Beatrice Wood: Career Woman–Drawings, Paintings, Vessels, and Objects

Main Gallery Sep 10, 2011–Feb 25, 2012

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Beatrice Wood: Career Woman–Drawings, Paintings, Vessels, and Objects
Sep 10, 2011–Feb 25, 2012





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12 2 green
Beatrice Wood, Green Luster Bowl, n.d., Earthenware, 4 x 7 in., New Mexico Museum of Art, Bequest of Rick Dillingham Estate, Photo: Blair Clark
12 4 wood chalice
Beatrice Wood, Chalice, c. 1987, Earthenware, 9 ½ x 9 ½ in., Collection of Juliet Myers, Photo: Bill Stengel
12 9 blue double necked
Beatrice Wood, Blue Luster Double Necked Bottle with Braided Decoration, c. 1969, Earthenware, 11 ½ x 8 x 6 ½ in., Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dorothy and George Saxe
12 11 career women 1990
Beatrice Wood, Career Women, 1990, Earthenware, 19 ½ x 12 ½ in., Collection of Dr. and Mrs. William P. Klein, Photo: Tony Cunha
12 12 chocolates and young
Beatrice Wood, Chocolate and Young Men, c. 1990/1993, Earthenware, 21 x 10 ½ x 15 in., Collection of Dr. and Mrs. William P. Klein, Photo: Tony Cunha
12 28 a little water
Beatrice Wood, Un peut (peu) d’eau dans du savon (A Little Water in Some Soap), 1917 (recreated 1976), Colored pencil, graphite pencil and soap on board, 11 x 8 ½ in., Whitney Museum of American Art, Gift of Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York
12 29 745 B Waiting for Marcel
Beatrice Wood, 7:45 P.M.–Beatrice Waiting for Marcel, 1917–1918, Ink and crayon on paper, 6 13/16 x 5 11/16 in., Gift of the Francis Bacon Foundation for the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art
12 B Wood 4
Beatrice Wood, Career Woman—drawings, paintings, vessels, and objects, 2011-2012, Installation view, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Photo: Monica Orozco
B Wood 31
Beatrice Wood, Career Woman—drawings, paintings, vessels, and objects, 2011-2012, Installation view, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Photo: Monica Orozco

Beatrice Wood: Career Woman–Drawings, Paintings, Vessels, and Objects offers a comprehensive survey and a new assessment of this emblematic California artist–a scholarly, commemorative evaluation of Wood, whose extraordinary life and career traversed and contributed to the cultural and artistic highlights of the entire 20th century. SMMoA Executive Director Elsa Longhauser and Deputy Director Lisa Melandri are co-curators for the exhibition.

Beatrice Wood: Career Woman is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980. This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months beginning October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. An artist who worked on both the East and West coasts and bridged gaps between areas as disparate as New York Dada and Southern California ceramics, Wood (1893-1998) was a vital contributor to the art scene of the period and is thus a key player in the Pacific Standard Time project.

Beatrice Wood: Career Woman includes over 100 works of art. The exhibition begins with Wood’s early Dada work, which includes drawings, paintings, posters, prints, and illustrated albums and travelogues. Wood first encountered Dada–a primary creative and personal influence–in New York, arising from her intimate friendships with Marcel Duchamp and the collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg. It was Dada that first inspired Wood to become an artist, and it shaped her creative thinking for the rest of her life. The exhibition also feature prominent examples of Wood’s ceramics created from the 1940s until her death in 1998. Wood was exceptionally prolific, even given her remarkable longevity. She repeatedly investigated and revisited a number of subjects, forms, and materials over a 60- to 70-year period.

Though Wood did not turn to ceramics until 1933 at the age of 40, she became an accomplished clay artist and went on to produce some of her most notable works well into her 90s. Her experimentation with ceramic glazing and firing was extraordinary, a compendium of clay technique. She first began to experiment with clay pieces that took the form of tiles or plates. By the 1980s, Wood was creating objects on a much larger scale, such as colossal goblets more than a foot tall and wide. The exhibition will survey the full range of her ceramics–from the miniature to the large-scale, from the utilitarian to the decorative, and from the vessel to figurative sculpture.

A fully-illustrated 144-page comprehensive catalog, published by the Santa Monica Museum of Art, accompanies the exhibition and offers a scholarly assessment of Beatrice Wood. This elegant publication includes 58 full-color plates, over 90 photographs, forward and acknowledgements by curators Elsa Longhauser and Lisa Melandri, original texts by Garth Clark, Kathleen Pyne and Jenni Sorkin, Wood’s original diaries annotated and edited by Francis M. Naumann and Marie T. Keller, and a chronology by Lida M. Sunderland. The catalog’s essays range from the examination of Wood’s threshold position in early modernism, to her relationship with the Theosophical community in Ojai, as well as a technical evaluation of her work in clay. Wood began her life in art as a dilettante, and emerged a serious artist, nearly fifty years later. The accompanying writings illuminate the evolution of her work and document the art historical trajectory that delineates her vibrant contribution to the canon of Twentieth Century art.

Wood created a complex, thoughtful, and inexhaustible oeuvre, one that is equal parts narrative and form, equal parts poetry and wit. Her irrepressible sensibility could be bold, audacious, insouciant, sexually charged, and at times biographical. This exhibition will honor Wood’s indomitable spirit and dynamic artistic force, a pairing that produced a mature body of work that defines her importance as an artist.
Watch the behind-the-scenes video of Beatrice Wood: Career Woman–Drawings, Paintings, Vessels, and Objects.
The exhibition and publication are underwritten by lead grants from the Getty Foundation.

Generous support has also been provided by the LLWW Foundation. Additional support has been given by Rosa and Bob Sinnott; The Bluhm Family Foundation; Julie Chapgier and Brian Biel; the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation; Susie and Jaime Gesundheit; the Kayne Foundation; Ric & Suzanne Kayne and Jenni, Maggie & Saree; the Pasadena Art Alliance; and Brenda R. Potter.

The exhibition was designed by potter Adam Silverman, partner and studio director of Heath Ceramics in Los Angeles.

Beatrice Wood: Career Woman
is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1946-1980.

Pacific Standard Time logos
Generous Support Provided By
South Coast Plaza, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Tiffany & Co.

John and Louise Bryson, David and Marianna Fisher, The Mohn Family Foundation, Anne and Jim Rothenberg, Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom, Christina and Mark Siegel, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Holmes Tuttle

Additional Support Provided By
The Ahmanson Foundation, The Broad Art Foundation, California Community Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, W. M. Keck Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Sotheby’s

Click here for a full list of Pacific Standard Time sponsors

About Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 – 1980
Pacific Standard Time is a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together for six months beginning in October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force in the art world. Each institution will make its own contribution to this grand-scale story of artistic innovation and social change, told through a multitude of simultaneous exhibitions and programs. Exploring and celebrating the significance of the crucial post-World War II years through the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 70s, Pacific Standard Time encompasses developments from L.A. Pop to post-minimalism; from modernist architecture and design to multi-media installations; from the films of the African American L.A. Rebellion to the feminist activities of the Woman’s Building; from ceramics to Chicano performance art; and from Japanese American design to the pioneering work of artists’ collectives. Initiated through $10 million in grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time involves cultural institutions of every size and character across Southern California, from Greater Los Angeles to San Diego and Santa Barbara to Palm