The Santa Barbara Museum of Art announces its official participation in the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980 initiative with its major exhibition, Pasadena to Santa Barbara: A Selected History of Art in Southern California, 1951-1969.
Pasadena to Santa Barbara focuses on the legacy of two of Southern California’s leading venues for contemporary art since the 1940s: the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) and the Pasadena Art Museum (PAM) (known from 1941 to 1953 as the Pasadena Art Institute, and since 1975 as the Norton Simon Museum). These two institutions pioneered what is now perceived as a common strategy—exhibiting the work of contemporary artists in Southern California—alongside the work of influential modern and contemporary artists from other parts of the United States and Europe.
At a time when very few museums were exhibiting works by living artists, this bold approach not only provided a solid foundation for the growth of contemporary art in the region, but also became an inspiration and model for a number of institutions that followed. The exhibition presents works by artists who were featured at one or both venues during these years, and who were instrumental in establishing a Southern California dialogue as well as dialect regarding contemporary art.