The best L.A. and O.C. museum exhibitions to see in September – Los Angeles Times

Published: September 11, 2021

Rare prints by Pablo Picasso at the Norton Simon Museum, a sensory explosion by Swiss multimedia artist Pipilotti Rist at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary and the highly anticipated opening of the new Academy Museum lead our September list of exhibitions across Southern California. Check back here for weekly updates. And before you go, call or check online for reservation requirements and other COVID-19 protocols. The shows that have our attention:New and upcoming
Academy Museum of Motion PicturesSet to open Sept. 30, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shrine to all things cinema will have exhibits exploring the art and craft of filmmaking, historic memorabilia including props and costumes, plus regular screenings and film series and artist talks. 6067 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Open daily. $15-$25; ages 17 and younger, free. (323) 930-3000. academymuseum.org

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The ultimate film lovers’ guide to the new Academy Museum
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens Sept. 30 as a celebration of Hollywood history, Oscar lore and today’s movie makers. Get a sneak peek.

“Nicole Seisler: Holding Patterns”Works by the L.A. ceramicist will be on view through Dec. 19. American Museum of Ceramic Art, 399 N. Garey Ave., Pomona. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. $5, $7; 12 and younger, free. (909) 865-3146. amoca.org“Kim Abeles: Smog Collectors, 1987-2020” This decades-spanning survey of the L.A. artist’s mixed-media works demonstrating the effects of air pollution will be on view Sept. 18 through Dec. 18. Begovich Gallery, Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd. Closed Fridays and Sundays. Free. fullerton.edu“LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze” The artist documents the 2019 shuttering of an auto plant in Ohio, and the impact on the local working-class community, in photographs, video and an architectural installation in this exhibit that will be on view through March 20. California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, L.A. Closed Mondays. Free. (213) 744-7432. caamuseum.org“Gifted: Collecting the Art of California at Gardena High School, 1919-1956” Examples of early 20th century California Impressionist paintings by noteworthy artists will be on view through Jan. 9. California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks at the Oaks, 350 W. Hillcrest Drive. Open Friday-Sunday. Free. (805) 405-5240. cmato.org

“Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown’s Avant-Garde Archive”Highlights from the Getty’s vast treasure trove of artworks and ephemera tied to the 1960s-era experimental art movement Fluxus will be on display Sept. 14 through Jan. 2. Also on view: “Paolo Veneziano: Art and Devotion in 14th-Century Venice,” works by the medieval painter regarded as the founder of the Venetian school (through Oct. 3). Getty Center, Sepulveda Boulevard and Getty Center Drive, L.A. Closed Mondays. Free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (310) 440-7300. getty.edu“Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor”This survey of videos, installations and sculptures by the Swiss multimedia artist will be on display Sept. 12 through June 6. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo, downtown L.A. Open Wednesdays-Mondays. Special ticketed exhibition costs $10-$18 (advance purchase required; each ticket is good for a free second visit); children younger than 12, free. (213) 626-6222. moca.org“William Basinski: DLP 1:1”A segment of the avant-garde composer’s 2002-03 work “The Disintegration Loops” is paired with footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, in this sound and video installation on view through Oct. 3. Long Beach Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Open Thursdays-Sundays. Free; advance timed-entry tickets required. lbma.org“Ink Dreams: Selections From the Fondation INK Collection”Examples of contemporary painting, sculpture, video, etc., inspired by traditional East Asian ink art will be on display Sept. 19 through Dec. 12. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Closed Wednesdays. $10-$25; kids 12 and younger are free; discounts available to L.A. County residents. (323) 857-6010. lacma.org

“Unseen Picasso”A selection of rarely exhibited prints by the Spanish artist will be on display through Jan. 10. Norton Simon Museum, 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Closed Tuesdays-Wednesdays. $12-$15; students, active military and kids 18 and younger are free. (626) 449-6840. nortonsimon.org

Pablo Picasso’s “Two Nude Women,” lithograph, eighth state, 10 inches by 13 inches(Norton Simon Museum/Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society, New York)

“Time and Transformation”Drawings, paintings and sculpture by Bill Hayner and Linda Southwell, on view through Sept. 25. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, 117 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana. Open Fridays-Saturdays; open other days by appointment. Free. occca.org“The Modern Chair”Examples of cutting-edge chair design from the early 20th century to the present day will be on display through April 3. Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. Closed Mondays-Wednesdays. $5. psmuseum.org

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11 essential L.A. art exhibitions this fall, from Obama portraits to smog art
A guide to the most promising art shows in the season ahead: Peter Paul Rubens, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Hans Holbein the Younger, Thonet chairs and more.

“Bond in Motion”Cars, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles used in James Bond movies though the decades will be on display in this new exhibit, on view from Sept. 25 through Oct. 30, marking the 60th anniversary of the action-film franchise. Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. Special exhibition fee is $40-$65 (includes admission to the rest of the museum); advance purchase required. (323) 930-2277. petersen.orgNoah’s ArkThis popular play space for children has reopened, with reservations required and new coronavirus safety protocols and environmental improvements in place. Also on view: “Sustain: From Loss to Renewal,” a project created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with images by local artist Stephanie Mercado in salute to L.A.’s diverse workforce. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Closed Mondays. $7-$12; admission is free for all on Thursdays and for children younger than 2 every day. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org“Art and Hope at the End of the Tunnel”This group show curated by art critic Edward Goldman and featuring new works by 35 L.A.-based artists will be on view through Dec. 4. USC Fisher Museum of Art, 823 W. Exposition Blvd., L.A. Closed Sundays-Mondays. Free. (213) 740-4561. fisher.usc.edu

“Crossroads: Exploring the Silk Road”This new, interactive permanent exhibit teaches visitors about the centuries of cultural exchange sparked by the movement of travelers and goods along the ancient trade route. It’s scheduled to open Sept. 30. USC Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. $7, $10; free for ages 17 and younger, and every second Sunday of the month; advance tickets recommended. (626) 787-2680. pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu“Memory Structure, Scaffold Series”L.A.-based artist Sichong Xie interrogates the hidden contributions of labor in this new installation, on view from Sept. 12 through March 20. . Wende Museum, 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City. Open Friday-Sunday. Free; reservations required. (310) 216-1600. wendemuseum.orgOngoing
“Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe”This large survey of the acclaimed artist’s works is spread over two venues. Through Dec. 19 at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, 120 W. Bonita Ave., Claremont; open Tuesdays-Saturdays; free; reservations required; pomona.edu. The other half of the exhibition is on view through Dec. 12 at the Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; open by appointment only Friday-Sunday; free; armoryarts.org

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Review: Alison Saar’s poetic chronicles of Black womanhood
A sculpture survey shared by two Los Angeles art museums

“A Garden of Words: The Calligraphy of Liu Fang Yuan”This two-part exhibition showcasing contemporary Chinese calligraphy is on view through Dec. 13 (Part 2: Jan. 29 through May 26). Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Closed Tuesdays. $13-$29; children younger than 4 are free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (626) 405-2100. huntington.org“Miné Okubo’s Masterpiece: The Art of Citizen 13660”Illustrations from Okubo’s groundbreaking 1946 graphic memoir, depicting the harsh conditions that she and her fellow Japanese American citizens endured in a U.S. government-run incarceration center during World War II, will be on view through Feb. 20. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., downtown L.A. Open Tuesdays-Sundays. $7, $16; reservations recommended, walk-ups available. (213) 625-0414. janm.org“Gabriella Sanchez: Partial Pictures”Works by the L.A.-based painter and graphic designer, on view through January. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach. Open Tuesdays-Fridays. $7, $10; younger than 12, free; advance purchase suggested. molaa.org“Discovery From the Deep”A rare specimen of a Pacific footballfish is exhibited alongside a traditional Japanese print of the specimen crafted by artists Dwight and Hazel Hwang, through Nov. 29. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., L.A. Closed Tuesday. $8-$17; kids 2 and younger are free; walk-ups welcome; reservations recommended. (213) 763-DINO. nhm.org

“Armand Hammer Collection”European and American paintings and drawings collected by the museum’s founder, Armand Hammer, are once again on view. UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. Closed Mondays. Free; reservations required. (310) 443-7000. hammer.ucla.edu“Artistic Legacy: The Ann and Bill Cullen Collection”Paintings and drawings from the estate of actress, model and artist Ann Macomber Cullen, wife of the late game-show host Bill Cullen, through Dec. 19. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Closed Mondays. $10-$15; children younger than 12, free; advance purchase recommended. (714) 567-3600. bowers.org“When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California”On view through Nov. 14. Autry Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, L.A. Closed Mondays. $6-$14; children younger than 3 are free; reservations available online; walk-ups allowed at box office. (323) 667-2000. theautry.org“Invisible Sun”Works by Julie Mehretu, Keith Haring and others from the Broad museum’s collection explore social justice; on view through Oct. 3. The Broad, 221 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Open Wednesday-Sunday. Free; advance timed-entry tickets required; no on-site standby line. (213) 232-6200. thebroad.org

“Life Beginnings”This immersive and interactive exhibit explores procreation in the human and animal worlds. California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, L.A. Open daily. Permanent exhibits are free; special exhibits (including the current Lego art show and IMAX films vary in price. Reservations required. (323) 724-3623. californiasciencecenter.org“Titanic: Real Artifacts, Real People, Real Stories”The maritime disaster is revisited through photographs and personal effects, through Feb. 13. Also on view: “Soot and Water: Gyotaku Records of Catalina,” prints crafted by contemporary artist Dwight Hwang using traditional Japanese methods (through Sept. 30). Catalina Island Museum, 217 Metropole Ave., Avalon. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. $15, $17; kids 15 and younger are free with a paying adult; advance purchase recommended. catalinamuseum.org“Cauleen Smith: Stars in My Pocket and the Rent Is Due”LACMA also presents this companion exhibition of pandemic-themed works by the L.A.-based artist, on view through Sept. 25. Charles White Elementary School, 2401 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Open Saturdays only, 1-4 p.m. Free. lacma.org“Veil Craft”This architectural installation made from construction textiles will be on view through Sept. 12. Also on view: “Making Time,” works by L.A.-based artists that explore the concept of time; “Tomoshibi: Glass Works by Kazuki Takizawa”; and “Cathy Cooper: Dramatis Personae,” pieces by the L.A.-based artist, performer and costume designer (all through Sept. 12). Craft Contemporary, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Open Thursdays-Sundays. $7, $9; Sundays are pay what you can; reservations required. craftcontemporary.org

“Free State” Exploration of human rights, democracy, the environment; on view through Sept. 18. ESMoA (El Segundo Museum of Art), 208 Main St., El Segundo. Open Fridays and Saturdays. Free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (424) 277-1020. esmoa.org “Motown: The Sound of Young America”The storied record label is celebrated through stage costumes, musical instruments and more; on view though January. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., L.A. Open Friday-Sunday. $13, $15; ages 5 and under are free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (213) 765-6800. grammymuseum.org“Dimensions in Testimony”This new permanent interactive holographic exhibit from the USC Shoah Foundation allows visitors to ask questions of 97-year-old Holocaust survivor Renée Firestone. Holocaust Museum LA, 100 The Grove Drive, L.A. Open Thursdays-Sundays. $10, $15; students and California residents with valid ID, free; advance timed-entry tickets required. holocaustmuseumla.org

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A compelling survey of the L.A. performance artist who riled up Jesse Helms in the 1990s culture war opens at ICA LA

“Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form”Times columnist Carolina A. Miranda called the work of this late painter, subject of a 2017 LACMA retrospective, “vital to the ways in which Los Angeles sees itself.” This exhibition explores the Chicano artist’s early life to reveal influences on his style and form (through Jan. 9). Also on view: “Only Light Can Do That,” Patrick Martinez’s neon mural installation with messages of inspiration for essential workers (through Sept. 7). LA Plaza de Cultural y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown L.A. Thursday-Sundays. Free; reservations suggested. (213) 542-6200. lapca.org“Matthew Rolston, Art People: The Pageant Portraits”The photographer presents his 2016 series of large-scale, high-resolution images inspired by the tableaux vivant presentations at Laguna Beach’s annual Pageant of the Masters; on view through Sept. 19. Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. Closed Wednesdays. $5, $7; 17 and younger are free. (949) 494-8971. lagunaartmuseum.org“Evidence: Selections from the Permanent Collection”A survey of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s holdings; through Feb. 21. MoCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Open Thursdays-Sundays. Free; special exhibitions, $10, $18. (213) 626-6222. moca.org “50 Faces”Contemporary mosaic artwork from Italy’s Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, on view through Oct. 7. Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton. Open Monday-Thursday. $5 per group of up to four people. themuck.org

“L’Epoque des Carrossiers: The Art and Times of the French Coach Builders”Also on view: “The Lady of the Lake,” “Le Mans,” “Schlumpf Reserve Collection.” Mullin Automotive Museum, 1421 Emerson Ave., Oxnard. Open Fridays-Sundays. $10-$16; ages 2 and younger and active-duty military are free; advance purchase required. (805) 385-5400. mullinautomotivemuseum.com

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“The Map and the Territory: 100 Years of Collecting at UCLA”UCLA’s Fowler and Hammer museums and the UCLA Library co-organized this survey of paintings, drawings, prints, rare books, ceramics, musical instruments and more, on view through Oct. 24. UCLA Fowler Museum, 308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Westwood. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. Free. (310) 825-4361. fowler.ucla.edu“Deep Connections”Black-and-white images by photographer Ken Karagozian chronicle three decades of subway construction in Los Angeles; on view through 2021. Union Station’s Passageway Art Gallery, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown L.A. Available anytime. unionstationla.com

“Analogues: Travon Free”Photographs by the comedian and Oscar-winning filmmaker capture last summer’s street demonstrations in L.A. in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis are on view through Jan. 16.. UCR Arts (California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts), 3824 Main St., Riverside. Open Thursdays-Sundays. Free; advance timed-entry tickets required. ucrarts.ucr.edu

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Lambeth Heritage Festival 2021 – what's on for 13th-19th Sept 2021 – Brixton Buzz

Published: August 29, 2021

We are already nearly halfway through this year’s Lambeth Heritage Festival but there’s still plenty of events coming up.
Here’s some of the highlights coming up in the next two weeks:

A history of Tulse Hill
Thu 9 Sept at 6:30 pm, in-person at Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, SW2 1JQ
An illustrated talk by Alan Piper exploring the extensive area between Brockwell Park and Brixton Hill where some landmarks from the early 19th century estate can still be found among later developments.
This event is hosted by the Brixton Society. Book here

Crypt and churchyard tour
Mon 13 Sept, 2.30 pm, in-person at St Leonard’s church, Streatham High Rd, SW16 1HS
Explore the “dead-centre” of Streatham with resident local historian and writer, John Brown. Despite the rebuilds, St Leonard’s church is Streatham’s oldest building and its well-preserved medieval crypt and its churchyard provide a rich history of many of its long-departed residents. Possibly not for the squeamish.
This event is hosted by the Streatham Society. Book here.

Music and Lambeth: a historical review
Mon 13 Sept, 7.00 pm, online
Music plays an important part in many people’s lives, whether as listeners or players, or as singers or dancers. It has been a feature of organised social life though bands, orchestras, organisations’s events and commercial activities, as well as in private homes. Sean Creighton’s talk will present Lambeth’s rich history of music activity, its associations with composers, performers, singers and dancers, and compositions expressly written about it. With extracts from music recordings.
This event is hosted by Lambeth Archives. Book here

How do you move a library?
Tue 14 Sept  1.00 pm online
An online discussion between Giles Mandelbrote (Librarian & Archivist, Lambeth Palace Library), Lara Artemis (Senior Conservator) and Declan Kelly (Director of Information Management for the Church of England). Marking the move of Lambeth Palace Library into a brand-new purpose-built building (opening shortly on Lambeth Palace Road), this event will explore some of the practicalities and challenges of moving some 20km of manuscripts, archives and rare books, with a preview of the new public building and the opportunities it offers for the future.
This event is hosted by Lambeth Palace Library. Book here

Ruskinland 
Tue 14 Sept 7.00 pm in-person at Carnegie Library, Herne Hill Road, SE24 0AG
John Ruskin, the best-known and most controversial intellectual of the Victorian age, was an art critic, a social activist, an early environmentalist. He was also a painter, writer, and a determined tastemaker in the fields of architecture and design. By championing JMW Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, he ensured that their flame continued to burn long beyond his death in 1900, even as his own reputation faded. Research for his award-winning book Ruskinland: How John Ruskin Shapes Our World took Financial Times columnist Andrew Hill from Herne Hill to the Lake District, from Venice to Florida’s Gulf Coast, as he traced the influence of Ruskin and his ideas. He will discuss the relevance of Ruskin’s radical ideas today for how we live, work, and see the world.
This in-person event may have to change and take place online;  either way, once you book, you will be notified.
A Friends of Carnegie Library event hosted by Lambeth Libraries. Book Here

Self-publishing your history book
Wed 15 Sept at 7.00 pm online
Naomi Clifford, author of two self-published nonfiction history books with Lambeth connections, shares self-publishing experiences, covering research, preparation of the manuscript, print platforms, crowdfunding, ebooks, marketing and sales.Naomi Clifford’s latest self-published book, Under Fire: The Blitz Diaries of a Volunteer Ambulance Driver, is to be published in September 2021. In 2010 she wrote and published These Were Our Sons: Stories from Stockwell War Memorial. Pen&Sword have published three of her titles. She is a co-editor of VauxhallHistory.org and a podcaster for The Door History Podcast.
A Vauxhall History and Friends of Tate South Lambeth event                      hosted by Lambeth libraries.  Book here

Yesterday, Together, Tomorrow: Public and Personal Archives from Brixton
Thu 16 Sept – Sun 17 Oct, in-person at San Mei Gallery, 39a Loughborough Rd, SW9 7TB
Public opening Wed 15 Sept 6.00-8.00 pm.
Reflecting upon these recent times of isolation, where gathering with loved ones or strangers became forbidden, and drawing from the history of the Loughborough Hotel both as a pub and a dancehall, Yesterday, Together, Tomorrow opens a conversation on the act of coming together in public spaces, in Brixton.
This event is hosted by the San Mei Gallery. No booking required.

Loughborough Road histories
Thu 16 Sept at 7.00 pm, in-person at San Mei Gallery, 39a Loughborough Rd, SW9 7TB
Scratch beneath the surface of any street and a fascinating history of people and events will be uncovered. Loughborough Road is no exception. Join Tracey Gregory, for a glimpse into Loughborough Road’s past, through this illustrated talk. Tracey will also be launching her first book, Loughborough Road Histories, published by The Brixton Society, featuring short histories of the emergence of the street, some of its shops, pubs and people. The book will be on sale at the talk.
This event is hosted by the San Mei Gallery. Book here

Penny Lecture: the Waterloo Shot Tower – a biography
Fri 17 Sept 6.00 pm, in-person, at Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Rd., SE1 7HT
The Shot Tower stood nearly 200 ft tall on the river front by Waterloo Bridge for nearly 140 years until the early 1960s, an unmistakeable and important landmark which featured in the everyday life of Londoners. Yet today it is barely remembered.  In this illustrated talk, Nick Rampley traces the history of this all but forgotten building and of the industries that characterised Lambeth’s riverside, giving particular focus – on the 70th anniversary of the Festival of Britain – to the role the Tower played in the South Bank exhibition. This is one of Morley College’s Penny Lecture series, part of the college’s history, offering a monthly specialist talk to inspire and entertain for just one penny!
This event is hosted by Morley College. Book here

Clapham, 1807
Sat 18 Sept 2:30 pm, in-person. Meet at the clock tower by Clapham Common station.
Join S.I. Martin on a walk around Clapham Common exploring the area’s important links with Black history in the 18th & 19th centuries. You can expect to encounter African royalty, members of the Clapham Sect, school children from the African Academy and the Black poor along the route.
This is an in person event. No booking required.

Stockwell Green
Sun 19 Sept 2,30 pm, in-person. Meet at Costcutter store,The Quadrant, Stockwell Green, SW9 9JF
A walk led by Bill Linskey around the Stockwell Green area which once had two places of worship, two schools, two breweries and – of course – a village green.
This event is hosted by the Brixton Society. No booking required.

Sowing Roots
Sun 19 Sept 3.00 pm, in-person at Ruskin Park Community Gardens, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8EL
This workshop will introduce a first of its kind oral history project and exhibition based at the Garden Museum that explores the history and culture of Caribbean gardening in South London. How are breadfruit and prickly pear connected to Lambeth? How and why has gardening been important for people who moved here from the Caribbean? Come hear from the project team, as well as taste some fruit and veg!
This event is hosted by the Garden Museum. Book here

ON THESE STREETS, an interactive audio  journey
Any day in September, 10.00 am – 10.00 pm, in-person, walk starts from Brixton tube station, Brixton Rd SW9 8HE
ON THESE STREETS is a self-guided walk using a web-app created as a response to the 1981 Uprising. It offers a journey through the streets of Brixton that invites you to bear witness, to interact and to personally respond. Concept and interactive experience by non zero one, with verbatim testimony, new writing from Somalia Nonyé Seaton and new music from Xana that form an immersive audio world.
Event hosted by Brixton House & 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance. Book here

Life and its most trivial particulars
Weds – Sunday, Midday –  6.00 pm, in-person at Van Gogh House, 87 Hackford Rd, SW9 0RE
To celebrate Lambeth Heritage Festival, Lambeth residents can visit Van Gogh House and see Brian Griffiths and Frank Kent’s exhibition created for and installed throughout the house where Van Gogh lived from 1873 -4. Please pre-book and bring proof that you are a Lambeth resident (utility bill or equivalent) to get entrance at reduced rate of £2.50.To purchase special reduced price ticket, click on the full price adult ticket and enter the discount code LAMBETH87 at the checkout.
This paid event is hosted by Van Gogh House. Book here

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'Personal Librarian' tells pioneer's tale through mix of fact and fiction

Published: August 1, 2021

Personal Librarian Authors: Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray Berkley, 347 pages, $27 Imagine being a young woman in the early 1900s with the moxie to convince the American titan of industry and finance, J.P. Morgan, to hire you as his personal librarian over candidates with stronger credentials. Imagine this young woman is a light-skinned Black American passing herself off as white. This is the premise of the recently-published historical novel, “Personal Librarian,” by bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. With meticulous research, the authors have created a fictionalized, intimate portrait of the real-life Belle da Costa Greene, a person you’ve probably never heard of. In her time — early to mid-20th century — she was famous and celebrated in the international world of fine art and rare books. How she accomplished this is told through a seamless blending of fact and fiction that kept me hooked throughout the reading. At the age of 20, Belle’s life began in earnest when she was introduced to the fierce and fabulously wealthy Morgan by his nephew. At her mother’s urging and to her father’s dismay, Belle elected to discard her real name, Belle Marion Greener, for the pseudonym she lived with for the rest of her life. This was not a capricious move. In Belle’s time gender bias and racism were especially rampant, certainly in the rarified circles in which Morgan moved. His was a world apart from Belle’s true heritage, though she hailed from an educated family (her father was the first Black American Harvard graduate) and she herself was college-educated. While social issues are a thread of this book, the main thrust is the life Belle made for herself through her wit, intelligence, and single-minded determination to succeed at all costs. There were costs. Her father, a civil rights activist whom she dearly loved, abandoned Belle, her mother and siblings after they decided to live as a white family. Belle had to guard every word, move and emotion to avoid betraying her true ethnicity and ending a life and financial prosperity few people — Black or white — had achieved in that time. When Belle first met Morgan he owned a large collection of rare manuscripts, books and artwork. He hired Belle to organize and expand these works into a world-class Pierpont Morgan Library. His ambition was boundless, as was his wallet. Belle soon proved herself by acquiring priceless ancient works in New York, London and Paris out from under the noses of battle-hardened brokers and dealers — all older men. Over time she became accepted and acclaimed in these circles and she adopted upper-class style and demeanor. Morgan gave her more and more responsibility and came to depend on her. The book suggests there was no intimate relationship between them, though there were temptations on both sides. Belle stayed with the library after Morgan’s death in 1913 and, working with his son, ultimately transformed the private library into a public treasure of fine art, literature and music which remains on Madison Avenue in New York to this day. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy superbly researched and written historical fiction, especially the depiction of life in America in the early 1900s. This book is an excellent read for fans of stories of women who have struggled and triumphed against all odds. Jacksonville author Claudia N. Oltean (“Media Skills — The Lawyer as Spokesperson”) is working on a two-book historical fiction series set during Prohibition. 

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Santa Barbara Public Library & UCSB Partner to Preserve Local History

Published: June 30, 2021

Source: UC Santa Barbara Library
In a prime example of inter-library collaboration, the Santa Barbara Public Library (SBPL) recently partnered with the UCSB Library Special Research Collections to preserve more than 3,000 historic photos of Santa Barbara County collected by Santa Barbara native Edson Smith; 104 issues of Santa Barbara County’s first newspaper The Santa Barbara Gazette; and SBPL’s own archives.
“This gift serves as a perfect example of how two public institutions can work together and use their strengths to serve the community,” said Zachary Liebhaber, Head Archival Processing Specialist at UCSB Library. 

For years, the materials lived in filing cabinets and bankers’ boxes at SBPL, patiently waiting to be rediscovered. Though treasured and admired by those familiar with them, limited resources did not allow for proper storage, preservation, and accessibility of these locally significant collections. 
“Public libraries have evolved a lot over the last hundred years, and SBPL has chosen to focus more on the part of our mission related to literacy and learning,” said Molly Wetta, Public Services Manager at SBPL. “So it’s fantastic that UCSB recognizes they can use their expertise and resources to care for this piece of local history and make it more accessible to the community and researchers.”
The Santa Barbara Public Library Archives

The Santa Barbara Public Library Archives contain the organizational records of the SBPL and its branches, including annual reports, correspondence, clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, deeds and contracts, registers, catalogs of books, publications, and much more, all dating from the 1870s through the 2010s. It isn’t often such rich local library history is preserved in physical format, making this acquisition particularly unique.
The collection materials depict how library services have evolved over the last hundred years. Considered to be one of the oldest public libraries, SBPL served remote communities, construction camps (like Gibraltar Dam), and oil leases in Santa Barbara County by traveling to these areas with books in tow. In the photo below you’ll see the image of SBPL librarian and workmen entering the Santa Barbara Waterworks Tunnel, with books for the camp library in the front of the car protected by canvas, providing a snapshot into both our local history and the world during a time where access to information wasn’t a simple Google search away.

The records also provide a unique snapshot into the late-19th and early-20th century SBPL community. They include a catalog of library books from 1885, a record of local accessions from 1892-1906, and even correspondence surrounding the design and construction of the landmark Central Library building on Anapamu street (1914-1917). Among the scrapbooks in these records is a meticulously organized collection of Faulkner Gallery art exhibition catalogs from 1929-1941, accompanied by clippings of newspaper reviews of each exhibition, documenting the critical reception of the works on display.
The Santa Barbara Gazette

The UCSB Library recently digitized 104 issues of Santa Barbara County’s first newspaper, The Santa Barbara Gazette. Originally published from May 24, 1855 to May 15, 1857, the paper covered national and international affairs, as well as politics and events in Santa Barbara and the surrounding region, showing what life was like just five years after the incorporation of the City of Santa Barbara and California Statehood in 1850. 
The Gazette issues were reproduced from a bound presentation copy given to the SBPL by Charles Fernald in August 1891, who served as sheriff, district attorney, county judge, and mayor of Santa Barbara in the late 1800s. SBPL gifted the issues to the UCSB Library Special Research Collections in September 2019, and the issues can be viewed via the Library website. 
Edson Smith Photos
The Edson Smith collection contains over 3,100 early photographs of Santa Barbara County from the 1870s-1940s, collected by Santa Barbara resident Edson Smith (1877-1947).  The photographs were digitized for online viewing by SBPL, with funding for the project provided by John C. Woodward. They are available to view on Calisphere as well as the Black Gold Library Collective catalog, while the original images are preserved in UCSB Library’s secure, climate-controlled state-of-the-art repository.

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Collection Development Policy

Published: July 6, 2020

Download PDF The UCLA Department of Information Studies (IS Dept) is setting the intellectual agenda for the information professions and disciplines. Its faculty members are internationally renowned scholars and teachers, conducting…

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Summer Workshops for MLIS Students

Published: July 6, 2020

July 2020 Introduction to Jupyter Tuesday, July 7, 2020 – 9:00am to 11:00am Presentation Strategies and Tools Thursday, July 9, 2020 – 1:00pm to 2:30pm Version Control with Git Tuesday, July 14, 2020…

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