Artforum, which was then based in Los Angeles, published an issue devoted to the movement. “Surrealism” danced across the cover in bold red lettering against a backdrop of bubbles: an artwork titled Surrealism Soaped and Scrubbed (1966) by Ed Ruscha. “While tipping his hat to the legacy of European surrealism, Ruscha also acknowledged its contribution to the pristine aesthetics of Los Angeles’s finish fetish and light-and-space art,” wrote Anderson, referencing the major veins of California minimalism.
By the 1960s, Surrealism had permanently infiltrated the West Coast subconscious, burbling into its text art, sculpture, performance, and painting. “Los Angeles is isolated from these intellectual centers,” said Murphy. “Most postmodern artists think of themselves as outliers or cowboys. Left of center. That’s similar to the way that the Surrealists saw themselves.”