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Robert Irwin: Site Determined

January 29 – April 15, 2018

Robert Irwin: Site Determined is the first museum exhibition dedicated to the creative process of one of the most significant American artists of the postwar generation. The visitor is invited to explore four decades of Irwin’s outdoor environmental projects through rarely exhibited drawings and architectural models. Site-determined art, Irwin has explained, “draws all of its cues (reasons for being) from its surroundings.” This exhibition promises insights into Irwin’s working process as he developed aesthetic responses to such cues, including his Window Wall on the CSULB campus, Central Garden at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles to his most recent site-determined work, Untitled (dawn to dusk) in Marfa, Texas.

This exhibition is organized by the University Art Museum, CSULB, and is curated by Dr. Matthew Simms, Professor of Art History, CSULB.

A richly illustrated catalogue , also called Robert Irwin: Site Determined, is available for purchase and is published by the UAM and DelMonico Books•Prestel.  It includes historical and interpretive essays written by specialists on Irwin’s art, Dr. Matthew Simms, Sally Yard, and Ed Schad, with an introduction by UAM Director, Kimberli Meyer. To order a catalogue please contact Membership Coordinator Shirley Brilliant

color pencil drawing on mylar
Robert Irwin
Marfa Color Plan (2002)
Color pencil on Mylar
Sheet: 30 x 42 inches
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Promised gift of L.J. Cella
Photograph: Pablo Mason
© 2018 Robert Irwin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Robert Irwin


Exhibition, publication, and programming funding was granted by the Contemporary Collectors of Orange County, the Pasadena Art Alliance, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Port of Long Beach, the Arts Council for Long Beach, the City of Long Beach, and the Miller Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Museum Studies Program at CSULB; the CSULB Instructionally Related Activities Fund; CSULB Associated Students, Inc.; the Ware Endowment; the Charles and Elizabeth Brooks Endowment; the Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibition and Education Programs; Dr. Ronald and Sylvia Hartman; Donna Mills; Bryan Cooke; Daryl and Sandy Phillips, Phillips Steel Company; Larry Bell.

The "Window Wall" conservation project is made possible by generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Elaine Ridder, Tom and Barbara Peckenpaugh, Dr. Ronald and Sylvia Hartman, Michael and Susan Davis, Michael and Lynn Stearns, Helen and Stanley Molles, and Judy Ross. The UAM is also indebted to the Getty Conservation Institute, Rosa Lowinger and Associates, and Facilities Management at CSULB for partnering with us on the conservation.

More long-form information on Robert Irwin: Site Determined 

Eileen Cowin, Untitled (1986), Polaroid diptych, Permanent Collection of the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach
Eileen Cowin
Untitled (1986)
Polaroid diptych
24 x 40 inches
Gift of FHP Hippodrome Gallery, Long Beach, California 1988.29 
Permanent Collection of the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach

Under Cover: Where Collection and Archive Meet

January 29 – April 15, 2018

Connecting innovative contemporary art with archival video footage, Under Cover: Where Collection and Archive Meet, brings important artworks from the UAM Collection into the light and views featured artists' practice through a new lens. This exhibition highlights four artists – Eileen Cowin, Walton Ford, Barbara Kasten, and Rita Letendre -- who all had important solo exhibitions at the UAM, have artwork in the UAM Permanent Collection, and videos in the UAM Archive.

The UAM tradition of working with significant contemporary artists has created not only an art-historically important collection spanning decades, but a deep archive to support that work, full of historic photos, ephemera, and videos.  In the last five years, steps have been taken to digitize the videos in the UAM Archive, as the sound and picture quality of VHS and Beta formats steadily decreases with time. These videos, though gritty, provide unique insight into these artists’ practices, often in their own words, and can be an enlightening accompaniment to the artwork itself.

This exhibition was made possible by support from the CSULB Instructionally Related Activities Fund; the Ware Endowment; the Charles and Elizabeth Brooks Endowment; the Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibition and Education Programs; and the Bess J. Hodges Foundation. We would also like to thank Dr. Ronald and Sylvia Hartman for their ongoing support.  Special thanks to former UAM Registrar and Curator of the Permanent Collection, Angela Barker, for spearheading the video digitization project at a critical moment to save the materials.