“It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles 1969-1973” will focus on the intensely creative period from 1969 to 1973 when the Pomona College Museum of Art (then the Pomona College Gallery) presented some of the most experimental exhibitions of contemporary art in the United States, reflecting a confluence of art faculty, curators, visiting artists, and students who would go on to make significant contributions to contemporary art history.
In the fall of 1969 Mowry Baden, the newly arrived chair of the Art Department and professor of sculpture, hired Hal Glicksman as Gallery director/curator. From the fall of 1969 through June of 1970, Glicksman devised a unique series of exhibitions for a program that he called the “Artists Gallery.” Under this program, the gallery functioned as a studio-residency for conceptual artists in Southern California. Michael Asher, Lewis Baltz, Michael Brewster, Judy Chicago, Ron Cooper, Tom Eatherton, Lloyd Hamrol, Robert Irwin, among others, presented work or created unique environmental situations in the gallery.
Following Glicksman, Helene Winer became director/curator in fall 1970. She organized exhibitions of Bas Jan Ader, Ger van Elk, Jack Goldstein, Joe Goode, William Leavitt, John McCracken, Ed Moses, Allen Ruppersberg, and William Wegman. She also presented performance work, including pieces by Hirokazu Kosaka, Wolfgang Stoerchle, John White, and Chris Burden, who had graduated from Pomona College in 1969.
Allied to the innovative exhibition programming, the art department thrived under a unique group of faculty members: Mowry Baden, James Turrell, Lewis Baltz, David Gray, and Guy Williams. Some outstanding students at the time included Thomas Crow, Chris Burden, Peter Shelton, Michael Brewster, and Hap Tivey, among others.
To recreate a sense of how this era’s provocative aesthetic concerns unfolded and developed, “It Happened at Pomona” has been organized into a series of three exhibitions anchored by an interactive timeline. The first two exhibitions are designed to articulate the distinct and historically astute curatorial visions of Pomona College Museum curators Hal Glicksman and Helene Winer. The third and final installation focuses on the extraordinary arts faculty, students, and events at Pomona College that surrounded and supported these visionary curators and their insights.
In addition to paintings, sculpture, video, and photography, each of the three exhibitions will feature a large number of site-specific installations and environments that have not been seen since their original presentation. The Museum will host a series of public events ranging from lectures, panel discussions, performance re-enactments, live interviews, and film screenings. The exhibition is accompanied by a 360-page scholarly catalogue that includes essays by Thomas Crow, Glenn Phillips, Rebecca McGrew, and Marie Shurkus, interviews with Hal Glicksman and Helene Winer, interviews and essays on the twenty-nine artists in the exhibition, and many never-before-seen photographs.
Part 1:Hal Glicksman at Pomona
The first "It Happened at Pomona" exhibition focuses on the academic year of 1969-1970, when Hal Glicksman was the curator/director. Glicksman established one of the first museum residency programs in which artists used the museum gallery as a studio space and created unique environments directly in the museum.
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