Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

History Lession #344 – Norton Simon Museum

Wednesday, 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.

Pasadena Digital History Collaboration!

Monday, 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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We welcome Intelligentsia to Old Pasadena

Thursday, 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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This Sunday: Rose Bowl Stadium and Ferraris

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This Sunday the Rose Bowl Stadium is an “open house”. As the Rose Bowl Operating Company embarks on an extraordinary renovation and upgrade, they are inviting the public in to see the stadium like never before under the banner of the “Rose Bowl Stadium Games.” Tour the stadium, the locker rooms, and actually play on the field itself!

…I have to say, I’m no sports fan. But recently I was lucky enough to attend the retirement festivities for one Lt. George Wiley of the Pasadena Police Department, and ‘party-central’ was on the field of the Rose Bowl Stadium.

It was totally cool.

Walking across the field, looking into the expanse of stadium seats… unexpectedly cool. Anyway, this Sunday you have the chance to experience some of the same, along with lots of activities detailed on their website .

Check out 154 Historic Facts about the Rose Bowl Stadium, too.

On the topic of  quite cool…

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Tabebuia: Our glorious Trumpet Trees are in bloom

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Vertical Wine Bistro

Vertical Wine Bistro on Raymond Avenue

Old Pasadena is home to two varieties of the Tabebuia, or Trumpet Tree as it is more commonly known.  There are approximately 100 different species of the Tabebuia, mostly from South America and other tropical locales.  Tabebuia chrysotricha , one of the many species with yellow blooms, is the national flower of Brazil, and Tabebuia rosea, with a pink bloom, is the national tree of El Salvador.  The wood from the Tabebuia tree, known as Ipê, is in high demand for furniture, particularly in the United States, and conservationists have expressed concern that Ipê wood from the Amazon rainforest continues to be harvested illegally.

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Success Doesn’t Take a Miracle in Old Pasadena

Monday, January 25th, 2010

by Tony Nino, Pasadena Advertising owner
Old Pasadena Management District – Chairman of the Board of Directors

Times are hard, and doing business anywhere is a challenge, but as far as Old Pasadena is concerned, the rumors of the economy getting better seem to be true.  Like anywhere else, to take full advantage of that, you not only have to work harder, you have to work smarter and in Old Pas, we also work together.  Cooperation is what gave Old Pasadena its start in the late ’80s, and it’s what is keeping us ahead of the curve today.

This was a very good holiday season for our 21-block district.  Even though we don’t have all the figures in from all the stores, we can see that our garages were consistently at full capacity, unique visitors to our web site nearly doubled from last year, and merchants have come to us with thanks and stories.

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A few odds and ends for a Friday afternoon

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Tiffany's Holiday

Interesting Headline

Jennifer Jones Simon

From the Pasadena Star-News: Jennifer Jones Simon, Academy Award-winning actress who transformed the Norton Simon Museum, dies.

Until my boss Steve Mulheim pointed this out, I was unaware (as some of you may be) that Jennifer Jones was married to Norton Simon.  She is credited with bringing Frank Gehry on for the completion of the $3 million renovation of the Norton Simon Museum and with instituting a lending program to local arts institutions, including the Armory Center.  You can read her entire obituary here.

The Shops on Holly

Shops on HollyOld Pasadena’s Holly Street, known for its unique independent boutiques and restaurants has been officially donned “The Shops on Holly.”  Signage has been installed on the brick building above where the delightful Lula Mae store is located.  I am told by property owner Jim Plotkin that soon to follow is a retro-styled clock installed at the corner of Holly Street and Fair Oaks Avenue.  We will follow up with a picture and more details when it is installed sometime within the next few weeks. To quote Pasadena Now: The street is perfect for shoppers seeking something different, a great foil to the chain stores on Colorado Blvd.

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Meet Jim Plotkin…

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Jim Plotkin - Old Pasadena fixture

Jim Plotkin - Old Pasadena stakeholder

Jim Plotkin has made a significant investment in Old Pasadena and is as committed as anyone to keeping the District vital and competitive, particularly in this tough economy.  Jim started out in retail in 1964 as the owner of the Pasadena Vacuum and Sewing Company located in the Stanton Building at 80 East Colorado Blvd.  He purchased the building and then refurbished the property in 1972.  The Stanton Building is now the home of the Sprint store.

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25 Random Things about Old Pasadena

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Indiana Colony 1874 - Stereoscopic picture

Indiana Colony 1874 - Stereoscopic picture

1.     Present day Pasadena was settled by a group of Indianans seeking fairer weather following the exceptionally cold winter of 1872-73. The Indiana Colony was incorporated on January 31, 1874, and was later renamed Pasadena because the name “Indiana Colony” was rejected by the Postmaster General.

2.     The official paint color for all street furniture in Old Pasadena is “Tavern Square Green“, as stipulated in the Streetscapes and Alley Walkways Plan.

Original Schoolhouse

Original Schoolhouse

3.     The Schoolhouse parking garage is named for the Fair Oaks schoolhouse, which was relocated shortly after the turn of the century when it became exposed to the bustling activity of the developing center of town and potential danger to the children.

4.     The Old Pasadena Property-based Business Improvement District (PBID) was renewed by petition vote in 2005 for another five year term, by an overwhelming 94% approval by the property owners.  The Continuation Campaign is getting underway for the 2010 renewal.

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Being Green In Old Pasadena

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

With the weather warming up and the date drawing nearer, many of you are considering what you might do for Earth Day this year. We have some suggestions of how you can educate yourself on the issues, do your part to improve the environment, and make a fun family outing of it all! Here’s a list of Earth Day activities and eco-friendly services in Old Pasadena.

EARTH DAY FESTIVAL TO BE GREENER THAN EVER

More exhibitions, a new trail map, a nature walk, a bicycle tour and a chance to sponsor a water filter for a refugee camp are some of the new features added to this year’s FREE Greening the Earth Day and Armory Family Arts Festival, Saturday, April 25, 10am-4pm.

Exhibitors will display information on green lifestyles, composting, organic foods, hybrid and electric vehicles, alternative energy and green building design.

The annual festival is an opportunity to learn more about Pasadena’s resources and plans for waste reduction, recycling, water and energy conservation, and other Green City initiatives.

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