When you think Pacific Asia Museum, you may not immediately think of LA contemporary postwar art. But in fact, our Chinese-style building once was home to the Pasadena Art Museum, one of the most important sites for LA contemporary art in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s. Our new exhibition 46 N. Los Robles: A History of the Pasadena Art Museum explores the impact this institution had on the era as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time.
The Pasadena Art Museum’s first step on its way to becoming an artistic center was the acquisition of the Galka Scheyer collection in the early 1950s, featuring works from the “Blue Four”: Lyonel Feininger, Alexei von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. 46 N. Los Robles begins with selections by these four artists, and then examines the continued growth of the Pasadena Art Museum. One key individual in this growth was the legendary Walter Hopps, who served as curator for many years and brought in many of the artists connected to his Ferus Gallery (who are also prominently featured in many Pacific Standard Time exhibitions). Because of the historic exhibitions that took place within our walls, including the California Design exhibitions, New Painting of Common Objects (exhibition poster at top), and many solo shows, we’ve brought in amazing works by Larry Bell, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Irwin, Ed Kienholz, Claes Oldenburg, Ken Price, Edward Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and many others to tell the story of this legendary institution.
As Pacific Asia Museum finishes its 40th Anniversary year, it’s exciting for us to look back on the entire history of our site. “I think its really important because it creates continuity for this building and this museum,” says Jay Belloli, the guest curator of the exhibition. “It was another important life in this building, and I think it’s important for the people involved in Pacific Asia Museum to be aware of it.”
Members will get a sneak peek at our opening reception tonight, the 17th, which promises to be a party to remember. Hope to see you there! ~CM