The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch

March 5, 2017-August 6, 2017

The career of Joseph Kleitsch (1882–1931) is often categorized into two parts: his early work as a portraitist in his native Hungary and in Chicago and his impressionist landscapes painted in California during his later years. However, Kleitsch continued to paint figurative works after his move to California in 1920 and was considered the premiere portrait painter in the artist’s haven of Laguna Beach until his untimely death in 1931. The Golden Twenties is the first museum exhibition to assemble Kleitsch’s remarkable portraits and figure paintings. With a jewel-toned palette influenced by his native Hungary and a lighter, golden palette developed after his arrival in California, the works demonstrate the artist’s exceptional ability to reveal the unique personality, demeanor, and essence of each subject.

The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by California scholar, writer, and curator Patricia Trenton, PhD. A 137-page hardcover catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Published by the PMCA, the catalogue features 64 full-color images and an essay and catalogue entries by Dr. Trenton.

The exhibition and catalogue are supported by the PMCA Board of Directors; the PMCA Ambassador Circle; Lead Patrons Earlene and Herbert Seymour; Presenting Patrons Christine and Reed Halladay; Underwriting Patrons Simon K. Chiu, Lori and Jeff Hyland, Bob and Arlene Oltman, and Anonymous; Benefactor Patrons Yvonne Boseker and Gail and Peter Ochs; Sustaining Patrons Bram and Sandra Dijkstra, Michael Feddersen, Penny and Jay Lusche, Gayle and Ed Roski, Irene and George Stern, and Anonymous; and Contributing Patrons Susan and Robert Ehrlich, Jerrold and Judith Felsenthal, Thomas and Jane Glover, Eric Jessen, Joyce and Tom Leddy, Tobey Moss and Allen Moss, Mel and Betty Sembler, Carol and Cliff Trenton, and Ruth Westphal. Additional support is provided by Bonhams Fine Art Auctions, The Redfern Gallery, and a generous grant from the Historical Collections Council of California Art.

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Interstitial

March 5, 2017-August 6, 2017

What happens to ordinary entities of domestic life when they are driven into territories where their standard uses or functions are suspended and upended and new meanings are forged? Interstitial seeks to answer this question through the examination of new and recently-created free-standing sculptures by contemporary Los Angeles-based object makers whose work exists in the interstices, the spaces between the historical genres of the decorative arts, still life, and abstraction. In the exhibition, artists Jeff Colson, Renee Lotenero, Kristen Morgin, Joel Otterson, Rebecca Ripple, Aili Schmeltz, and Shirley Tse take quotidian and overlooked objects outside of their usual settings and modify, disassemble, and/or reassemble them, catapulting the objects into other dimensions, ones that are, at times, strange, comical, and unnerving. These works reside in the interstitial space: in between the memory of their previous function or usage and their abrupt and unexpected presence in the museum.

Interstitial is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, curated by John David O’Brien, and accompanied by a brochure. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors and PMCA Ambassadors Circle and is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. Additional funding is provided by Mary Jane Alexander.

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Gustave Baumann in California

March 5, 2017-August 6, 2017

Gustave Baumann (1881–1971) was a pioneer in the development of the color woodcut in the United States. Although he is best known for his bucolic scenes of the Midwest and his majestic imagery of the American Southwest, he made twelve powerful color woodcuts depicting the natural beauty of the Golden State. Inspired by seven automobile trips to California between 1927 and 1940 and his long drives up the scenic coast from San Diego to San Francisco, the works portray California’s coastline; its redwood, sequoia, and Torrey pine forests; and its Spanish-influenced architecture. The exhibition brings the California works together with a selection of Baumann’s formative color woodcuts of rural Brown County, Indiana—five from his Hills o’ Brown series and three of his largest color woodcuts. Baumann exhibited these Indiana woodcuts at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) in San Francisco where he won a gold medal for printmaking. Gustave Baumann in California includes works by the two California printmakers most directly affected by the PPIE print exhibition, Frances Gearhart and William S. Rice. To illustrate Baumann’s printmaking process, the exhibition incorporates didactic materials, including a tempera study, a set of wood blocks, and a series of progressive proofs for his color woodcut, Singing Woods. There are also tempera studies of San Francisco before the bridges and of the then-quaint village of Laguna Beach.

Gustave Baumann in California is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, curated by Susan Futterman, and accompanied by a brochure. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, the PMCA Ambassador Circle, and lead supporter the Ann Baumann Trust. Additional funding is provided by Corinna Cotsen and Lee Rosenbaum, Erica and Vin Di Bona, Laurence K. Gould Jr., Joanne and Bruce Kerner,  Harvey and Ellen Knell, Hannah and Russel Kully, Joan and Jeffrey Palmer, Jonas B. Siegel, Lauren Siegel and Arnold Siegel, Reba and Geoffrey Thomas, Betsey Tyler, Reba White Williams, The Annex Galleries, John Moran Auctioneers, and Westmount Asset Management. Support for children’s educational programming is provided by a generous grant from the John and Beverly Stauffer Foundation.

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In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture

September 25, 2016-February 19, 2017

In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture assembles approximately 90 paintings inspired by the stunning vistas, lifestyles, and industries existing along the 840 miles of California coastline. Spanning from the mid–1800s to the present day, the oils, acrylics, and watercolors represent the diversity of California’s artistic style as well as the surfers, sailors, sport fisherman, and residents who have settled in the beaches, harbors, cities, and ranches that dot the coast.

Borrowing its name from Land of Sunshine, a Los Angeles periodical published from 1894 through 1923 that portrayed a potent and alluring illustration of the Pacific Coast, the exhibition presents distinct epochs and cultures experienced by centuries of California artists as distilled through their artistic visions. With a broad focus on beach culture, the paintings trace the formal and historical developments occurring within the state. Moving from early representational views of an idealized West to Duncan Gleason’s traditional fundamentals of beauty and Alson S. Clark’s impressionistic scenes of the shoreline, the exhibition segues to Phil Dike’s playful abstractions and Roger Kuntz’s captivating oscillation from representational to abstract. The exhibition closes with contemporary work, including the vibrantly-expressive watercolors of Keith Crown and the psychedelic surrealism of Rick Griffin. Curated by accomplished California historian, writer, and curator Gordon McClelland, the exhibition examines artists’ visual responses to the ever-changing look and mood of the Pacific Coast’s communities.

In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Gordon T. McClelland. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, Jan and Mark Hilbert, Diane and Van Simmons, and the Historical Collections Council of California Art.

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Lloyd Hamrol/Joan Perlman: “a sky in the palm of a hand”

September 25, 2016-February 19, 2017

In the exhibition Lloyd Hamrol/Joan Perlman: “a sky in the palm of a hand,” Lloyd Hamrol’s large-scale felt sculptures and Joan Perlman’s abstract paintings, prints, and video provide a platform to consider the shared ideas and sharp distinctions between two artists’ investigations of materials, process, impermanence, and landscape. Taken from a line in the W.S. Merwin poem “No Shadow,” the exhibition’s title alludes to the conundrum of reconciling intimacy and distance as well as the ephemerality of observable moments and entities.

Both Hamrol and Perlman embrace landscape as source and subject and examine the complex relationship between culture and nature. With over thirty site-specific public works created throughout the United States, Hamrol remains tied to the Earth art movement that has paralleled his career. His industrial felt pieces integrate the directness of drawing with dimensional form-building, and his intuitive process employs the idea of potential to shape and define the architecture of his layered and knotted constructions. Similarly, Perlman’s two-dimensional works and—more recently—video have unfolded intuitively, a process inspired by the primary energy of geological forces and fostered by a two-decade engagement with the landscape of the far North. Working from her own and others’ footage of Iceland’s glacial meltwaters and vast terrains, Perlman’s prints, large-scale paintings, and video explore the mutating relationship of land, water, and ice in a changing climate. The resulting artworks are abstracted stories of personal experience rather than formal observation.

“A sky in the palm of a hand” includes a new suite of biomorphic floor-based works by Hamrol and new acrylic paintings on canvas, monoprints, and a video by Perlman. Through primary form and fierce natural phenomenon; intimacy of place; process, change, and uncertainty, Hamrol and Perlman’s shared universe and the exhibition consider the connections between art-making and the final creation, between observed landscape and man-made form.

Lloyd Hamrol/Joan Perlman: “a sky in the palm of a hand” is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and Pasadena Arts League. A brochure accompanies the exhibition.

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Claire Falkenstein: Beyond Sculpture

April 17, 2016-September 11, 2016

Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997) was one of America’s most experimental and productive twentieth-century artists. She relentlessly explored media, techniques, and processes with uncommon daring and intellectual rigor. Though she was respected among the burgeoning post-World-War-II art scene in the United States and Europe, her disregard for the commodification of art coupled with her peripatetic movement from one art metropolis to another made her an elusive figure as well. Falkenstein first worked in the San Francisco Bay Area, then in Paris and New York, and finally in Los Angeles. She was involved with art groups as radical as the Gutai group in Japan and art autre in Paris and secured a lasting position in the vanguard, which she held until her death in 1997. Falkenstein’s current reputation rests on her sculpture, and her work in three dimensions was often radical and ahead of her time. Uniquely prolific among artists, she began and ended her career as an inventive painter; her work also included printmaking, jewelry, glass, films, stage sets for dance, public murals, fountains, and monumental architectural commissions, including the gates to the Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the glass window “sculptures” for St. Basil Church in Los Angeles. Although Falkenstein’s extensive oeuvre can appear bewilderingly diverse and close to possessing what French critic Michel Tapié praised as and Marcel Duchamp advocated for as a “style-less style,” virtually all of her works are based on several distinctive structural systems, which became her personal, formal vocabulary. This retrospective traces and details the development of Falkenstein’s work both chronologically and geographically, through the inclusion of approximately 65 key works—encompassing nearly every medium she explored—from the early 1930s through the 1990s.

Curated by Jay Belloli, Claire Falkenstein: Beyond Sculpture is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The exhibition is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division; the Southern California Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Pasadena Art Alliance; Kim and Al Eiber; Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York; the California Art Company, LLC; and the Pasadena Museum of California Art’s Board of Directors and Ambassador Circle. Following its debut at the PMCA, the exhibition will travel to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition. 

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Listen below for an audio recording of In Dialogue: Style-less Style (May 21, 2016):

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Brett Weston: Significant Details

April 17, 2016-September 11, 2016

Brett Weston (1911–1993)—one of the most celebrated and prolific photographers of the twentieth century—is best known for his scenic images, although the bulk of his work ranges from the middle-distance scene to close-up abstractions. Brett Weston: Significant Details is the first museum exhibition to focus on Weston’s close-up photography. Featuring 42 photographs spanning nearly 60 years, the works—more than half of which are on view for the first time—share the high-contrast and graphic qualities of Weston’s panoramic photographs while emphasizing the “significant details,” the tendency toward abstraction and extremes in tonality that Weston explored throughout his career. The exhibition also highlights how intuition and a dedication to photography in its purest form guided his practice and further contextualizes Weston within the modern West Coast photography movement.

By the age of 25, Weston’s work had been included in the landmark international photography exhibition Film und Foto and in a solo exhibition at the M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco. Though he received critical acclaim and his reputation grew, Weston remained dedicated to art for art’s sake and to creating pure, elemental photographs. He was a simple man and used the same equipment for most of his career. However, when health problems forced him to switch to a smaller camera—the Rollei—in 1968, he was able to more easily focus on the close-up photographs, and as a result he became increasingly intent on exploring specific details and abstract qualities. These images form the core of Significant Details and demonstrate the major themes present in Weston’s work: a play on scale, the absence of the human presence, and a refrain from imposed order, bringing to the forefront the unprecedented attention to form, texture, shadow, and light that was the distinctive characteristic of Weston’s oeuvre.

Brett Weston: Significant Details is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Erin Aitali, PMCA Director of Exhibitions. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and Christian Keesee. A brochure accompanies the exhibition.

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Kat Hutter and Roger Lee: Another California Day

April 17, 2016-September 11, 2016

In the mixed-media installation created for the PMCA’s Project Room, painter Kat Hutter and ceramicist Roger Lee present a deconstructed and abstracted vision of the quintessential California landscape. Inspired by the rugged, scenic beauty of the state, the unprecedented collaboration is an intersection of the artists’ independent practices, their photographic explorations of California, and their combined endeavor K&R Ceramics, through which they produce carefully-crafted and glazed ceramic wares. What began as an informal, photographic documentary of the beauty surrounding them in their daily lives and travels throughout the state became the impetus for their PMCA project, Another California Day. Created and installed onsite over a period of about one week, the installation provides a sensory experience, a three-dimensional simulation of the artists’ interpretation of the allure and uniqueness found in every California day. Hutter’s organic and abstract designs—minimal murals referencing the colors of the California landscape—and Lee’s three-dimensional forms—compositions of wet, bare, unfired clay that are loosely inspired by the succulents and cacti of the California desert—present a pure and elemental portrait of the state that inspires everything the artists do. Kat Hutter and Roger Lee: Another California Day is an uncharted, distinctive combination of media that considers the intersections of natural and created environments, beauty and the work that makes it possible.

Kat Hutter and Roger Lee: Another California Day is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, Jill’s Paint, and Laguna Clay.

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Of Cottages and Castles: The Art of California Faience

November 15, 2015-April 3, 2016

One of the longest enduring art potteries in California, the distinctive works of California Faience, established in Berkeley in 1913 (briefly called The Tile Shop), were born out of a partnership between two former college classmates, William Bragdon and Chauncey Thomas. Firmly grounded in the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, all works were done by hand; the only concession to industrial process was the use of slip casting for their wide array of forms, which still required significant handwork. And the two men personally carried out all aspects of design and manufacture themselves. Also producing pottery in the Art Deco and Moderne styles, their operation was always small with a handful of additional artists creating wares throughout the years, including Beniamino Bufano and many women artists, such as Margaret Clayes, Julia Morgan, and Alice Coffee. The first exhibition dedicated to the legacy of this remarkable pottery, Of Cottages and Castles: The Art of California Faience presents the full range of the company’s decorative tiles, vessels, and sculptures, with the noteworthy inclusion of tiles from the company’s most prestigious project, the commission by architect Julia Morgan for a complete environment of tiles for William Randolph Hearst’s palatial home and grounds in San Simeon.

Of Cottages and Castles: The Art of California Faience is organized by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors and PMCA Ambassador Circle.


Listen below for an audio recording of The History of Arts and Crafts Design in Pasadena (December 5, 2015):

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The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker

November 15, 2015-April 3, 2016

The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker offers a rare glimpse into the private world of William S. Rice (1873–1963), an artist and avid naturalist known for his ability to refine nature to its simplest forms. With an illustrative sensibility, the artist took a special interest in Japanese block prints and ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) and transformed the Japanese polychrome technique into graphic distillations of California’s untrammeled scenery, favoring strong, stylized lines and planes of pure color. Although particularly well known for his block prints and as author of two books for students on the process, he was also an accomplished watercolorist and often traveled to sketch on site in the peace of nature, or as he put it, in the “glorious woods,” producing evanescent visions of Santa Cruz, Stockton, and Yosemite, among other sites. The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker sheds light on many of the artist’s achievements, including several never-before-exhibited pieces capturing the pristine California landscape before urban development.

The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker is organized by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


In case you missed it, listen below for an audio recording of The History of Arts and Crafts Design in Pasadena (December 5, 2015):

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ROBERT CREMEAN: THE BEDS OF PROCRUSTES and THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS

November 15, 2015-April 3, 2016

The human form, one of the most universal and profound subjects of art, is the vehicle for artist Robert Cremean’s investigations into life and humanity, which address issues such as genocide, war, aging, identity, economic turmoil, life and death with equal parts honesty, directness, and elegance. ROBERT CREMEAN: THE BEDS OF PROCRUSTES and THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS uses this figurative imagery as well as the artist’s highly personal aesthetic language to examine the enforcement of cultural conformity through myth and metaphor, communicating his own spiritual struggles and fundamental truths in a strikingly universal way.

In this exhibition, Cremean’s ongoing artistic dialogue on the ordering of social control unfolds in large-scale sculptural installations, which embody the exacting craftsmanship that is the hallmark of the artist’s oeuvre. The artist reflects on Procrustes, who according to Greek mythology was a robber-innkeeper on the sacred road between Athens and Eleusis. At his inn, he offered an iron bed to all passers-by, advertising it as the perfect fit for all who slept in it. However, Procrustes achieved this “perfect” fit by stretching or amputating his guests’ legs until they precisely conformed to the bed. In the second series, THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS, Cremean uniquely interprets each sin through the human form, embodying the manifestation of the particular sin; for example in the panel INVIDIA (Envy) the human body is submerged in freezing water and the artist’s writings on the panel concludes with “Submerged in suffocating envy, I am frozen in self-pity.” The theme of the violent enforcement of cultural conformity in these series— cutting, trimming, and stretching to fit, and the codification of human transgressions— is in constant conflict with the singular nature of the artist’s desire for truth and escape from illusions.

ROBERT CREMEAN: THE BEDS OF PROCRUSTES and THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, Pasadena Arts League, and California Art Company, LLC. The exhibition is accompanied by a brochure with an essay by curator Linda Lima Cano.

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Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent

June 14, 2015-November 1, 2015

Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent is the first full-scale exhibition to survey the entire career of pioneering artist and designer Corita Kent (1918–1986). For over three decades, Corita experimented in printmaking, producing a groundbreaking body of work that combines faith, activism, and teaching with messages of acceptance and hope. A Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Corita taught in the art department at Immaculate Heart College (IHC) in Los Angeles from 1947 through 1968. At IHC, she developed her vibrant, Pop-inspired prints from the 1960s, mining a variety of secular and religious sources and using the populist printmaking medium to pose philosophical questions about racism, war, poverty, and religion. Her work was widely recognized for its revolutionary impact and remains an iconic symbol of that period in American history. As a teacher, Corita inspired her students to discover new ways of experiencing the world by seeking out revelation in everyday events. Bringing together artwork from Corita’s entire career, this exhibition reveals the impassioned energy of this artist, educator, and activist.

Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent is curated by Ian Berry, Dayton Director of The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, and Michael Duncan, independent curator, in collaboration with the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition is made possible with the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Friends of the Tang. Additional support is provided by the PMCA Board of Directors and PMCA Ambassador Circle. Exhibition-related programming is supported in part by the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust, and Brooke Abercrombie and Christopher Wilson. This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.


Listen below for a full audio recording of In Dialogue: Power Up! The Social and Political Activism of Corita Kent (June 14, 2015):

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Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: “These Carnations Defy Language”

June 14, 2015-November 1, 2015

Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: These Carnations Defy Language began as a “seed”—a conversation between the artists in regards to Mute Objects of Expression, an anthology of the French poet Francis Ponge. Stemming from that conversation, this exhibition presents new individual and co-created works by Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden that highlight their use of textual sources and their own conceptual systems to inspire and structure their production.

Although manifested indirectly, their individual works are inspired by Ponge’s use of permutations, repetition, and various points of view. Grant’s paintings from her new series “Antigone 3000” continue her inquiry into literary texts as source material for her imagery. The works in “These Carnations Defy Language” explore and map the Greek myth of Antigone from the original basis of Sophocles’s text to a current exchange on her importance to future generations with Pasadena-based poet and artist Kate Durbin.

Roden’s work both conceptually and materially originates from an issue of the architecture and design magazine Domus from April 1964, a gift from his father, and published the month and year that Roden was born. Every inch of his works acknowledges the magazine as a collaborator; suggesting decisions such as colors, marks, materials, templates, and images. While many of the works were created in response to the magazine, Roden has also used the magazine as physical material within several of the works.

The artists’ collaborative works on paper are inspired particularly by Ponge’s poem “The Carnation,” from which the exhibition’s title is taken. The poet wrote, “Accept the challenge things offer to language. These carnations, for instance, defy language. I won’t rest till I have drawn together a few words that will compel anyone reading or hearing them to say: this has to do with something like a carnation.”

Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: “These Carnations Defy Language” is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the Pasadena Art Alliance. This exhibition is accompanied by a brochure with an essay by Leslie Jones, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings at LACMA.


 

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Armin Hansen: The Artful Voyage

January 25, 2015-May 31, 2015

Armin Hansen, renowned for his paintings of fisher folk and the sea, sought to capture the raw power and vitality of the Pacific Ocean and those who sailed it. While his style is often described as impressionist, Hansen rejected Impressionism’s gentility by exercising a bolder palette and more rugged strokes that focus on humanity’s relationship with nature. This survey, the largest and most comprehensive ever assembled, includes close to 100 works, including paintings on view to the public for the first time, as well as rare examples of his hand-carved furniture and boat models. After pursuing formal training in painting in San Francisco and Europe, Hansen spent four years in Niewpoort, Belgium, where he painted marines, village views, and fishing scenes, all the while working as a crew-member on North Sea trawlers. This personal experience sparked his lifelong fascination with the sea and its people. Hansen first visited Monterey in 1913 and soon started painting the area’s growing fishing community and fleet. In the West, he became the first to realize the potential beauty of commercial fishing, and he chose the theme in large part because he knew it well from firsthand experience. His vibrant, blustery scenes of the sea communicate broadly the impact of hardship and physical labor and the importance of bravery.

Armin Hansen: The Artful Voyage is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Scott A. Shields, Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. It will travel to the Crocker Art Museum from June 28–October 11, 2015 and then to the Monterey Museum of Art from October 29, 2015 to March 7, 2016.

Funding for the exhibition has been provided by Presenting Sponsors Christine and Reed Halladay, Saundra and Lee Minshull, and Donna and Mark Salzberg. Underwriting Support provided by Simon Chiu, Kelvin Davis, Jeff Dutra, and Barbara Alexander and Thomas Stiles, II. Additional support provided by Bagley Family Trust, Yvonne Boseker, John and Patty Dilks, Whitney Ganz, Karyl Hansen and David Earl Larson, Jim Parks, Gerard Vuilleumier, Bonhams Auctioneers, George Stern Fine Arts, Heritage Auctions, Historical Collections Council of California Art, John Moran Auctioneers, Josh Hardy Galleries, and Paula and Terry Trotter, Trotter Galleries.

Media sponsor: American Fine Art Magazine

 

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JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence

January 25, 2015-May 31, 2015

Since the 1980s, Jim Morphesis has been one of the most influential members of the expressionist art movement in Los Angeles. Taking its title from what Friedrich Nietzsche called “The Eternal Wounds of Existence,” JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence examines an impressive oeuvre that has captured the profound predicaments of human life. Morphesis most often works serially, on imagery and themes as varied as the Passion of the Christ (influenced by his Greek Orthodox upbringing), nude torsos (inspired by Rembrandt and Soutine) and universal symbols of mortality, including skulls and roses. His paintings of the Passion are grounded in art history, sharing aspects with Diego Velázquez’s Christ on the Cross and Giovanni Bellini’s Pieta, but are made undeniably modern by his sensuous, textured surfaces. For the past four decades, his paintings have communicated a deep, universal concern with the dehumanization of society throughout history.

JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, curated by Peter Selz, Ph.D., and accompanied by a brochure.

For their assistance with this project, the artist and curator thank Jay Belloli, Howard N. Fox, Brent Giddens, Doris Peckner, Roxene Rockwell, and David S. Rubin. This exhibition is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.

 

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Lars Jan: HOLOSCENES / Quaternary Suite

January 25, 2015-May 31, 2015

Lars Jan’s practice has long grappled with the biggest challenges in modern living: the changes technology produces in human relationships, the complications of religious practice and gender roles, and the violent rise in suicide bombings. In his first solo exhibition, HOLOSCENES / Quaternary Suite, Jan explores the physical effects of natural disaster and the human capacity for adaptation through video and photography. The installation includes video projections of a triptych of massive aquariums inhabited by performers acting out routine behaviors. These tanks are then filled with water while the performers attempt to continue their tasks. The videos and accompanying light installation provoke visceral reactions that communicate Jan’s environmental concern—the implications of climate change on our interactions with water—in an inventive way. Bridging the gap between climate consciousness and art, Jan capitalizes on art’s power to change public consciousness.

Lars Jan: HOLOSCENES / Quaternary Suite is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and supported by its Board of Directors.

 

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An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle

September 14, 2014-January 11, 2015

Jess Collins, known simply as Jess, and his partner, the poet Robert Duncan, wereone of the most fascinating artist couples of the 20th century. An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle is the first exhibition to focus on the creative production and relationship between the two, and their remarkable circle of friends. Jess’s mind-bending collages—or, as he called them, “paste-ups,” were often published to accompany erudite Duncan’s poems and essays, whose writings and ideas, in turn, made their way into Jess’s dense and allusive works. The exhibition draws its name, “An Opening of the Field,” from the title of one of Duncan’s key books. Progenitors of modernism, Jess and Duncan heavily influenced an entire generation of poets and painters who would gather at their San Francisco home, which served as a salon and gallery space for their artist friends. The exhibition includes approximately 85 works by Jess and Duncan as well as from members of their coterie, including R. B. Kitaj, Edward Corbett, Wallace Berman, Lawrence Jordan, and George Herms, as well as the poets Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, and Michael McClure and is accompanied by a 250-page catalogue.

An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle is co-curated by Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff, and is organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento. This exhibition is supported by Bente and Gerald E. Buck.

The International Associations of Art Critics-United States (AICA-US) honored An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle with an award in Excellence in Art Criticism and Curatorial Achievement for Best Thematic Show Nationally.

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Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin

September 14, 2014-January 11, 2015

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin brings together work by these three contemporary artists for the first time. Long known for using photography to narrative ends, Brooks, Callis, and Cowin, who emerged simultaneously in 1970s Southern California, challenge both the role of women and their chosen medium in multi-layered, provocative images. Taking its title from the eponymous Talking Heads song, the exhibition features a series of photographs from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Their photographic tableaux are like illicit reveries and performances—”shakedown dreams in broad daylight,” as the Talking Heads might have called them—that reflect a multitude of private torments and obsessions. Ranging from small individual photographs to large-scale sequences comprised of several prints, the installation freely intermixes work by the three artists, exploring issues of female identity, relationship, intimacy, domestic conflict, and gender performance.

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin is curated by Claudia Bohn-Spector and Sam Mellon, organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and supported by the Pasadena Arts League.

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Stas Orlovski: Chimera

September 14, 2014-January 11, 2015

Long fascinated by sources such as the Soviet-era children’s books from his own childhood, Japanese prints, and Dutch botanical illustration, Stas Orlovski has mined this vocabulary of images, ideas, and motifs for his drawings, collages, paintings, and prints. For Stas Orlovski: Chimera—using the magical projections of the 18th and 19th century Phantasmagoria shows as a point of inspiration—he creates a moving drawing where disparate histories, events, and dreams collide. The installation is accompanied by an atmospheric sound piece composed by Steve Roden specifically for Chimera, collaged, much like the installation, using various recordings of instruments from Roden’s collection of Victorian-era instruments such as: a harmonium from India, a Gibson banjolele, a long neck banjo, a strohviol—and Roden’s voice.

Stas Orlovski: Chimera is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Funding for this exhibition has been generously provided by United States Artists Hatchfund and the Center for Cultural Innovation.

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June Wayne: Paintings, Prints, and Tapestries

May 4, 2014-August 31, 2014

Painter, printmaker, and feminist activist, June Wayne made a significant contribution to the art of the twentieth century. Best known for The Dorothy Series—the groundbreaking print biography of her Russian immigrant mother—and for single-handedly revitalizing lithography in the United States through the founding of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Wayne’s interests and contributions were extraordinarily varied over her more than seventy-five year career. The artist socialized with poets, movie stars, and rocket scientists, often mining their innovations and contributions to fuel her own work. This exhibition charts the high points of Wayne’s pioneering oeuvre, featuring works from each of her major periods, from her early Social Realist paintings through her lithographs responding to the literary works of Franz Kafka and John Donne, to The Dorothy Series, through her tapestries and innovative light-reflective paintings, to her late digital prints. The exhibition also includes three videos, one of which is a short compilation of the artist speaking about her life and art.

Curated by art historians Betty Ann Brown, Ph.D., and Jay Belloli, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by the two curators and an introduction by artist-educator Ruth Weisberg.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Pasadena Art Alliance, the Southern California Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Elaine Mitchell Attias, and Paula Holt.

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Time, Space & Matter: Five Installations Exploring Natural Phenomena

May 4, 2014-August 31, 2014

This exhibition brings together six artists who explore natural phenomena in poetic installations: Lita Albuquerque, Suvan Geer, George Geyer and Tom McMillin, Mineko Grimmer, and Christine Nguyen. They address scientific issues as diverse as gravity, entropy, and the transmutation of matter, employing media as varied as wood, glass, ice, metal, video, and sound. Creating works that appeal visually while challenging us conceptually, they follow Cocteau’s injunction to “make science clear.” Gravity is the elemental force at play in both George Geyer and Tom McMillin’s installation of glass strips that sway in the moving air and in the subtle concert of Mineko Grimmer’s pebbles cascading over tenuous strips of bamboo. Decay’s loss is considered anew as Suvan Geer’s rotting tree trunk hangs, in taut suspense, above a bright yellow field of cornmeal. The simple and quotidian process of salt transformed into exquisite shapes through crystallization is explored in Christine Nguyen’s work. And the intensity of Lita Albuquerque’s brilliant blue wall is a window into primal matter transformed, through art, into powerful visual experience.

Time, Space & Matter: Five Installations Exploring Natural Phenomena is curated by art historian Betty Ann Brown, Ph.D., and is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

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Picturing Mexico: Alfredo Ramos Martínez in California

January 19, 2014-April 20, 2014

Known for his distinctive contribution to modernism, Alfredo Ramos Martínez’s paintings and murals were deeply informed by both the European academic traditions he had absorbed while traveling abroad and by the social and populist art that was beginning to take root in Mexico. Picturing Mexico: Alfredo Ramos Martínez in California is the first comprehensive examination by a museum of this Mexican artist’s work produced in California between 1929 and 1946. Although initially hailed as an innovator, Ramos Martínez was quickly left on the outskirts of the artistic trends that dominated Mexico City in the 1920s when his peers, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—los tres grandes—and their rejection of Europe and academic traditions, rose to prominence. Seeking opportunities to continue his own modernist style, he moved to Los Angeles. With the United States on the brink of a depression, much of his work from that period reveals both the economic and cultural climate of the country as well as his individual response to Mexico from Los Angeles. Explored through four sections—”L.A. Stories,” “Many Women,” “Religious Piety,” and “Forever Mexico”—the exhibition highlights the contributions of this remarkable artist and firmly places him alongside his contemporaries in the narrative of early twentieth century art.

This exhibition is curated by Amy Galpin, Ph.D., Curator, Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Florida. It is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and will travel to the Nevada Museum of Art, where it will be on view from May 10 to August 17, 2014.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Hilbert Collection, Robert and Ruth Mirvis, George and Irene Stern, Dwight Stuart, Jr., and Louis Stern Fine Arts.

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Serigrafía

January 19, 2014-April 20, 2014

Serigrafía surveys the powerful tradition of information design in California’s Latino culture, featuring thirty influential silkscreens from the 1970s to the present. Beginning in the late 1960s, graphic art created at and distributed by artist-led collectives, or centros, contributed significantly to the public discourse. Emerging in concert with the civil rights movement and demanding political and social justice for marginalized groups, these prints confront political, economic, social, and cultural issues on both a personal and a global level.

Curated by seven design experts, the exhibition examines how both aesthetics and portability are key aspects of the prints as communicative and educational objects. Unlike work created for galleries or museums, the poster’s primary function is to clearly give voice to a complex message in very different environments.

Challenging the traditional notion of a “poster,” the selected prints exemplify the impact of effective and moving communication through the printmaking process. Capturing momentous cultural and political events and experiences, the works in the exhibition explore subjects such as the United States embargo against Cuba and the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and are conceived to provoke, protest, and praise.

This exhibition was organized by Exhibit Envoy and is funded by the James Irvine Foundation. It is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Carrie Adrian, and Susan Davis.

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Flora Kao: Homestead

January 19, 2014-April 20, 2014

With the project Flora Kao: Homestead, artist Flora Kao highlights the poignant histories of the deserted shacks that dot the Mojave Desert, remnants of America’s most recent wave of manifest destiny. By virtue of the Small Tract Act of 1938, homesteaders could claim five acres of expendable public land, prompting a mid-century land rush by Los Angelenos into the neighboring desert. The majority of these structures were eventually abandoned due to the harshness of desert living. Focusing on a prefabricated cabin standing on the verge of collapse in Wonder Valley, Kao explores human relationship with respect to landscape, mapping, and notions of home and placelessness.

Through life-size rubbings of each side of the dilapidated shack’s four walls, Kao captures the homestead at a specific moment in its decay. Suspended vertically in the PMCA’s Project Room, the canvas rubbings envelop the viewer in fields of gestural black marks that echo the original structure’s form and texture. Mapping absence and presence, Homestead offers the viewer a visceral encounter with erasure and accumulation, inviting meditation on the ease and inevitability of loss in a land of new beginnings and deferred dreams.

Flora Kao: Homestead is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Kao is a recipient of an ARC grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

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Sam Francis: Five Decades of Abstract Expressionism from California Collections

August 11, 2013-January 5, 2014

The exhibition celebrates internationally acclaimed California native Sam Francis (1923–1994), one of the state’s most historically significant artists. Featuring a colorful range of the artist’s paintings and unique works on paper, this survey highlights different periods of the artist’s oeuvre as represented in extraordinary public and private California collections, starting from the early works that the artist made in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1940s, and leading up to the artist’s influential and expansive body of work created between the 1950s and the 1990s. Represented are works made in the artist’s California studios in Palo Alto, Point Reyes, Santa Monica, and Venice, as well as those made when Francis was living in New York, Switzerland, and Japan.

This exhibition is co-curated by Peter Selz, Ph.D. and Debra Burchett-Lere and is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. The exhibition is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Crocker Art Museum in collaboration with the Sam Francis Foundation.

This exhibition is supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Pasadena Art Alliance, Pasadena Arts League, Bente and Gerald E. Buck, Simon K. Chiu, Susan and Jim Crawford, Jeff Dutra, Gina Knox, The Kwon Family Foundation, Penny and Jay Lusche, D. Harry Montgomery, Cathie and David Partridge, Kathleen Peck, Brooke L. Abercrombie and Christopher A. Wilson, and Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Additional support is provided by KCRW.

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Ignite! The Art of Sustainability

August 11, 2013-January 5, 2014

Green Museums Initiative (GMI) of the California Association of Museums hosted statewide dialogues on regional ecological issues and the role museums might play in building healthy communities, both human and in nature. Contemporary artists from each region joined museum leaders, scientists, environmentalist, and community stakeholders for the daylong discussions. Ignite! The Art of Sustainability exhibits the dynamic works created by these artists based on their discussions and the issues that arose in each regional dialogue. Thirteen of California’s foremost environmental artists collaborate to communicate a heightened connection to their natural surroundings through rich imagery using a variety of media from the traditional (photographs, painting, and video) to the unconventional (smog / particulate matter on porcelain). Together, their approach is multidisciplinary, drawing on art, science, spirituality, and social justice. What emerges are the unique traits of California’s ecological regions and the range of extremes present in our state.

This exhibition is curated by Kate Davies and was organized by Exhibit Envoy in conjunction with the California Association of Museums’ Green Museums Initiative and is funded by the James Irvine Foundation. It is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

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Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles

August 11, 2013-January 5, 2014

In this video installation, Los Angeles artist Bia Gayotto investigates how people respond to navigating and inhabiting two or more places and cultures. Through an open call, she invited Los Angeles-area residents living along Route 66 who identify as bi- or multicultural to participate in an interview and video shoot that examines life in fourteen neighborhoods along the route from Pasadena to Santa Monica, including Chinatown, Little Armenia, Echo Park, and Thai Town. Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles is the third iteration in a series that previously centered on Silicon Valley and Chicago. The questions Gayotto asked of the participants were designed to stimulate a dialogue reflecting the pluralities of place, identity, and belonging. By juxtaposing cityscapes, architecture, and domestic settings with images of the participants performing simple, everyday actions and a soundtrack that consists of abstract music and ambient sound, Gayotto explores the experiences of those who live in an intercultural space and offers a broader, multilayered portrait of the greater Los Angeles area.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Bia Gayotto is a recipient of an ARC Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

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California Scene Paintings from 1930 to 1960

March 10, 2013-July 28, 2013

Part of the larger Regionalist art movement of the 1930s-1960s era, California Scene Painting—a term first used by Los Angeles Times art critic Arthur Millier—describes representational art that captured scenes of everyday life in California. Through the New Deal, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) assisted struggling artists by providing them with wages to create artworks for government buildings and public places intended to uplift the nation’s spirits amidst the Great Depression. California Scene Paintings from 1930 to 1960 documents much of this period in California history through works that depict local city and rural scenes, particularly in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco, which were rapidly expanding during that time.

This exhibition is curated by Gordon T. McClelland. This exhibition is supported by Mark and Janet Hilbert, Hilbert Properties, Bente and Gerald E. Buck, Simon Chiu, George Stern Fine Arts, and The Historical Collections Council of California Art. Additional support is provided by E. Gene Crain, Whitney Ganz, William A. Karges, Pamela and Glen Knowles, Diane and Van Simmons, Michael and Mandy Johnson, Jeff Olsen, Fred Thompson, Bonhams & Butterfields, John Moran Auctioneers, and Claremont Fine Arts.

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Christopher Miles: Bloom

March 10, 2013-July 28, 2013

The first solo museum exhibition of Los Angeles artist Christopher Miles, Bloom features recent works constructed out of acrylic paint and paper over aluminum armatures—a kind of ambitious update of the papier-mâché method. Bridging painting and sculpture, the works formally address Miles’ combined preoccupations with three-dimensional form and forming, material presence and spatial actuality, texture and surface, as well as color, mark, light, and visual effect.  The exhibition stems from the artist’s ongoing interests in sculpture as constructed form and the expressive potential of sculpture—interests that he has explored in his ceramic sculptures. Abstract yet evocative, and riddled with crevices, openings, and protrusions that compel viewers to bob and weave while looking, the sculptures are designed to be engaging and confronting from all angles.  Miles examines the peripatetic experience of sculpture, the evocative and associative potential of form, and the pleasure that comes with exploring the relationship between exterior and interior. The sculptures immerse the viewer in an awareness of the present that shifts from one moment to the next and provokes an experience that unfolds not only in time and space, but also in the viewer’s associations. 

This exhibition is curated by Constance Mallinson. This exhibition is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

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Meander

March 10, 2013-July 28, 2013

The title of Los Angeles-based artist John O’Brien’s exhibition references a literal meandering up and around the Arroyo Seco Parkway, which the artist recounts through this installation, as well as the process of “meandering” at the core of O’Brien’s practice. Juxtaposing large-scale cartographic images of the Arroyo Seco Parkway inset with smaller images of underpasses, O’Brien explores the tension between functionality and reverie that underscores the meandering. Using rational marking systems as a point of departure–from writing to the constructed environment–he charts how those systems overlay the natural landscape, activate the imagination and memory, and, ultimately, inform the viewer’s understanding of the separate parts of the environment as a whole. The images are coupled with a freestanding sculpture in which the linear forms of the freeway and the curves of the offramps are registered as quasi letter forms. All of this is fused together into a loosely knit composite visual artwork in the PMCA Project Room. The resulting visual impact is determined by the artist’s intent to re-create his own awakening to the wonder of this particular “meander,” a moment in which things largely unnoticed or ignored suddenly come into view.

John O’Brien is a recipient of an ARC Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation. This exhibition is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

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Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts

October 28, 2012-February 24, 2013

Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts marks the first-ever retrospective of work by pioneering Swedish-American architect and designer Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906–1999). Beginning with her education and early career as one of a handful of female designers defining Swedish Modernism in the 1930s, the exhibition chronicles her meteoric rise upon settling in Los Angeles, where she received prestigious commissions from such firms as Barker Bros. and Ralph O. Smith, and began her career as an architect exemplifying the California modernist style. Since Grossman’s death, her role in the Southern California design movement has been largely under-recognized; this exhibition rediscovers her influential and rare accomplishments as both an industrial designer and architect.

Organized by the Swedish Museum of Architecture and R 20th Century Gallery, New York City, the exhibition is curated by Evan Snyderman of R 20th Century Gallery and Karin Åberg Waern, curator, Arkitekturmuseet. Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts exhibition opened at the Swedish Museum of Architecture on February 9, 2010. It was on display at Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma from January 20 through May 6, 2012. The exhibition is accompanied by a 160 page, full-color catalogue.

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White on Black: The Modernist Prints of Paul Landacre

October 28, 2012-February 24, 2013

While most artists who created black and white art used black lines on a white background, Landacre became renowned for doing the opposite: his wood engravings are white lines on a black background. In essence, he thought backwards, reversing the drawing process when making the initial designs and again while engraving the wood blocks. Landacre became recognized as one the most important printmakers of the 20th Century, emerging as one of the leaders in an American revival of fine art wood engraving. After the 1930s, he devoted less time to his own practice, choosing to focus his energies on making prints for books and on teaching at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles where he worked until he passed away in 1963.

The exhibition features close to twenty-five prints and is curated by Gordon McClelland, an art historian and seminal figure in advancing the field of research in California Style watercolors.

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take me to the apple breeder

October 28, 2012-February 24, 2013

Los Angeles artist Jessica Rath’s take me to the apple breeder is the culmination of a three-year project steeped in plant genetics, seen in its entirety for the first timeComprised of porcelain apple sculptures and large-scale photographic portraits of hybrid trees, the exhibition is informed by Rath’s visits to the USDA/Cornell University Plant Genetics Resource Unit (PGRU) in Geneva, NY, which preserves endangered varieties from extinction, and its Agricultural Experiment Station, where apple clones are crossbred to create new varieties for large-scale consumption. The exhibition reminds the viewer that edible fruits are not born of nature, but are scientific and cultural constructions based on both a desire for idealized beauty and on meeting increasing agricultural demands as global warming changes how farmers grow.

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Guillermo Bert: Encoded Textiles

October 28, 2012-February 24, 2013

Guillermo Bert: Encoded Textiles explores the latest generation of bar codes (QR codes), their capacity to hold 200 times more information than traditional bar codes, and the graphic similarities between the bar codes and the textiles of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. A Los Angeles-based artist who was born in Chile, Bert uses high-tech software and industrial processes to transcribe the stories, poems, and narratives of six influential leaders of indigenous communities into QR codes, which are then re-created into tapestries by weavers from those communities.

Click here to view these QR codes and read their embedded text.

This exhibition is supported by Orrin Addis, Karen and Ted Coyne, Michael Weber, Carrie Adrian, and the PMCA Board of Directors.

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Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey

June 3, 2012-October 14, 2012

The Pasadena Museum of California Art is pleased to present the first major showing of Edgar Payne (1883–1947) in over forty years. One of the most gifted of the historic California plein air artists, Payne utilized the brushwork and color of Impressionism, but his powerful landscape paintings departed from the genteel refinement depicted by most Impressionist painters. He imbued his works with an internal force and an active dynamism achieved through majestic, vital landscape subjects and a bravura application of pigment. The exhibition will trace his artistic development as he traveled the world, finding magnificence in diverse settings, including the southern and central California coast, the Sierra, the Swiss Alps, the harbors and waterways of France and Italy, and the desert Southwest.

This exhibition is curated by Dr. Scott Shields, with Dr. Patricia Trenton advising.

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Layer: A Loose Horizon

June 3, 2012-October 14, 2012

Continuing in the tradition of artists who have integrated the PMCA building into their exhibition, innovative art collaborative Layer that will occupy both the Project Room and the museum lobby, culminating in an impressive sculptural installation reaching across the museum’s outer façade. While software and digital fabrication have become indispensible elements of architectural design, enabling greater complexity of forms, the artists of Layer—Lisa Little and Emily White—challenge the ability of these tools to render environments that truly engage the visitor. By combining a computational approach with a perceptual one, the artists create a physically engrossing and intellectually stimulating spatial construction. The resulting project represents just one instance in a series of possible permutations. Sketches and early digital iterations of the piece will also be on view in the Project Room, revealing the artists’ process.

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Tomorrow Today: A Juried Student Exhibition from Pasadena City College

May 5, 2012-May 20, 2012

The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) and Pasadena City College (PCC) present Tomorrow Today, an exhibition featuring work by current art and design students at PCC, one of California’s premiere community colleges. The student work ranges from conceptual projects to traditional crafts, reflecting the generational perspectives and personal idiosyncrasies of an extraordinarily diverse community of student artists.

Christopher Miles, distinguished art writer, curator and artist, juried the exhibition.

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L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945–1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy

January 22, 2012-May 20, 2012

The figurative artists, who dominated the postwar Los Angeles art scene until the late 1950s, have largely been written out of today’s art history. L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy traces the distinctive aesthetic of figurative expressionism from the end of World War II, bringing together over 120 works by forty-one artists in a variety of media–painting, sculpture, photography and performance. The exhibition places both lesser- and better-known artists in a historical context, giving unique insight into the reactions to World War II and the atomic bomb; to the repressions of the Eisenhower Era; to the fallout of 1960s idealism; and to ongoing racial and gender struggles. The passionate consistency of all the artists–whose work often depicts a boldly honest, stripped-down view of humanity in its rawest, most elemental state–demonstrates the ongoing relevance of expressionism as a primary approach to art making.

Curated by Michael Duncan and part of the Getty Foundation’s initiative “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy is accompanied by a 208 page catalogue, a much-needed reference for the study of post-war American figurative art. 

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Richard Bunkall: A Portrait

January 22, 2012-April 22, 2012

Richard Bunkall: A Portrait surveys the paintings, drawings, and sculptures of the Pasadena-based artist known for his distinctive style. The survey examines several of the periods through which the artist passed in his twenty-five year career before dying at 45 of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1999. Bunkall trained his rich, muted palette and painterly approach on a broad and inventive consideration of the urban environment, one that creates its own compelling reality and draws the viewer into mysterious interiors and lofty exteriors in which improbable things are seen in improbable situations. Bunkall captured a quality found at the heart of most American metropoli, the adventure and mystery, more exhilarating than alienating, of the “urban canyon.” Richard Bunkall: A Portrait looks at the many ways Bunkall conveyed adventure and described mystery through his artistic vision. 

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Nancy Baker Cahill: Fascinomas

January 22, 2012-May 20, 2012

Nancy Baker Cahill’s Fascinomas is multimedia installation that examines the human body’s simultaneous vulnerability and resilience in response to the elusive, subjective condition of “pain.”  In medical jargon, a “fascinoma” refers to an unusual case or diagnosis. The installation, comprised of video and paintings, presents imagined invaders, growths and intra-corporeal phenomena—fascinomas—through the diverse visual languages of electron microscopy, ultrasound and prehistoric cave paintings. The viewer is able to move around and through the installation, becoming integrated into the mysterious micro (and at times macro) cosmos.  Against this landscape, the viewer can consider the scale of his or her own body in relation to the often-unnerving imagery. Fascinomas explores the quiet and implied violence of things that are not of the body but in the body and are rendered with intentional ambiguity to resist specific categorization and to underscore the failure of language to describe phenomena that cannot be seen, but only felt.

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Roland Reiss Personal Politics: Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s

September 18, 2011-January 8, 2012

Roland Reiss has been a major presence in the Los Angeles art world both as an artist and teacher for several decades. During the 1970s and 1980s, the artist created miniature sculptures of scenes from everyday life, which are among his most famous and groundbreaking works, despite the fact that he works primarily as a painter. Organized by the PMCA and curated by Kate Johnson, the exhibition features close to thirty of these miniature scenes. Evoking stress, panic, ambition, fear, insecurity and delight through the narrative tableaux, Reiss examines our society’s semiotics, or codified signifiers of hidden meaning. In addition, the exhibition will also include one of the artist’s most monumental works: a rarely seen life-size representation of a living room entitled, The Castle of Perseverance.

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Love Never Fails: The Art of Edouard and Luvena Vysekal

September 18, 2011-January 8, 2012

This exhibition brings together the work of husband and wife Edouard and Luvena Vysekal and focuses on how the two became emblematic of modernism in a conservative art community, opening the door to an avant-garde aesthetic. While Edouard’s work in watercolor and oils of landscapes, cityscapes, nudes, still lifes, portraits, and allegorical subjects ranged from Impressionism and Post Impressionism to semi-abstraction, Luvena’s portraits and still lifes in oils hewed closer to Realism. Together, they participated in exhibitions as members of the early progressive art organizations in Los Angeles, as well more traditional art clubs, gaining respect from modern and conservative critics and audiences alike.

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Alex Kritselis: Above the Fold

September 18, 2011-January 8, 2012

Exploring how the media shapes people’s perceptions of significant events, Alex Kritselis creates a vast landscape from the issues of the Los Angeles Times that he collected in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.  His immersive installation was previously installed at the Armory Center for the Arts in 2002, but has been reimagined for the PMCA Back Gallery to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and to pose new questions about the lingering effects of the attack on our national psyche. Kritselis is a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles and from 2002–2011 was Dean of the Visual Arts and Media Studies Division at Pasadena City College.

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Beneath the Surface: NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter

September 18, 2011-January 8, 2012

Juno is a NASA mission to Jupiter that is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Juno spacecraft launched on August 5, 2011 and will arrive at Jupiter in July 2016. The spacecraft will spend about a year orbiting the giant gas planet investigating its origins and inner workings.

Beneath the Surface is inspired by the science and technology of the Juno mission. Dan Goods, JPL’s Visual Strategist, has created an interactive installation intended to help museum viewers experience the mystery of Juno’s visit to a cloud-covered planet. Goods’s installation consists of a large container of fog, which hides infrared lights. Infrared light is invisible to the naked eye, but is visible to most cell phone cameras. Just as the Juno mission uses special detectors to peer through the clouds of Jupiter and reveal the depths of its storms, the visitor can “see” lightning storms underneath this foggy surface. 

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Getting Upper: Graphic Designers and Artists Reconsider the Alphabet

May 15, 2011-September 4, 2011

Inspired by language-based experimentation and how it can unlock new avenues of cultural expression, Getting Upper curator Amos Klausner charged twenty-six designers with re-imagining a letter from the alphabet, using the illegibility and deconstructive nature of graffiti as their starting point.  If “getting up” describes the recognition that a graffiti artist seeks through proliferate tagging, “getting upper” is the term that Klausner uses to suggest breaking free from history, from the global marketing culture that long-ago borrowed the best of the graffiti scene, and from legibility itself.  The result is an alphabet that reconsiders our collective understanding of what a letter can be and how it functions to create language and meaning. 

This exhibition is curated by Amos Klausner.

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Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas

May 15, 2011-September 4, 2011

Internationally renowned as one of the most fertile grounds for graffiti art, the City of Angels has its own idiosyncratic graffiti styles created from filtering the innovative New York “wildstyle” through local influences such as gang writing styles. The Los Angeles artists featured in Street Cred currently represent a broad range of genres through their fine art production, from letter-based formalism to Surrealism. Co-curated by Steve Grody and PMCA Exhibition Manager Shirlae Cheng-Lifshin, this exhibition will also include Grody’s photographs from the crucial years of the graffiti scene, providing key insights into the visual “language” of graffiti, its development in Los Angeles, the ways in which the street work informs the canvas work, and how the two worlds interact.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Michael Alvarez, ANGST, AXIS, Chaz Bojórquez, CODAK, CRAOLA, DASH 2000, Ekundayo, EYEONE, HASTE, Paul SKEPT Kanemitsu, Alex Kizu, KOFIE, MAN ONE, MEAR ONE, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Jose Lopez, Erick Montenegro, Nicnak, PUSH, RISK, Jeff Soto, Evan Skrederstu, RETNA, REVOK, SABER, SHANDU, Jesse Simon, SINER, and ZES.

This exhibition is curated by PMCA Exhibition Manager Shirlae Cheng-Lifshin and graffiti historian Steve Grody.

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Clayton Brothers: Inside Out

May 15, 2011-September 4, 2011

Clayton Brothers: Inside Out is the first major museum exhibition of the work of Rob and Christian Clayton. Featuring their paintings and mixed-media installations, the exhibition surveys the brothers’ edgy aesthetic inspired by California skateboard and surf culture, punk rock, folk art, cartoons, and street art. The Clayton Brothers have been working collaboratively since 1996, constructing complex narratives that introduce memorable characters and comment wryly on contemporary life. 

This exhibition is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) and curated by Stephen Fleischman, Director of MMoCA.

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The 100th Annual California Art Club Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

April 3, 2011-April 24, 2011

The California Art Club was established in 1909 by the early California Impressionists after the disbanding of the Los Angeles Painters’ Club. A number of prominent artists were instrumental in the founding of the Club, including Franz Bischoff (1864–1929), Carl Oscar Borg (1879–1947), Hanson Puthuff (1875–1972), and William Wendt (1865–1946). Today, the California Art Club’s primary purposes are to promote the fine arts in the fields of painting, drawing, and sculpture, with a special emphasis placed on the academic traditions and craftsmanship established by the founders of the organization. The PMCA is proud to host the California Art Club’s annual Gold Medal exhibition and sale of work by its artist members. All proceeds from the three-week exhibition benefit the PMCA, the California Art Club, and the artist.

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Tomorrow Today: A Juried Student Exhibition from Pasadena City College

March 11, 2011-April 24, 2011

Tomorrow Today features work by current art and design students at Pasadena City College, selected by a jury of distinguished art professionals, including the PMCA staff. This is the first exhibition co-organized by PCC and the PMCA.

Ranging from conceptual projects to traditional crafts, the pieces on view reflect the generational perspectives and personal idiosyncrasies of an extraordinarily diverse community of student artists, offering a glimpse of our cultural future.

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Gardens & Grandeur: Porcelains and Paintings by Franz A. Bischoff

November 14, 2010-March 20, 2011

Gardens & Grandeur: Porcelains and Paintings by Franz A. Bischoff was the most inclusive retrospective of Franz A. Bischoff to date. Starting out as a porcelain painter in the late 19th century, Bischoff’s exquisite renderings of flowers, particularly roses, earned him the nickname, “King of the Rose Painters.” When he turned to plein air painting, the artist drew inspiration from California’s sun-kissed views and its distinctive light and atmosphere, painting vistas from Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco and Monterey Bay, to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He returned to his native Europe in 1912 to study the Old Masters and French Impressionism, and his later work then shifted to a more pronounced and dramatic palette, which was even described as suggestive of Fauvism. Gardens & Grandeur: Porcelains and Paintings by Franz A. Bischoff examines Franz A. Bischoff’s life-long exploration of diverse subject matter and varied materials.

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Scenic View Ahead: The Westways Cover Art Program, 1928–1981

November 14, 2010-February 27, 2011

Originally named Touring Topics, one of the magazine’s early editors, Phil Townsend Hanna, began a program to commission cover art from California artists in 1928. Featuring 44 works, the PMCA exhibition included notable California artists such as Alson Clark, Maynard Dixon, John Frost, and Donna Schuster from the plein air period, and noteworthy watercolorists such as Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, and Maurice Logan. The works trace prominent stylistic movements of the 1940s through 1970s such as California watercolor, Pop Art, and assemblage. In the last decades of the cover-art program, the magazine explored on the eclectic Los Angeles art scene by featuring covers from diverse artists such as Jan Sawka, Paul Hogarth, and Merle Shore.

This exhibition is organized by the PMCA in cooperation with the Automobile Club of Southern California, and is curated by Matthew W. Roth and Morgan P. Yates.

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California Design Biennial 2010: Action/Reaction

July 18, 2010-October 31, 2010

Building on the success of previous biennials, the PMCA presents a new format for the 2010 California Design Biennial (CDB). Whereas past CDBs were juried competitions, this year, the PMCA invited a notable design professional to curate each category in response to a theme, Action/Reaction, which describes designs that respond to current events, whether sociopolitical or economic, in a creative or innovative way. Rose Apodaca curates Fashion; Stewart Reed curates Transportation Design; Louise Sandhaus curates Graphic Design; Alissa Walker curates Product Design; and for the first time in CDB history, Architecture is included as a category, curated by Frances Anderton.

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Desire: Six Los Angeles Artists

July 18, 2010-October 31, 2010

Desire focuses on six Los Angeles-based artists whose works exemplify the contemporary landscape of desire in the City of Angels, a city known for commodifying sex through its various entertainment industries. Although many typically view desire in terms of pleasure, these artists have also interpreted desire as a feature of alienation, spiritualism, consumerism, and cultural/gender identification. Curated by Shirlae Cheng-Lifshin, this exhibition features work by Gajin Fujita, David Grant, Iva Gueorguieva, Tom Knechtel, Monica Majoli, and Linda Stark.

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Megan Geckler: Every move you make, every step you take

July 18, 2010-October 31, 2010

The work of Los Angeles-based artist Megan Geckler lies somewhere between art and design, with architectural installations that are assembled from thousands of strands of multicolored flagging tape, a plastic ribbon typically utilized by surveyors to demarcate space on construction sites. The end result resembles an updated three-dimensional version of string art that shares the seemingly kinetic territory of the Op Art and Light+Space movements. These site-specific projects are also strongly influenced by minimalism, but retain a sense of play and delight.

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The 99th Annual California Art Club Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

June 13, 2010-July 3, 2010

The California Art Club was established in 1909 by the early California Impressionists after the disbanding of the Los Angeles Painters’ Club. A number of prominent artists were instrumental in the founding of the Club, including Franz Bischoff (1864–1929), Carl Oscar Borg (1879–1947), Hanson Puthuff (1875–1972), and William Wendt (1865–1946). Today, the California Art Club’s primary purposes are to promote the fine arts in the fields of painting, drawing, and sculpture, with a special emphasis placed on the academic traditions and craftsmanship established by the founders of the organization. The PMCA is proud to host the California Art Club’s annual Gold Medal exhibition and sale of work by its artist members. All proceeds from the three-week exhibition benefit the PMCA, the California Art Club, and the artists.

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Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926–1944)

February 14, 2010-May 30, 2010

The first cohesive survey of this remarkable period in the oeuvre of Millard Owen Sheets, this exhibition features a cross section of eighty outstanding oils, watercolors, drawings and lithographs, a number of which have not been publicly displayed since the 1930s. Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926–1944) illustrates how Sheet’s personal style captures Southern California’s rise to prominence through the lens of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression; as well as his powerful influence on many of the other important artists of the time.  The featured works are from the years before the end of WWII, during which Regionalist Art and American Scene Painting was in its heyday and Sheets, the West Coast leader of the movement, was arguably at his creative zenith as a painter. The exhibition features seminal works from the golden age that established Millard Sheets alongside the other premier American artists of the era, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and Edward Hopper.

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The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River

February 14, 2010-May 30, 2010

Showcasing new “currents” in art inspired by the Los Angeles River’s strange yet invigorating presence in the City of Angels, the exhibition will encourage the public to take a closer look and examine the details of the River, from its zoological offerings to its artistic ones, which make it a living representation of Los Angeles culture. The artists in the exhibition are as diverse as the city itself, ranging from established artists such as Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez to emerging artist Rob Sato. Along with framed works, this exhibition boasts site-specific murals, which the artists will paint and draw directly upon the walls of the PMCA space, and an installation that recreates the setting of the LA River along with a few imaginative embellishments. The exhibition is inspired by the book, The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River, by Christopher D. Brand, Evan D. Skrederstu, Steve Martinez, and Matthew Brand.

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Sumi Ink Club: Sumi Room

February 14, 2010-May 30, 2010

Sumi Ink Club represents a new ethos in the art world, one that builds on the playful spirit of artists like Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf to include a more community-oriented mindset, as well a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to art-making. A Los Angeles-based drawing collective founded in 2005 by Sarah Anderson and Luke Fischbeck, the group holds regular open meetings to execute detailed drawings using ink on paper. They have brought their gatherings to many places, domestic and international, and have exhibited in galleries from Los Angeles and New York to England and Sweden, collaborating with many designers, artists, and musicians along the way. In their new installation for the Project Room, the artists have taken up a residence in the gallery, holding weekly events to fill the room with their signature topsy-turvy, detailed, collaborative drawings using sumi ink. Open to the public, these group drawing events function as a means to open and fortify social interactions that bleed into everyday life, reinforcing their non-hierarchical philosophy: all ages, all humans, all styles.

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Wayne Thiebaud: 70 Years of Painting

October 4, 2009-January 31, 2010

This special exhibition is a survey of more than one hundred twenty works drawn from the oeuvre of the celebrated painter Wayne Thiebaud. With his penchant for dazzling sunlight and high-keyed color, and a gift for painterly, sensuous handling of oils and other media, Thiebaud’s paintings link high art with popular culture while conveying a sunny optimism that is quintessentially Californian. Although he is best known for his vibrantly-colored paintings of bakeries and delicatessens, the artist has also specialized in Northern California landscapes, San Francisco cityscapes, and colorful beach scenes. A variety of these paintings are on display along with prominent drawings and rarely-seen figurative works spanning his career.

This exhibition is organized by the Palm Springs Art Museum and curated by Dr. Steven Nash. Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Bel Air Investment Advisors, LLC., Simon Chiu, Michael and Barbara Brickman, Whitney and Susan Ganz, James Goodman Gallery, Community Bank, and Maginnis, Knechtel & McIntyre LLP. In-kind support is provided by Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Whole Foods Arroyo.

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Behold The Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart

October 4, 2009-January 31, 2010

A leader in the American Printmaking movement, Frances Gearhart’s work was embedded in the time and place of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Personifying a handcrafted aesthetic and conveying a sense of directness, Gearhart’s prints celebrated the California landscape—its mountains, trees, lakes and coastline. Featuring over sixty of her block prints and ten watercolors, the exhibition is the first Gearhart retrospective and will provide a comprehensive look at the artist’s legacy and influence, including her never before seen prints. Also on view will be the prints from the previously unfinished and unpublished children’s book that Gearhart co-authored with her two sisters, entitled, Let’s Play.

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Population: Portraits by Ray Turner

October 4, 2009-January 31, 2010

A former painting instructor at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, artist Ray Turner fashions a uniquely seductive and engaging fusion of lyrical realism and abstraction in portraiture. A prescient interpreter, Turner’s most recent series, Population, features intimate portraits of Pasadena residents. The artist’s intuitive approach captures his sitters during “privileged instants” with sensitivity and subtlety. Approximately one hundred fifty of these paintings will be installed in the Founders’ Gallery; viewed en masse they reveal the vast range of dynamic possibilities inherent to portraiture.

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You See: The Early Years of the UC Davis Faculty

May 31, 2009-September 20, 2009

Featuring work of five UC Davis faculty members Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, Wayne Thiebaud, and William T. Wiley, all five artists came to teach at UC Davis between 1960 and 1965. They five artists are sometimes identified with “California funk,” characterized by bawdy irreverence, iconoclasm, and self-deprecating humor. Their work was instrumental in creating a regional movement that served as a counterpoint to the established New York art scene. Featuring over 36 works, Arneson’s enormous ceramic ode to his ’50s-era Davis tract home, will anchor the show, together with three Thiebaud masterworks, and three of Neri’s most admired figurative sculptures. “Crash,” Arneson’s bronze homage to Jackson Pollock, is also included, together with rarely seen paintings, drawings and prints by De Forest and Wiley.

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Edith Heath: Tabletop Modernist

May 31, 2009-September 20, 2009

This exhibition focuses on the life of Edith Heath and her defining influence on California design through pottery. Popular at dinner tables across the country and featured in many of the early American industrial design exhibitions, Heath Ceramics helped define mid-century modernism. Edith Heath began as a studio potter in San Francisco. She established Heath Ceramics in 1947 to meet the growing demand for her dinnerware and accessories. She focused on simple, minimalist style although her process was characterized by innovation and experimentation. Her use of unique glazes and clay underscored her belief that quality does not have to be sacrificed for mass production and accessibility. Her creations were also a reflection of the post-war attitudes toward a more relaxed American lifestyle, especially in California where indoor-outdoor living was taking root.

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TRAFFIC!

May 31, 2009-September 20, 2009

Benny Chan has worked diligently over the past few years to photograph overhead views of Los Angeles freeways during the height of rush hour. Using a camera designed and manufactured exclusively for this project, Chan has taken pictures from high in the sky from a helicopter and has rendered monumental-sized prints. With his almost omniscient perspective, Chan explores and sheds light on the conundrum of traffic as a symptom of a society being unable to keep pace with its own expansion, while at the same time rendering a serene beauty from the chaotic scene.

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Annie Lapin: Parallel Deliria Iteration

May 31, 2009-September 20, 2009

Los Angeles painter Annie Lapin describes Parallel Deliria Iteration as “a never-ending painting in three dimensions.” The installation is composed of recycled components from previous installations, discarded works from Lapin’s studio practice, and new elements added in response to the architecture of the PMCA Project Room. The visual impact of the resulting installation is, like her paintings, marked with the artist’s internal struggle to break free of the constraints of the spatial limitation inherent in the act of painting. This project, conceived by Lapin as a way to sublimate her desires to paint in space and without conclusion, traces the limitations of the medium while attempting to subsume the architectural space of the room.

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98th Annual California Art Club Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

April 26, 2009-May 17, 2009

The California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition is juried by museum directors and curators, and features over 100 selected paintings and sculptures by current California Art Club artist members. Attracting plein-air artists and collectors from around the country, the exhibition showcases the long tradition of California Impressionism that continues today.

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Data + Art: Science and Art in the Age of Information

January 26, 2009-April 20, 2009

Organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) and curated by Dan Goods and David Delgado, designers and educators at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Data + Art explores the hidden stories revealed in data through emerging forms of data expression. Featuring work by Jonathan Berger, David Bowen, Jim Bumgardner, Alex Dragalescu, Chris Jordan, Ned Kahn, Aaron Koblin, Greg Niemeyer & Chris Chafe, Seth Ruffins, The Long Now Foundation, and JPL, this exhibition challenges the viewer’s assumptions by exploring the beauty inherent in data and asks them to see complexity in a new light. These interpretations of data will empower the average person to see the invisible, hear the inaudible, and understand the impossibly complex.

This exhibition is supported by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, The James Irvine Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Tournament of Roses Foundation, Xerox Foundation, Union Bank of California Foundation, and Michael and Barbara Brickman.

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Micronautics: The Photographs of David Scharf

January 26, 2009-April 12, 2009

The PMCA presents an exhibition of the images of David Scharf, a pioneering scientist and EMMY-winning photographer in the field of scanning electron microscopy for the last 30 years. Once called the “Ansel Adams of inner space” by TIME magazine, Scharf’s intriguing photographs provide a closer look at everyday materials on a microscopic level, revealing the hidden nature of pollen, crystals, insects, and more.

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Romance of the Bells: The California Missions in Art

September 28, 2008-January 4, 2009

Romance of the Bells: California Missions in Art focuses on paintings of California’s historic Spanish missions created between 1850 and 1950. Featuring works by such important Impressionist painters as Franz Bischoff, Alson Clark, Joseph Kleitsch, Arthur G. Rider, Elmer Wachtel, and William Wendt, this exhibition features gentle rolling landscapes filled with lush wildflowers alongside the weathered adobe walls of the missions. The romance of these old missions has been immortalized by artists who sought to capture the unique historical heritage of old California, as well as the spirit and beauty of the California landscape.

This exhibition is organized by The Irvine Museum and curated by The Irvine Museum Executive Director Jean Stern. This exhibition is supported by the Historical Collections Council of California, Josh Hardy Galleries, Robert Giem, and PMCA Board Member Simon Chiu.

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Seeing Greene & Greene: Architecture in Photographs

September 28, 2008-January 4, 2009

Presented through the lens of some of the twentieth-century’s leading photographers of art and architecture, this exhibition is conceived as a different take on the architectural work of Greene and Greene. Attracted by the special qualities of the Greenes’s architecture and design, each photographer uses his own historical perspective to capture and interpret the architects’ work. The resulting collection of images reveals the evolution of Greene and Greene’s significance as architectural pioneers through the years. The selection of approximately 75 photographs includes work by William R. Current, Johann Hagemeyer, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Frederick Martin, Maynard Parker, Julius Shulman, Minor White, and Morgan Yost.

Made possible in part by the Friends of the Gamble House, Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and the Ann Peppers Foundation. In-kind support has been generously provided by Yvonne and Shawn Speck of Shawn Speck Picture Frames.

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Kori Newkirk: 1997–2007

June 1, 2008-September 14, 2008

Kori Newkirk is a celebrated multimedia artist whose practice is based on transforming everyday materials into loaded signifiers, making viewers think not only about concepts of African-American culture and beauty, but also about new and ever-changing ways of making art. This exhibition covers the last ten years of his career, illuminating how the varied but interrelated strands of his practice have converged and developed over time.

This exhibition is organized by The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. This exhibition is generously supported by the Peter Norton Family Foundation on behalf of Eileen Harris Norton, and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Foundation.

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Tales From the Strip: The Hot Rod Comics and Drag Racing Cartoons of Pete Millar

June 1, 2008-September 14, 2008

Tales From the Strip is the first comprehensive museum exhibition to recognize the legendary hot-rod and drag-racing cartoonist Pete Millar (1929–2003). After finding his original inspiration from the artists of Mad Magazine’s heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, Millar turned his drawing skills to humorous situations involving souped-up cars and their errant drivers, as well as his spoofs of actual personalities and controversies during the rapid growth of the drag-racing culture in California. Millar’s virtuoso drawing abilities were nurtured by his training as an engineering draftsman and firsthand experience as a drag racer.

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97th Annual California Art Club Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

April 27, 2008-May 18, 2008

An annual event at the PMCA, the California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition is juried by museum directors and curators, and features over 100 selected paintings and sculptures by current California Art Club artist members. Attracting plein-air artists and collectors from around the country, the exhibition showcases the long tradition of California Impressionism that continues today. The work is for sale, and the proceeds benefit the artist, the California Art Club, and the PMCA.

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A Seed of Modernism: Art Students League of Los Angeles

January 20, 2008-April 13, 2008

Founded in 1906 as a school for modern painting in defiance of the academic tradition, the Art Students League of Los Angeles was a crucial institution in the development of Southern California art. Its early instructors taught in the Realist style of the Ashcan School until Stanton Macdonald-Wright assumed the directorship in 1923 and gave the school a new vitality. During his nine-year tenure, the League became a diverse center, stressing the art of as the Middle and Far East as well as Western Europe. When Macdonald-Wright stepped down in 1932, artists such as Lorser Feitelson and Benji Okubo directed the school, and a unique style developed at the League—the blending of Japanese art techniques and themes along with Macdonald-Wright’s color theories. After Pearl Harbor and during the incarceration of Japanese-Americans, the school languished and eventually dispersed, but not before former Macdonald-Wright students Okubo and Hideo Date established a branch of the Art Students League at the Heart Mountain Concentration Camp in Wyoming. The PMCA is proud to present the first comprehensive museum exhibition and catalogue detailing the fascinating history of this group of gifted artists.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Tournament of Roses Foundation, Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg Arts Foundation, Bente and Gerald Buck, Anthony and Mary Podell, George and Irene Stern, Lynn and Tim Mason, Jerry Solomon Custom Picture Frames, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Kelley Gallery, Whitney Ganz, Maurine St. Gaudens, National Mustang Association and Harris Art Works, and Simon Chiu.

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Susan Silton: Inside Out

October 10, 2007-January 6, 2008

Conceived in two parts, Inside Out is an exploration of the dual nature of stripes as both a signifier and as a highly consumed decorative pattern. Silton’s installation “inside” will function as a store filled with various striped objects for sale, reflecting the innocuous function of stripes to aestheticize everyday consumer objects, including art objects. Her installation “outside,” which will envelop the entire museum, is modeled after fumigation tents commonly seen in the Los Angeles landscape. As exterior indicators of an infestation spreading beneath and the presumed remedy for containing it, striped fumigation tents allude to one of the stripe’s alleged historical functions as a marker for otherness, and by wrapping the museum, the artist signals her intent to infiltrate—structurally as well as metaphorically—the edifice contained within.

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Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier

October 10, 2007-January 6, 2008

A longtime generator of American counterculture, California has become the landing site for Asian vinyl-toy culture as well. Beyond Ultraman examines the vinyl art toy landscape as seen in the work of seven California artists who reflect that movement, turning art into toys and vice versa. Through originality, wit, flippancy, and brilliance, each artist in the exhibition has elevated the vinyl art toy movement and captured the attention of two audiences: the mainstream art community and the toy community. Featuring the work of Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, David Gonzales, David Horvath, Sun-Min Kim, Brian McCarty, and Mark Nagata, Beyond Ultraman is a collaboration between the PMCA and the Los Angeles Toy, Doll, and Amusements Museum.

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Benjamin Chambers Brown (1865–1942): California Colors

October 10, 2007-January 6, 2008

The second in our California Colors series, this exhibition featured a selection of vibrant Impressionist paintings by Benjamin Chambers Brown (1865–1942), a Plein Air painter who was one of the first artists to settle and paint in Pasadena. This was a rare opportunity to view highlights of Brown’s work from private and museum collections. A full-color exhibition catalog is available, featuring new scholarship on the artist by Chief Curator of the Crocker Art Museum, Scott A. Shields, Ph.D and an introduction by Executive Director of the Irvine Museum, Jean Stern.

Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the Pasadena Arts League and the Historical Collections Council of California. Additional support has been provided by Ray Redfern of the Redfern Gallery, Bonhams and Butterfields, Edenhurst Gallery, George Stern, Josh Hardy, DeRuís Fine Arts, Whitney Ganz and Steve Stern. In-kind donation is provided by photographer Gerard Vuilleumier.

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Jennifer Poon: Lost and Found

August 19, 2007-September 30, 2007

The work of Bay Area painter Jennifer Poon comes to life in a new exhibition that includes a rare first for the artist: a sculptural installation echoing the fragility and sentiment of her delicate watercolors. Using fabric, vellum, and stone, this monumental-scale installation integrates seamlessly with the paintings and drawings also on display. A massive tree branch sprouts from one wall, dripping long strands of Chinese paper dolls, while a large kite flies overhead, constructed of parchment and covered in the artist’s drawings. The kite is tethered to the earth by silken strings, whose opposing ends are each wrapped around a different human organ sculpted from alabaster. Precariously pinned to the wall and presiding over the entire installation are thirty-five silkscreened portraits of the artist. Taken as a whole, the installation reveals the artist’s fleeting moment of self-discovery, seducing the viewer in the process.

This exhibition is sponsored by Michael Napollielo Jr., and Gallery C.

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Nicolau Vergueiro: By Way of the Seven Holes in My Head

June 2, 2007-August 12, 2007

The wonder and subsequent attempts of the first European explorers to comprehend their unfamiliar and extraordinary surroundings as they came face to face with the New World inspires the work of Los Angeles-based artist Nicolau Vergueiro.

Drawing from a wide range of firsthand narratives, maps, and religious doctrines from the Age of Discovery (15th–17th centuries), Vergueiro navigates these allegorical concepts of a new land and interprets them through a folk aesthetic that is syncretic and prevalent throughout modern Brazil. In his new PMCA Project Room installation, By Way of the Seven Holes in My Head, Vergueiro, who is of Brazilian descent, activates this tumultuous history through the rich and diverse materials used in the installation, including rooster feathers, textiles, and plastic.

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Maynard Dixon: Masterpieces from BYU and Private Collections

June 1, 2007-August 12, 2007

The PMCA celebrates the fifth-year anniversary of our opening with an exhibition and premiere of a documentary honoring renowned California painter Maynard Dixon (1875–1946). Dixon was a fixture in the Northern California art world in the early part of the century, known for his landscapes and portraits, particularly during the Great Depression. His marriage to photographer Dorothea Lange and his move later in life to the Utah desert influenced the subjects and style of his work. His modernist approach to painting Western landscapes featured simple compositions and powerful color fields that shifted the genre away from the more typically sentimental treatment of familiar subject matter. The largest and best single collection of Dixon paintings resides at the Brigham Young University Art Museum and through the generosity of that institution, 47 paintings and 6 drawings will travel to the PMCA. This exhibition marks the first time this body of work has been exhibited in California since Dixon sold the work to a BYU professor in the 1940s.

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Dark Metropolis: Irving Norman’s Social Realism

January 21, 2007-April 15, 2007

This exhibition, produced on the occasion of what would have been Irving Norman’s 100th birthday (1906–1989), features paintings that remain as poignant and relevant today as when they were first created. Norman’s monumental paintings reflect a troubled and turbulent world. His works teem with detail, and are populated with swarming, clone-like humans. People are constricted by small urban spaces and modern technology, caught in the crunch of rush hour, and decimated by poverty and war. Shocking, revealing, and profound, the paintings aim, as Norman himself described, “to tell the truth of our time.”

Dark Metropolis is curated by Scott Shields, and is organized by the Crocker Art Museum. The exhibition is accompanied by a 228-page full-color catalogue.

This exhibition was funded in part by The Judith Rothschild Foundation, Rolfe Wyer, Martin Sosin/Stratton-Petit Foundation, LEF Foundation, Estate of Moses and Ruth Helen Lasky through Morelle Lasky Levine, and Janice and Maurice Holloway. Media support provided by Juxtapoz.

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Dan Goods: The Hidden Light

January 21, 2007-April 8, 2007

The PMCA Project Room is pleased to host Dan Goods, an artist who has worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena for several years. As their Visual Strategist, Goods applies some of the complex principles studied at JPL to his installations, making scientific phenomena more accessible and meaningful. The Hidden Light begins with the idea that some physical entities in the universe are hidden or invisible until scientists discover new ways for understanding or seeing them. In the installation, the film projection depicting planets in space is washed out by another projection until the viewer casts a shadow on the wall. The process directly refers to how astronomers at JPL invent tools with which to find and see planets in the far reaches of space that are hidden by the light of the stars. By activating the space of the installation, the museum visitor will also discover how to see the unseen.

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California Watercolors: Collector’s Choice

October 15, 2006-April 15, 2007

The last in the series of four exhibitions of California Style watercolors, this exhibition offers a special glimpse into the private collections of serious connoisseurs in the field of historic California watercolors. The thirty works have been selected by thirty different collectors and represent their unique tastes and interests. The exhibition was conceived as a counterpoint to our previous watercolor exhibitions which were organized by a single curator.

This exhibition is organized by the PMCA. Support is provided by Jan and Mark Hilbert, Sandy Hunter-California Art Gallery, Ray Sahranavard, Ian M. Patrick, Kenneth M. Kaplan, Jeffrey Olsen, Chris Coleman, and Anonymous.

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Advancing the Moment: Recent Work by California Photographers

October 15, 2006-January 7, 2007

Advancing the Moment, organized by the PMCA and held in conjunction with the Norton Simon Museum’s exhibition, The Collectible Moment, reveals the eventual trajectory of the groundbreaking Californian photographers of the 1960s and 1970s by showcasing their work from the last five years. The exhibition includes works produced between 2000 and 2005 by Donald Blumberg, Darryl Curran, Judy Dater, Robbert Flick, Ingeborg Gerdes, Anthony Hernandez, Ellen Land-Weber, Jerry McMillan, Gregory Allen MacGregor, John Spence Weir, and Henry Wessel, Jr. Together with the exhibition at the Norton Simon, Advancing the Moment documents the development of contemporary photography in the context of this region, presenting a pivotal moment when institutions recognized and began collecting photography.

This exhibition was curated by Donna Stein. Support was provided by the Pasadena Arts League.

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Ian Treasure: When the Rain Comes, when the Sun Shines

October 15, 2006-January 7, 2007

The PMCA is pleased to present an installation by Ian Treasure, an artist from the Bay Area whose works are primarily kinetic installations that are influenced by modern mechanics and devices, incorporating household items, children’s toys, motors, and various sensory elements. When the Rain Comes, when the Sun Shines continues his investigation into the function of everyday objects; in this case, the black umbrellas, which cover the wall of the gallery, and which open randomly with a computer-guided mechanism.

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An American Impressionist: The Art and Life of Alson Skinner Clark

September 16, 2006-January 8, 2006

This marks the first museum retrospective of Alson Skinner Clark (1876–1949), an important American Impressionist painter. Clark settled in Pasadena, California in 1919 after spending time in New York, Chicago, and France studying with artists such as William Merritt Chase and James Whistler. His far-flung travels and encounters with other artists make him one of the more cosmopolitan American painters. Organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and guest curator Dr. Deborah E. Solon, the exhibition has already traveled to the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC.

This exhibition is sponsored by the Pasadena Arts Commission, the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and Paul and Kathleen Bagley.

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Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography

September 8, 2006-October 8, 2006

These images were captured by April Greiman over the past 15 years in various parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. Although Greiman is one of the first women to be recognized as a leader in the graphic arts world, her fine art production stands apart, reflecting her personal travels and unique worldview. Finding meaning and beauty in the smallest, most imperceptible details, Greiman presents her images on a monumental scale so that the idiosyncrasies of the digital technology combine with chance encounter to produce these striking images. The end result appears almost accidental, but actually represents a carefully constructed intervention by the artist.

This exhibition is organized by the PMCA and Merry Norris and is sponsored in part by Nash Editions, Larry Baca Technical Consulting, Premier Imaging Products, I.T. Supplies, Urban Partners, LLC, and InSync Media.

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California Watercolors: Focus on the Fifties

May 6, 2006-October 8, 2006

California Watercolors: Focus on the Fifties highlights the innovations of California-based watercolorists after 1945. Artists such as Phil Dike, Rex Brandt, George Post, Nick Brigante, and others experimented with abstract form, reflecting many of the larger changes taking place at that time in the art world, most notably the rise of Abstract Expressionism. While most of these artists are better known for their pre-war watercolors, which reflected more conservative American Scene and Regionalist styles, this exhibition, which features 31 paintings, reframes their work in a national context that was in a dialogue with broader trends. Focus on the Fifties is the third in a series of four exhibitions designed to explore in depth the achievements of mid-20th century California watercolorists.

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Richard Diebenkorn: The Carey Stanton Collection

May 6, 2006-August 27, 2006

Celebrating the legacy of one of America’s greatest artists, this exhibition showcases the private collection of Carey Stanton, owner of Santa Cruz Island and close personal friend of Diebenkorn for over 40 years. This collection has never before been seen in its entirety, and many of the works were painted on or inspired by Santa Cruz Island, reflecting a unique personal dialogue between the artist and the collector.

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Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley, and Alison Saar

May 6, 2006-August 27, 2006

Family Legacies is the first exhibition of the Saars’s work to examine the relationship of these three important artists to each other within the context of the family’s distinct contributions to art history. The exhibition features thirty-six objects, including mixed-media sculptures, assemblages, collages, and a collaborative installation created by the Saars. With twelve key works by each artist, representing the full chronological range and stylistic evolution of their oeuvre, the exhibition addresses themes that underline the artists’ family ties, multi-racial heritage, and strong affinities to nature and African cultures.

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95th Annual California Art Club Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

April 2, 2006-April 23, 2006

An annual event at the PMCA, the California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition is juried by museum directors and curators, and features over 100 selected paintings and sculptures by current California Art Club artist members. Attracting plein-air artists and collectors from around the country, the exhibition showcases the long tradition of California Impressionism that continues today. The work is for sale, and the proceeds benefit the artist, the California Art Club, and the PMCA.

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Kevin Macpherson: Reflections on a Pond

April 1, 2006-April 30, 2006

In the Impressionist tradition of capturing the changing conditions of the outdoor environment—weather, light, seasons—Kevin Macpherson painted this alpine pond, located in New Mexico, over five years, making sure to include every day of the year. The concept of this series was conceived by Macpherson as an artistic journey that would be demanding both physically and psychologically, but would ultimately give him deep insight and fresh appreciation for the natural world. Throughout the creation of these paintings he maintained several constants: each painting was executed on a 6×8 inch panel, his palette remained consistent, each painting contains realistic, identifiable elements of the scene, and the artist painted from the same location. The variations in the paintings are generally the result of the weather, season, or time of day the paintings was made. However, the events and the general course of the artist’s life over the five years are also present in the paintings.

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Soo Kim: They Stop Looking at the Sky

January 22, 2006-April 23, 2006

In a new installation for the PMCA Project Room, artist Soo Kim constructs a city and the interior and exterior spaces of its built environment. Through densely layered and reconstituted photographic imagery, Kim explores the visually riveting connections between interiority and exteriority. In a departure from her recent work, this exhibition features a series of three photographic collages mounted on 4′ x 5′ translucent plexi-glass panels. The work transcends specificity of time and place, suggesting a reimagined urban environment.

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Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulence

January 22, 2006-March 19, 2006

Staprans began working in the Bay Area in the 1950s at a time when other artists in that region were rediscovering figurative painting. With Abstract Expressionism at the forefront of American painting, these artists, which included Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Roland Peterson, and Wayne Thiebaud—often referred to as the Bay Area Figurative artists—explored inventive new ways to depict traditional subject matter—the figure, landscape, and still life. Staprans created his own distinctive niche within this movement through his pared down compositions and his rich, saturated palette. Although Stapransí work bears connections to the work of these artists, curator Dr. Paul Karlstrom notes a psychological distance from other Bay Area Figurative artists: the paintings rarely depict the human figure and therefore lack the specific drama that it suggests. However, what distinguishes Staprans above all is the degree to which he infuses his realist art with psychological concerns and self-revelation, resulting in the turbulence and tranquility of the exhibition’s title.

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Spirit Totems: Herb Alpert Sculpture 1995–2005

December 11, 2005-April 2, 2006

A music icon who is world renowned for his extraordinary career, Alpert has worked as a painter since the 1960s and as a sculptor for more than 20 years, and his work has been shown in various galleries and museums around the world. Spirit Totems: Herb Alpert Sculpture 1995–2005 brings together his recent body of work, Spirit Totems, which was unveiled this past October in New York City’s famed Bryant Park and features other sculpture from the past decade. The exhibition is installed in open-air public spaces throughout the city: the PMCA rooftop terrace, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium Plaza, and Paseo Colorado, an outdoor shopping and dining space.

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R. Kenton Nelson: Rhyme and Reason/Prose and Cons

November 5, 2005-March 19, 2006

This Pasadena-based artist’s figurative, architectural, and landscape paintings are contemporary recollections of the graphic style exemplified by the American Scene painters, the Regionalists, and the WPA (Works Progress Administration) artists of the 1930s. However, the documentary style of his paintings belies their function as timeless tableaus of American culture. With rich colors and striking compositions, Nelson’s paintings impart a sense of the heroic into his scenes of everyday life.

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Real Estate: Paintings by Jeff Koegel

November 5, 2005-January 8, 2005

Painter Jeff Koegel approaches both the built and natural landscape as a single organism. He depicts his surroundings through textured, hard-edged paintings that show the world in a metamorphic state of decline and rebirth. Koegel has manipulated the space in the Project Room to correspond with the disorienting spatial effects of the five new paintings on display. This exhibition also features a catalog with essays by art historian Peter Clothier and Tyler Stallings, Chief Curator, Laguna Art Museum.

This exhibition is sponsored by Gallery C and Michael Napoliello.

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Gary Baseman: A Moment Ago, Everything Was Beautiful

September 16, 2005-October 30, 2005

The PMCA is pleased to present the first museum exhibition of work by Gary Baseman, well known for Disney’s Teacher’s Pet series and Cranium games. This installation in the PMCA Project Room explores memory, emotion, and desire—themes in Baseman’s recent work—as they are embodied in the vinyl sculptures of his familiar characters. A Moment Ago, Everything Was Beautiful builds on the artist’s past work and blurs the line between fine art and popular culture.

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California Style Watercolors: 1930–1970

April 3, 2005-August 28, 2005

This exhibition brings together 32 rarely-seen watercolors from private collections through Southern California. The selection celebrates California Style artists whose paintings capture the unique character of this region from the mid-20th century. Artists featured in the exhibition include Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa Jr., Phil Dike, Ed Reep, Milford Zornes, Hardie Gramatky, James Patrick, Dong Kingman, Rex Brandt, Barse Miller, Jack Laycox, and Paul Sample.

California Style Watercolors 1930–1970 is the first in a series of four exhibitions that explores in depth the artists working in this style. This exhibition is organized by the PMCA and curated by Gordon McClelland.

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Liquid Los Angeles: Currents of Contemporary Watercolor Painting

February 26, 2005-May 1, 2005

This exhibition explores recent work by Los Angeles artists who reinvent watercolor by tackling new subject matter and by moving the medium into new formal territory. Artists in the exhibition include Judie Bamber, Delia Brown, Carolyn Castaño, Cindy Craig, Shane Guffoff, Portia Hein, Monica Majoli, Kim McCarty, Aaron Morse, Laura Owens, Renée Petropoulos, and Sam Watters.

This exhibition is organized by the PMCA and is curated by Dr. Leslie Jones.

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Kenny Scharf: California Grown

July 11, 2004-September 19, 2004

In the summer of 2004, Kenny Scharf: California Grown opened at the PMCA as the Museum’s first tri-level exhibition, with paintings installed and a tape of The Groovenians—Scharf’s animated show for Cartoon Network—screening on the second floor, his bronze sculptures in the third-floor Founders’ Gallery, and the transformation of the PMCA garage into the Kosmic Krylon Garage. After the end of the exhibition, the colorful murals spray-painted by Scharf over the course of a week remained on the walls of the garage and continue as a permanent installation. The Kosmic Krylon Garage is on view during regular Museum hours.

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The Not-So-Still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture

March 6, 2004-June 27, 2004

Today’s still life is no longer still. It has not only moved off the table, but off the wall and into three dimensions. This exhibition traced the intriguing evolution of still life in California from the turn of the century until about 2000, investigating the great variety of media the theme now engages—from the assemblage tableaux of George Herms to the over-sized stacked plates of Robert Therrien.

The Not-So-Still Life exhibition is organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, and is co-curated by Dr. Susan Landauer, Katie and Drew Gibson Chief Curator, and Guest Curators Dr. William Gerdts and Patricia Trenton.

Lead sponsorship for The Not-So-Still Life exhibition is provided by Deborah and Andy Rappaport. Sponsorship is provided by the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation, Wells Fargo, Adaptec, and The Kent and Rita Norton Foundation.

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Catherine Wagner: Cross Sections

February 5, 2003-May 25, 2003

This exhibition represents an important stage in artist Catherine Wagner’s career-long search to examine the building blocks of life. Cross Sections raises important issues about the increasing dialogue between art and science. Wagner has incorporated state-of-the-art technology and scientific research to produce beautiful and provocative images that examine life from the inside out.

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Capturing Light: Masterpieces of California Photography, 1850–2000

September 21, 2002-January 5, 2003

California and photography have been linked from the beginning. The state burst onto the national consciousness just as photography became commonplace, and the two have always enjoyed a unique relationship. Much of what we think of as great American photography is, in fact, Californian. Open any survey of world photography and the names leap out: Carleton Watkins, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham. What is it about the region that saw the rise of such a remarkable group of artists over such a long period of time? Is there a common thread among these names, aside from the obvious trait of working within the state’s borders? In short, what makes California photography Californian?

The phrase “California photography” immediately calls upon visions of Yosemite and Point Lobos. But other parts of the world boast spectacular landscapes. Perhaps the commonality lies more in the nature of the California mind, and in a sense of California as a place of fantasy, a place with a spirit of adventure and an unusual willingness to bend artistic canons.

It now seems appropriate, given the way we think of California, that photography should arrive in the region during the frantic days of 1849. Gold Rush California was a notoriously-peculiar place, free from traditional social restraints, a multicultural jumble where ordinary moral standards were more or less ignored. Daguerrotypes from this period are nearly stereotyped in their determination to depict the region as a wild and fabled place populated by frontiersmen.

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On-Ramps: Transitional Moments in California Art

June 1, 2002-September 1, 2002

The Pasadena Museum of California Art inaugurates its exhibition program with On-Ramps: Transitional Moments in California Art, an exploration of the freedom and experimentation that has defined the state’s visual arts in the past century. This historic and diverse selection of artworks—which includes painting, video, sculpture, and installation—follows the development of California art through four periods: Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, Post-Surrealism, Hard Edge Abstraction to Finish Fetish, and Bay Area Conceptualism. Curated by Nancy Moure, Michael Duncan, Peter Frank, and Thomas Solomon, respectively, these sections offer concise explorations of individual moments in the state’s art history while at the same time working together to create a visual conversation across the boundaries of time and artistic category. On-Ramps marks two points of entry: a fresh consideration of the varied achievements of California’s artists and the emergence of the PMCA onto the state’s cultural landscape.

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