top of page

Laguna Art Museum - Wayne Thiebaud & Matthew Russell Rolston

Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. It collects, cares for, and exhibits works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. Through its permanent collection, its special loan exhibitions, its educational programs, and its library and archive, the museum enhances the public’s knowledge and appreciation of California art of all periods and styles, and encourages art-historical scholarship in this field.

Wayne Thiebaud: Clowns, which was scheduled to close on April 4, will be extended through October 24, 2021. The exhibition is the first museum showing of the recent series first unveiled in December 2019.

Born in 1920, Wayne Thiebaud is among the world’s most celebrated living artists. He remains best known for the still lifes of pies, cakes, desserts, candies, and other objects—lusciously painted, brightly colored, perfectly composed, and gently comic—that made his name in 1962, when an exhibition of his work in New York attracted rave reviews and, to his discomfort, led critics to see him as part of Pop Art. He has since become a contemporary master in the genres of landscape and cityscape as well, finding inspiration in the neatly cultivated Sacramento Valley and the vertiginous streets of San Francisco.

Over the past seven years Wayne Thiebaud has made dozens of paintings, drawings, and etchings of clowns. Like much of his work, this latest series is in a sense autobiographical. During his boyhood in Long Beach he looked forward to the visits of a traveling Ringling Brothers circus and sometimes helped out behind the scenes in exchange for tickets. The costumes, faces, and antics of the clowns were the beginning of a lifelong fascination for him. The clown series is its culmination, in which the 100-year-old artist revisits those early memories.

Laguna Art Museum will present the first institutional solo exhibition by acclaimed photographer Matthew Rolston on the West Coast, Matthew Rolston, Art People: The Pageant Portraits, from June 27 to September 19, 2021, curated by Dr. Malcolm Warner, former executive director of Laguna Art Museum. is an American artist, photographer, and director known for his signature lighting techniques and detailed approach to art direction and design. Born in Los Angeles, Rolston studied drawing and painting in his hometown at the Chouinard Art Institute and Otis College of Art and Design, as well as in the Bay Area at the San Francisco Art Institute. He also studied illustration, photography, imaging, and film at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, where in 2006, he received an Honorary Doctorate. In 1998, Rolston endowed the “Matthew Rolston Scholarship for Photography and Film,” at ArtCenter. He remains actively involved in this program as a mentor and lecturer on the subjects of modern communication techniques, fashion aesthetics and luxury brand strategies. Rolston’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the National Portrait Gallery (Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at The Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.), among others.

The exhibition, which consists of 18 monumental, high-resolution photographic works, some presented as multi-panel installations, takes as its subject the participants of an annual arts event in Laguna Beach, California—the Pageant of the Masters—known for its elaborate tableau vivant presentations. This context connects two of the most beloved cultural institutions of Laguna Beach, a city originally founded as an arts colony in the early 20th century, while celebrating the broader history of art and photography that defines the cultural heritage of California.

Filter Posts

bottom of page