Posts Tagged ‘Norton Simon Museum’

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.

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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