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Cal State LA celebrates seven decades of alumni art at ‘Legacies’ exhibition

September 10, 2017
Artists stand in front of a wall of photographs.

Cal State LA celebrates seven decades of alumni art at ‘Legacies’ exhibition

September 10, 2017
Artists stand in front of a wall of photographs.
By Cal State LA News Service

California State University, Los Angeles is celebrating acclaimed alumni who have made lasting contributions to the world of art with the “Legacies” exhibition.

The Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery was packed with more than 300 guests who admired a wide range of work at the September 9 opening.

The exhibit, organized in commemoration of the University’s 70th anniversary, was conceived and curated by renowned artist and Cal State LA alumnus Mark Steven Greenfield. “Legacies” showcases work from different genres that spans seven decades and will be on display at the Fine Arts Gallery until September 30, Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.

Greenfield said “Legacies” is a testament to the exceptional talent that has emerged from the Cal State LA Department of Art. “What I want to do is really focus attention on that,” he told guests at the exhibition.

Legacies features works by distinguished artists Linda Arreola, Joan Carl, Kim Dingle, Daniel Douke, Kathi Flood, Mark Steven Greenfield, Calista Lyon, Kaz Oshiro, John Thomas Riddle, Jr., Frank Romero, Ben Sakoguchi, Norman Schwab, Kent Twitchell, Lisa Diane Wedgeworth and La Monte Westmoreland.

“These are all artists I wanted to show with for a long time,” said Greenfield, whose art teacher in high school was Riddle.

Ben Sakoguchi at Legacies exhibition.Greenfield earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from Cal State LA in 1987. He was an arts administrator for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, serving first as the director of the Watts Towers Arts Center and the Towers of Simon Rodia, and later as director of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally and across the United States.

A highlight of “Legacies” is Riddle’s collection of ammunition boxes created during the height of the Vietnam War. This installation has rarely been shown in its entirety and is made possible through the generous cooperation of the California African American Museum.

Among the featured pieces is Red Chevy, a colorful oil-on-wood depiction of a stylish lowrider by Romero, a pioneering Chicano artist. Other works contain a more somber message, such as Towers by Sakoguchi. The acrylic-on-canvas piece uses vivid imagery to portray several internment camps where people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II, including the camp in Poston, Arizona, where Sakoguchi and his family were held.

As he stood next to his pencil-on-board sketches of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Steve McQueen, Twitchell expressed his appreciation for the education he received at Cal State LA and the opportunity to have his art displayed at “Legacies.”

“I am just humbly honored to be part of this exhibit and have my work shown with these incredible artists,” Twitchell said.

Photos: Above, Exhibition curator Mark Steven Greenfield and Professor Mika Cho, director of the Fine Arts Gallery, next to several Kent Twitchell sketches. Bottom, Artist Ben Sakoguchi explains his Towers piece, which features World War II internment camps, including the facility where he and his family were held. (Credit: Gareth Mackay/Cal State LA)