LB Museum Blue 04FIN

Photos by Brian Addison.

The moment you walk into Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA)’s upcoming exhibition, The Many Moods of Blues, you are greeted by Long Beach-born sculptor Laddie John Dill’s Bird Series [pictured below].

The mixed-media piece—an amalgamation of cement, glass, and pigment—is anything but melancholy, the go-to metaphor for blue. Rather, the piece evokes a sense of playfulness mixed with edginess: it explodes off the wall and, like much of the exhibit, offers a view of blue that runs across a spectrum—from aspects of wealth, power and identity—more than relying on a single focal point.

LBMuseum Blue 01“I was so pleased to see the color continue out to the wall,” said LBMA’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions Sue Ann Robinson, pointing to Elsa Warner’s Blue Lake No. 4. “That piece is very abstract but if you can imagine if this piece on a white wall, it goes flat.”

The pieces offer a different take from the permanent collection, from which all of the pieces hail. Blue follows LBMA’s previous exhibition Red, which was a surprise hit for Robinson.

Red was, again from our permanent collection, a coordination with International City Theatre’s production of Red,” Robinson said. “There was a great response to it—particularly artists. I was pleasantly surprised so I thought with this, let’s go to blue. We’re not sure if we’ll go to green or what-not.”

Spanning two large rooms—and ending with a small Rauschenberg exhibit called Cardbirds and Currents, where one of his famous Cardbirds is shown as well as the Surface Series from Currents—the exhibition spans multiple decades of blue, from the high-end of modernism of the late 50s and early 60s to contemporary photography in the 2000s.

The exhibits will run from February 6 to March 23. For more information, call 562-439-2119 or visit

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