Helen and Newton Harrison: California Work

September 20, 2024-January 19, 2025


As part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time 2024, the La Jolla Historical Society is organizing an extensive project on the work of husband-and-wife team of Helen and Newton Harrison, who were among the earliest and most notable ecological artists. The exhibition and accompanying catalog explores the Harrison’s juncture of art, science, ecology, and social activism, and will focus on the Harrisons' California work produced between the late 1960s and the 2000s. At a time when ecology was becoming a fashionable topic, the Harrisons pushed conceptual art in new directions, from their efforts to make topsoil—endangered in many places—to their transformation of a Pasadena debris basin into a recreational area. The couple, who met while working at the University of California San Diego, agreed that they would do no work that did not benefit the ecosystem. Helen and Newton Harrison: California Work will rediscover the Harrisons' breakthrough ecological concepts and techniques through re-staged performance artworks, drawings, paintings, photography, collages, maps, archival documentation of large-scale installations, and unrealized proposals for real-world ecological solutions. This multi- venue exhibition will include presentations at the La Jolla Historical Society, San Diego Public Library Central Library Gallery, California Center for the Arts Escondido, and the Mandeville Art Gallery at UC San Diego. Curated by Titiana Sizonenko.

About Pacific Standard Time. Focused on the intersection of science and art, the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time (PST) 2024 will be the third regional collaboration in the series. This iteration will present an ambitious range of exhibitions and public programs that explores the connections between the visual arts and science, which have long shared moments of unity, conflict, and mutual insight. This PST theme connects these moments and creates an opportunity for civic dialogue around the urgent problems of our time.

For additional information see the Getty Foundation.