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For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Cody Lee | 949.494.8971 x211 |


LAGUNA BEACH, CA (November 28, 2018) — After a year-long celebration of the museum’s history and legacy, honoring the artists of a hundred years ago whose organization eventually became Laguna Art Museum, the exhibition Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918-1935 closes on January 13, 2019. After a complete reinstallation of its galleries, Laguna Art Museum begins a series of exhibitions on March 3, 2019 that span more than a century of California art.

Helena Modjeska, illustration of Titi, Nunu, and their little sister riding with the “sacred maidens” in an airship powered by an aluminum bird, from Titi, Nunu, and Klembolo, c. 1895–96. Ink and watercolor, 7 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. University of California, Irvine (UCI) Libraries, Special Collections & Archives.

March 3 to May 27, 2019: Titi, Nunu, and Klembolo: Helena Modjeska’s Fairy Tale Book

The great Polish actress Helena Modjeska (1840–1909), best known for performances in the plays of Shakespeare, was a star of the American stage in the 1880s and 90s. In 1888 she and her husband built a country home, Arden, in what is now Modjeska Canyon in Orange County. Among her many other talents, Modjeska was a storyteller and artist. During breaks in her acting schedule she spent time at Arden writing and illustrating a fairy tale for her grandson, Felix Modjeski, presenting a 147-page bound manuscript to him as a Christmas gift in 1896. With handwritten parallel texts in English and Polish, and ink-and-watercolor illustrations that show Modjeska’s flair for both fantasy and natural observation, it tells the story of a pair of brothers, Titi and Nunu, who live on Mars. They run away from home, accompanied by their six-legged blue dog, Klembolo, but after some adventures return to their family and friends for Christmas.

The original manuscript of Modjeska’s fairy tale was recently acquired by the University of California, Irvine Libraries as a gift from the Museum of the City of New York. It was in need of conservation, and the UCI Libraries Special Collections & Archives department called upon the UCLA Library Conservation Center to undertake treatment, also digitizing the manuscript to provide future online access for students, researchers, and the public. The exhibition at Laguna Art Museum will take place immediately after the conservation treatment and before the separate sheets of the manuscript are re-bound, allowing Modjeska’s amazing flight of the imagination to be displayed as never before.

Dan McCleary, Therapy, 2014, oil on canvas, 49 x 63.5 inches, Gift of Craig Krull Gallery and the artist.

March 3 to May 27, 2019: Centennial Gifts: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection

Like most museums, Laguna Art Museum grows and strengthens its permanent collection largely through donations from collectors, artists, and foundations, and in 2018 it received outstanding donations of works of art in recognition of the centenary of its founding organization, the Laguna Beach Art Association. On show in the museum for the first time, the Centennial Gifts include paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and original prints by acclaimed California artists of the past and the present, including Tony DeLap, Lorser Feitelson, Joseph Goldyne, Dan McCleary, R. Kenton Nelson, Edgar Payne, Ruth Peabody, Agnes Pelton, and Charles Rollo Peters. The exhibition celebrates the museum’s growth as it moves beyond the centennial year and an expression of gratitude toward the donors who, through their gifts, have contributed to Laguna Beach’s artistic legacy.

John Baldessari, The Promontory of Noses, from A Suite of Five Lithographs for Tristram Shandy, 1988, lithograph, 19 7/8 x 18 inches, Gift of Peter Alexander.

June 23 to September 22, 2019: I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art: Prints by John Baldessari from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation

John Baldessari (born 1931) is among the most revered and influential figures in contemporary California art. His most familiar works are compositions in which he combines and alters photographic images to disruptive, thought-provoking, and often comic effect. Some of the photographs are his own; most are appropriated images such as movie stills. Having abandoned painting to work in media more suited to the conceptual direction in which his art was moving, he made his first venture in printmaking in 1971 with the now-famous lithograph I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art. Since that time he has embraced prints as a means of making his playful art available at relatively low cost to a wide audience, experimenting with various techniques and collaborating with print studios and publishers around the world.

The exhibition at Laguna Art Museum will include about fifty works selected from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation, which include an impression of almost every print Baldessari has made to date.

Gwynn Murrill, Coyote I, Coyote III, and Coyote IV, 1983, with Black Sable Antelope, 1972, laminated wood, Collection of the artist.

June 23 to September 22, 2019: Sculptures by Gwynn Murrill

The Los Angeles-based artist Gwynn Murrill (born 1942) is best known for sculptures of animals. At once contemporary and timeless, her works show a fine balance between formal simplification and observation from nature. Since early in her career Murrill has worked in wood, typically carving in laminated blocks, using the colors and grain patterns in her material to give the forms added dimensions. She now uses both wood and bronze. In 2012–13 she installed twenty-two life-size animal bronzes along the Avenue of the Stars in Century City, Los Angeles, her largest public work to date. The exhibition at Laguna Art Museum will consist of about thirty of Murrill’s sculptures, dating from 1972 onward.

Thomas Hunt, Newport Harbor Scene, n.d., oil on canvas, 28 x 30 inches, Collection of Ranney and Priscilla Draper.

October 13, 2019, to January 12, 2020: Thomas Hunt: California Modernist

Thomas Lorraine Hunt (1882–1938) was the son of the well-known Canadian Impressionist painter John Powell Hunt. He spent much of his early life in Cleveland, but became active with the Laguna Beach Art Association in the early 1920s and moved permanently to Laguna Beach in 1927. He played a large part in the creation of the association’s new gallery on Cliff Drive (now Laguna Art Museum), which opened in 1929. Hunt painted snowy landscapes in Canada and Cleveland, although he is best known for the coastal and harbor scenes that he painted in Southern California and during visits Massachusetts. A masterful, innovative colorist, he developed a distinctive style characterized by broad brushwork and bold effects of light and reflection.

The first solo exhibition of Hunt’s work was held shortly after his death and there has been no other since then. Comprising about fifty of Hunt’s paintings, Thomas Hunt: California Modernist is curated by Janet Blake, the museum’s curator of historical art, in collaboration with early California art researcher Keith Colestock. A fully illustrated catalogue will feature a biographical essay by Colestock presenting material to augment and correct the scant accounts of Hunt’s life published to date, as well as an essay by Blake discussing his influences and the evolution of his style.

About Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. It collects, cares for, and exhibits works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. Through its permanent collection, its special loan exhibitions, its educational programs, and its library and archive, the museum enhances the public’s knowledge and appreciation of California art of all periods and styles, and encourages art-historical scholarship in this field.

Laguna Art Museum stands just steps from the Pacific Ocean in the beautiful city of Laguna Beach. The museum is proud to continue the tradition of the Laguna Beach Art Association, founded in 1918 by the early California artists who fostered a vibrant arts community. The gallery that the association built in 1929 is part of today’s Laguna Art Museum.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach, on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Cliff Drive.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays
Closed Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day

General admission: $7.00
Students (18+) and S eniors (60+): $5.00
Visitors aged 17 and under: FREE
Museum members: FREE

Media Contact: Cody Lee, Director of Communications | 949.494.8971 x211 |

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