History Lession #344 – Norton Simon Museum

August 31st, 2011

Andy Warhol, Billy Al Bengston and Dennis Hopper at the opening of Marcel Duchamp's 1963 retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum. Photo: Julian Wasser

I came across this great photograph in a recent book review from the Wall Street Journal “When the West Coast Went Pop.”  It reminded me of the wonderfully rich and varied history behind the Norton Simon Museum, which perhaps, few people know.   In reviewing two separate books addressing the West Coast and Pop Art, the opening lines from the WSJ posit:

Where else would Andy Warhol have actually met his conceptual godfather,  Marcel Duchamp, in the flesh but in Los Angeles in the 1960s? The  occasion was the opening of Duchamp’s first American retrospective, in  1963, at the old Pasadena Art Museum.

The Norton Simon Museum has a long illustrious history dating back to the founding of the Pasadena Art Institute in 1924.  It became the Pasadena Art Museum in 1954, and concentrated its efforts on the acquisition and exhibition of modern art.  From the Norton Simon Museum’s website:

In 1964, the Museum decided to expand its programs. It commissioned the  Pasadena-based architectural firm of Ladd Kelsey to design a new  85,000-square-foot structure on the original Carmelita Park site.  On November 24, 1969, the new Pasadena Art Museum opened.  Purchases and donations of modern art included works by Larry Bell, Richard   Diebenkorn, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.

Gallery of Andy Warhol exhibition, 1970, Pasadena Art Museum.

Over the next two decades the   Pasadena Art Museum earned an international reputation for organizing  and presenting critically acclaimed exhibitions of 20th century art.   They presented the first retrospective of the work of Marcel Duchamp  (with Duchamp attending), exhibitions of Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg,   Joseph Cornell, a landmark Bauhaus exhibition, and many others.

Read the entire history and how in 1975 the name of the institution changed to the Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena at www.nortonsimon.org/museum-history.

Don’t miss  Vermeer’s “Woman with a Lute” on Loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Norton Simon Museum through September 26, 2011.

12 New Old Pasadena Directories Installed

December 8th, 2010

Backlit Directory at the corner of Raymond and Colorado.

Backlit Directory at the corner of Raymond and Colorado

Just in time for the busy holiday rush, 12 new back-lit directory signs have been installed throughout Old Pasadena.  These signs are two feet wide, three feet high and are lit from behind so they are easily read during the day or night.  The signs supplement the printed  directory maps located throughout the District, and specifically in the parking garages and handed out by our Guides.  They will be updated twice annually.  Now it is even easier than ever for your friends, visitors and customers to find their way around the District.

While you are out and about, have a look at these new additions to our Way-Finding Program.  The new directories can be found mounted to the City’s electrical boxes at the following locations:

  • S/E corner of Holly Street and Fair Oaks Avenue
  • S/E corner of Union Street and Fair Oaks Avenue
  • S/E corner of Colorado Blvd. and Pasadena Avenue
  • S/E corner of Colorado Blvd. and De Lacey Avenue
  • S/E corner of Colorado Blvd. and Fair Oaks Avenue
  • S/E corner of Colorado Blvd. and Raymond Avenue
  • S/E corner of Green Street and Fair Oaks Avenue
  • S/E corner of Union Street and De Lacey Avenue
  • S/W corner of Green Street and De Lacey Avenue
  • S/W corner of Union Street and Arroyo Parkway
  • S/E corner of Green Street and Pasadena Avenue
  • S/E corner of Fair Oaks and Walnut Avenue

Posted by:  Anna Grazioli, VP of Operations, OPMD

Pasadena Digital History Collaboration!

November 15th, 2010

We are long familiar with the wonderful archive maintained by the Pasadena Museum of History and have even used historic photographs from their research library on the elevator doors in the three Park & Walk garages, as well as on a photo-mural in the Schoolhouse garage entrance.   These photographs tell the rich story of Pasadena’s early years and so we are very pleased to announce the launch of the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration!  Now you can browse through hundreds of digital images of Pasadena people and places – for free online. Check it out at www.pasadenadigitalhistory.com or on Facebook under Pasadena Digital History.

Original Pasadena Schoolhouse - Park & Walk Garage mural

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Community Workshops – General Plan

September 10th, 2010

General Plan Workshops

The City of Pasadena is asking for your input.  They are offering a community workshop and there are two dates from which to choose.  No excuses!  It is imperative that the business community be represented in these plans.  We urge you to attend one of the meetings and make your voice heard.  Download the flyer here and share this with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues.


It’s time to start putting our plans down on paper.  We’ve heard from the community through outreach programs for the General Plan updates of the Land Use and Mobility Elements, the Housing Element, the Open Space and Conservation Element, the Bicycle Master Plan, and so on.   Now we need to start pulling everything together and mapping out what the future will look like.  Join us for the next round of workshops where we will start mapping and evaluating potential land use and mobility alternatives for future discussion by the community.

Join us for the next round of community workshops at the Senior Center (85 E. Holly Street) for the General Plan update:

  • Saturday, Sept. 25, 9:00am or
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 6:30pm

For more information: www.cityofpasadena.net/generalplan and click “September 2010 Workshops.”

Help us tell everybody about the General Plan Update.

“Lock It, Hide It, Keep It”

September 8th, 2010

LAPD Mural

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recently launched a new campaign aimed at informing the public of burglary and theft from motor vehicles (BTFV and BFMV), and providing a few simple steps to keep from becoming victims of these crimes.  OPMD recommends that everyone heeds these actions to keep their valuables safe.

“The irony is that if folks would take a few extra seconds to properly store their belongings, this crime could be eliminated. There is no good reason to be the victim of a BTFV or BFMV,” LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said. The average cost of a BTFV to each victim is roughly $1885.00.

The message is simple:

·   Lock It: Lock your vehicle every time you leave it unattended and take your valuables with you.

·   Hide It: Hide your valuables in your trunk, under the seats, in the glove box, or other compartments within the vehicle. Ideally, take your property with you.

·   Keep It: Personal responsibility is the best prevention to safeguard personal property and to prevent becoming a victim.

We welcome Intelligentsia to Old Pasadena

August 12th, 2010

The long-awaited opening of Intelligentsia has finally come upon us.  We are so pleased that they opened on the East side of Colorado close to Raymond (near our offices), that they cherished the 1885 building’s architectural details, and finally, that they have great coffee!  The blog-o-sphere has been a-twitter with news and reviews of the new concept Intelligentsia Pasadena “Cafe”, which includes collaborations with various well-known foodie chefs, caterers, micro-breweries, etc.  Be sure to give them a try and stay tuned as they roll-out their dinner offerings, select beer and wine bar, etc.

More great information  from Amy Scattergood’s LA Weekly blog:

Photo: Amy Scattergood
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Improved Pedestrian Safety at the De Lacey Garage

August 9th, 2010

Construction is complete on the new pathway connecting the elevator lobby to the sidewalk on the north side of the De Lacey Garage. This new improvement provides a safe path of travel for pedestrians and parents with strollers without having to walk into the vehicular drive aisle, as was previously the case.

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The Undead visit Old Pasadena

July 28th, 2010

Night of the Living Dead poster

This weekend marks the final weekend of free screenings for the third annual Old Pasadena Film Festival, but we aren’t going out with a bang… more like a shuffle and moan.  Saturday night, July 31st, we are inviting all zombies and their respective families to Central Park (click here for map) for an outdoor screening of the quintessential “zombie movie” George Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead.  A $100 gift certificate for spending anywhere in Old Pasadena will be awarded to the most creative zombie attire!

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
(Central Park, 120 S. Raymond Avenue) 8:30pm
Bring your own chairs and blankets.
The first of six “Dead” films directed by George Romero, this 1968 black-and-white zombie movie is considered groundbreaking. It tells the story of Ben and Barbara’s efforts, along with five other people, to survive the night trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse avoiding the mysterious reanimation of the recently dead. Arguably the classic horror film, Night of the Living Dead is on American Film Institute’s list of 100 Most Thrilling Movies.

I was curious about the popularity of zombies in light of the recent record-breaking annual Zombie Walk in Seattle (final count of the undead was 4,233), the great enthusiasm with which the announcement of our movie screening was received, and the fact that there are 11 million results on Google for “Night of the Living Dead”  and 43 million for “zombie”.  Even communications students in the Elon in Los Angeles program will be attending the Old Pasadena Film Festival on Saturday with a choice of viewing NOLD (that’s Night of the Living Dead for the un-initiated) or All About Eve at One Colorado Courtyard (click here for map), arguably another must-see classic.

I checked the Google Trends for “zombie” and was intrigued to find that the Philippines beat the United States in search volume.  More importantly, even with all of the Twilight hype, I compared trends and people search on “zombie” one third more than “vampire”!  So now you know.

The Zombie Research Society informs us that May is official Zombie Awareness Month, and that many zombie films are set in May, including Night of the Living Dead.  As a point of reference, the Society’s mission is three-fold:  Science; Survival (and I quote, “surviving the coming zombie pandemic“); and Art.  I will end this post with their catchy slogan: “What You Don’t Know Can Eat You!”

Google image results for NOLD

Google image results for Zombie

iPhone 4 Arrives in Old Pasadena

June 28th, 2010

Last Wednesday afternoon people started lining up and preparing to camp out the night in front of the Apple Store in Old Pasadena in anticipation of the Thursday, June 24, 7:00am sale of the new iPhone 4.  “This changes everything. Again,” to quote Apple’s ad campaign.  Well, from the 1,000 plus souls awaiting their new phone, they agreed and couldn’t wait for the change to begin.

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General Plan Update – Final Outreach Report

June 9th, 2010

The City Council approved the final Outreach Summary Report at their May 17, 2010 meeting.  The report summarizes over 6,000 comments collected during nine months of community outreach.  The report can be downloaded here or go to the City of Pasadena’s website for more information: www.cityofpasadena.net/generalplan.  The report will provide a framework for the update of the Land Use, Mobility, Open Space and Conservation elements.

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