Closing and Openings of Museums in SoCal

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Let’s start today with rather sad news. The Pasadena Museum of California Art has announced that, after 16 years of presenting a wide variety of exhibitions with a focus on the history of art in California, it is saying “Goodbye.”

(L) Corita, c. 1964. Photograph courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles. (R) Installation view of “Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent” at Pasadena Museum of California Art. Photo by Edward Goldman.

I have good memories of a number of exhibitions there – some of them as ambitious and challenging as one would expect from a major museum. For example, 2015’s exhibition of the prolific career of Sister Corita Kent, who was a designer, teacher, feminist, civic rights and anti-war activist was particularly memorable. Seeing her posters, you could swear you could hear the beat of the music, the marching steps of a political rally, and crowds chanting, “Make love, not war! Oh yes! Make love, not war!”

View of Sam Francis: Five Decades of Abstract Expressionism from California Collections. Photo © 2013 Janna Gould. Image courtesy PCMA.

And the 2013 mini-retrospective of the prolific career of Sam Francis was very well edited, with a focus on his best works. Thinking about all these exhibitions over the past 16 years, I want to say “Thank You” to Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Concept design by Morphosis for the new OCMA at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Image courtesy OCMA.

Another museum that recently announced its closure is Orange County Museum of Art – but, in this case, it’s a temporary closure. The museum’s new building will open in 2021 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. And the good news is that the building is designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis.

MAD Architects’ concept design renderings for The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles. Images courtesy The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

The current issue of Vanity Fair reveals very interesting details about the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which recently broke ground here, in Los Angeles. The Chinese architect Ma Yansong has given the building the appearance of a flying saucer, which is appropriate for the museum of the creator of Star Wars.

(L) After the Prom, Normal Rockwell. 1957.  (R) The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 - 14 April, David Hockney. 2011. Images courtesy The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

But, welcome news is the surprising breadth of figurative and representational art that will be on display there. Until recently, George Lucas was reluctant to reveal the specifics of his personal collection of 15,000 works of art. Now, we learn about the amazing diversity of this collection, ranging from iconic images by Norman Rockwell to digital drawings by David Hockney and paintings by Kerry James Marshall.

Transparent Earth Part 1, Lita Albuquerque. 2018. Image courtesy Lita Albuquerque.

To finish this report, let’s escape to Switzerland, where Los Angeles artist Lita Albuquerque has installed a life-size polymer sculpture of a woman at the top of a mountain, as part of the Horizontal-Vertical Art Safiental Biennale. Painted in an intense blue, the sculpture shows a nude woman laying down with her ear to the ground.

Transparent Earth Part 1, Lita Albuquerque. 2018. Image courtesy Lita Albuquerque.

Just take a look at the photo of this installation in the Alps, and try to guess what story Lita Albuquerque’s sculpture hears from Mother Earth.



Kathleen Yore