This exhibition focuses on the legacy of two of Southern California’s leading venues for contemporary art since the 1940s: the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Pasadena Art Museum (known from 1941-1953 as the Pasadena Art Institute, and since 1975 as the Norton Simon Museum). These two institutions pioneered what is now perceptible as a common strategy—to exhibit the work of local artists living and active in Southern California, alongside the work of influential modern and contemporary artists from other parts of the United States and abroad.
This bold approach provided a solid foundation for the growth of contemporary art in the region and became an inspiration and model for a number of institutions that followed. This exhibition presents works by artists who were featured at one or both venues during these years, and who remain important to the current and continuing discourse in contemporary art in Southern California. Artists include John Altoon, Karl Benjamin, Richard Diebenkorn, Marcel Duchamp, Llyn Foulkes, Sam Francis, Philip Guston, Ed Kienholz, John McLaughlin, Helen Lundeberg, Lee Mullican, Mark Tobey, and Beatrice Wood, among others.
This exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, a collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California—coming together for the first time to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene.