The evening was billed as “Ivan Karp Live in Los Angeles.” Not since Irving Blum’s Ferus Gallery first exhibited Andy Warhol’s original Soup Can paintings in 1962
had the spirit of Warhol returned to L.A. Twenty-five years later, here was the man who discovered Warhol—a dealer who rarely traveled above Fourteenth Street in Manhattan, let alone cross-country — about to descend on the art scene New York viewed with contempt as its lightweight counterpart. Great things were expected: revelations about the art world, never heard before anecdotes about Pop Art, secret histories of the period’s key figures.
Jack Glenn had labored overtime to promote Karp’s visit, taking out ads in art magazines and working the phones to drum up a crowd. Now Glenn stood there, beaming at a space packed with artists, dealers, and collectors hoping to see the celebrated figure who had literally altered the course of art history by spotting the Pop Art zeitgeist. Though Karp was only in his late fifties at the time, he had already been credited with identifying a second important art movement—Photorealism. Would tonight be the night that he revealed a third?
Excerpted from The Art Prophets by Richard Polsky. Copyright © 2011 by Richard Polsky. Excerpted by permission of Other Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.