On March 15, the American chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) announced the winner of its annual AICA Awards honoring artists, curators and institutions for excellence in art exhibitions of the previous season (June 2010-June 2011. The University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach was recognized for “Best Show in a University Gallery” for its 2010 exhibit “Perpetual Motion: Michael Goldberg.” Two exhibits were chosen as winners in each of the 12 categories, and were selected by the 400 critics and other art experts who make up the association’s membership. The University Art Museum shares its recognition with the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. Of the 24 awardees, only 3 California museums or galleries were selected – the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a Los Angeles commercial gallery – Regen Projects, and the CSULB University Art Museum.
“Perpetual Motion: Michael Goldberg,” the winning exhibit, was shown at the University Art Museum (UAM) from September-December, 2010. It was curated by UAM Director Chris Scoates and Elizabeth Anne Hanson, a graduate student in the CSULB Art Department.
“To be acknowledged in the “Best Show in a University Gallery” category is so meaningful,” Scoates said. “The award, however, really goes to the entire UAM staff, who worked exceptionally hard to realize this important exhibition. For a small museum, this big award proves, once again, that we punch well above our weight.”
The show, which ran at the UAM from September 9-December 12, 2010, was an in-depth survey and a tribute to the artist Michael Goldberg (1924-2007). Goldberg’s body of work began in the 1940s with blunt, decisive, geometric shapes of primary color, and grew into a more gestural approach in the years that followed. He pushed the boundaries imposed upon second-generation Abstract Expressionists for more than 50 years. An abstract painter of the New York School, Goldberg was highly influenced by the works of Willem de Kooning, Arshille Gorky, and Clyfford Still. The award-winning and critically acclaimed exhibit spanned six decades of his prolific career, and included over 30 large-scale paintings and works on paper, including four seminal works from the UAM Gordon F. Hampton Collection.
“That this exhibition should be honored – as it has been by the AICA – speaks to Goldberg’s impact on a post-war, and distinctly American approach to painting,” explained Hanson. “This retrospective holds particular significance because it was the first to consider his place in American art. It is exciting to know that the UAM and CSULB can claim this tremendous honor.”
Christopher Miles, Chair of the CSULB Department of Art added, “What this award demonstrates, beyond acknowledging an excellently curated exhibition of work by a significant but under-exposed artist, is what great things can happen when an entity like the UAM dovetails with the academic mission of the university. That Elizabeth Hanson, while still a student, was able to collaborate with UAM Director Chris Scoates to produce an exhibition of this caliber exemplifies how well the UAM functions as a workspace and lab for students in our Art History and Museum Studies programs, and the high level of training students are getting in these programs.
The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Asia Society in New York on April 2. Both Chris Scoates and Elizabeth Hanson will be in attendance, representing California State University, Long Beach.