Friday, May 13, 2011

The monthly BEAT: Pasadena. Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Today, we continue our new end-of-the-week series, the monthly BEAT, where we focus on one specific area of Los Angeles for one month.

To me, there's just something so inherently Californian about Pasadena. Maybe it's the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, or the carefully tended-to tree-lined streets, but the town just seems to embodies all the old-school perfection that California's supposed to be famous for.

And that's why it's perfect that it's home to a museum of California art. The Pasadena Museum of California Art doesn't quite have the name recognition or star power of LACMA or MOCA, but in staying true to its Californian roots, can often house some pretty great, underrated exhibits.

This month boasts a great example: PMCA will be reopening Sunday, May 15 with three new exhibits focused on local contemporary art. In coincidental timing with MOCA's Art in the Streets, PMCA's got Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas, which boasts its own street art stars and works like DASH 2000, REVOK and MAN ONE. (And hey, street art's all about real locality, right?) Then there's Getting Upper: Graphic Designers and Artists Reconsider the Alphabet, which "charged curator Amos Klausner charged 26 designers with re-imagining a letter from the alphabet, using the illegibility and deconstructive nature of graffiti as their starting point." The results already look like a lot of fun. And then there's the work of the Clayton Brothers, one of which is seen above, and will be their first major exhibit. Brothers Rob and Christian also take influence from graffiti, as well as California skateboard and surf culture, and punk rock, to create contemporary characters.

Who knew Pasadena could have so much edge? I should have known -- it's just acting like a true Californian.

The Pasadena Museum of California Art reopens this Sunday and is located at 490 East Union St. in Pasadena.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit:
Patient-Girl (from the series Patient), 2007, mixed media on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, Collection of Gary Baseman.

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