The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will mark its formative 1960s and ’70s years with a fresh look at that period’s art. The look back is coming in an exciting show entitled High Fidelity, opening May 28. At the 1960 starting point, the building in La Jolla was named the La Jolla Museum of Art, and was focused upon contemporary art. Its change and maturation over the next two decades paralleled the tumult and redefinition of the nation. So, High Fidelity will feature selections from two decades that were transformative both across our nation and at what is now the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Look at 1960, a year of Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates and Kennedy’s subsequent win in the presidential election. Also marking that year were the dramatic U-2 incident, the first transistorized TVs, and the introduction of the pill. Another first was the prototype Playboy Club. There were sit-ins and a contest between Chanel suits with pillboxes and the mini-skirt and bra-less look, as an increasing number of baby boomers were getting ready to culturally remake the United States. Competition and confusion reigned in an innovative, re-inventive mode.
The art scene reflected all this and is represented in the upcoming exhibition, which will feature 50 works by noted artists Ellsworth Kelly, Ed Ruscha, Sam Francis, Alexis Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Irwin and Frank Stella, Sol Lewitt and John Baldessari, as well as others. The range of styles is fascinating in that it represents the push-pull tug of the art world during the ’60s and ’70s. Fittingly, MCASD’s exhibited pieces will include mid-century abstract expressionism along with refined monochromes, which rejected the former. There’s a powerful narrative to be gleaned from viewing these influential works.
High Fidelity will honor the late Murray A. Gribin, a former trustee and patron of MCASD since the 1970s. His gifts of art to the museum elevated the institution’s stature.
High Fidelity promises to engage everyone who attends, helping us to understand who we are and how we got that way. It’s a show not to be missed. (858/454-3541, www.mcasd.org) DARLENE G. DAVIES