Browse Past Exhibitions

  • The Unauthorized History of of Baseball header

    The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings: The Art of Ben Sakoguchi

    April 7–September 4, 2016

    In a series of colorful, captivating, and often provocative paintings, Los Angeles artist Ben Sakoguchi (b. 1938) examined how baseball, long referred to as America’s national pastime, reflects both the highs and lows of American culture. The son of a grocer and avid baseball fan, Sakoguchi juxtaposed the iconic imagery of vintage orange crate labels from the 1920s to the 1950s with whimsical, eccentric, and sometimes scathing portrayals of America’s beloved sport.

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  • Hank Greenberg hitting a third inning homer against the Philadelphia Phillies, April 29, 1947.

    Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American

    April 7–October 30, 2016

    There are people whose contributions to baseball history went far beyond mere batting averages or stolen bases. From Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Fernando Valenzuela, and Ichiro Suzuki, these are players who didn’t just play the game—they changed the game. For generations of American Jews and other minorities, they served as athletic, cultural, and ethical role models. Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American celebrated baseball and highlighted the role of baseball’s game changers—not only major league players but also vendors, team owners, minor leaguers, amateur players, scouts, broadcasters, journalists, novelists, and fans—who challenged the status-quo and inspired the nation.

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  • teacher with students

    A Path Appears: Actions for a Better World

    November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016

    “Hope is like a path in the countryside. Originally, there is nothing, but as people walk this way again and again, a path appears,” wrote Chinese essayist Lu Xun.

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  • Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo

    Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo

    October 8, 2015–February 21, 2016

    Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo presented a selection of archival material and rare original artwork by California-born artist Miné Okubo (1912–2001), who was among the thousands of Japanese American citizens forced to leave their homes and businesses for incarceration camps during World War II. In an effort to document the injustices of the camps, Okubo created nearly 200 pen and ink drawings capturing her everyday life and struggles. These vivid, dramatic drawings were subsequently published as the graphic novel Citizen 13660 (1946), the first illustrated memoir chronicling the camp experience. This exhibition explored this exceptional book and brought Okubo’s personal and historical narrative to life. 

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  • manzanar sign entrance

    Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams

    October 8, 2015–February 21, 2016

    Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams presented a lesser-known dimension of celebrated photographer Ansel Adams’s body of work, and offered insight into a decisive and disquieting period in American history. Presented at the Skirball in association with the Japanese American National Museum, the exhibition featured fifty photographs by Adams of the Japanese American incarceration camp in Manzanar, California, during World War II. These photographs were the subject of Adams’s controversial book Born Free and Equal, published in 1944 while war was still being waged. The book protested the treatment of these American citizens and what Adams called their “enforced exodus.” Powerful forms of civic and artistic expression, the images spoke to the Skirball’s mission of confronting injustice, embracing diversity, and preserving community. Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams was curated by Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and organized by Photographic Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

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  • ingredients and kitchen equipment on a dinner table

    Petit Takett: Love, Legacy, and Recipes from the Maghreb

    September 1, 2015–February 21, 2016

    Sharing food is one of the most genuine forms of cultural exchange. Gathered at the dinner table, we reminisce, share stories, and engage with one another. Petit Takett: Love, Legacy, and Recipes from the Maghreb, an exhibition based on Los Angeles artist and photographer Orly Olivier’s Tunisian Jewish heritage, celebrated food as a powerful connection to the past. A diverse collection of original and historic photographs, family heirlooms, ephemera, and original letterpress posters illustrated the journey of Olivier’s family from Tunisia to Israel and finally to the United States, between the 1950s and the present.

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  • Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution

    Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution

    May 7, 2015–October 11, 2015

    Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution was the first comprehensive retrospective about the life and career of legendary rock impresario Bill Graham (1931–1991). Recognized as one of the most influential concert promoters in history, Graham launched the careers of countless rock & roll legends in the ’60s at his famed Fillmore Auditorium. He conceived of rock & roll as a powerful force for supporting humanitarian causes and was instrumental in the production of milestone benefit concerts such as Live Aid (1985) and Human Rights Now! (1988). As a promoter and manager, he worked with the biggest names in rock, including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones.

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  • Colored typography posters

    The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book

    Allen Ginsberg's Howl by Allen Ruppersberg

    May 7, 2015–August 23, 2015

    Allen Ruppersberg’s installation The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book paid tribute to Allen Ginsberg’s iconic poem Howl (1955–1956), a hallmark text of the ’50s Beat generation. In order to reinterpret the piece for contemporary audiences, Ruppersberg transcribed the poem into phonetic spellings and printed the “new” text on approximately 200 vibrantly colored commercial advertising posters installed floor to ceiling on gallery walls.

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  • Billboard for Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town

    Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip

    March 24, 2015–August 16, 2015

    Featuring more than twenty photographs of hand-painted billboards that dominated the Los Angeles landscape for almost two decades, this exhibition—displayed in the Skirball's community space known as the Ruby Gallery—brought to life a unique period in the history of rock & roll and the fabled Sunset Strip, whose nightclubs were the birthplace of rock & roll royalty. Photographer Robert Landau (b. 1953) traced the billboard phenomenon from the breakthrough promotion for the debut album by the Doors in 1967 to the advent of MTV in the 1980s, which signaled the end of an era.

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  • Silhouette of James Stewart against backlit sky from the move Harvey

    Light & Noir

    Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950

    October 23, 2014–March 1, 2015

    The exhibition Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 explored how the experiences of German-speaking exiles and émigrés who fled Nazi Europe—many of them Jews—influenced the classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Visitors learned in depth how beloved movies such as Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Casablanca, and Ninotchka were shaped by the light and dark experiences of these pioneering film artists.

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  • Artwork and books from Café Vienne exhibit

    Café Vienne

    October 23, 2014–March 10, 2015

    Café Vienne was a site-specific exhibition developed for the Skirball by Austrian artist Isa Rosenberger (b. 1969). Within this immersive installation, which paid tribute to the important cultural role of Viennese coffee houses, Rosenberger honored little-known Jewish writer Gina Kaus (1893–1985).

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  • Black and white photo of shadowy man standing outside the doorway of a store at night

    The Noir Effect

    October 23, 2014–March 1, 2015

    Following up where the exhibition Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 left off, The Noir Effect traced the influence of noir into more recent times, exploring how the genre has continued to impact American popular culture, art, and media. 

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  • Various photographs of people framed in red and blue frames on a wall covered in wallpaper with a pattern of pomegranites

    Fallen Fruit of the Skirball

    May 13–October 12, 2014

    For this exhibition, Los Angeles art collaborative Fallen Fruit (David Burns and Austin Young) and the Skirball Cultural Center came together to produce an immersive art installation that celebrated Jewish heritage, relationships, and love. 

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  • Collage illustration by Ezra Jack Keats showing a boy in red coat with hood looking at his footprints in the snow

    The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats

    April 10–September 7, 2014

    This exhibition showcased the evocative world of the pioneering author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), featuring more than eighty original works by the artist. Ranging from preliminary sketches and preparatory books to final paintings and collages, the works displayed in The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats explored a life and career that became an inspiration for generations of readers and authors.

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  • 3 posters

    To the Point

    Posters by Dan Reisinger

    January 14–May 11, 2014

    Dan Reisinger (b. 1934) is one of Israel’s design pioneers, known internationally for his innovative use of symbols and vibrant visual language. This exhibition presented a selection of his iconic posters spanning the past fifty years, including posters of social and political protest (1963–1993), advertisements commissioned by the airline EL AL (1968–1972), and a recent series focused on the changing architectural landscape of Tel Aviv (2012). Reisinger, who also created a fifty-meter-long wall relief for the Moshe Safdie–designed Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Israel, is known for producing work that conveys “maximum meaning” by “minimum means.”

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  • Hasidic Jew and a man and woman holding each other at Yad Vashem

    Global Citizen

    The Architecture of Moshe Safdie

    October 22, 2013–March 2, 2014

    Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie surveyed the renowned architect’s career from his formative period in the 1960s and early 1970s to his recent projects around the world, exploring his aesthetic language of transcendent light, powerful geometry, and iconic forms. Using sketches, models, photographs, and films of twenty-five projects, the exhibition portrayed Safdie's architecture not only as visual art but as a medium for advancing social, political, and cultural goals.

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  • Women Hold Up Half the Sky

    October 27, 2011—May 20, 2012

    The traveling exhibition Women Hold Up Half the Sky was inspired by the critically acclaimed book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

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For information about exhibitions presented prior to the ones listed here, please e-mail communications@skirball.org.