Recently I wrote about seeking out smaller museums when on the road. Well I have to add the Long Beach Museum of Art to the list. Last weekend I visited Long Beach for the first time. The setting of the museum itself is a winner. It was warm and sunny (definitely not San Francisco in the Summer). The museum sits on a bluff overlooking a beach and the expanse of Long Beach Harbor with the Pacific as a backdrop. It’s a two building museum with an historic Arts & Crafts house and an architecturally appropriate contemporary museum building that houses most of the collection.
The current highlight of the museum is an exhibit called Ray Turner: Population. Long Beach artist Ray Turner has a created a series of portraits of the people of Long Beach. They are all done on thick plates of glass and installed in a grid. Phenomenal painting plus a grid — I was in heaven. If this show was up in San Francisco, I’d have to see it three or four times before it left town. Like so much great painting, photographs just do not do the work justice. The show is only up in Long Beach until September 11th. From there it travels to a museum in the Midwest. This is a work in progress and I hope it can make a stop up in the Bay Area sometime in 2012.