HomeCommunity NewsForest Lawn Museum Showcases ‘Grand Views’ Exhibition

Forest Lawn Museum Showcases ‘Grand Views’ Exhibition

The Forest Lawn Museum, in collaboration with the Velaslavasay Panorama, is proud to present “Grand Views: The Immersive World of Panoramas,” an exhibition that will be open to the public starting today, May 13, through Sept. 10.
The exhibition explores the history of panoramic paintings, an immersive, large-scale artistic format popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries. Presented by two distinguished, decades-old arts institutions and panorama experts, “Grand Views” will feature an array of artworks and artifacts spanning the late 18th century to present, including never-before-displayed preparatory paintings, 19th century prints and posters, a painted movie backdrop and more.
Organized thematically, the exhibition addresses three major topics: the early history of panoramas, crucifixion panoramas, and panoramas in Hollywood and Los Angeles. In addition, Forest Lawn will launch a new documentary-style audio visual program on Jan Styka’s “Crucifixion.”

One centerpiece of the exhibition is artist Sara Velas’ “Panorama of the Valley of the Smokes.” Painted by Velas, founder of the Velaslavasay Panorama, in 2000, the painting visualizes the natural landscape of Los Angeles before the city became a metropolis and in the century prior to the arrival of the film industry. Archival photographs, ephemera and a newly constructed model of the rotunda, where “Valley of the Smokes” was originally displayed will be exhibited alongside the artwork.
The exhibition will also include prints, broadsides and other artworks from the late-18th through the early 20th centuries. These rare objects are related to panoramas exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia throughout the “heritage era” of the panoramic medium. The artifacts address topics ranging from world travel to the American Civil War.
The Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection, located next to Forest Lawn Museum, showcases the “Crucifixion,” which was painted by Polish artist Jan Styka in the 1890s. The exhibition features original artifacts related to Styka’s colossal painting and other crucifixion panoramas. The “Resurrection,” which was painted by American artist Robert Clark, is also on display in the Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection. Completed in 1965, Clark’s work was commissioned by Forest Lawn as a companion to Styka’s painting.

“Grand Views” features never-before-displayed preparatory paintings for the “Resurrection,” including works by Clark, fine artist and Disney Imagineer, Herbert Ryman, and artist Allyn Cox, who has painted murals in the United States Capitol.
Panoramic paintings have long influenced cinema and other immersive media formats. The final section of the exhibition offers a Hollywood backdrop, which was painted in the 1950s. It is displayed alongside other cinema artifacts, including original film strips on loan from 3-D SPACE (The Center for Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education).
“As the home to the largest panoramic painting in the Western United States, Forest Lawn is thrilled to bring this immersive panoramic experience to our community, and particularly, to Hollywood, where large-scale painted backdrops have transformed studio lots into the settings for countless films,” said James Fishburne, Forest Lawn Museum director. “We are grateful to collaborate with our knowledgeable and inventive partner, the Velaslavasay Panorama, for this exhibition.”
Sara Velas, who also serves as co-president of the International Panorama Council, said: “We are excited to celebrate panoramas, to showcase a range of artworks and artifacts, and to create continuity among the long history of the art form and the ways it continues to evolve alongside technological and artistic advances in the 21st century.”
The exhibition is co-curated by Velas, Fishburne and Ruby Carlson. Carlson is a writer and co-curator at the Velaslavasay Panorama.
There will be an opening reception Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at Forest Lawn Museum. The evening will include free exhibition tours, live music and complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The free, family-friendly event includes free parking, and is open to the public, ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible.
Guests are invited to RSVP to museum@forestlawn.com or (323) 340-4782.

First published in the May 13 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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