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FIRST GENERATION: Art in Claremont, 1907–1957 Opens Sunday, January 27

(December 12, 2007)— The Claremont Museum of Art is pleased to present First Generation: Art in Claremont, 1907–1957, which traces the art history of Claremont and the region in the first 50 years after the city’s incorporation in 1907. First Generation opens with a public reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 27, 2008 and runs through Sunday, April 27.

 Albert Stewart Young Centaur, 1931 Plaster Scripps College Collection

Albert Stewart – Young Centaur, 1931
Plaster
Scripps College Collection

On a clear day a century ago, one could see the peak of Mt. Baldy from virtually every corner of the Los Angeles basin, from ocean to desert. The original inhabitants of this area, the Tongva/Gabrielino Indians, called the mountain “Yoát,” or snow. Its siren song has drawn generations of settlers to its shadow. Since the late 19th century, prominent artists have been among those attracted to the foothills of Mt. Baldy and its neighboring peaks—and the city of Claremont, in particular. Whether it was the allure of the “great bald mountain” and its surrounding chaparral that first attracted painters and photographers to Claremont, or the opportunities provided by the birth of the schools and colleges founded to serve a rapidly growing population, a large number of distinguished visual artists settled here, greatly enriching the culture of the region and establishing early-on its prominence as an artistic haven.

Millard Sheets  Landscape with Barn, 1926  Oil on canvas  Scripps College Collection

Millard Sheets – Landscape with Barn, 1926
Oil on canvas
Scripps College Collection

First Generation traces the art history of the region, from the work of such artists as Hannah Tempest Jenkins, Emil Kosa, Jr., and William Manker to that of Millard Sheets and his circle in the 1930s. Sheets’s influence as artist and teacher extended as well to bringing artists such as Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, and Jean Ames to Scripps College, thereby enhancing the existing art community and assuring its lasting influence.

“This exhibition includes the work of these and other artists important to Claremont’s history and reflects the conviction on which the Claremont Museum of Art is based,” says Curator Steve

Phil Dike Sunlit Valley, 1944 Oil on linen Private Collection, Courtesy Claremont Fine Arts

Phil Dike – Sunlit Valley, 1944
Oil on linen
Private Collection, Courtesy Claremont Fine Arts

Comba. “That Claremont’s artistic heritage is a rich and valuable resource for both present and future generations, one that deserves to be examined and celebrated.”

On View Through December 30: Ephemeral: Explorations in Light, a multi-media show on light featuring dynamic installations and sculptures by Iñaki Bonillas (Mexico City), Elaine Buckholtz (San Francisco), Thomas Glassford (Mexico City), Won Ju Lim (Los Angeles), and C.E.B. Reas (Los Angeles).

On view through January 1: San Francisco-based photographer Christopher Irion set up shop outside the Claremont Library and photographed community members who ventured inside his portable photo booth. The resulting 214 images are on view on a 72-foot-wide and eight-foot-tall mural at the Lemon Packing House east plaza. FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

About the Museum: The Claremont Museum of Art seeks to serve a diverse public as a regional museum of international significance and breadth. Grounded in Claremont’s important artistic legacy, the Museum engages artists and audiences through a compelling program of exhibitions and educational programs that connect the visual arts with contemporary life. In addition to a diverse slate of exhibitions, the museum features an eclectic store offering contemporary and unexpected gifts from around the world. A comprehensive slate of educational programming and events are offered for all ages. Claremont Museum of Art is an independent, nonprofit
501(c)(3) organization.

Claremont Museum of Art Opens This Sunday

When: Sunday, April 15
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Details: Free admission, street painting, live music, and family art activities

Chalk it Up!

Chalk it Up! is the Museum’s opening day street painting event. Julie Kirk, a modern day ‘madonnaro’ (professional street painter), will transform the outdoor east plaza of the Packing House into a work of art.

Come prepared to pick up a piece of chalk and unleash your inner artist. Materials will be provided, including shade umbrellas and a wash-up area for chalky hands.

What is madonnaro? In 16th century Italy, itinerant artists began transforming pavement into canvas using chalk. The tradition was revived 400 years later, in 1972, when the Italian village of Grazie di Curtatone hosted the first known international festival of street painting. In Italy, street painters are called ‘madonnari’ after their historical practice of creating chalk paintings of the Madonna.

Over the past 30 years there has been a major revival of this art form. Artists worldwide are appearing on streets throughout Europe and at festivals in the United States. Chalk painting can take many hours –sometimes days – before a masterpiece is born, only to be washed away by a hose or street cleaner, or trampled upon by passing pedestrians. Like a fresh flower, they won’t last forever, but their fleeting nature makes them all the more beautiful.

Family Days at the Museum

The Museum’s opening day kicks off its first Family Days at the Museum, which will take place the third Sunday of every month and also the Sunday of an exhibit opening – in this case, the Museum’s opening! Designed to inspire creativity and allow families to make art together, Family Days at the Museum are free and take place from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

These casual, ‘walk-up and make art’ events feature new activities each month, inspired by upcoming holidays or the Museum’s current exhibits. On April 15, the art will be inspired by the Museum’s inaugural exhibit “A Conversation with Color: Karl Benjamin, Paintings 1053–1995.” This is a great way for families to spend creative time together. We provide the materials and our volunteers will assist in getting you started, but the finished masterpiece is up to you.

DJ Matthew Rubino
Matthew Rubino, resident DJ at The Standard Downtown, will mix ambient sounds, soundscapes, Brazilian dance music, Latin jazz, and other atmospheric and flavorful sounds from noon to 5 p.m.

Exhibits

The Museum’s inaugural exhibit is a retrospective of the work of world-renowned Claremont painter Karl Benjamin. A Conversation with Color: Karl Benjamin, Paintings 1953-1995 (April 15 – June 25) will feature 46 paintings spanning 42 years that trace Benjamin’s career, from his early experiments with cubism to works that represent his role as one of the founders of abstract classicism.

The permanent collection, Building a Legacy: Founding a Museum, Building a Collection, will occupy the smaller of the two museum galleries with works exhibited on a rotating basis. The inaugural showing of the collection (April 15 – June 25) will present work by Jean Ames, Aldo Casanova, Rupert Deese, Phil Dix, Betty Davenport Ford, James Grant, Susan Lautmann Hertel, Norm Hines, James Hueter, William Manker, Harrison McIntosh, Walter Mix, Roland Reiss, Millard Sheets, Albert Stewart, James Strombotne, and Milford Zornes, and other notable local artists.

About the Museum: The Claremont Museum of Art, located inside a renovated citrus packing house, will be a regional museum of international significance, exhibiting art connected to Claremont as well as art from around the world. In addition to a diverse slate of exhibits, the museum features a contemporary museum shop with many recycled and eco chic goods. A comprehensive slate of educational programming and events is offered for all ages. The Claremont Museum of Art is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.