An uncompromising picture of the art world

Jack Goldstein et la CalArts Mafia

Collection :

Documents Series

Editor(s) :

Noëllie RousselPatricia Bobillot

Author(s) :

Richard Hertz

Cover type :


Dimensions :

150 x 210 mm

Pages :


Pictures :

23 b/w

Price :

CHF25 / €20 / £16 / $29.95


Editions :


Publication :

September 2022

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SKU: 978-2-37896-260-9 Categories: , ,

An uncompromising picture of the art world

This book tells the fascinating story of Jack Goldstein, the beginnings of CalArts, and some of his illustrious contemporaries who, once in New York during the 1970s and 1980s, led the transition from conceptual art to the Pictures Generation through the film and television images they grew up with and their confrontation with the art world increasingly obsessed with fame and money. It paints an uncompromising picture of the art world then and now.

In the form of an oral history, Jack Goldstein et la CalArts Mafia tells the life and career of Canadian-born American artist Jack Goldstein (1945–2003), a central figure of the Pictures Generation, who left a deep impression on American contemporary art at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s. In this volume, which has cult status in the United States over the last 10 years, major actors of contemporary art such as John Baldessari, Robert Longo, and Matt Mullican take a walk down memory lane in the company of other of Goldstein’s classmates at CalArts, that mythical Californian art school.

Far from the arid impersonality of theory books, their vivid stories evoke the crossovers operating between the “great” history of art (as written in real time) and intimate anecdotes, painting an honest portrait of an intransigent artist, but also of a generation of artists who have profoundly transformed the art of their times, while dealing with a booming art market. In parallel, a nascent Californian scene emerges, and with it a model of art teaching founded at CaltArts which will mark its times and will be copied around the world.

This work is anchored by Jack Goldstein’s reflections, dramatized by Hertz into first person narratives, of the early days of CalArts and the last days of Chouinard; the New York artworld; the trials and tribulations of finding and maintaining success; his inter-personal relationships; and his disappearance from the art scene. They are complemented by the first-person narratives of Jack’s friends, including Troy Brauntuch, Rosetta Brooks, Jean Fisher, and James Welling. There are provocative portraits of many well-known personalities of the 1980s, including Mary Boone, David Salle, and Helene Winer, all working at a time when “the competitive spirit was strong and often brutal, where little was cared about but oneself and making lots of money.” Has anything changed?

Richard Hertz has worked for six years at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), and been a teacher at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) for five years. He was, for more than 20 years, the Director of the Graduate Programs of ArtCenter College of Design of Pasadena, California. He is the author of Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia and The Beast and the Buzz: Inside the L.A. Art World.