In 2009, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Westways magazine celebrated its centennial as the region’s longest continuously published magazine. Originally named Touring Topics, one of the magazine’s early editors, Phil Townsend Hanna, began a program to commission cover art from California artists in 1928. His move reflected a shift in the magazine’s content from automobile-related topics to a broader examination of cultural and recreational activities, and Hanna was able to recruit highly respected artists for the program, which was continued by his successors until 1981.
Featuring 44 works, the PMCA exhibition includes notable California artists such as Alson Clark, Maynard Dixon, John Frost, and Donna Schuster from the plein air period, and noteworthy watercolorists such as Rex Brandt, Phil Dike and Maurice Logan. The works trace prominent stylistic movements of the 1940s through 1970s such as California watercolor, Pop Art and assemblage. In the last decades of the cover-art program, the magazine explored on the eclectic Los Angeles art scene by featuring covers from diverse artists such as Jan Sawka, Paul Hogarth and Merle Shore.
This exhibition is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art in cooperation with the Automobile Club of Southern California, and is curated by Matthew W. Roth and Morgan P. Yates.
Maynard Dixon, The Airplane, 1930, gouache
Earnie Kollar, Pier Fishing at San Pedro, April 1970, acrylic, 19 x 25 inches
Jan Sawka, Sunset Strip, October 1978, acrylic/ink, 16 x 22 inches
Images courtesy of the Automobile Club of Southern California