Hal Glicksman (b. 1937) was an important figure on the Los Angeles art scene in the 1960s and 1970s, curating bold exhibitions at the Pomona College Art Gallery; the Art Gallery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI); and the Otis Art Institute Gallery.
In 1963, he met Walter Hopps during a retrospective of the works of Marcel Duchamp at the Pasadena Art Museum. As a young student living in Venice Beach, Glicksman witnessed the Beat Generation firsthand and came into contact with artists such as Ben Talbert and Fred Mason. He also developed an interest in the work of George Herms, Wallace Berman and Bruce Conner from the San Francisco scene. In 1968, Glicksman co-curated an exhibition of California assemblage art with Hopps and John Coplans, helping the movement gain recognition among traditional art circles.
Starting in 1969, Glicksman became heavily involved in site-specific art projects at Pomona College. Although Michael Asher and Tom Eatherton are conventionally associated with two markedly different trends—Institutional Critique and Light and Space—they share a propensity for transforming the exhibition space in a way that provides visitors with a singular experience. Writing about California installation art, Italian critic Germano Celant noted: “These spaces (...) being permeated with emptiness and nothingness, immobility and non-images, do in fact bring on a state of concentration and inward meditation. They seem to take one into non-matter, but this sensation turns out to be ‘full of things.’”
In 1972, as director of the art gallery at UCI, Glicksman curated shows of assemblage and Chicano art while continuing to explore site-specific art through exhibitions of the works of Bruce Nauman, Larry Bell, Peter Alexander, and Jane Reynolds.
There are strong parallels between Glicksman’s career and the MAMCO collection. For one thing, both are associated with Conceptual artists such as Maria Nordman, Sol LeWitt, and Rosemarie Castoro. They also share strong ties with Guy de Cointet, an artist whom Glicksman and his wife Mary Ann Duganne worked with throughout their careers, and many of whose works are held in the museum’s collection. In 2022, the Glicksmans made their first donation to MAMCO. This year, they donated another, larger set of works to be shared between the museum and the Kunsthaus Pasquart in Biel/Bienne. In addition to presenting a visual overview of the California art scene, this generous donation provides insight into the prevailing culture and its famous—and lesser-known—figures through a range of documents.
Exhibition curated by Julien Fronsacq and Paul Bernard, in collaboration with the Kunsthaus Pasquart in Biel/Bienne