Pettibon continued to gain recognition beyond the locus of the SoCal punk scene, and was notably included in Paul Schimmel's 1992 Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles exhibition Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s. Just one year later, in 1993, his work was featured in the Whitney Biennial.

Upcoming Lots Raymond Pettibon

Auction Results Raymond Pettibon