Southern California: Yesterday and Today

Land Admiral Lefebvre’s Fleet Makes Sail (mixed-media, 30 x 44) by Robert Sato.

Los Angeles brims with top-notch museums—The Getty, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Norton Simon Museum, among others. But a relative newcomer to the abundant mix is also coming into its own with consistent offerings of intriguing exhibitions. This month the Pasadena Museum of California Art, founded in 2002, has two worthwhile presentations on view through May 30 for anyone interested in the Golden State’s artists of yesterday and today.
Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926-1944) features 80 paintings, drawings, and lithographs by the prominent California Scene painter. Sheets captured Southern California’s cities and small towns from the Roaring Twenties through World War II. The charismatic Sheets is considered one of the leaders of the regionalist art movement in California, and the exhibit reminds viewers of his place alongside other preeminent American regionalists working at the time, such as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood.
The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River is an inspired look at the famed waterway through the eyes of 25 artists. The show is a blend of photographs, drawings, and mixed-media pieces. Many subjects are depicted from the plant and animal life to examples of modern-day graffiti that graces the river’s concrete banks. There’s even a portrait of a hippie lounging in a hammock by the river’s edge. –Bonnie Gangelhoff

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