I n t r o d u c t i o n

Conceived by John O'Brien and underwritten by the Pasadena Art Alliance, Open House features the efforts of twenty-one invited artists who, working individually and in groups, have been assigned one of thirteen rooms or spaces that exist in a typical house. These areas have been transformed into site-specific installations that reveal the artists' understanding and involvement with the meaning of each particular space.

In the 1950s television established the ideal model of the post-war American home, with its concentric issues of close-knit families, homogenous culture, and social prosperity. During the social unrest of the 60s and early 70s, those ideals were largely dismantled and scattered in disarray. In the recent past, family-centered notions have been revived and displayed as topics of partisan political strategy. This exhibition is meant to be an examination of the nature of "house" and "home." The cultural, artistic, political, and personal meanings behind those terms are expressed by the accrued vision of all the artists' room installations.

Managing an exhibition of so many artists in so many spaces is no small endeavor, and the job of mediating all parties and square footage concerned fell to the guest-curator, John O'Brien. John is no stranger to this challenge, having initiated several similar projects here in Los Angeles and in Italy over the past few years. Under his calm articulation and thoughtful direction the project has proceeded in a remarkably smooth manner. Likewise, the challenge of constructing a virtual house in the Williamson Gallery prior to the artists' arrival and under the pressure of a tight schedule was daunting, and it was met admirably by Williamson Gallery Associate Curator Julian Goldwhite and his skilled crew. With the same schedule making their already busy lives even more difficult, Design Director Darin Beaman, Creative Director Stuart Frolick, and the Art Center Design Office have done a remarkable job with the production of the exhibition catalogue.

Open House is the second of the Pasadena Art Alliance's biennial exhibitions to be hosted by the Williamson Gallery, the first being Hollywood Hollywood; Identity Under the Guise of Celebrity in 1992, curated by artist Fred Fehlau. The Art Alliance has been a mainstay of funding for contemporary art in this region for decades, and their continued support for Art Center scholarships and the Williamson Gallery program is greatly appreciated.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the artists in this exhibition. Producing installations is more often than not a labor of love for these individuals, demanding inordinate amounts of uncompensated time. We have tried to make the process as painless as possible, but in even the best of circumstances the artists end up giving enormously of themselves. They have my deepest gratitude.

Stephen Nowlin
Vice President
Director, Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery