Claremont, CA—The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College is pleased to announce that it has received a $120,000 grant to develop its exhibition Fred Eversley for the next edition of the region-wide arts initiative Pacific Standard Time, scheduled to open in 2024. The Benton joins 45 cultural, educational, and scientific institutions throughout Southern California that have received support from the Getty Foundation for their projects, all of which will explore the intersections of art and science.
Pacific Standard Time will include dozens of simultaneous exhibitions and programs focused on the intertwined histories of science and art, past and present, that together address some of the most complex challenges of the 21st century—from climate change and environmental racism to the current pandemic and artificial intelligence—and the creative solutions these problems demand.
At the Benton, the grant from the Getty Foundation will support cross-disciplinary research culminating in the major monographic survey of the work of Fred Eversley (b. 1941), an aerospace engineer who explored the effects of light, shape, and movement in cast resin sculptures. The exhibition Fred Eversley will provide an overdue study of the artist’s singular practice at the intersection of aerospace engineering and postwar abstraction in Los Angeles, offering an in-depth examination of the central role of scientific theories, concepts, and technologies throughout the entire span of Eversley’s practice.
“The PST partners are embracing remarkably diverse and imaginative approaches to the theme of art and science, and we are delighted to welcome the Benton to the collaboration,” said Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation. “This will be a PST defined by science and art’s shared commitment to creativity and curiosity, and the Benton’s exhibition will give us new insights into the substantial body of work Fred Eversley has produced from the 1960s to the present.”
Before becoming an artist, Eversley oversaw the design, construction, and instrumentation of high-energy acoustic and vibration testing laboratories across the US from 1963 to 1967, including work on NASA’s second and third human spaceflight programs as the United States raced to land astronauts on the Moon. This work helped develop Eversley’s interest in the parabola—a shape that concentrates all forms of energy to a single point. Settling in Venice, California, Eversley began producing sculpture that activates a range of sensory phenomena including optical and acoustic effects. As lenses, mirrors, or combinations of both, the sculptures reflect, refract, and focus surrounding forms of energy including light, motion, and sound through the combined qualities of the geometric shape and the material structure of the parabola.
Perhaps more than any other artist of his generation, Eversley’s career reflects the narrative of Southern California in the 1960s as a place that fostered cross-pollination between art and science, particularly around the aerospace and defense industries and the group of artists, including Eversley, whose works have variously been described as West Coast Minimalism, Light and Space, or Finish Fetish art.
The exhibition at the Benton will be co-curated by Benton Senior Curator Rebecca McGrew and Getty Research Institute Curator and Head of Modern and Contemporary Collections and independent curator Glenn Phillips. They are joined by a team of esteemed scientific advisors, including Barry Barish, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, and winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. This will allow for robust research into the physics and engineering principles that are central to Eversley’s practice.
“We are thrilled to be working with Fred Eversley on another historic PST initiative,” stated McGrew. “All six galleries as well as the lobby of the light-filled spacious new Benton facility will be devoted to the exhibition, and the resulting catalogue will be the first major scholarly publication dedicated to his work. The project reinforces the deep history Pomona College has with the Light and Space movement, including alumni Helen Pashgian ’56, Hap Tivey ’69, and James Turrell ’65. We are delighted to build on the College’s legacy of supporting innovative arts.”
This project is made possible with support from the Getty Foundation through its Pacific Standard Time initiative.
About the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College
Now housed in the new Benton Museum of Art designed by Machado Silvetti and Gensler, Pomona College’s collection of art numbers 16,000 objects, including Italian Renaissance paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; works on paper, including a first edition print series by Francisco Goya given by Norton Simon; and works in various media produced in Southern California in the twentieth century. In keeping with Pomona College’s reputation as a leading center of the visual arts, the collection also includes works by such esteemed alumni as Chris Burden (’69), Marcia Hafif (’51), Helen Pashgian (’56), Peter Shelton (’73), and James Turrell (’65). Recognized globally for its commitment to contemporary art, the museum is the home of The Project Series, which has featured more than 50 contemporary Southern California artists since it began in 1999. Through its collaboration with students and faculty, the museum encourages active learning and creative exploration across all disciplines of study within the liberal arts context.
About Pacific Standard Time
Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented series of collaborations among institutions across Southern California. In each, organizations simultaneously present research-based exhibitions and programs that explore and illuminate a significant theme in the region’s cultural history.
In Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, more than 60 cultural institutions joined forces between October 2011 and March 2012 and rewrote the history of the birth and impact of the L.A. art scene. In Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, presented from September 2017 through January 2018, more than 70 institutions collaborated on a paradigm-shifting examination of Latin American and Latinx art, seen together as a hemispheric continuum.
Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty.