Visual art: Artistic Abundance
Four great museums and two top galleries add up to months of visual delights
By Carl Kozlowski 08/25/2011
As summer turns to fall and the mind turns from sunny days to indoor pursuits, it’s the perfect time to remember that Pasadena is home to some of the most dynamic art museums and galleries in the nation. And area institutions are doing their part to lure visitors in bold ways, with the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) running exhibits that reflect on Sept. 11 and pay tribute to NASA’s Juno spacecraft program, and the San Marino Gallery unveiling a bold new retrospective in downtown Los Angeles.
First off, the PMCA will feature four new exhibits in its fall season. “Beneath the Surface” is an interactive art installation, created by JPL Visual Strategist Dan Goods, which brings the Juno mission to life by using infrared lights and special screens to display images under a layer of fog designed to emulate the surface of Jupiter.
“Love Never Fails: the Art of Edouard and Luvena Vysekal,” meanwhile, keeps things earthbound by spotlighting the avant-garde works of this artistic couple, who have never displayed their pieces in the same exhibition before.
In addition, the PMCA will showcase the miniature sculptures of everyday life created by Roland Reiss, a Los Angeles presence as an artist and teacher for the past several decades, while using a revival of the 2002 exhibition “Alex Kirstelis: Above the Fold” to pay tribute to the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Norton Simon Museum takes a decidedly modern approach with its main fall exhibit, “Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California.” Focusing on the wide-open possibilities offered by printmaking in mid-20th century SoCal, more than 125 prints from such acclaimed artists as Ed Ruscha and Robert Rauschenberg are sure to dazzle visitors.
Meanwhile, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens opens two big exhibitions this fall before replacing them with new blockbusters.
Visitors have until Sept. 26 to see “Out of the Shadows: Joshua Reynolds’ Celebrity Portraiture and the Market for Mezzotints in18th-Century Britain,” which showcases how mezzotint engraving turned the British art world upside down in the 18th century by finding new ways to detail light and shadow.
Meanwhile, “Pre-Raphaelistas and Their Followers” spotlights British and American drawings from the Huntington’s collection and also leaves Sept. 26.
But they’re followed by two intriguing new exhibits. “The House That Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945-1985” highlights the greatest works of Sam Maloof, a pioneer in the American studio furniture movement that favored handmade creations over mass-produced factory furnishings. Thirty of his own works will blend with 80 more from others from Sept. 24 through Jan. 30.
On a completely different end of the artistic spectrum, the Huntington will display “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California” from Oct. 8 through Jan. 9. More than 50 manuscripts, documents and photographs will offer striking insights into how the SoCal science and research industries propelled us into the heavens while also affecting change in everything from surfing to hot-rodding.
And closing out the ranks of the top art museums, the Pacific Asia Museum will continue its blockbuster exhibition of its most prized works, “40 Years of Building the Pacific Asia Museum Collection,” through Oct. 9. It also continues “Meiji, Japan Rediscovered” — an exploration of the connection between Japan and the West during the Meiji Period of 1868-1912 — through Feb. 26.
Finally, two popular local galleries step up with innovative offerings of their own. The Folk Tree presents “Memoria Grabada — Recorded Memory” through Sept. 24, featuring the graphic works of Alec Dempster in Toronto, Daniel Gonzalez in Los Angeles and Sergio Sanchez Santamaria in Mexico City.
But it’s the San Marino Gallery that might have the most spectacular local arts event of the fall, hosting the opening night gala of the LA Art Experience, a three-day exhibition of the gallery’s contemporary works at the historic Majestic Halls at 650 S. Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 14.
Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles
Call (323) 667-2000
Oct. 14 – Jan. 8, 2012
“Art Among the Hyphen: The Mexican-American Celebration”
Avenue 50 Studio
131 North Avenue 50, Highland Park
Call (323) 258-1435
Sept. 10 - Oct. 2
Oct. 8 - Nov. 6
“Dia de los Muertos: Celebration of Life”
Forest Lawn Museum
1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale
Call (800) 204-3131
Opening Sept. 9
Heritage Square Museum
3800 Homer St., Los Angeles
Call (323) 225-2700
Through Sept. 24
“In the Good Ol’ Summertime”
Off Ramp Gallery
1702 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena
Call (626) 298-6931
Sept. 11-Oct. 9
“Lisa Adams: Born This Way”
Oct. 23-Nov. 20
“Susan Sironi: New ABCs: Altered Books
Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena
Call (626) 577-1660
“Southern California’s Evolving Landscape: The Photography of Helen Lukens Gaut 1872-1955”
The Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art
490 E. Union St., Pasadena
Call (626)568-3665 or visit pmcaonline.org.
The NortonSimon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Call (626) 844-6941 or visit nortonsimon.org.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
Call (626) 405-2100 or visit huntington.org.
The Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena
Call (626)449-2742 or visit pacificasiauseum.org.
The Folk Tree
217 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena
Call (626) 795-8733 or visit folktree.com.
San Marino Gallery
70 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
Call (626) 441-9007 or visit