General Exhibitions

California Studio Craft: featuring works from the Forrest L. Merrill collection

Studio craft combines the characteristics of traditional, handmade craft with the refined qualities of fine art. Made by professional artist-craftspeople who work in a variety of media, studio craft includes both utilitarian items and more experimental pieces that focus on aesthetics over function. For many, studio craft is an imaginative and personal expression that encourages creativity through the exploration of time-tested materials and techniques.

The Style of Display: Victorian Pedestals

Victorian pedestals, meant to showcase sculpture, are fascinating decorative art objects to behold. The most ornate pedestals were made in the United States during the Gilded Age—a time following the Civil War until the turn of the twentieth century, when the country experienced rapid economic growth. From the mid-1860s through the 1880s, in particular, collecting and displaying sculpture and objets d’art led to an increased demand for pedestals.

Chrysophora chrysochloraThe Intriguing World of Insects

Insects are the most diverse macroscopic organisms on the planet.

Reflections in Wood

The Modern Consumer — 1950s Products and Style

A new wave of consumerism swept across much of the population of the United States during the 1950s. Driven by a thriving postwar economy, designers utilized bold styling to transform everyday objects into visually expressive items, and manufacturers unleashed an array of products to keep pace with demand. Stores carried everything from portable televisions and pocket-sized radios to space-age toys and plastic dinnerware sets.

A Sterling Renaissance: British Silver Design 1957 to 2018

During the postwar years, anyone looking to produce modern design looked to Scandinavia for inspiration, and British silversmiths were no exception. In the late 1950s, an American named Mrs. Lasky travelled to London to visit a friend. Wanting to see modern British silver, she visited the studio of Gerald Benney (1930–2008). Upon viewing his stock items, Mrs. Lasky proclaimed they were not British, but Scandinavian.

Down-Home Music: The Story of Arhoolie Records

Chris Strachwitz (b.

Caticons: The Cat in Art

Cats have charmed people with their mysterious allure for thousands of years. As adept hunters, many domestic cats are self-sufficient creatures with characteristically nonchalant, independent personalities. Cats were venerated by the ancient Egyptians and celebrated as symbols of good luck throughout Asia. In Europe, cats became associated with magic, witchcraft, and evil spirits and were persecuted for centuries before they gained cultural acceptance.

When it went up and the wind finally took it out of my hands, it blew my mind…I saw immediately how everyone around me owned the flag. I thought, ‘It’s better than I ever dreamed.’

—Gilbert Baker (1951–2017)

Isamu Noguchi: Inside and Out


“Noguchi's art, deeply rooted in tradition, kept reiterating the underlying wisdom and verities of life. He lived with old values—which in his hands, pointed in exemplary fashion—toward the new”

—Thomas Messer (1920–2013)
Director of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation