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Museum Awarded $220,000 Getty Foundation Grant to Support Upcoming Exhibition

The Pomona College Museum of Art has been awarded a $220,000 Getty Foundation grant for the future exhibition “It Happened at Pomona: Art at Pomona College 1969-1973” under the Getty Pacific Standard Time initiative. The exhibition will focus on the intensely creative period from 1969 to 1973, when the Pomona College Museum of Art (then the Pomona College Gallery) presented some of the most experimental exhibitions of contemporary art in Los Angeles.

The Pomona College Museum and Art Department served as an incubator for artists like Pomona alumni Chris Burden, James Turrell and Mowry Baden, among others. Pomona College’s exhibition of groundbreaking artworks (by Michael Asher, Jack Goldstein, and Allen Ruppersberg, for example) that integrated the legacy of Minimalism with the more contemporary concerns of Conceptualism formed the educational backdrop for a generation of artists who spent their formative years in Los Angeles. 

Scheduled to open August 30, 2011 and to run through May 13, 2012, the “It Happened at Pomona” exhibition and accompanying catalogue will place projects developed at Pomona College in the context of a transformative moment in the Los Angeles art world, while also providing insight on how contact between Los Angeles and New York shaped art history. 

The grant to Pomona College is one of 26 grants—totaling nearly $3.1 million—that will launch an unprecedented series of concurrent exhibitions at museums throughout Southern California starting in Fall 2011. Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, a joint initiative of the Getty Foundation and the Getty Research Institute, aims to document the history of art in the region’s vibrant post-World War II decades, and will be a unique opportunity for audiences to explore and celebrate L.A.’s artistic legacy.

For Pomona College President David Oxtoby, “The retrospective exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for Pomona College to share the story of this exciting and creative period with a broad audience both on and off our campus.”

In October 2008, the Pomona College Museum of Art received a $190,000 Getty Foundation grant to support research and exhibition planning of the “It Happened at Pomona” exhibition. The current $220,000 grant helps to support exhibition related costs and the production of the exhibition catalogue. The Pomona College Museum of Art is planning a rolling series of exhibitions that will include key examples of work by over 30 artists, recreations of installations and other work created during 1969-1973, and a timeline of events with documentation and commentary. The Museum will devote all of its exhibition galleries for the entire academic year to the “It Happened at Pomona College” exhibition. 

From 1969 to 1973, the Pomona College Museum of Art presented a number of intensely creative and innovative projects that reflected a confluence of art faculty, curators, visiting artists, and students who would go on to make significant contributions to contemporary art history. In the fall of 1969, Mowry Baden, the newly-arrived chair of the Art Department and professor of sculpture, hired Hal Glicksman as Gallery director/curator. From the fall of 1969 through June of 1970, Glicksman devised a unique series of exhibitions for a program that he called the “Artists Gallery.” Under this program, the gallery functioned as a studio-residency for conceptual artists in Southern California. Michael Asher, Lewis Baltz, Michael Brewster, Judy Chicago, Ron Cooper, Tom Eatherton, Lloyd Hamrol, Robert Irwin, among others, presented work or created different environmental situations in the gallery. 

Following Glicksman, Helene Winer became director/curator in fall 1970. She organized exhibitions of Bas Jan Ader, Ger van Elk, Jack Goldstein, Joe Goode, William Leavitt, John McCracken, Ed Moses, Allen Ruppersberg, and William Wegman. She also presented performance work, including pieces by Hirokazu Kosaka, Wolfgang Stoerchle, and Chris Burden, who had graduated from Pomona College in 1969. Allied to the innovative exhibition programming, the art department thrived under a unique group of faculty members: Mowry Baden, James Turrell, Lewis Baltz, David Gray, and Guy Williams. Some outstanding students at the time included Thomas Crow, Chris Burden, Peter Shelton, Michael Brewster, and Hap Tivey, among others.

“It Happened at Pomona College” brings together an impressive research and curatorial team, led by Pomona College Museum of Art Curator Rebecca McGrew. The team also includes: Dr. Thomas Crow, Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts; Hal Glicksman, retired curator; Glenn Phillips, Senior Project Specialist and Consulting Curator, Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute; Dr. Marie Shurkus, research associate at Pomona College Museum of Art; Helene Winer, Owner, Metro Pictures Gallery, New York; and Rochelle LeGrandsawyer, research assistant at Pomona College and graduate student at UCLA. Additionally, Julie Joyce, Curator of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and David Pagel, art critic and professor of art at Claremont Graduate University, will contribute short artist texts to the exhibition catalogue. 

The Pomona College Museum of Art (330 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA) is open to the public and free of charge, Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (909) 621-8283 or visit www.pomona.edu/museum.

The Museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets works of art; and houses a substantial permanent collection as well as serving as a gallery of temporary exhibitions. Important holdings include the Kress Collection of 15th- and 16th-century Italian panel paintings; more than 5,000 examples of Pre-Columbian to 20th-century American Indian art and artifacts, including basketry, ceramics and beadwork; and a large collection of American and European prints, drawings and photographs, including works by Francisco de Goya, José Clemente Orozco, and Rico Lebrun.