Langson IMCA announces recent acquisition of 25 artworks expanding its representation of influential artists

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Langson IMCA announces recent acquisition of 25 artworks expanding its representation of influential artists
Erica Deeman, Untitled 19, 2014. Digital chromogenic print, 45 x 45 in. UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art, museum purchase, © Erica Deeman 2023, courtesy of Anthony Meier, Mill Valley.

IRVINE, CA.- UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art announced the recent acquisition of 25 works of art this last fiscal year, including new commissions. Langson IMCA’s acquisition strategy aims to diversify and deepen the permanent collection that spans 19th century California Impressionism and plein air paintings to Post-War modern and contemporary art. See the full list of artists below.

Langson IMCA Museum Director Kim Kanatani said, “We are delighted to be deepening and broadening our collection in meaningful ways and are profoundly grateful to our donors who support this mission to represent the art of California. These works across mediums are exemplars of artists responding to the state’s unique culture and whose practices and subject matter explore issues of their times and continue to have resonance today.”

Highlighted works include:

Muralist and political activist Judy Baca (b. 1946, Los Angeles, CA) was also a professor in University of California, Irvine’s influential Department of Art (1981–1994), followed by the César E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (1996– 2021). Hitting the Wall (1986), a work gifted in memory of UCI Professor Emeritus Michael D. Butler, repeats an image from the artist’s mural commissioned by the city to commemorate the 1984 Summer Olympics, the first to include a women’s marathon. (The mural was overpainted by a city contractor in 2019 as graffiti remediation and since 2021 has been undergoing restoration.) This giclée print enhances Langson IMCA’s holdings of work associated with the Chicano Art Movement in Southern California from the 1960s to the present.

Untitled 19 and Untitled 20 (both 2014) are two acquisitions from Erica Deeman’s (b. 1977, Nottingham, UK) Silhouettes series, in which she photographed Black women against stark white backgrounds. Deeman found sitters through street casting in San Francisco, where she lives and works. By foregrounding each subject’s serene demeanor, the series subverts the complex historical legacy of silhouettes and their use in the racist pseudoscience of physiognomy. Moreover, two portraits from her 2016 series Brown add a contemporary perspective on the representation of the African Diaspora to Langson IMCA’s collection.

In THEY: A Temple of Black Possibility [Allensworth Pt. 1-3] (2022)—commissioned by Langson IMCA for its 2022 exhibition Dissolve—interdisciplinary artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle (b. 1987, Louisville, KY) conjures dream-like images by collaging reproductions of archival photographs and postcards layered against blue and yellow backgrounds. The work is based on Hinkle’s ongoing research into her own family’s presence in Allensworth, the first Black-founded city in California. Founded in 1908, Allensworth was intended as a self-sufficient sanctuary for Black people with its own infrastructure, but the town ultimately was abandoned due to drought and water contamination. Hinkle resurrects its memory to suggest the continued possibility of Black utopias. This is among the first of three works commissioned by Langson IMCA.

Untitled (Elements, Nature) (circa 1987) by Matt Mullican (b. 1951, Santa Monica, CA) complements Langson IMCA’s collection of landscapes while also departing from its focus on representation to explore symbols and signs. This marks the first work by the artist to enter the collection, expanding holdings of an important generation of artists who attended the California Institute of the Arts. The painting joins works by Mullican’s father Lee Mullican and teacher John Baldessari.

The photographs of Julius Shulman (b. 1910, Brooklyn, NY, d. 2009, Los Angeles, CA) are among the most widely known and published images of Southern California’s midcentury architecture. Capri Theater, San Diego (1954) depicts a movie theater that was remodeled in a modernist design whose lobby became an improvised art exhibition space. Like many of the buildings Shulman photographed, the theater no longer exists, having been demolished in 2003. This is the first Shulman to enter the collection, an important expansion of Langson IMCA’s photography holdings reflecting the history of midcentury modernism in the region.

Kanatani added, “Welcoming these artists to our collection—some with direct connections to UCI—is especially significant. Each embodies compelling stories about the artist’s life, their individual practices, and the impact of place on their work. We look forward to sharing these stories and artworks in future exhibitions and programs.”

Works by the following artists were acquired by Langson IMCA from July 2022 through June 2023:

Judy Baca
Matt Mullican
Esther Bruton
William Ritschel
Lia Cook
Sonia Romero
Erica Deeman
Millard Sheets
Rodney Ewing
Julius Shulman
Linda Gass
James Turrell
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle
Paul Wonner
John Paul Jones

The next exhibition at Langson’s IMCA’s interim museum space in Irvine is Bohemian of the Arroyo Seco: Idah Meacham Strobridge, opening September 30, 2023.

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