It's hard to keep a house museum from seeming dusty and static, even one as full of surprises -- and British paintings and French porcelain -- as the Huntington mansion. That's one reason why the powers-that-be at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens have decided to introduce new work by living artists into the mansion for the first time in its 84-year history.
Huntingon curator Catherine Hess and guest curator Christopher Bedford (of the Rose Art Museum) have been working with two L.A. artists, Lesley Vance and Ricky Swallow, to exhibit their art in an upstairs room in the mansion for a show that will open Nov. 10. Usually this room holds 18th century British paintings and objects like silverware and musical instruments, but the contents will be removed for the occasion.
It will mark the first time Vance and Swallow, who are married and show here at the David Kordansky and Marc Foxx galleries, respectively, have showed their work together in the same gallery space.
Vance, who makes abstract paintings with the glimmering chiarascuoro effects of an Old Masters palette, will have eight or nine works on view. Swallow, whose enigmatic sculptures often speak to everyday objects, will have 12 small sculptures on display.