Smart state of mind

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Staff Writer

The Smart Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit of mid-century Californian conceptual art through mid-January. The show, entitled “State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970,” features more than 150 works by 60 artists in media including photography, video and installation.

The Hyde Park showing is “State of Mind’s” last stop on a cross-country tour of six cities, including Vancouver, San Jose and New York City, coordinated by Independent Curators International. The show, which debuted in Oct. 2011 at the Orange County Museum of Art, was curated by Karen Moss and Constance Lewallen.

Lewallen, an adjunct curator at the Berkeley Art Museum, and Moss, an adjunct curator at the Orange County Art Museum, spent years researching and preparing for the show, which received a grant as part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative.

“State of Mind” features work by a range of lesser- and well-known artists, from both the northern and southern regions of California. Prominent multimedia artists featured in the show include Chris Burden and Paul Kos, whose work has been on display at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

“Historically, California conceptualism was not being given its due,” Moss said.

“California was the center of a lot of the social and political activism, the counter-culture, a lot of artistic production in the art schools, and there was some very important work done that was not necessarily in the art history textbooks,” Moss said.

“In general, I think that in California there was a broader range of art being made, and it tended to be more experimental in a way, because it was so far from the center of the commercial art world,” Lewallen said, adding that this “afforded a certain kind of freedom and encouraged experimentation.”

“State of Mind” will run through Jan. 12. For more information about the exhibit, visit smartmuseum.uchicago.edu or call 773-702-0200.

j.bishku@hpherald.com