EST3: Southern California in New YorkLos Angeles Art from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection will be on view at the Parrish Art Museum
from March 4 through June 17, 2012. Consisting of some 150 works in a variety of mediums, EST3 (Eastern Standard Time minus three) is a wide-ranging survey of art made in Southern California during a 40-year period of extraordinary development. Organized by the Parrishs Los Angeles-based adjunct curator David Pagel, the exhibition and its title refer to Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, the Getty-initiated series of exhibitions across Southern California that focus on the emergence of Los Angeles as an art center.
Known for her energy, generosity, passion, and commitment, Beth Rudin DeWoody began collecting early, growing up in a household where interest in the visual and performing arts was encouraged. California had a special draw for her: I got interested in the California scene from visiting there and from my mother and stepfather, who collected California artists like Joe Goode, Ed Ruscha, John McCracken, and John MacLaughlin. Over the years DeWoody has amassed a remarkable group of works in all media created by many of the Golden States most important artists.
Working closely with DeWoody, David Pagel has chosen works created during an especially fertile period of exploration and production. From a 1948 lithograph by the critically acclaimed abstractionist Frederick Hammersley to paintings from the 1960s by the pioneering minimalist John McLaughlin, from signature works by Pop painter Ed Ruscha to portraits by David Hockney, EST-3 surveys the early development of what has since grown into one of the most exciting contemporary art scenes in the world. While the individual works in the exhibition are complex, nuanced, and sophisticated, Pagel has approached them through three basic categoriespeople, places, and thingsto provide a framework for a diverse compendium of objects.
Portraits by Don Bachardy and David Hockney, nudes by Beatrice Wood and John Wesley, and bathers by Robert Colescott are among the works that use people as their subjects. Placesinterior, exterior, signs, airwavesfigure in pieces by Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Conner, and Jack Goldstein, among others. Makers of things include such Light and Space sculptors as Larry Bell, Craig Kaufman, John McCracken, Helen Pashgian, and DeWain Valentine, and abstract painters Karl Benjamin, Joe Goode, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin.
Certain artists defy neat classification. Billy Al Bengstens work straddles Pop, abstraction, and West Coast Minimalism or Finish Fetish. Vila Celmins has been known as a painter of refined representational images of night skies, ocean waves, and spider webs, but her Plastic Puzzle Piece, No. 1 (1966) is a fur-lined box containing nine shaped Plexiglas pieces. Encompassing painting, drawing, photography, film, and artist's books, Ed Ruscha's work has affinities with Conceptual Art, Pop, and the Beat Generation.
EST-3 reflects the Museums goal to fully encompass the unique creativity of American art, notes Parrish Director Terrie Sultan. The California focus gives us the opportunity to see and experience a specific time and place in which so many new ideas were born. Like our own region, Southern California in this time period was a place of innovation and experimentation. This exhibition gives us an opportunity to see not only the artistic crosscurrents that flowed between the two coasts, but also the ways in which California artists developed idioms specific to the region.