SAN MARINO, Calif.— An exhibition opening next week at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens will present a fresh, vibrant group of new works by seven artists responding to research they conducted in The Huntington’s vast collections over the past year. The exhibition “Collection/s: WCCW/five at The Huntington,” on view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art from Nov. 18, 2017, through Feb. 12, 2018, is part of an initiative called “/five.” The installation features paintings, sculpture, textiles, video, and writings by artists Olivia Chumacero, Sarita Dougherty, Jheanelle Garriques, Zya S. Levy, Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh), Soyoung Shin, and Juliana Wisdom, who were selected in collaboration with the Los Angeles-based Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW). Objects in the exhibition include an archive of Sappho-inspired love letters on handmade paper, plaster castings of cacti, a video created in uncultivated areas of the Huntington’s grounds, and porcelain vessels and a tapestry inspired by 18th-century French masterworks.
The /five initiative is a contemporary art collaboration between The Huntington and five different organizations over five years that invites artists to respond to a range of themes drawn from The Huntington’s deep and diverse library, art, and botanical collections. The initiative is led by Catherine Hess, The Huntington’s chief curator of European art and interim director of its art collections and Jenny Watts, The Huntington’s curator of photography and visual culture. In /five’s first year (2016), The Huntington collaborated with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laborary (JPL) to present the sound sculpture “Orbit Pavilion,” which referenced The Huntington’s history of aerospace, astronomy, and Earth science collections.
For the second year of the initiative, The Huntington chose WCCW, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that cultivates feminist creative communities and practices, to explore the theme of collecting and collections.
“Henry Huntington was a collector at heart,” said Watts. “He began with books and moved on to land, plants, and, with the guidance of his wife Arabella, British and European art. The Huntingtons—who excluded women from the professional staff—surely never anticipated the myriad challenging, provocative, and insightful ways in which these 21st-century artists would interpret the collections, living and not.”