Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo

January 21, 2018–June 3, 2018

Eduardo Carrillo’s (1937-1997) artwork has been described as mystical, realistic, surreal, and visionary. His imagery, whether grounded in the everyday world or infused with magical realism, reflects his relationship to his native California and to his Mexican heritage, as well as to his early religious upbringing and respect for European traditions in art. An inspirational leader who actively challenged racism and injustice, Carrillo created programs and platforms that promoted greater awareness of Latin American culture, aesthetics, and social concerns, significantly advancing the recognition and appreciation of Chicano art and culture in California.

Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo highlights the creative efforts and social importance of Carrillo as artist, teacher, scholar, and social activist. It showcases work created for three distinct realms: the public, the private, and the museum. The artist’s murals are featured in the full-color, bilingual exhibition catalogue. Intimate watercolors and paintings describe the artist’s everyday life in self-portraits, still lifes, and images of people and places he held dear. Large-scale visionary paintings—Carrillo’s masterpieces—reveal his complex and creative mind. The exhibition also includes the bilingual video Eduardo Carrillo: A Life of Engagement by Pedro Pablo Celedón.

Group tours for Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo are available in English and Spanish. Please visit our Group Tour Request Form here for more information.

On view in the PMCA’s Main Gallery, Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo is organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; curated by Susan Leask; and accompanied by a fully illustrated bilingual catalogue with contributions by Philip Brookman, Gilberto Cárdenas, Maureen Davidson, Michael Duncan, Timothy Drescher, Susan Leask, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Tere Romo, and Christina Waters.

Testament of the Spirit: Paintings By Eduardo Carrillo is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle,  the California Visionary Fund, and Zach Horowitz. A generous grant from the Eastside Arts Initiative underwrites the exhibition.


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The Feminine Sublime

January 21, 2018–June 3, 2018

Historically, depictions of the sublime were reserved for men whose rationality and order were posed against nature, the imagination, or the female “other.” The Feminine Sublime presents a counter-narrative that upends previous ideas of the sublime in painting with a unique feminist perspective. Exhibition artists and Los Angeles-based painters Merion Estes, Yvette Gellis, Virginia Katz, Constance Mallinson, and Marie Thibeault counter traditional landscape painters and enlist challenging aesthetics, formal inventiveness, and provocative imagery to re-imagine relationships with rapidly changing urban and natural environments in more relevant and meaningful ways.

With their large-scale artworks, the artists situate the viewer within the annihilating and terrifying effects of global climate change, nuclear catastrophe, 9/11, consumerist environmental degradation, and even post-apocalyptic landscapes. Though they articulate ideas of dystopian insecurity, fragmentation, and collapse, all of the works paradoxically invoke transformation, transition, and the possibilities for painting to still promote the kind of skepticism instrumental for the renewal of human consciousness.

The artists’ alternative versions of sublimity examine the present, freeing us from the limiting views of the past. They forge a new understanding of the environment, as well as the sublime, paving the way for an inclusive future free from confining categorization.

On view in the PMCA’s South Gallery, The Feminine Sublime is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, curated by Constance Mallinson, and accompanied by a brochure. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the California Visionary Fund. California art patrons Joseph J. Dalrymple, Alice Harris, and Jack Johnston and David Webb underwrite the exhibition. Generous grants from the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division as well as Pasadena Arts League provide invaluable support.

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Ana Serrano: Homegrown

January 21, 2018–June 3, 2018

Ana Serrano’s immersive “garden” both references a recognizable urban landscape and pays homage to the artist’s family connection to the land in Mexico. Highlighting the juxtaposition of the built environment and plant life, the installation is composed of bright-colored walls and lively plants made of cardboard and paper. The dynamic space invites viewers to move into the sculpture and immerse themselves in the disparate yet familiar elements of city living, emphasizing the balance between man-made constructions and natural elements as well as dense, permanent objects and those that are lighter, more ephemeral.

In Serrano’s installation, plants poke up through the “concrete structure” as they would through cracks in city sidewalks or streets. The plants reference the small plots of dirt found scattered amidst the concrete of Los Angeles, particularly in the Mexican and Mexican-American neighborhoods of Los Angeles where Serrano was raised. With a particular focus on the ways people create gardens and grow food within small spaces, the installation mirrors the garden-within-the-yard of the single-family home and recalls the store fronts and urban environments that provide the soil for family traditions to take root. It focuses on how people bring the natural world into the city environment.

On view in the PMCA’s Project Room, Ana Serrano: Homegrown is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors and the PMCA Ambassador Circle. Lead corporate sponsorship is provided by AltaMed, courtesy of Cástulo de la Rocha and Zoila D. Escobar and Bermudez Projects, Los Angeles.

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Kosmic Krylon Garage

July 11, 2004–

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. 

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Judy Chicago’s Birth Project: Born Again

June 17, 2018–October 7, 2018

“If men had babies, there would be thousands of images of the crowning.”

– Judy Chicago, 1982

Between 1980 and 1985, artist Judy Chicago (b. 1939) and a team of 150 female needleworkers completed eighty-four textile and needle media works that analyzed the interrelationships among motherhood, maternity, femaleness, and gender. Chicago’s subsequent book, The Birth Project, catalogued the artworks and their production and sought to reveal birth as spiritual and intellectual, a source of potent myth and symbol. The project included images of childbirth that afforded a vision seldom seen in western culture since the Neolithic Age, when women embodied creation itself as well as the many manifestations of individual creation, yet it also showed birth as physical and real.

The Birth Project body of work, which was decades ahead of its time, is timely and relevant as society experiences a renewed interest in maternal and female bodies. In contrast to political and scientific developments as well as cultural norms, which re-emphasize women’s bodies as commodities, all of Chicago’s bodies are empowered female symbols. Her imagery encourages viewers to perceive women in unaccustomed ways and offers women powerful symbols with which to identify.

This exhibition reassembles approximately fifteen of the most exceptional Birth Project works, examining both past and present attitudes towards female empowerment and sexuality and underscoring Chicago’s redefinition of the terms art and craft. By presenting the works thirty-plus years after their creation, the exhibition emphasizes the role art can play in giving voice to the ongoing process of social change, particularly in regards to both reproductive choice and health care.

Judy Chicago’s Birth Project: Born Again is organized by Through the Flower in conjunction with the Albuquerque Museum of Art and the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, curated by Viki D. Thompson Wylder, and accompanied by a brochure. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors and the PMCA Ambassador Circle. Support for education is provided by a gift from Karen and Stephen Hillenburg. The exhibition is underwritten by a generous grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

About the Curator:


Dr. Thompson Wylder is a Judy Chicago scholar who has worked in the museum field for 25 years, primarily for the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts (FSU MoFA) where she curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions including the Judy Chicago retrospective titled Trials and Tributes (1999). The retrospective, which focused on Chicago’s works on paper, traveled to seven additional museums across the United States from 1999 to 2002 and was accompanied by a catalogue.

She also provided the essay for the exhibition catalogue published to coincide with the October 2002 survey of Chicago’s career at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. She published a number of articles on Chicago’s work including reviews of Chicago’s series Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, a review of Chicago’s program project at Western Kentucky University called At Home: A Kentucky Project, and of Chicago’s book, Kitty City: A Feline Book of Hours.

In her dissertation, Thompson Wylder examined the Dinner Party and the Birth Project from a cultural viewpoint outside the visual arts. Titled The Dinner Party and Birth Project as Religious Symbol and Visual Theology, it is included in Chicago’s papers at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe Institute/Harvard.

In her work at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, Thompson Wylder negotiated the acquisition of six Birth Project works as well as a number of Birth Project studies and prints, making the FSU MoFA the second largest museum collector of Birth Project art.

As a professor, Dr. Thompson Wylder taught courses in Women’s Studies, as well as Museum Education, Art Historical Critical Writing, and Studio Art. From 2003 to 2014 she taught the core class for the FSU Women’s Studies Program titled Women in Western Culture. Her interview with Judy Chicago is included in the women’s studies text, Creating Women (2005), edited by Jean Bryant and Linda Bennett-Elder. She taught several individual special topics seminars on the work of Judy Chicago– the most recent in the Fall of 2016.

At the FSU Museum of Fine Arts Thompson Wylder combined her curatorial work with her position as Curator of Education. She inaugurated the education program at the FSU Museum in 1993 working to deepen the involvement of the schools and the community in the life of the Museum. As Curator of Education she offered numerous workshops/seminars for local and regional audiences but also for Florida and National Art Education Association audiences. In 2009 she co-authored an article for the International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, “The Story Project: A Model for Achieving Profound Inclusion in Museums.” She co-authored “Elementary Reflections: Case Study of a Collaborative Museum/School Curatorial Project” for a 2014 issue of the Journal of Museum Education.

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Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California

June 17, 2018–October 7, 2018

Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) was a painter, graphic designer, and lithographer in the 19th century. A talented artist and entrepreneur, Brown was the only documented African American in his field in the western United States at the time.

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brown learned about lithography while working for a printer in Philadelphia at the age of fourteen. The gold and silver mining boom in the 1800s encouraged him to venture West to establish a business and home. In 1865, Brown founded his first lithography business in San Francisco, where he served the emerging business communities in the area, designing stock certificates for a wide variety of companies ranging from ice to mining corporations, as well as admission tickets, maps, sheet music, advertisements, and billheads.

Later in life, Brown began to make his living as a painter, selling original oil landscape paintings as he traveled further north. While his depictions of the West were well received, the vast majority of Brown’s artistic output is in the medium of lithography. These commercial works were instrumental in creating images of new cities, businesses, and land prospects in the West. His artistic skill and creative efforts can be credited with successfully promoting Western expansion and development. This is an important story rarely told and not widely known.

Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California will include approximately 45 paintings, prints, and objects from Brown’s oeuvre, including a breadth of imagery detailing the early development of California and the West.

Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Bridget R. Cooks Ph.D.. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the California Visionary Fund. 

About the Curator:

Bridget R. Cooks is Associate Professor of Art History and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She also serves as core faculty in the Ph.D. Programs in Visual Studies and Culture and Theory, and the Master’s Program in Critical and Curatorial Studies. Cooks’ research focuses on African American artists, Black visual culture, museum criticism, feminist theory, and post-colonial theory.

She earned her doctorate in the Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester working with Douglas Crimp as her advisor. She has received a number of awards, grants, and fellowships for her work including the prestigious James A. Porter & David C. Driskell Book Award in African American Art History, and the Henry Luce Dissertation Fellowship in American Art.

Cooks’ first career was as a museum professional. In this capacity, she worked at the Oakland Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has also curated several exhibitions including “The Art of Richard Mayhew” at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco and “Wavelengths: Abstract Selections from the Paul R. Jones Collection” at The Univeristy of Alabama. She is author of the book Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011). Some of her other publications can be found in Afterimage, American Studies, Pedagogy and American Quarterly. She is currently working on her second manuscript titled, A Dream Deferred: Art of the Civil Rights Movement and the Limits of Liberalism.

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Hollywood in Havana: Five Decades of Cuban Posters Promoting U.S. Films

August 20, 2017–January 7, 2018

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 e Industria Cinematográficos (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), curated by CSPG Founder and Executive Director Carol A. Wells, and accompanied by a brochure. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the California Visionary Fund. Media sponsorship is provided by LALA

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.





Media sponsor:

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E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit

August 20, 2017–January 7, 2018

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 and elements of modern life as well as figures, many of them female. 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 artworks returned the focus to the liturgy and reinforced the importance of design and handcraftsmanship within Church interiors.

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 Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Scott A. Shields, Ph.D., California art scholar and Crocker Art Museum’s Associate Director and Chief Curator. A 236-page, fully illustrated catalogue featuring scholarly essays by Shields and by Julianne Burton-Carvajal, Ph.D., accompanies the exhibition. Following its debut at the PMCA, the exhibition will travel to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento from January 28–April 22, 2018, and the Monterey Museum of Art from May 25–August 27, 2018.

The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the California Visionary Fund. California art patrons Yvonne Boseker, Simon Chiu, Kelvin Davis, Marie and Murray Demo, John and Patricia Dilks, Jeff Dutra, William C. Georges, Stephen MacFarlane, and Thomas B. Stiles, II and Barbara Alexander underwrite the exhibition. Generous grants from the Historical Collections Council of California Art and the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation along with corporate sponsorship from Bonhams Auctioneers, Heritage Auctions, John Moran Auctioneers, Josh Hardy Galleries, and Paula and Terry Trotter, Trotter Galleries provide invaluable support.

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