San Diego Museum of Art opens two exhibits with new viewpoints

‘Protest Car,’ Los Angeles,1962; photograph by Harry Adams is part of the San Diego Museum of Art exhibit, ‘Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California.’
(Courtesy Photo)

The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park is exhibiting two special collections this fall — “Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California” and “Abstract Revolution.”


‘Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California’

Photographers Harry Adams (1918-1988), Charles Williams (1908-1986) and Guy Crowder (1940-2011) were prominent members of the African-American community in Southern California. Spanning 50 years, their compelling images document the political events as well as the daily life of this community during the second half of the 20th century. They worked primarily as freelancers for such publications as the Los Angeles Sentinel, California Eagle, Los Angeles Times and the LA Metropolitan Gazette.

Working during one of the most critical periods for the advancement of civil rights, their subjects were the newsmakers of the day — politicians, activists, entertainers and athletes — as well as everyday life in churches, garages, cocktail lounges and schools. Their work reflects candid images of a community whose lives were rarely reflected in the wider media, as well as prominent figures such as Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Malcolm X and others at key moments in their lives.

See “Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California” through Dec. 1 in the gallery located off the sculpture court adjacent to Panama 66.


‘Tribal Sign,’ 1987; lithograph by Helen Frankenthaler is part of the San Diego Museum of Art exhibit, ‘Abstract Revolution.’
(Courtesy Photo)

‘Abstract Revolution’

Abstract Expressionism brings to mind the work of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, whose reputations have reached heroic heights. The significance of the contributions to Abstract Expressionism by Pollock and his male contemporaries should not be underestimated, but nor should the contributions of the many female artists who not only helped to found the movement, but who continued to define abstraction for many decades.

Drawn entirely from the museum’s collection of works on paper, the work of pivotal artists, including Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler and Deborah Remington — as well as the work of contemporary artist Mary Heilmann, a leading figure in abstract American art — are brought together to demonstrate that the masculine lens through which abstraction has been previously understood must be removed.

“Abstract Revolution” is on display through Feb. 23, 2020.


IF YOU GO: The San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Wednesdays. (619) 232-7931.