Past Exhibitions


Soot and Water: Gyotaku Records of Catalina
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Artists' Plaza Gallery
June 2020 - November 1, 2020

Conceived in mid-19th century Japan as a way to record impressive fishing catches, gyotaku prints are sublime tributes to the struggle, and the respect, between man and the denizens of the deep. As one of the few artists practicing the traditional Japanese methods involving sumi and washi (ink and paper), Dwight Hwang's remarkable works reveal a tenderness and reverence for both the fish he is immortalizing and the legacy of the gyotaku craft.

Sponsored by

Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
June 20, 2020 - September 27, 2020

This exhibition provides an intimate look at Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s most prolific and well-known female artist, through the photographic lens of her long-time friend and lover, Nickolas Muray. The photographs, dating from 1937 to 1946, explore Muray’s unique perspective; in the 1930s and 1940s he was Frida Kahlo's friend, lover and confidant. Muray's photographs bring to light Kahlo's deep interest in her Mexican heritage, her life and the people significant to her with whom she shared a close friendship.

Generously Sponsored by:

Friends of the Museum, Schreiner Family

Kellie and Gary Johnson

This traveling exhibition has been organized through the Nickolas Muray Archives and is circulated by GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Catalina Paintings: Night and Day
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
February 8, 2020 - June 7, 2020

Night and Day explores visions of Catalina through the eyes and palettes of contemporary plein air painters. The natural island beauty and bustling seaside community of Avalon have long been a draw for artists and painters. This exhibition focuses on the virtuosity of those who captured the island during dawn, day, dusk and dark and celebrates their success in bringing the impressionist technique back from the twilight to advance the contemporary plein air movement. 

Enjoy artwork from this exhibition through digital puzzles. Click here to try it!

Esther Williams: The Swimming Queen of the Silver Screen
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Artists' Plaza Gallery
September 6, 2019 - March 8, 2020

Esther Williams dazzled movie audiences around the world in her aqua-musical films. This exhibition chronicles Williams’ life from humble beginnings to her success as a champion athlete, a major Hollywood celebrity and an entrepreneur. Imagery from Jupiter’s Darling filmed on the island will be highlighted in this exhibition which also includes movie memorabilia, costumes, photographs and never-before-seen personal home movies. 

Wrigley's Catalina: A Centennial Celebration
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
February 16, 2019 - January 19, 2020

This special exhibition commemorates William Wrigley Jr. and the execution of his vision for Catalina Island - especially during his first year of ownership: 1919.  From selling lots to residents, building new homes, shops, hotels, infrastructure and utilities, to improving industry such as mining, production of furniture and building supplies to transportation, the addition of a professional sports team and more, Wrigley’s achievements exemplify his devotion to Catalina Island, its residents and visitors.  The exhibition reveals his remarkable and ambitious plan using photographs, letters, original documents, plans, blueprints, maps, steamship artifacts, advertisements,

tools and objects relating to the various projects and industries.  The exhibition also offers patrons a rare angle from the inside of the operation, infused with Wrigley’s energy, integrity, and unique jovial spirit. A number of items, such as the Wrigley family Bible, have never before been exhibited.

Bird Park: An Aviary for Avalon's Celebrity Birds
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Artists' Plaza Gallery
October 20, 2018 - August 18, 2019

Situated in Avalon Canyon and home to thousands of species of rare and exotic birds, Catalina’s world-renowned Bird Park was the most enchanting locale in Catalina Island’s history.  It began as a passionate dream of E.H. Lewis, former California Fish and Game Commission employee, visionary wildlife conservationist, and self-professed “bird man.” With the enthusiastic support and funding from William Wrigley Jr., he created a haven for rare birds, a research facility for scientists, and an attraction that delighted hundreds of thousands of visitors to Catalina Island, offering them a wonderland they would never experience elsewhere.

Between 1929 and 1966, no visit to Catalina Island was complete without a jovial hour or two spent enjoying the antics of the park’s fanciful birds. This exhibition showcases some of the park’s legendary bird personalities, including Jimmy the Mynah bird and Alma the Macaw. Artwork inspired by its whimsical residents, including rare pottery pieces created at Avalon’s own Catalina Clay Products factory, artifacts, photographs, news articles, and archival film footage are included.

Peter Shire Sculpture Installation
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Artists' Plaza and Schreiner Family Plaza
January 2018 - February 2019

A graduate of the famous Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, Peter Shire has an impressive exhibition record. In addition to many group shows, his works have been exhibited in numerous solo shows, in his hometown, Los Angeles, nationally and internationally in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and Sapporo. Shire’s works are in many public collections and museums in the U.S. and abroad. 

This installation marks the beginning of a new initiative that will bring sculpture art from Southern California artists to the museum’s second level on a yearly basis. 

“Catalina has all of the romance and nostalgia of the mythology that surrounds California beach culture, which really has more to do with the 50s and 60s than the 21st century. Which provides a chance for people from all over the world to experience something that is lost on the mainland.

To be able to bring my sculptures to the Catalina Island Museum is almost as good as having a 56 Ford, F100 to cruise Lindon Avenue in Carpenteria in 1958.” 

- Peter Shire

When Sugar Loaf Stood: Early Catalina Paintings
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
October 7, 2018 - January 27, 2019

Until its complete destruction in 1929 Sugar Loaf Rock was a defining geologic feature of Catalina Island’s tranquil Avalon Bay. Gracing the western most point of the bay, the conical rock ascended more than 50 feet into the air and served as a marker for navigation and as a place of interest and exploration for island visitors. The transformation of Avalon Bay’s natural landscape parallels two vital periods in history: the development of Catalina Island into a wealthy resort destination and the California Impressionist artistic movement. This exhibition brings together 30 paintings by more than a dozen distinguished artists of the California Impressionist period.

Houdini: Terror on the Magic Isle
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Artists' Plaza Gallery
May 5, 2018 - October 7, 2018

Escape artist Harry Houdini delved into the magic of moviemaking toward the end of his career. This unique exhibition focuses on the 1920 adventure film Terror Island in which he starred. Ephemera and movie props from the film made on Catalina Island, nicknamed The Magic Isle, are on display. The exhibition also highlights a real-life occurrence in Catalina's waters that placed Houdini in a precarious situation that ended in mystery. 

JAWS: The Art of Fear in Filmmaking
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
April 21 - September 16, 2018

Immerse yourself in the creative vision and artistic direction behind the movie JAWS. From the collection of the film's Production Designer, Joe Alves, comes the original storyboard drawings, scouting photos, behind-the-scenes photographs of the film crew in action, plus original props and ephemera from the film. This special exhibition includes life-size models of characters, scenes and sharks, of course, created by present-day special effects artists.

Destination Paradise: 100 Years of Catalina Advertising Design
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Artists' Plaza Gallery
December 30, 2017 - April 22, 2018

The art of luring visitors to Catalina is vividly presented in this exhibition. From hand drawn and painted signs to modern posters, the evolution of advertising the island through slogans, jingles and captivating designs is fully explored. Nostalgic and fun this exhibition includes images of early island attractions, the work of Otis and Dorothy Shepard who cohesively branded the island under Philip K. Wrigley and the continued messaging of a paradise destination.  

José Guadalupe Posada: Legendary Printmaker of Mexico
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
December 23, 2017 - April 8, 2018

Mexican Art comes to Catalina Island for the first time in this exhibition celebrating Mexico’s most prolific artist. José Guadalupe Posada’s images captured all aspects of daily life in Mexico City from 1889-1913, directly influenced artist like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, shaped the Mexican identity and continue to inform contemporary image making today. A wide representation of Posada’s work, including his famous Day of the Dead calaveras and the artist’s original printing plates, make up this first-of-its-kind exhibition. 

The exhibition features text in English and Spanish.

Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Grindstone Foundation Galleries
March 26 - December 11, 2017

Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum is the first major exhibition presented by the Catalina Island Museum since opening its new building this past summer. It is also the first time the museum has presented the work of a major living artist. Dale Chihuly has become one of the most recognized artists of his time. He is credited for pushing the boundaries of the glass medium. Previously considered a fragile material, Chihuly has taken glassblowing beyond the creation of singular symmetrical forms creating towering and gravity defying assembled sculptures. Chihuly has mastered the alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of glass in an effort to create works that transform the viewing 

experience. Some of his most iconic works and groundbreaking explorations in color, light and form are showcased in Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to enjoy a major museum exhibition of Chihuly's artwork in Southern California.


Steve and Ronna Schreiner, Santa Catalina Island Company, Jim and Joyce Brown, Steve and Ann Hinchliffe, Roy C Rose, Lysa Grigorian, Mick and Doris Miguelez, John and Caro Miguelez, Will and Linda Gassett, Smith-Welsh Foundation, Steve Mandel, Maggie's Blue Rose, Steve's Steakhouse

Art Nouveau and Graphic Art: The PAN Publications, 1895-1900
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Grindstone Foundation Galleries
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
October 29, 2016 - March 5, 2017

Published for only a short period of time (1895-1900), no expense was spared in putting the limited edition Art Nouveau publication together. PAN attracted the most important painters and graphic artists of its era to decorate its pages. The result: a visual art magazine full of plates, illustrations and vignettes presented in a multitude of printmaking processes in both black and white and full color. This exhibition documents the intent of PAN to shepherd its viewers into a new era of art making at the turn of the century, and the vision of PAN's founders to elevate graphic arts to a level on par with academic fine art of its day.

Art Nouveau and Graphic Art: The PAN Publications, 1895-1900 is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA in association with Denenberg Fine Arts, West Hollywood, CA.

Bon Voyage! Posters from the Golden Age of Travel
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Grindstone Foundation Galleries
SAPAP Gallery
November 12, 2016 - March 5, 2017

This modest in size, but bold in design exhibition features original French posters from the period of 1895-1935 created to entice travelers to new destinations. The exhibition is accompanied by vintage footage depicting the destinations and subject matter of the posters.

Bon Voyage! Posters from the Golden Age of Travel is organized by the Catalina Island Museum.

To the Wind that Will Blow Tomorrow...
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Grindstone Foundation Galleries
SAPAP Gallery
June 18 - November 6, 2016

Catalina Island’s natural beauty has attracted artists for decades, and painters have made it a favored locale for working en plein air, or “in the open air.”   Spontaneously painted to capture the fleeting effects of natural light, plein air painting has traditionally favored the landscape as subject matter. This exhibition takes a different approach, and demonstrates the character of Avalon--its people, its places and its way of life. The show presents the many faces of a town that can be bustling with visitors along its ocean front streets, only to change suddenly to become a place of serene and quiet beauty.  Roy Rose, a life-long resident of Avalon and a noted collector of Plein Air painting, has organized this exhibition, which is

partly derived from his own collection. It further benefits from exceptional loans from numerous private collections located throughout Avalon.

"To the wind that will blow tomorrow, no one lends an ear; and yet the heroism of modern life surrounds us and presses against us…"   - Charles Baudelaire

Bettie Page Uncovered: The Unknown Photographs of Bunny Yeager
The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building
Grindstone Foundation Galleries
John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery
June 18 - October 16, 2016

She has been described as the “Queen of Pinups” and a “Pulp Goddess.”  She was one of the most photographed models of the 1950s, and Hugh Hefner, who published a famous photograph of her in 1955, called her “an iconic figure in pop culture.”  Bettie Page continues to be one of the most popular celebrities of all time, ranking just behind Albert Einstein.  But in 1953, the first volley of the “sexual revolution” that was to transform American life in the 1960s, had just been fired with the publication of the second volume of the Kinsey Reports and Playboy Magazine.  Page unwittingly entered the fray when she was summoned to testify before a Congressional Subcommittee charged with investigating how America’s youth

was being driven to delinquency by men’s magazines, comic books and…well, Bettie Page.  She was labeled “notorious,” and Page retreated to the sunny climes of Miami.  Soon after, she disappeared from public view entirely.  

This is the first museum exhibition in California dedicated to Bettie Page and is derived from a recently discovered archive of nearly 1,000 photographs by the “legendary” Bunny Yeager.  Executed in Miami during 1954 over a nine-month period, Yeager’s photographs are the most “celebrated” ever executed of Page.  They were once described by American Photo as a  “body of imagery that remains some of the most memorable—and endearing—erotica on record.”   Known for the sensitivity with which she approached women models, these extraordinary photographs reveal why, upon Yeager’s death in 2014, the New York Times wrote: “She is widely credited with helping turn the erotic pinup—long a murky enterprise in every sense of the word—into high photographic art.”

© 2021 by Catalina Island Museum

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