"Red Earth" by Lita Albuquerque
March 21 – July 6, 2020
Bamboo Grove of the Japanese Garden
“Colorscapes” by Luftwerk
June 20 – Sept. 28, 2020
SAN MARINO, Calif.—As part of its yearlong Centennial Celebration, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens has commissioned two temporary art installations by Los Angeles-based artist Lita Albuquerque and Chicago-based Luftwerk, the artistic collaboration of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. "Red Earth" by Lita Albuquerque will be on view March 21 through July 6, 2020, in the bamboo grove of the Japanese Garden, and "Colorscapes" by Luftwerk will be on view June 20 through Sept. 28, 2020, in the Australian Garden.
“We're thrilled to debut these experiential and celebratory installations as part of The Huntington's Centennial,” said Robert Hori, the Botanical Gardens’ cultural curator and project lead. “Both Lita Albuquerque and Luftwerk have a history of creating powerful works of public art that enable viewers to see the world in new ways. I think their sensitive responses to The Huntington as context will be profoundly engaging and, I hope, will delight visitors with an element of surprise.”
Installed near the southern entrance to the Japanese Garden, Albuquerque’s “Red Earth” features an approximately six-by-four-foot rock slab coated with bright red pigment and surrounded by bamboo stalks affixed with copper-colored bands. The site-specific work contrasts dramatically with the cool greens of the shady bamboo grove and is intended to mark its specific location in time and space.
“2020 is the year of perfect vision and a time of expanded perception,” said Albuquerque. “It is very fitting that we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Huntington during this time. ‘Red Earth’ locates us in time at the vernal equinox of 2020 and in space at The Huntington, San Marino, California, Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth, Solar System in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way, in the Local Group of Galaxies, in the Virgo Supercluster, in the Laniakea Supercluster, in the Universe.” “Red Earth,” she said, incorporates color and light to convey motion and stillness “because only through stillness can we discover the motion of the cosmos.”
Luftwerk’s “Colorscapes” brings to life Abraham Gottlob Werner’s seminal 1814 book, Nomenclature of Colours, famously used by Charles Darwin to identify colors in nature during voyages on the H.M.S. Beagle. The Huntington owns a first edition of the book, which will be on view concurrently in the Library’s Dibner Hall of the History of Science. Visitors will likely first experience “Colorscapes” via a signage system that connects specific plants in the gardens and objects in the galleries with Werner’s colors. The signs, situated in various locations, will lead to a large-scale installation on the Australian Garden’s open lawn, in which the range of colors sampled from across The Huntington will unite in an 80-foot-wide circle of 79 vertical banners, akin to a color wheel. Each banner will be printed in a Werner color and labeled with both its Werner name and the name of a plant in the gardens or an object in the galleries that represents the color. “With Werner’s book as our guide, we hope to create a new experience and understanding of the richest visual encounter with color at The Huntington,” said Luftwerk’s Bachmaier.
Lita Albuquerque is an internationally acclaimed installation and environmental artist, painter and sculptor. She was born in Santa Monica, CA, and raised in Tunisia, North Africa and Paris, France. In the 1970s, Albuquerque emerged on the California art scene as part of the Light and Space movement and was widely celebrated for her epic and poetic ephemeral pigment pieces created for desert sites. She gained national attention in the late 1970s with her ephemeral pigment installations pertaining to mapping, identity, and the cosmos, executed in the natural landscape. She represented the United States at the Sixth International Cairo Biennale, where she was awarded the Biennale’s top prize. Albuquerque has also been the recipient of the National Science Foundation Artist Grant Program for the artwork “Stellar Axis: Antarctica,” which culminated in the first and largest ephemeral artwork created on that continent; three NEA Art in Public Places awards; an NEA Individual Fellowship grant; a fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation; and MOCA’s Distinguished Women in the Arts award. Her work is in the collections of the Getty Trust, LACMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOCA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. She is on the faculty at Art Center College of Design.
Luftwerk is the artistic collaboration of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. Their practice centers on an exploration of light, color, and perception in immersive, experience-based installations. Focused on the context of a site for each project, Bachmaier and Gallero apply their own interpretive layer, integrating the physical structure, historical context, and embedded information into each piece. Since its founding in 2007, Luftwerk has amassed a significant body of work ranging from site-specific installations to experimental projects that interpret data, with immersive artwork at such venues as Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” in Pennsylvania, Mies van der Rohe’s “Farnsworth House” in Illinois, Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, and more. Bachmaier and Gallero take an interdisciplinary approach, experimenting with a spectrum of materials and techniques to advance their artistic medium. Their work intends to shift the viewer’s perceptions of space and site through light, color, and sound, opening new conversations by inviting the public to experience the familiar transformed.
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The Huntington's Centennial Celebration
(September 2019–September 2020)
For the past 100 years, The Huntington has examined the human experience through the lens of its incomparable library, art, and botanical collections. Marking its Centennial with a yearlong series of exhibitions and events, The Huntington celebrates the impact of its collections and the connections they offer, while exploring the interdisciplinary ideas that will shape the next 100 years.
Follow the Centennial on social media - #100atTheH
About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, CA, 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.