Laguna Art Museum Announces Ben Messick: Memories of Los Angeles


For Immediate Release: April 10, 2017

Media Contact: Cody Lee | 949.494.8971 x211


Ben Messick, Chess Players, c. 1936, oil on canvas, 40 x 38 inches, Collection of Peter and Gail Ochs


LAGUNA BEACH, CA (April 10, 2017) — On June 25, Laguna Art Museum will open Ben Messick: Memories of Los Angeles with a selection of works on paper and paintings. Ben Messick (1891-1981) is celebrated for his images of daily life in Los Angeles during the years of the Great Depression and World War II.

He grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, served in France in World War I, studied at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles from 1925 to 1930, and later taught there. Through most of the 1930s and 1940s Messick lived in an apartment at 2600 West 8th Street in Los Angeles, and everyday scenes in the nearby MacArthur Park (originally Westlake Park) were among his favorite subjects. Other happy hunting-grounds were Pershing Square and Olvera Street.

The foundation of Messick’s art was drawing. He was a superb draftsman who could work either from direct observation or from memory. For the expression and humor he brought to his paintings, drawings, and lithographs of ordinary Angelenos, he has been compared to Honoré Daumier, the keen-eyed chronicler of life in nineteenth-century Paris.

Messick was encouraged to take up lithography, the print technique most suited to his draftsmanship, by the art critic Arthur H. Millier. Beginning in 1939, he made thirty-eight lithographs, mostly with the Los Angeles printer Carl J. Winter.

The museum owns a number of Messick’s drawings and lithographs, supplemented in this exhibition with works on loan from other Southern California collections, including three of his finest paintings.


About Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. Its mission is to collect, care for, and exhibit works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. Through its permanent collection, its special loan exhibitions, its educational programs, and its library and archive, the museum enhances the public’s knowledge and appreciation of California art of all periods and styles, and encourages art-historical scholarship in this field.

Laguna Art Museum stands just steps from the Pacific Ocean in the beautiful city of Laguna Beach. The museum is proud to continue the tradition of the Laguna Beach Art Association, founded in 1918 by the early California artists who had discovered the town and transformed it into a vibrant arts community. The gallery that the association built in 1929 is part of today’s Laguna Art Museum.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach, on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Cliff Drive.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays
Closed Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day

General admission: $7.00
Students, seniors (60+), and active military: $5.00
Children under 12: FREE
Museum members: FREE

Media Contact: Cody Lee, Director of Communications | 949.494.8971 x211 |