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Exhibit Design & Museum-Related Projects: Norton Simon Museum

Alternate Realities

May 13–August 22, 2022


Alternate Realities focuses on four groundbreaking painters (John Altoon, Richard Diebenkorn,  Frank Lobdell and Emerson Woelffer) who were active in Los Angeles or the Bay Area in the 1950s and 1960s and who deployed figuration in an otherwise abstract expressionist vocabulary.

To give each artist equal weight, they were each presented in similar style, but given their own unique color signature; beginning with the title wall, then shown in their artist's biography within the exhibition. The wall color was neutral, allowing the colored sections to act as bookends for each artist.


Several unique cases were designed for the show, including pedestals to showcase fantastic Diebenkorn sketches to be viewed in the round. Plexiglass "sandwiches" were designed to show the prints in "invisible books" set upright on each pedestal.


All images are © Norton Simon Museum, 2022


Title wall with adjacent feature walls showcasing each artist.


The other two artists showcased on the angled title walls.


A pass-through opening in the title wall arrangement allowed for a long view into the exhibition, punctuated by a long central case and the bright pink wall in the last gallery.


Sketchbook leaves were shown on unique custom pedestals, so the sketches were visible from both sides.


Plexiglass "sandwiches" held the prints in place and replicated the way the sketches would have appeared in an "invisible" sketchbook.


Another example of the plexiglass case design, in horizontal proportions.


Section texts for each artists were highlighted in angled color fields that connected to the title wall.

For a video tour of the exhibition with curator Emily Talbot, click here.

For an highlight video tour, click here.

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