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Rick Griffin  
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Making Waves: A Tribute to Rick Griffin and John Severson
October 7, 2017 - April 7, 2018
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

The Making Waves exhibition at Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University salutes two masterful artists, Rick Griffin and John Severson, who contributed much to the surfing culture in California and elsewhere. The exhibition includes Griffin's influential painting "Pacific Vibrations" (pictured left), Severson's thrilling surf paintings, and a collection of surf ephemera, zines, and posters.

In addition to this exhibition, four other exhibitions will run for the same duration of time at the museum.

50/50: California Art in Transition, 1940 - 1970, curated by Glen Knowles, examines the period from World War II and the following three decades when new ideas of modernism came to California and influenced its artists and how art was taught in art schools.

American Illustration: Children at Play launches at the Hilbert Museum's new American Illustration gallery, highlighting the works of accomplished artists who created illustrations for magazines, books, and other publications. This first exhibition features works from the 1920s to 1950s by Joe DeMers, Stevan Dohanos, and Andrew Loomis, among others.

The Magic of Disney Art, Featuring Pinocchio, in the Animation Art gallery, includes four newly-acquired, original animation cels from the 1940 Disney classic film. Also on exhibit are animation art and concept art from Disney films Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book. Well-known California artists who worked for Disney Studios, and are represented in the Hilbert Collection, include Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Phil Paradise, and Phil Dike.

California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon features works from the Hilbert Permanent Collection by the acclaimed Los Angeles artist. This exhibition includes monumental "portraits" of vintage objects, food, and Star Wars' C-3PO.

An opening reception for these exhibitions was held at the museum on Saturday, October 7 from 5 to 8:00 p.m.

  Recent Events
Rex Brandt  
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Out of the West
March 18, 2017 - September 23, 2017
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

The Out of the West exhibition at Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University showcased paintings by 20 renowned California artists.

During the 1930s and the mid-1960s, these artists shared their vision of California with the world by sending their works to well-established art museums and galleries across the U.S. and abroad in Europe.

In addition to this exhibition, two other exhibitions opened at the museum and ran for the same duration of time: Golden Dreams: The Immigrant vision of California and Disney Production Art.

An opening reception for the three exhibitions was held at the museum on Saturday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.

On April 1 at 7:00 p.m., the museum hosted a special event, Golden Dreams: An Event of Music and Art, featuring three members from the Pacific Symphony who performed a composition commissioned by the Hilberts. This musical piece is based on one of the paintings in the art collection.


In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture
Pasadena Museum of California Art
September 25, 2016 – February 19, 2017
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

  In the Land of Sunshine at PMCA
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The exhibition In the Land of Sunshine featured oil paintings, watercolors and a few fine art prints produced by California artists between 1850 and 2016. The subject matter of each work in this exhibit was inspired by a scene along the California coastline in Southern or Northern California. During that span of time, artists used many different stylistic approaches in an effort to convey what they experienced while on the coast. Styles of art included 19th Century realism, Luminism, Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract Surrealism, American Illustration and California Style Watercolors.

The exhibition was comprised of 80 paintings on the walls with supporting text, and additional art, photographs and ephemera in cases with supporting text.

Standish Backus, Jr. Louis Betts Raymond Dabb Yelland William Coulter Rick Griffin
Rex Brandt Art Riley Duncan Gleason Phil Dike John Severson
Dennis Hare Phil Dike Roger Kuntz Duncan Gleason Donna Schuster

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Some of the artists represented in this exhibit included: Roger Kuntz, Phil Dike, Donna Schuster, William Wendt, Joseph Kleitsch, Millard Sheets, Duncan Gleason, Rex Brandt, Alston Clark, Richard Bunkall, Keith Crown, Alexandra Bradshaw, Ken Potter, Lee Blair, Suong Yangchareon, and William Wray. Additionally, a special section dedicated to California surf art showcased works by John Severson, Rick Griffin, Jim Evans, Bill Ogden, Kerne Erickson, Kevin Short, Bradford J. Salamon, and others.

About five miles south west of the Pasadena Museum of California Art is El Alisal, the home of Charles Lummis who was the editor of Land of Sunshine; one of the first magazines dedicated to the promotion of Southern California. Lummis worked tirelessly researching Southwestern history and hired talented California artists to produce art for reproduction in his publication.

Many issues of Land of Sunshine featured promotional stories extolling the virtues of towns being developed along the California coastline. This exhibition was named after that publication and paid tribute to the efforts of Charles Lummis: a man who in 1884 walked by foot 2,200 miles to Los Angeles from Cincinnati in 143 days; a truly outstanding example of the American pioneer spirit and a man who loved the California coastline.

In Dialogue: The Art of Surfing
Saturday, January 21, 2017 | 3:00 p.m.

Exhibition curator and California surfer Gordon T. McClelland gave Museum visitors a lecture about surfing and the California coastal cool, with a focus on pioneering and contemporary surf culture artists such as John Severson, Rick Griffin, Jim Evans, and Kevin Short. Gordon explained how these artists depicted the cultural phenomenon and discussed how key organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation have kept California’s beaches clean and free to the public, and open for surfing and art inspiration.

This was Gordon's second presentation for this exhibit. On October 22 at 3:00 p.m., Gordon gave visitors a walk through of the entire exhibition.

Hilbert Museum of Art Celebration  
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Narrative Visions:
20th Century California Art
February 26, 2016 -
March 4, 2017
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University opened to the public on Friday, February 26, 2016 at the museum's temporary location on 167 North Atchison Street in the City of Orange. The museum's collection of artwork, donated by Mark and Janet Hilbert, showcases the work of the California artists who visually captured the history and culture of the Golden State from the 1920s to present times, in what is known today as California Scene art.

The opening exhibit "Narrative Visions: 20th Century California Art" was curated by Gordon T. McClelland. The body of work in this exhibit depicted Californians at labor or at leisure in rural, seaside, and urban settings from many historical periods of the 20th Century. Among the acclaimed artists represented in this exhibit were Emil Kosa Jr., Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Fletcher Martin, Rex Brandt, Phil Paradise, and Milford Zornes.

An open house celebration was held on Friday, February 26 from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday, February 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with Ruby's Streamliner Café providing refreshments.

The museum is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The eventual home for the Hilbert Museum will be the former Villa Park Orchards Packing House building on Cypress Street, near the location of the current museum.

Joan Irving Brandt Centennial Celebration  
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Joan Irving Brandt Centennial Celebration — curated by Gordon T. McClelland — was held at the Central Library in Newport Beach from February 16 to March 31, 2016.

On Saturday, March 5, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., the Newport Beach City Arts Commission hosted an event for the exhibition honoring the life and art of the California painter, sculptor, and muralist. A special program was presented at 2 p.m. in the Friends Meeting Room at the Library, followed by a reception at 4 p.m. For this program, Gordon delivered a slide show presentation of Joan Irving Brandt’s life and works, and then introduced three panelists who further discussed the life and works of the artist: Brandt's daughter Joan Brandt Scarboro, art collector and friend Gene Crain, and artist and former Brandt student Chris Sullivan.

Born March 12, 1916, Joan Irving studied art in Riverside City College and the Los Angeles Art Center School under Edward Kaminski and Barse Miller. From early in her career, Joan Irving's works received high acclaim and were purchased for collections in notable museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

With her husband, artist Rex Brandt, Joan Irving Brandt taught at the famed Brandt-Dike Summer School of Painting in Corona del Mar which earned the reputation as one of the most successful watercolor schools in California during the 1950s.

Joan Irving Brandt was also very active in the historical and cultural development of Newport Beach, serving as chairman of the first City Fine Arts Committee (later known as the City Arts Commission), and helping to establish the Newport Harbor Art Museum.

A selection of Joan Irving Brandt's watercolors and sculptures was displayed in the Central Library, courtesy of Gene Crain and other local art collectors.

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