This fall, the Pasadena area’s many museums and galleries present numerous exciting exhibits sure to deliver a memorable afternoon or evening of art appreciation.
On view from Sept. 14 to Jan. 6, the USC Pacific Asia Museum presents “Ceremonies & Celebrations: Textile Treasures from the USC Pacific Asia Museum Collection.” Guests will delight in their newly redesigned gift shop, but the real draw is the museum’s extraordinary collection of cultural garb from all over the world. This prestigious collection, consisting of more than 2,700 pieces of costumes and textiles from India, Korea, China, Japan and Southeast Asian countries with rich cultural traditions, is divided into four thematic sections.
The Armory Center for the Arts is spotlighting the extraordinary lives and talents of three Inuit artists in “Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait.” Running until Dec. 16, the Amory’s exhibition revolves around three generations of world-renowned Inuit women in Canada’s Arctic Region whose stirring view of village life has garnered much critical acclaim.
Sadly, this will be the last year in operation for local favorite, the Pasadena Museum of California Art. In a recent vote, board members recommended the museum’s shuttering with the culmination of their October exhibitions, including: “Judy Chicago’s Birth Project: Born Again,” a stunning needlework project analyzing “the interrelationships among motherhood, maternity, femaleness, and gender”; “Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California,” a tribute to the iconic African-American artist’s scenic lithography, graphic design and paintings that depict the stunning beauty of our magical state; and “Brody Albert: Strata,” a mind-bending foray into the often overlooked quirks and oddities of the California landscape. Albert’s creations are a commentary on the “unnoticed exchanges between people, environment, and industry,” as well as “the marks which inhabitants leave on their surroundings.” All three exceptional exhibits will run until Oct. 7.
The Southern California Children’s Museum, which turned 5 this year, will start “Rise and Sing” classes this fall. The 45-minute class is designed for parents, caregivers and children to participate together in active music making, while building and strengthening genuine bonds of trust and communication. The 10 classes run from Sept. 17 to Dec. 3 and cost $200.
Through Sept. 2, “Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction & Southern California” continues at the Pasadena Museum of History. The exhibit examines the history of science fiction in Southern California from the 1930s to the 1980s, and how it interacted with the advances of science and changes in technology and society. The exhibition features historic artifacts, fine art, graphic arts, books and historic photographs.
Through Oct. 1, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens presents, in all its floral splendor, “Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden,” a play written and directed by Stan Lai, and premiering exclusively in the Chinese Garden from Sept. 21 to Oct. 26. Lai’s masterpiece blends segments of the 16th-century Chinese tragicomedy “The Peony Pavilion,” with stories of early California. Every performance evening a small group of 40 fortunate guests will be submerged in a world of earthly theatric delights, as the performance wends its way through the garden and the story unfurls. Although the play is performed in English, original Chinese music from “The Peony Pavilion” lends authenticity.
Also at The Huntington, in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, “Spirit and Essence, Line and Form: The Graphic Work of Henry Moore” is on display until Oct 1. This exhibit of the brilliant artist, widely considered by many to be “the most prominent British sculptor of the 20th century,” focuses instead on Moore’s legacy with regards to his drawings, print and graphic designs. Moore’s intricate approach to varying forms, shape and mass and their relationship to one another is what differentiates him from so many other equally prolific artists.
Until Nov. 12, The Huntington presents “Sustainable Luxury: Morris & Co. Textiles and Wallpapers from The Huntington’s Art Collections.” A sumptuous feast for the eyes, this exhibition features a carefully curated collection of 18 drawings, textiles and wallpapers from William Morris, the undisputed leader of the British Arts & Crafts movement that began in the mid-to-late 18th century, and his firm, Morris & Co. The company was responsible for a variety of seminal works in the Arts & Crafts style, and their handcrafted decorative objects were revered for their sustainability long before the word became a rallying cry for preservationists and a trending philosophy on environmental responsibility. The Morris collection will be on view until Jan. 7.
The Norton Simon Museum presents “In Search of New Markets: Craft Traditions in Nineteenth-Century India.” This exhibit offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of 19th-century religious and cultural objects from South Asia, with a few never-before-seen artifacts. The exhibit aims to explore “the historical sources and practices that informed the production of ceramics and wooden furniture in colonial India.” Also on view at the Norton Simon is “Line & Color: The Nature of Ellsworth Kelly.” The exhibit, running until Oct. 29, showcases the cutting-edge art of painter, sculptor, printmaker and American in Paris Ellsworth Kelly. Kelly’s life and influences in Paris are chronicled in his abstract artwork, which are often his interpretations of objects, plants and organisms found in the natural world. As Kelly once said, “I did not want to ‘invent’ pictures, so my sources were in nature, which to me includes everything seen.”
If you’re looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind museum experience, then the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale is a must-see for lovers of quirky Americana. Small but mighty, this museum focuses on our country’s history of, and fascination with, neon. Wonderful examples of brightly lit signage abound here, but be sure to call for hours of operation and up-to-date info on current exhibits.
What Kidspace Children’s Museum does, it does very well. This much-lauded museum devoted to the cultivation and nurturing of a child’s imagination and passion for learning is nearing its 40th year in existence. Since 1979, Kidspace has had a hand in educating and shaping eager young minds with a bounty of exciting and fun exhibits and events, and this season is no exception. Their “Performance on the Frog” series is a popular hit with pint-sized visitors, who are invited to “sing and dance with performers on our frog-shaped stage in the Stone Hollow Amphitheater.” Every month, the museum hosts a new performance in this enchanting series. The Pumpkin Festival is in its 24th year and a perennial hit with attendees at Kidspace. Guests can enjoy the museums fall and Halloween-themed festivities on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28.
From sunup to sundown, Pasadena and its surrounding cities present a dizzying array of cerebral and hands-on activities for the entire family. Be sure to stop by and check at least one of them off your summer/fall recreation checklist. You won’t be disappointed.