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.
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.
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.
Born in Los Angeles, Kenny Scharf rose to prominence in the New York art scene in the 1980s as part of a dynamic group of artists including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He has since returned to California, but he has retained the playful Pop aesthetic for which he is internationally renowned. 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.
Hollywood in Havana: Five Decades of Cuban Posters Promoting U.S. Films brings together innovative Cuban posters promoting American films, made from 1960 to 2009. Produced by Instituto Cubano del Arte Industria Cinematograficos (ICAIC), the posters were part of an initiative of the revolutionary government to develop cultural awareness and dialogue after Fidel Castro and the guerrilla forces overthrew the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 altered not only politics, society, and the economy but the cultural sphere as well, greatly expanding access to and engagement with the arts, particularly cinema, for a large portion of the population. During the early years of the Revolution, poster designers had few material resources and operated in an almost artisanal manner, using the silkscreen technique. While the limited resources imposed by the embargo inspired many of the design decisions, revolutionary ideals also influenced these graphic artists. The approximately 40 posters featured in the exhibition—which promoted films such as Singin’ in the Rain, Cabaret, and Silence of the Lambs as well as a few select Cuban films, such as a documentary about Marilyn Monroe—are astonishing in their composition, stylistic diversity, and craft. Hollywood in Havana showcases how design and visual imagery in film posters, which are ubiquitous in Los Angeles, can infiltrate our lives and inform our ideas about the world.
Hollywood in Havana: Five Decades of Cuban Posters Promoting U.S. Films is co-organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) in partnership with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) and is curated by CSPG Executive Director Carol A. Wells, and accompanied by a brochure. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors and PMCA Ambassador Circle.
The exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
One of California’s most trailblazing artists, E. Charlton Fortune (1885–1969) had a thriving career as a painter until the age of forty-three, when she began a pioneering new vocation in liturgical art. E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit pairs the artist’s Impressionist and modernist landscapes with her ecclesiastical paintings, sculptures, furnishings, and other designs produced for the Catholic Church.
Though her paintings are frequently labeled Impressionist, Fortune’s work moved beyond the style, a fact well recognized in her own time. Rather than focusing on nature for its own sake, she emphasized humanity’s impact on the land and was best known for colorful landscapes featuring architecture, figures, and elements of modern life. These works were strong in color—frequently rendered in primary or complementary hues—and rugged and gestural in execution. Because of this, some reviewers and critics thought she was a man. Many also described her paintings as “masculine,” attributing their success to a perceived virility—then one of the most highly regarded qualities in art.
Starting in 1928, Fortune’s disenchantment with mass-produced ecclesiastical art led her to create designs of her own and then found the Monterey Guild, a group of skilled craftspeople who, under her direction, created original, modern artworks for churches. Fortune’s religious artwork blends her signature style with a respect for the liturgy and, in particular, the aesthetics of European churches that inspired her during her time abroad.
E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit illuminates this formidable artist’s contributions both to early California painting and American liturgical design through approximately eighty works.
E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit is organized by the PMCA and curated by California art scholar and Crocker Art Museum’s Associate Director and Chief Curator, Scott A. Shields, PhD. A 240-page, fully illustrated catalogue featuring scholarly essays by Shields and by Julianne Burton-Carvajal, PhD, accompanies the exhibition. Following its debut at the PMCA, the exhibition will travel to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and the Monterey Museum of Art. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, John and Patricia Dilks, and William C. Georges.
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.
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.