High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s at MCASD La Jolla

High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) La Jolla
May 28 – September 5, 2011

High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s showcases more than 50 of the “greatest hits” from MCASD’s collection. The featured works represent formative decades in the Museum’s own maturation and a period of artistic ferment in the United States.

While reflecting different styles, such as minimalism, pop art, and assemblage, the works on view all reflect the experimental spirit of the period. Artists continued to challenge long-held stylistic conventions and allow room for contemporary content. Primarily an exhibition of paintings, High Fidelity includes many works which hone their focus on the formal components of art. Abstraction is represented in many variations from gestural efforts, reflecting the pull of mid-century abstract expressionism, to refined monochromes, which rejected that very approach.

Exhibiting artists, including John Altoon, Robert Irwin, and John McLaughlin, explore surface tension, positive and negative space, and push the limits of painting itself. Other artists such as Sol Lewitt, Alfred Jensen, and Donald Judd employ systems to determine their compositions.

Alongside the refinement of such approaches, other works on view reflect a grittier, often informal quality. Artists such as Vija Celmins, Bruce Connor, Edward Kienholz, and John Baldessari use found materials, expanses of text, and prosaic imagery to reference the real world as much as the art world. Together, these images and references recall and represent a period of recent history with “high fidelity.”

High Fidelity will honor the late Murray A. Gribin (1923-2011), an inspired trustee and patron of MCASD since the 1970s. A passionate advocate for the arts, Gribin and his wife Ruth settled in California in the 1940s. Together they built a lively collection of recent art from the West Coast. At MCASD, the collection was the subject of a 2006 exhibition La Dolce Vita. The show highlighted the range of Gribin’s collecting even as it underscored his dedication to certain artists over time. In his lifetime, Gribin donated more than 75 works to MCASD. High Fidelity will feature selections of these gifts with an emphasis on his early acquisitions including works by Sam Francis, Joe Goode, and Ed Ruscha.