The Laguna Art Museum, Orange County's oldest cultural institution, reopens Sept. 23 after an 18-month expansion program which doubled the museum's space.
The three inaugural exhibitions exemplify the two-pronged aesthetic focus of the museums's collections and changing exhibitions program: "Early Artists In Laguna Beach: the Impressionists," "The First Step: Photographs From the Museum Collection" and "California Contemporary: Works From the Security Pacific Collection."
"Early Artists" is a survey of some 83 works by 30 artists active during 1918 to 1928, most of whom were involved with the original Laguna Art Museum, then known as the Laguna Beach Art Assn. The association drew its members from Laguna's art colony, which was not too different in character from such Eastern art centers as Provincetown, Bucks County and Woodstock, where artists congregated, attracted by the beauty of the landscape and a relaxed life style.
"First Step" features a selection of 40 photographs, drawn from the museum's holdings (whose nucleus is a representative group of early Paul Outerbridge images), that traces the evolution of photography in California through works by some of its innovators: Edmund Teske, Robert Heinecken, Todd Walker, Lewis Baltz, Jo Ann Callis and Jerry Beurchfield.
"Works From the Security Pacific Collection" presents 50 relatively recent paintings and sculptures by California artists, selected from a collection of approximately 8,000 objects acquired by the company over 15 years. Among the artists included are: Peter Alexander, Tony Berlant, James Doolin, Guy Dill, D.J. Hall, Tom Holland, Robert Hudson, John Nava, Gwynn Murrill, Eric Orr, William Wiley, Michael Todd, Michael McMillen, Alexis Smith, Jim Morphesis, Helen Lundeberg and Charles Garabedian.
During the renovation, the museum used donated space in the South Coast Plaza shopping mall for its changing exhibitions program. The museum and South Coast Plaza are continuing this collaboration along two corridors on the upper and lower levels of the mall with "The People Corridor," which involves artists chosen by the museum.
In 1961, New York's Museum of Modern Art mounted "The Art of Assemblage," an exhibition organized by William Seitz, who, in his catalogue essay, referred to an "enormous variety of subject matter accessible to an assembler: an unending reverberation of object/meanings, that, because of their associations, reach back to the origins of human consciousness and to the depths of human personality."
Now, Santa Barbara's Contemporary Arts Forum and UC Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies are opening an exhibition on "Southern California Assemblage: Past and Present," on Saturday, to continue through Oct. 25. The exhibition was organized by artist/curator Elena Sieff, who selected works by 77 artists using assemblage as a medium.
The section dealing with the "past," which provides historical background, is showcased at the college and features works by Wallace Berman, Ed Kienholz and George Herms.
The "present," represented by works dating from the 70's and 80's is at the forum, and includes pieces by Michael McMillen, Bruce Houston, Italo Scanga, Jeffrey Vallance, Michael Farber, Kim Abeles, James Risser and others. A catalogue with text by artists Gordon Wagner, Arthur Secunda and George Herms, and art historian Ann Ayres and collector Diana Zlotnick accompanies the exhibition. Information: (805) 966-5373.
An exhibition of Nihonga, contemporary Japanese paintings in the traditional style, goes on exhibition Sept. 27 in the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center's Doizaki Gallery. This is the last stop for this show, which was seen in Paris, Stockholm, Barcelona, and London.
It is also the first major survey representing the three main schools of Nihonga to be sent out of Japan. In response to the country's rapid Westernization, Nihonga emerged as the recognized academic school of painting connected to the rich traditions of Japanese art.
Forty-five works by the foremost contemporary masters of the Nihonga style are included in the exhibition, which runs through Nov. 2 and was organized by Takeo Uchiyama, chief curator of the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art for the expressed purpose of introducing to the West an important facet of Japanese art.
Appointments: Judith Keller was appointed associate curator in the department of photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum. For the last five years, Keller served as curator of prints and drawings at the Huntington Art Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin. She previously worked with the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts' Graphic Arts department.
UCLA's College of Fine Arts and the Wight Art Gallery announced the appointment of James Cuno as director of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts. Cuno comes to UCLA from Vassar College where he served as an assistant professor of art history.
New officers elected at the 16th-anniversary meeting of the Art Dealers Assn. of California include Terry DeLapp, president; Roy Lo Bianco Jr. and Jack Rutberg, vice presidents; Louis Newman, secretary; and Ruth Bachofner, treasurer.
The association plans a series of education programs on art-related subjects, including lectures on conservation, security problems, identification of prints and history of ethnic arts.