John Paul Jones: A Retrospective

April 4 – May 8, 2009
Curator |  Begovich Gallery Director, Mike McGee

About the Exhibition

Marking the ten-year anniversary of the death of Southern California artist John Paul Jones (1924-1999), Cal State Fullerton Main Art Gallery Director Mike McGee organized the most ambitious and inclusive retrospective to date of a lifetime of artwork by this nationally recognized artist. The exhibition John Paul Jones: A Retrospective included more than 100 prints, paintings and sculptures, requiring two separate venues in order to exhibit such a large body of artwork concurrently: Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton and the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion at Orange Coast College.

John Paul Jones was widely exhibited and celebrated as an artist in the 1950s, 60s and 70s—both internationally and in Southern California. He was also acknowledged as the founder of the printmaking programs at UCLA and at UCI. By the 1960s, Jones was recognized as one of the pioneers of the renaissance in Amerian printmaking spearheaded by Mauricio Lasansky with whom he studied at the University of Iowa. Always known as an “artist’s artist,” he was one of the stars of the early Los Angeles contemporary art scene. He was given his first, major solo exhibition in 1963 at the Brooklyn Museum and a retrospective at the Municipal Art Gallery in Los Angeles in 1984. Despite such acclaim, Jones is astonishingly little remembered today. This retrospective exhibition and accompanying publication will give definition to his remarkable career as a printmaker, painter and sculptor and more clearly define Jones’s contribution to American Art.

Jones’s artwork appears in over 50 public art collections and museums in the United States and other countries; these include the Brooklyn Museum, Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, D.C.), National Museum (London), Des Moines Art Center (Des Moines, Iowa) and Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut). During his lifetime he had more than 40 one-person exhibitions in major museum and art centers and his artwork was exhibited in over 100 important group exhibitions worldwide. The artist was also the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including Guggenheim Fellowship (1960-61), two Tamarind Fellowships (1962 and 1980) and a Spanish Government Fellowship (1963).

A 144-page catalog accompanys the exhibition, with essays by curator Mike McGee and Susan Landauer, author of The Not-so-still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture (2003) and Elmer Bischoff: The Ethics of Paint (2001) and contributing writer for Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond (2006). The publication includes a transcribed interview with June Wayne, founder of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop.

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