Art of the State ; the Largest Show Ever Mounted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Looks at California Culture

By Gloria Goodale Arts and culture correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 27, 2000 | Go to article overview

Art of the State ; the Largest Show Ever Mounted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Looks at California Culture


Gloria Goodale Arts and culture correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


California is as much a state of mind as it is a place on the map, seared into the psyche by a century of larger-than-life images at every level of popular culture. America's America, where people go to reinvent themselves, from Hollywood to Yosemite, from Disneyland to hippie communes, this last stop on the Western frontier has played a role in the collective cultural dream, fed by a century of artists, designers, and activists - all of whom have had their own idea of what the Golden State means to them.

Through February, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is taking nearly its entire exhibition space (five floors filled with more than 800 works, the largest show in its history) to examine two questions suggested by this century of images: Which California? And whose California?

Divided into five parts covering 20-year intervals, "Made In California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000" uses a thematic approach to identify key aspects of the state's evolving identity. This sociological as well as aesthetic approach to the exhibition links a wildly diverse array of images: orange-crate labels, Hollywood glamour shots and costumes, oil paintings, surfboards, protest posters, furniture, bathing suits, documentary footage, sculpture, newspaper clippings, and much more. It is a cultural cross-section of all that California has meant and could mean to people, a state that during the 20th century became the most culturally diverse in the nation.

"California's image is familiar around the world," says Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern and contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). "We wanted to create a show that would explore how the arts played a significant role in generating, shaping, and disseminating images of California," she says, particularly in this era of mass-media communication.

Two themes are central to the show: the physical landscape of the state and its ethnic and cultural character, most notably Hispanic and Asian.

Each section of the show sets up and contrasts easy, sunny, and familiar images of the state. Early visions of California pushed the utopic vision, one of abundant farmland and breathtaking ocean vistas. But Ms. Barron says, from its inception, state tourist- board boosterism was a small part of a much larger picture. "We don't avoid tough political issues," Barron says. "We show the complete range of images from utopic to dystopic."

Section I, entitled "Selling California," features lush oil landscapes ("California Poppy Field," Granville Redmond) alongside images that hint at the darker stories of this age - a photo of agricultural workers; a booklet with a block print entitled, "Coronado as Seen through Japanese Eyes."

"We all believe we know California," says LACMA president Andrea Rich. "Whether we live here or far away, we all have preconceptions. But this show helps us to see ourselves in new ways."

The self-explanatory second area, "Contested Eden," investigates the growing rift between California's dominant and insurgent cultures, as well as the impact of industrialization and urbanization. Oil fields, highways, bridges, and tunnels all become subject matter for artists who, a generation earlier, celebrated farmlands and seascapes.

"The image of California is challenged and complicated by all the new forces at work in the state," says Sheri Bernstein, a LACMA exhibition associate. At the same time that early modernism takes root in the Golden State, with its emphasis on usefulness and simplicity (rooms of period furniture show the impact of these theories on daily life), discontent grows among the disenfranchised segments of society. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Art of the State ; the Largest Show Ever Mounted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Looks at California Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.