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Indepth Arts News:

"Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900–2000"
2000-10-22 until 2001-02-25
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000, is a landmark exhibition that addresses the relationship between the arts in California and the state’s evolving image over the past century. Organized by LACMA – The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the exhibition goes beyond a standard presentation of California art to offer a revisionist view of the state and its cultural legacy. It considers both booster images of California and other coexisting and at times competing images, reflecting the wide range of interests and experiences of the state’s diverse constituencies. The core organizers of the exhibition are Stephanie Barron, vice president of education and public programs and senior curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; Sheri Bernstein, exhibition associate; and Ilene Susan Fort, curator of American Art. Made in California is the largest exhibition LACMA has ever organized or hosted, representing an unprecedented collaboration among nine curatorial and programmatic departments.

Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000 features more than 800 works of art in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, graphic art, decorative art, costume, and video, as well as several period rooms. About 20 percent of the art in the exhibition is drawn from LACMA’s permanent collection. Also included are more than 400 cultural documents such as tourist brochures, rock posters, labor pamphlets, and documentary photographs from important public and private collections from across the nation, that convey California’s fascinating history and changing popular image. Installed throughout the exhibition are sixteen specially commissioned film and multimedia stations, two music stations, and three mural reconstructions to further enrich this examination of the fine arts and popular conceptions of the state.

Because the year 2000 marks the 150th anniversary of California’s statehood as well as the end of the twentieth century, this is the perfect time for LACMA to undertake this expansive and innovative examination of the culture of our state, said Dr. Andrea Rich, president and director of LACMA. This stimulating and in-depth presentation of California imagery, through both popular and fine art, will appeal to a wide ranging audience and will offer our members and visitors an opportunity to consider California from new perspectives.

With Made in California, LACMA has pushed the envelope with an exhibition that is unlike anything we have ever done before, said Stephanie Barron, LACMA vice president of education and public programs and senior curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. What makes the show so important is not its massive size and scope. This exhibition has a methodology – the finished product is a direct result of the cross-fertilization that has occurred among various different departments at the museum during the last five years. It has been exciting to work with the multi-disciplinary team to create something truly wonderful.

Made in California approaches the past 100 years thematically, presenting works that engage in a meaningful way with the California image. As opposed to a survey exhibition, Made in California moves beyond the established canon of artists and art works to include lesser-known works by celebrated figures as well as a wider range of artists, more in keeping with the diversity of California’s population, said Ilene Susan Fort, curator of American Art and one of the core organizers of the exhibition. It is the shared conviction of the exhibition organizers that this approach, intended to initiate a broader dialogue on California art rather than establish a new canon, befits this period of transition to the next century.

The design of the exhibition functions as a whole to facilitate an intelligent and seductive museum experience, said Sheri Bernstein, exhibition associate and one of the core organizers of the exhibition. The members of the exhibition design team participated in meetings for more than a year at which the exhibition concept was developed and refined. They then devised solutions for communicating the ideas of the exhibition through materials, arrangement, space, and various forms of didactic and visual communications working together.

Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900–2000 is presented thematically in five chronological sections spanning approximately twenty years each, plus a coda to the exhibition that focuses on the current moment, and occupies more than 45,000 square feet of gallery space within the Hammer and Anderson Buildings and LACMA West. While the sections are most powerful when viewed together, each section is designed to stand alone as a single exhibition. In conjunction with Made in California, LACMA is mounting a kaleidoscope of related activities and events including ongoing film and music programs, live performances, readings, family days, and lecture series.

Several cultural institutions throughout Los Angeles will also be presenting exhibitions, performances, and programs that relate to Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000. Beginning in mid-October, specific information regarding these programs and organizations can be found at www.madeincalif.com.

Masami Teraoka
(Japan, active United States, b. 1936),
Geisha and AIDS Nightmare, 1990,
watercolor on paper,
106 1/4 x 74 in., Catharine Clark Gallery

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