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Major Grant Award to Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - $225,000

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) announced that the Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a $225,000 grant through its Program in American Art, in support of the exhibition and catalogue entitled Phenomenal: California Light and Space.

The exhibition (opening Fall 2011) and accompanying catalogue will be the most significant in MCASD's history, and will take place in the Museum's multiple venues. "MCASD is very grateful to the Luce Foundation for this wonderful grant, allowing us to present to the public a project that will explore the subject of the Light and Space movement.The artists of this period have been of particular interest to our Museum since the 1960s, and we look forward to contributing significant scholarship to the field," said Dr. Hugh M. Davies, The David C. Copley Director of MCASD.

Ellen Holtzman, Program Director for American Art at the Henry Luce Foundation, said: "The Luce Foundation is delighted to support the development and implementation of this important exhibition. The show not only will make a significant contribution to American art history scholarship, but will be a stunning visual delight. We applaud MCASD for undertaking this promising project."

Phenomenal focuses on the movement that began in Los Angeles and Southern California in the 1960s, fomenting many of the most vanguard practices engaging young artists today. Robert Irwin, Maria Nordman, James Turrell, and Douglas Wheeler are among a cadre of American artists who pioneered a distinctive approach to making art, defined by experiential existence and manifested in ephemeral installations.MCASD was at the forefront in exhibiting these artists early on in their careers, often acquiring their works for its collection soon after their creation. The Museum houses collections and extensive archives related to these artworks and past exhibitions, and Light and Space has been an ongoing subject of deep interest for MCASD, reinforced most recently by the 2007 exhibition and catalogue curated by Dr. Hugh Davies, Robert Irwin: Primaries and Secondaries. This was an important preamble for Phenomenal: California Light and Space, which will be a major historical survey of a key period in American art and a singular moment in the development of art in Los Angeles and Southern California.

Organized for MCASD by Director Dr. Hugh Davies and Curator Dr. Robin Clark, Phenomenal will not only present a range of extant pieces from the MCASD collection and institutions and individuals around the country. It will also recreate a number of the artists' site-determined or ephemeral artworks from the 1960s and 1970s, allowing them to be seen for the first time again since their creation. Many of these works are now known to scholars and artists only by photographic documentation or anecdotal word of mouth.

The format for the project will be, in a sense, a series of concentric "circles," beginning with the core Light and Space artists, and extending out to the subsequent generations of American artists who were impacted by them. The exhibition will be thoroughly documented by a scholarly catalogue containing considerable original research. It will fill a present lacuna in the documentation and historiography of Light and Space, a subject that has not yet had the thorough examination of other influential movements of the 1960s and 1970s.A number of scholars, both established and emerging, will contribute to MCASD's catalogue.

Phenomenal will be part of a region-wide series of exhibitions taking place from Fall 2011 to Summer 2012, all of them focused on post-WWII art in California.This project was initiated by The Getty Foundation under the rubric, Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, with the Getty supporting research and planning for more than 15 participating museums and arts organizations, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.Each museum will concentrate on a particular time or subject matter related to the overall theme; MCASD's contribution is Light and Space art in the 1960s and '70s.

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