Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles, CA


left: Main Museum Complex, right: LACMA West, photos, ©1999 John Hazeltine




Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000

October 22, 2000 - February 25, 2001


"Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000," a landmark exhibition that will address the relationship between the arts in California and the state's evolving image over the past century, is being 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 will consider 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. An unprecedented collaboration among nine curatorial and programmatic departments, Made in California is the largest exhibition LACMA has ever organized or hosted.

"Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000" will feature approximately 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 will be approximately 350 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. 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. 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, 1900­2000" will be presented thematically in five chronological sections spanning approximately twenty years each, plus a coda to the exhibition that focuses on the current moment, and will occupy more than 50,000 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.


Organization of Made in California

In each section of the exhibition, diverse examples of art in a variety of media and styles are presented thematically, in tandem with relevant examples of ephemera and multimedia stations featuring film footage, music selections, and California murals.

Section 1: 1900 - 1920

Section 1, located on the plaza level of the Hammer Building and covering the 1900s and 1910s, lays the conceptual groundwork for the exhibition. In this section visitors consider the various facets of the mythologizing of California as a pre-modern paradise, primarily by the state's boosters, to a largely middle-class, Midwestern constituency escaping the influx of European immigrants. In addition to presenting the land itself as bountiful and unpopulated, boosters romanticized California's cultural heritage by means of the Mission myth, and exoticized its contemporary Asian population.

Section 2: 1920 - 1940

Visitors then move to the second floor of the Hammer building for Section Two, which addresses the proliferation of a wider range of conceptions of California in the 1920s and 1930s. This section explores the impact of urbanization, new industries such as the Hollywood movie sector, and changing demographics-the influx of Mexicans in the 20s and the westward migration of North Americans during the Depression-on the image of California. For the first time, critical images of California began to proliferate, many of which were sympathetic to working class labor.

Section 3: 1940 - 1960

Section Three brings visitors to the third floor of the Anderson Building for California in the 1940s and 1950s. This section considers California's image during and immediately following World War II, when the state emerged first as a center for war production, and then as a trend setter for the postwar suburban lifestyle. The prevalence of racist and xenophobic attitudes toward ethnic minorities during and after the War will be explored. Also considered will be other, coexisting images of California promoted by its urban subcultures, as well as dystopic views of mainstream culture promulgated by the Beats in San Francisco and the Los Angeles area.

Section 4: 1960 - 1980

Section Four, covering the 1960s and 1970s, examines how California and particularly the Bay Area became widely associated with non-conformity and anti-authoritarianism. During this period of pervasive protest and struggles for equality along ethnic, class, and gender lines, definitions of California and its populace came to be defined by a more diverse range of figures, who challenged homogeneous, Edenic images of the state. The exhibition will explore the participation of artists in this process of redefinition, as well as their immersion in aspects of popular culture such as beach and car culture.

Section 5: 1980 - 2000

Section Five of Made in California brings visitors to the plaza level of the Anderson Building to consider the 1980s and 1990s. This section addresses a multiplicity of California images that have existed over the past twenty years, fostered by the increasing diversity of the state's constituency. Also considered is the impact of globalization, which in some respects has blurred boundaries between California and elsewhere. As visitors leave Section Five, they will enter a transition space that is free of visual images, filled with audio recordings that reflect the wide variety of cultures and languages coexisting in contemporary California. This profusion of the many competing/coexisting voices that define California today sets the stage for Made in California: Now, presented by LACMALab in the Boone Children's Gallery in LACMA West.

Featured in the exhibition are three Period Rooms or "lifestyle environments." These walk-through environments are cohesive, self-contained rooms filled with period furniture and decorative arts, and are defined by unique architectural features that depict authentic expressions of the periods they represent.


Curators and Organizers

The exhibit is organized by 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, with Ian Birnie, head of Film Programs, Bridget Cooks, assistant museum educator, Carol S. Eliel, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Howard Fox, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Dale Gluckman, curator of Costumes and Textiles, Sharon Goodman, associate curator of Prints and Drawings, Peter Kirby, adjunct curator, new media (Made in California only), Jo Lauria, assistant curator of Decorative Arts, Kaye Spilker, assistant curator of Costumes and Textiles, Dorrance Stalvey, head of Music Programs, Sharon Takeda, curator of Costumes and Textiles, Tim Wride, associate curator of Photography, and Lynn Zelevansky, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Stephanie Barron is the vice president of Education and Public Programs and senior curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In this position Barron oversees the development of exhibitions and programs, ensuring that they advance the institution's mission, artistic vision, and educational goals. Ms. Barron joined LACMA in 1976 as associate curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. She subsequently served as curator of Modern and Contemporary Art from 1980 to 1994, senior curator of Modern and Contemporary Art from 1995 to the present, and was additionally named vice president of Education and Public Programs in 1996. (left: Stephanie Barron, photo courtesy of LACMA)

In addition to Made in California, Barron has organized or co-organized more than 25 exhibitions at LACMA including Exiles and Emigrés: The Flight of European Artists from Hitler (1997); "Degenerate Art": The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany (1991); German Expressionism 1915-1925: The Second Generation (1988); David Hockney: A Retrospective (1988); German Expressionist Sculpture (1983); and The Avant-Garde in Russia, 1910-1930: New Perspectives (1980).

Barron is the author of numerous publications, among them the accompanying catalogues for Exiles and Emigres, The Avant-Garde in Russia, and "Degenerate Art," for which she was awarded the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award of the College Art Association for most distinguished museum catalogue and the George L. Wittenborn Award in 1991.

Ms. Barron, who was educated at Barnard College and Columbia University, has served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1984 she was awarded the Order of Merit, First Class, by the government of Germany for her achievements in the area of German Expressionist art and culture. Barron's work on "Degenerate Art" also earned her the "Theo Wormland Kunstpreis" for achievement in German cultural studies; the E.L. Kirchner Prize; and the Award for Best American Exhibition of the Year (1991), and Best Catalogue (1991) and (1997) by the Association of International Critics for Art. Barron serves on the Board of Scripps College, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ilene Susan Fort received a B.A. in art history from Temple University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the City University of New York Graduate Center. As a curator at LACMA since 1983, she has organized and written catalogues for many exhibitions, beginning with The Flag Paintings of Childe Hassam (1986). Her most recent shows were The Figure in American Sculpture, A Question of Modernity (1995) and American Paintings in Southern California Collections (1996). She also co-authored a catalogue of LACMA's collection of American art holdings, which includes a large number of California paintings and sculptures. Guy Rose, Helen Lundeberg, and Ben Berlin are among the California artists about whom she has published. Her book, Paintings of California (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1993) was reprinted as a paperback by University of California Press (1997). Dr. Fort is presently organizing a sculpture exhibition on Bay Area artist Jacques Schnier for the Mills College Art Gallery in Oakland, California. Her other recent publications include contributions to the new Dictionary of Art, and essays an American Symbolist sculpture and female iconography in Orientalist art.

Sheri Bernstein received a B.A. in art history from Yale University and an M.A. in art history from Harvard University, where she is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in modern art. She has worked at LACMA since 1994, serving as Research Assistant on the exhibitions, The Figure in American Sculpture: A Question of Modernity (1995) and Exiles and Emigrés, The Flight of European Artists from Hitler (1997). She wrote essays on Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy for the award-winning catalogue for Exiles and Emigrés. Ms. Bernstein is also Associate Curator at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in Holmby Hills, California, where she is working on a catalogue of the collection. Before coming to LACMA, she held positions at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Museum of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. For Made in California, she worked with each of the curatorial departments involved to develop and distill the themes and structure of the exhibition.


This exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and an anthology.


Related Activities and Events

In conjunction with Made in California, LACMA will mount 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 be presenting exhibitions, performances, and programs that relate to "Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000."A website lists programs, events and activities relating to the exhibition sponsored by over two dozen separate organizations throughout the Los Angeles area.

The exhibition was made possible by a major grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation, founded in 1989, which is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of people's lives. "This is an ideal moment to pay tribute to the culture of our great state," said Janice Taper Lazarof, President of the S. Mark Taper Foundation. "Because my father was, from the 1950s, one of the most significant developers of the state of California, I feel it is most befitting that his foundation partner with LACMA on this extraordinary exhibition."

Related articles in Resource Library Magazine:

California Paintings 1910-1940: Selections from Mills College Art Museum (10/12/00)

California Paintings, 1910 - 1940 (7/28/00)

Circles of Influence: Impressionism to Modernism in Southern California Art 1910-1930 (6/6/00)

The California Impressionists at Laguna (6/6/00)

Kaleidoscope (5/15/00)

Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000 (4/17/00)

Nature's Harmony (3/4/00)

Preserving California's Gold (12/16/99)

The Legacy of the California Art Club in San Diego (11/11/99)

All Things Bright and Beautiful (9/18/99)

Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings: The Gardena High School/Los Angeles Unified School District Collection (4/8/99)

CSU Dominguez Hills Presents Restored California Impressionist Works in Major Exhibit Funded by W.M. Keck Foundation (2/5/99)

At the West of Things: California Artists at Home and Abroad (1/16/99)

Of Springtimes Past (12/12/98)

What Made Laguna Beach Special (11/16/98)

Spacious Skies (9/2/98)

Painting Partners (6/14/98)

California Style: 1930s and 1940s (5/30/98)

Mission San Juan Capistrano: An Artistic Legacy (rev. 4/20/98)

Early California Art (4/98)

All Things Bright and Beautiful: California Impressionist Paintings from the Irvine Museum (3/10/98)

California Style: 1930s and 40s (12/8/97)

Early California Impressionists: The Ronald E. Walker Collection (1997)

California Impressionists (7/19/97)


Rev. 11/1/00

Read more about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

rev. 1/29/11

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2011 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.