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Pasadena Museum of California Art opens L.A. RAW. Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles, 1945 – 1980 From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy

The Pasadena Museum of California Art presents L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles, 1945-1980. From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy on view from January 22, 2012 to May 20, 2012. OPENING RECEPTION Sunday, January 22, 2012 • 7:00–10:00 pm. The figurative artists, who dominated the postwar Los Angeles art scene until the late 1950s, have largely been written out of today’s art history. This exhibition, part of the Getty Foundation’s initiative “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980,” traces the distinctive aesthetic of figurative expressionism from the end of World War II, bringing together over 120 works by forty–one artists in a variety of media—painting, sculpture, photography, and performance.

Rico Lebrun, Untitled (Three figures), 1960. Ink wash on paper, 18 × 18 ½ inches. Private collection

L.A. RAW surveys the continuing presence of dark expressionistic work in Southern California, providing a fresh local heritage for the figu- rative art of today. The exhibition fills in a gap in knowledge about post World War II art, tracking figurative art through postwar existen- tialism, the Beat movement, 1960s politics, and 1970s feminism and performance—the forces that led to the explosion of body–oriented art in the 1980s.

The exhibition includes commanding figurative works by Rico Lebrun, Howard Warshaw, Jack Zajac, and William Brice that provide a fas- cinating heritage for the darker side of the Ferus Gallery scene, exemplified with work by Edward Kienholz, Wallace Berman, Llyn Foulkes, and John Altoon. Artists such as Hans Burkhardt, David Hammons, Judith Baca, and Charles White use their work to vent political outrage, while Eugene Berman, June Wayne, John Paul Jones, and Joyce Treiman convey more melancholic, contemplative assessments of man- kind. L.A. RAW also includes four artists associated with the important venue, Ceeje Gallery: Charles Garabedian, Roberto Chavez, Ben Sakoguchi, and Les Biller. Judy Chicago, Barbara T. Smith, and Carole Caroompus present deeply personal feminist expressions, while per- formance artists Chris Burden, Kim Jones, and Paul McCarthy develop a new kind of physical expressionism. The passionate consistency of all the artists—whose work often depicts a boldly honest, stripped–down view of humanity in its rawest, most elemental state—demon- strates the ongoing relevance of expressionism as a primary approach to art making.

L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy places both lesser– and better–known artists in a historical context, giving unique insight into the reactions to World War II and the atomic bomb; to the repressions of the Eisenhower Era; to the fallout of 1960s idealism; and to ongoing racial and gender struggles.

The exhibition is curated by art writer and independent curator Michael Duncan, a Cor- responding Editor for Art in America whose writings have focused on maverick artists of the twentieth century, West Coast modernism, twentieth century figuration, and contem- porary California art. L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945–1980 will be accompanied by a 200 page catalogue, a much–needed reference for the study of post– war American figurative art. It will include essays by Duncan and art historian Peter Selz who have each written extensively on many of the most the most prominent figures of twentieth century West Coast art history and many of the L.A. RAW artists. Co-published by PMCA and Foggy Notion Press, the volume will also feature short biographical essays on each of the artists written by Duncan.

L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy is part of Pacific Standard Time. This un- precedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months beginning October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene.

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

For information, the please call 626-568-3665 or visit the website:

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