Pasadena Museum of California Art

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I once considered Pasadena my home for a short year due to my grueling work commute to-and-from Downtown Los Angeles. The idea of a ten-to-thirty minute drive to work from my one-bedroom apartment off Oak Knoll and California Avenues seemed like a great upgrade from the 45-to-60 minute version to-and-from my old studio apartment in Playa del Rey. Plus, Pasadena had lots to offer: a promising night life on Colorado Boulevard after hours, a leisurely walk from my then-apartment to dining and shopping venues on Lake Avenue, and the view of the neighborhood’s beautiful landscape filled with craftsmen style homes with manicured lawns and lush trees canopying the sidewalks on very warm and sunny days.

Very few of my friends were fans of my new home; only a handful of them visited me during my one year residency in Pasadena due to the distance from the coast. My family, who lived 20 minutes east of Pasadena, even opted out of making the trip. “It’s easier for you to come here to us,” my mother would often say.

The good news about my year of solitude was that I was forced to “find myself” within the confines of Pasadena. I got used to walking alone to-and-from my nearby grocery stores of Pavilions and Wild Oats (which later became the now defunct Fresh and Easy) and learned to dine alone at the long-gone Burger Continental and/or Peet’s Coffee on weekends.

I frequented Alexandria II, the metaphysics bookstore and gift shop that was then located two blocks from my apartment, because the alternative New Age materials — along with other religious literature that introduced philosophies such as Buddhism and Kabbalah –challenged my Catholic upbringing. While I still maintain my Christian roots, the folks at Alexandria II ultimately introduced me to Naadar Shagagi’s Yoga classes; Naadar later established his own Yoga studio on Lake Avenue, called Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary. Similarly, I became exposed to local artists and craftsmen who chose to showcase their wares at Alexandria II.

As a child, my cartoon show viewings were interrupted by television commercials of Candace Bergman talking about the art at Norton Simon Museum. My year of solitude as an adult also introduced me to the museums of Pasadena and, ultimately, my passion for fine arts. I have since visited the Norton Simon, discovered student shows hosted by the local art school, ArtCenter College of Design.

Since relocating back to the Westside, I continued to visit Pasadena because I wanted to continue my support for the community’s growth in the fine arts. By this, I mean that I would often frequent the smaller museums and galleries nearby Pasadena’s City Hall, such as the USC Pacific Asia Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the latter being my favorite because it showcased prominent artists whose fine works hailed from this beautiful state.

Having recently returned from the Midwest for a brief family gathering, I wanted to visit the Pasadena Museum of California Art to see whose works are being featured this summer.

I was in for a treat.

First, the museum offered visitors free artwork in its free parking garage. Check out Kenny Scharf’s Kosmic Krylon Garage, 2004.

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Second, the modern interior to the museum’s staircase, leading up to the museum’s open air window and adjoining entryway to the galleries were a sight to see.

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I was also treated to free admission because I visited PMCA during one of its Free First Friday events. FYI – Free Admission is offered as part of the museum’s PMCA 123 program as follows: Free First Fridays (12–5pm); Second Saturday Spotlight Talks (2pm); and Free Third Thursday Evenings (5–8pm).

The three current exhibitions this summer are as follows:

Kat Hutter and Roger Lee’s Another California Day (April 17–September 11, 2016);

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The late Claire Falkenstein’s Beyond Sculpture exhibition, featuring various mediums created by this twentieth-century experimental and productive female artist (April 17, 2016–September 11, 2016); and

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The late Brett Weston’s Significant Details exhibit, the first museum exhibition featuring Weston’s 42 close-up photography (April 17, 2016–September 11, 2016).

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Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 East Union Street
Pasadena, CA 91101

© Copyright 2012-2016 by Deborah Kuzma, and All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah Kuzma, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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