Have you ever heard the sound of ice melting? State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970, part of Pacific Standard Time, offers an in-depth exploration of Conceptual art made by both Northern and Southern California artists during a pivotal period in contemporary art. The more than 150 works of art on display—many rarely seen or newly discovered—are organized by themes, such as the street, the body, politics, private/public space, and language/wordplay, that elucidate this dynamic era in our history and foreshadow the concerns of young artists working today.
“A dense, seemingly encyclopedic presentation of Conceptual art from up and down the coast, shot through with various forms of satire, political fury, and emotional vulnerability."—Roberta Smith, New York Times
State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970, co-organized with the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), is the most comprehensive exhibition to date to focus on Conceptual art and related new genres in both Northern and Southern California during this pivotal period in contemporary art. Featuring more than 150 works of art, the exhibition includes installations, photographs, works on paper, videos and films, artists’ books, extensive performance documentation, and other ephemera. Many of these are newly discovered works or rarely viewed materials culled from archives for this exhibition.
Some of the highlights of the exhibition include the important early surveillance installation Being Photographed, Looking Out, Looking In, February 4-20, 1971 by Chris Burden, currently in a private collection and not exhibited since the 1970s; the most comprehensive installation of artifacts, photographs, and the original soundtrack from Allen Ruppersberg’s, Al's Grand Hotel (1971); the most complete documentation ever presented in a museum of Bonnie Sherk’s street performances Sitting Still Series (1970); and archival photographs from William Wegman’s studio, recently discovered at BAM/PFA and never before seen in California. Other artists featured in State of Mind whose practices deserve greater attention are Gary Beydler, Nancy Buchanan, Adam (the late Paul Cotton), Lowell Darling, Stephen Laub, Darryl Sapien, Susan Mogul, Ilene Segalove, Fred Londier, and Robert Kinmont.
Public programs will bring together a range of artists, scholars, and curators for symposia, lectures, and performances. The exhibition is accompanied by a 250-page catalog with essays by the exhibition co-curators, BAM/PFA Adjunct Curator, and former Senior Curator at BAM/PFA, Constance Lewallen and OCMA Adjunct Curator Karen Moss, as well as additional contributions by UC Irvine Art History Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson and Anne Rorimer, an independent scholar. The catalog, published by the University of California Press, will feature seventy color plates and more than 125 black-and-white images.
State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970 is supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation as part of the unprecedented collaborative initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980.
Additional support for State of Mind has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Support from Ms. Robin Wright and Mr. Ian Reeves has made possible the presentation of the pressured air work of Michael Asher. The catalog is supported in part by the Getty Foundation and by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
State of Mind is co-organized by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) and the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). The exhibition is co-curated by Constance M. Lewallen, adjunct curator at BAM/PFA, and Karen Moss, adjunct curator at OCMA.
Significant funding for the OCMA presentation of State of Mind is provided by Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati and Dr. James Pick.
The presentation of State of Mind at BAM/PFA is made possible in part by the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.