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This publication documents the exhibition, Surf’s Beat Generation: An Art and Cultural Revolution in Orange County from 1953-1964, at the Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton curated by Chrystal McCluney and Rhonda Gawthrop.

The post-World War II influence of Beatnik poetry, jazz and art interpretation around the California Coast created a revolution in the Orange County surf world. This exhibition defines the connections between the Beat Culture of the 1950’s to Surf Art and culture in Orange County. The Beats changed the mindset of a young generation leading to an anti-establishment and rebellious freedom into the 1960s. The parallel beat counter-culture movement of art, poetry and music formulated the beginning of modern surf art, which percolated in the coffee houses and cafes of Orange County; Sid’s Blue Beat, Insomniac Café, Laguna’s Café Frankenstein, The Light House, The Golden Bear and the Prison of Socrates. This exhibit recreates the feel of the early cafes along the Orange County Coast and includes work in music, art, poetry and advertising genres from 1953-1964.

Surf’s Beat Generation features the work of local influential artists Rex Brandt, Wayne La Com, Phil Dike, George James, Paul Darrow, Karl Benjamin, Andy Wing, Roger Kuntz and Milford Zornes. This exhibit will connect the world of fine art to early paintings from John Severson, the father of early surf art, who was influenced by the beat generation. The exhibit will include Bohemian-style graphics and advertisements featured in surf magazines and local surfboard shops. Severson, along with Bud Brown and Greg Noll, were instrumental in early surf films. We will showcase posters, early surf films, and original issues of Severson’s The Surfer Magazine. The show will explore surf photography legend Ron Church, local surf shop logos, graphics and popular cartoons including early Rick Griffin and Michael Dormer.

Author: Rhonda Gawthrop / Chrystal McCluney
Publisher: Grand Central Press
Page Count: 120pp
Size: 10 x 13 x 1
Notes: flexibound, full color
Date of Publication: September 15, 2016
ISBN: 978-0935314991