A seminal figure in the Los Angeles assemblage movement of the 1960s and '70s, John Outterbridge searched for a new visual language to represent the African-American experience. Outterbridge drew on assemblage, folk art, African sculpture, and community activism to create poetic works from the most basic of discarded materials. In his art, it is not unusual to find trash, rubber, burlap, nails, broken glass, rusted steel, and hair.
Outterbridge was the first director of the Watts Towers Art Center, serving in that role for seventeen years. He also served as a mentor for many artists, including David Hammons, Betye Saar, John Riddle, and Noah Purifoy. His sculpture work has been reviewed in the New York Times
, and his work is owned by prominent museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been exhibited at global institutions such as the Pompidou Centre in Paris.Featured Video
John Outterbridge and Kris Kuramitsu Artist-Curator Talk: The Rag Factory from LAXART on Vimeo.