Category: Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

PST, A to Z: ‘Civic Virtue’ at LA Municipal Art Gallery and Watts Towers Arts Center

January 25, 2012 |  5:00 pm

Pacific Standard Time will explore the origins of the Los Angeles art world through museum exhibitions throughout Southern California over the next six months. Times art reviewer Sharon Mizota has set the goal of seeing all of them. This is her latest report.

When Josine Ianco Starrels became the director of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) in 1975, she had a clear vision for the space: “It’s City money. City money comes from L.A. citizens. And I think it should support L.A. artists…where are local artists going to cut their teeth? And who is going to show them?”  

Although Pacific Standard Time has told us much about who was indeed showing local artists, Starrels’ point about the city’s money supporting the city’s artists is a key idea behind “Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center.” Split between the two venues, with each institution emphasizing its own history, this sweeping exhibition provides a much-needed vision of art created and presented, not for art’s sake or for profit, but for the public good.

Commercial galleries, no matter how adventurous, are still businesses, and non-profit museums and art spaces, with few exceptions, are beholden to wealthy donors and benefactors. It’s tempting to imagine that government-run institutions, funded by taxpayers, might truly reflect the tastes of the people. The convoluted histories of LAMAG and the Watts Towers Arts Center (WTAC) prove that reality is more complex than that, but “Civic Virtue” still succeeds in reminding us of that original, idealistic impulse: that art should be a central part of civic life.

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Revisiting the work of June Wayne, who died this week at 93

August 25, 2011 | 10:31 am

It's one thing to read that the intelligent, eloquent and generally fearless artist June Wayne, who died this week at age 93, was a hub figure in the growing L.A. art scene of last century. It's another to see her deeply textured and spirited work, from lithography to tapestry, for yourself.

Local museum-goers will have the chance to do so this October when the museum behemoth Pacific Standard Time, meant to celebrate the birth of the Southern California art scene, kicks into high gear. Culture Monster has confirmed that these five Pacific Standard Time shows will include Wayne's work in one form or another.

"Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California" at the Norton Simon Museum. Opens Oct. 1.

"Doin' It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman's Building" at the Ben Maltz Gallery of the Otis College of Art and Design. Opens Oct. 1.

"Artistic Evolution: Southern California Artists at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 1945-1963" at the Natural History Museum. Opens Oct. 2.

"Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center" at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Opens Dec. 15.

"L.A. Raw: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Opens Jan. 22.

— Jori Finkel

June Wayne dies at 93; led revival of fine-art printmaking

Her mellow? Not a chance

Photo: Times image of June Wayne in her Hollywood studio, 1989.


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