home > exhibitions > archive:

William Dole, Tower of Babel, 1962. Watercolor and collage on board. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson, Los Angeles.
Pasadena to Santa Barbara: A Selected History of Art in Southern California, 1951–1969
February 11 – May 6, 2012

This exhibition focuses on the legacy of two of Southern California’s leading venues for contemporary art since the 1940s: the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Pasadena Art Museum (known from 1941-1953 as the Pasadena Art Institute, and since 1975 as the Norton Simon Museum). These two institutions pioneered what is now perceptible as a common strategy—to exhibit the work of local artists living and active in Southern California—alongside the work of influential modern and contemporary artists from other parts of the United States and Europe.

This bold approach provided a solid foundation for the growth of contemporary art in the region and became an inspiration and model for a number of institutions that followed. This exhibition presents works by artists who were featured at one or both venues during these years, and who remain important to the current and continuing discourse in contemporary art in Southern California.

Featuring works by John Altoon, Karel Appel, Karl Benjamin, William Brice, Richard Diebenkorn, William Dole, Marcel Duchamp, Llyn Foulkes, Sam Francis, Philip Guston, Robert Irwin, Ynez Johnston, Ed Kienholz, Helen Lundeberg, John McLaughlin, Robert Motherwell, Lee Mullican, Larry Rivers, Richards Ruben, Mark Tobey, June Wayne, and Beatrice Wood

To view the full Press Release, click here.

This exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, a collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California—coming together for the first time to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene.

Click here to view additional sponsors for the Pacific Standard Time initiative.

Lead support for Pasadena to Santa Barbara: A Selected History of Art in Southern California, 1951-1969 provided by the Getty Foundation, with additional support from the Luria Foundation, Cyndee Howard, Jill and John C. Bishop, Jr., Anne and Houston Harte, the Community Events & Festivals Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, and The Museum Contemporaries of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Related E-Store Items
Click here for products related to this exhibition.

For more information about this exhibition visit our blog at


Exhibition Slideshow


Related Programming

The Learning Lounge
Cool meets comfortable in this interactive reading and media room for all ages. Projections, books, catalogues, art activities, and family guides are available for free in this mid-century inspired lounge. Located on the Museum's Lower Level across from the Café.


Free Family Guides
A series of Free Family Guide postcards from works in Pasadena to Santa Barbara are available in the exhibition and the Learning Lounge. Each card prompts you to view a work in the gallery, read a quote from the artist, and respond. Collect all 10 or send them to friends and family!


Copyright © 2015 Santa Barbara Museum of Art. No images or information may be reproduced,transmitted or copied without permission.