Part art gallery, part history museum, the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts again puts art in an historical perspective with the 2010 L.A. County Fair exhibit From the Industrial Age to the Computer Age . . . Three Centuries of Artistic Innovation.
The Industrial Revolution changed not only how the world worked in agriculture, manufacturing and transport, but also affected everyday life and the arts.
Fairguests will feel like they’re visiting the Smithsonian as this exhibit transports them through time from the early 1700s to the 20th Century on a journey of discovery.
Working models of landmark technologies – the steam engine, the printing press, photography, and more – show how new materials – stainless steel, titanium, plastics, synthetic fibers, and acrylics – revolutionized art and expression.
Art and ingenuity worked hand-in-hand with these new technologies sending artists on new, exciting adventures. This new era changed what they depicted in their art.
“We’re looking at the art of invention and what the new methods and products of the Industrial Revolution did to change the lives of artists and ways to create art,” said Tony Sheets, curator of the MSCAF.
Sheets is following in the footsteps of his father, renowned California artist and teacher Millard Sheets, who was the gallery director from 1931 to 1957. Tony Sheets is a designer, painter, sculptor, metal worker and teacher, and grew up surrounded by artists. He not only learned how to create art, but also how to excel at the business of art. This is his fourth year directing MSCAF exhibits.
“Another result of the Industrial Age was the growth of a middle class that came with a whole new buying power,” Sheets continued. “Previously, only the nobility and the rich bought art, and with the Industrial Revolution a whole new audience opened up to artists. All of a sudden many more people could buy art, and we talk about those effects on the arts in the exhibit.”
Fairguests will enjoy art-making up close as 40 artists-in-residence use many of those once-revolutionary materials for hands-on workshops and demonstrations in glasswork, weaving and printmaking, and the more familiar media of painting, ceramics and sculpture throughout the day. Their works are also spotlighted and available for purchase in the MSCA store.
Children get to express themselves artistically in the craft room, a large space set aside each year with the materials and assistance necessary for young and old to explore their imaginations. Many of their creations may go home with them. Giving them inspiration this year is a 1/2-scale model hanging overhead of the Wright Brothers’ bi-plane (with a 25-foot wingspan!), the historic craft that ushered in the era of flight.
There’s more artistic action out on the patio. Watch as a sculptor transforms metal scraps into beautiful sculptures, a ceramicist creates beautiful pots using the Japanese Raku firing method and a woodworker fashions intricate jigsaw puzzles.
MSCAF is proud to be a part of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliation Program. Through this partnership the Center shares with the community the Smithsonian Institution’s artifacts, programs and expertise.
MSCAF is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
For more information about From the Industrial Age to the Computer Age . . . Three Centuries of Artistic Innovation at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex, visit www.lacountyfair.com.
Under the direction of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, Fairplex is home to the L.A. County Fair, the largest county fair in the world, as well as The Learning Centers which encompasses Fairtime Learning, The Child Development Center, The Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), the Junior Fair Board, and the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts. Fairplex also operates a diverse hospitality business with the Sheraton Fairplex, McKinley’s Grille, KOA RV Park, Finish Line Sports Grill, Cornucopia Foods, and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center (opening 2011). The campus is also home to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona; horse-racing and Barretts Equine Limited; as well as the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. For more information, please visit www.fairplex.com.