Walter “Chico” Hopps, best known to the world as the man who put the Los Angeles art world on the map, was not your average gatekeeping museum curator or chin-scratching gallerist.
While not a painter or sculptor himself, Hopps was every bit as creative and visionary as the talents he helped to introduce to the world. In the California art scene, Hopps was regarded as a kingmaker of sorts thanks to his early championing of future Golden State legends like Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin, and Ken Price.
Unlike most curators, whose stuffy disposition often matched those of accountants or regional sales managers, Hopps was funky, opinionated, and egalitarian. His reputation for obsessing over the way art was hung, lit, and arranged made him something of a maverick in his profession.
Hopps was also one of the first curators to bring essays and poems about style, current events, and societal issues into the gallery space - creating an early sort of multimedia experience that would later be copied by every major museum in the world.
Throughout his career Hopps’s personal style changed with the times, moving from a razor sharp buttoned up look in the early ’60s to a looser, more artfully disheveled look in his later years. Throughout his style journey, one element always remained the same, his trademark square acetate frame glasses.
Our Douglas Rx frame was inspired by Hopps’s timeless style and his abilities to move with the times while always staying true to his vision. Between giving Andy Warhol his first-ever gallery show and later going on to become the director of the Pasadena Art Museum (now called the Norton Simon Museum), you could say Hopps always saw things in his own way – and that the art world is still catching up.