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Laguna Art Museum to Present Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection

Peter Alexander (1939–2020), 1985, Oil and wax medium on paper mounted on canvas.

Laguna Art Museum will present On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection on view from March 23 through September 2, 2024. The exhibition reveals the vital role the Quinns played in both documenting and contributing to the story of Los Angeles art from the 1970s through the 1990s. The Quinn Family Collection explores the experimental approach to minimalism, new materials, and the diversification of practices. It illuminates a period of artmaking that became pivotal to understanding current practices and exudes the unique spirit of anti-conformity and the “California Cool” ethos, as stated by The Bakersfield Museum of Art where the exhibition was inaugurated in 2022.

On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection features over 100 artworks from some of the 20th century’s most renowned contemporary artists including Lita Albuquerque, Peter Alexander, Carlos Almaraz, Vija Celmins, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Charles Garabedian, John McCracken, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Quinn family for their generosity in sharing their extensive art collection with Laguna Art Museum,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of Laguna Art Museum. “The upcoming exhibition will serve as a celebration of Jack Quinn’s lasting legacy, Joan’s steadfast commitment to the arts, and the museum’s overarching mission of showcasing art that brings the California experience to life.”

At the heart of this collection is the enduring friendships that developed between the Quinn family and artists like Larry Bell, Lynda Benglis, Tony Berlant, Laddie John Dill, Frank Gehry, Kenny Price and many others. The Boston Globe said about their collection “The sensibility on display here is idiosyncratic, unpredictable, lively, uncalculated, a lot more about color than line, a lot less about theory than practice, open to representation and abstraction both. Various styles abound, but there isn’t a sense of jum-ble. Or it’s a jumble only to the extent that personality is a jumble.”

Joan and Jack have been avid collectors since their early years of marriage in the 1960s. Joe Goode once said the Quinns were a “primary support system for artists in L.A.” at a time when you could count the city’s art dealers on one hand.” Chuck Arnoldi stated, “Joan always has her finger on the pulse of artistic momentum and it has been an honor to be her friend all these years.”

Joan, a society columnist for publications such as Hearst’s Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the West Coast Editor for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, ensured her favorite artists gained visibility in the columns of prestigious magazines and newspapers. Friendships developed in the late 1950s as Quinn’s longtime friend Billy Al Bengston, the consummate connector and social leader of the West Coast art scene, introduced Joan and Jack to the Ferus Gallery artists including John Altoon, Edward Kienholz, and Ed Moses. Meanwhile Jack, an accomplished attorney, actively championed their circle by introducing them to the legal community and clientele through cocktail parties and luncheons. Notably, Jack was the first to transform the walls of his 3-floor law firm into a captivating art space, akin to a museum dedicated to both his friends and the broader community of artists. Exclusively showcasing the works of California contemporary artists in his office, Jack aimed to foster a sense of community and promote their friends’ works.

Joan, called “one of the most painted (and sketched, and sculpted) women alive” by W Magazine, has been a subject & inspiration for artists such as Steven Arnold, Don Bachardy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yolanda Gonzalez, George Herms, Marie Lalanne, Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton, among others. The exhibition includes over 25 portraits of Joan and the Quinn family, a poignant representation of friendship, appreciation, and respect.

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