Easy Rider anniversary brings Hopper back to Taos

Above: (from left to right) Ron Davis, Ron Cooper, Robert Dean Stockwell, Dennis Hopper and Larry Bell. Photo courtesy of William Davis. Below: a silver gelatin photo taken by Hopper on view in the exhibit (click to enlarge).

The original Summer of Love took place in San Francisco 42 years ago. But Taos, NM, has cooked up its own version with actor and director Dennis Hopper. Hopper first rode into town in 1968 to direct the iconic counterculture film Easy Rider. He ended up staying 15 years.

Now, 40 years after the release of the film, the town is paying homage to Hopper, who was just named honorary mayor of the historic art colony. On Saturday, an exhibit curated by Hopper opened at the Harwood Museum of Art. In the show, Hopper brings together works by a pantheon of his legendary artist friends, including Ron Davis, Ron Cooper, Robert Dean Stockwell and Larry Bell.  

Before Hopper moved to Taos, he was part of vibrant art movement in Los Angeles that centered around the Ferus Gallery—a magnet that drew up-and-coming L.A. artists such as Bell. Some of Hopper’s photographs from the period also are on display at the Harwood and capture these artists brimming with youthful bravado and L.A. cool. “Hopper at the Harwood” is on view through Sept. 20.

—Bonnie Gangelhoff

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