LONG BEACH, CA – August 8, 2023 – Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum — Nancy Grave’s germinal work, Sequi, 1984, was installed on the lower quad of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) campus on July 25, 2023. Originally commissioned for and installed at the Wells Fargo Center on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles, the artist considered this sculpture to be one of her most important works. Gifted to Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum (the Museum) in 2022, it now stands near the College of Professional and Continuing Education after several months of planning and preparation between Museum leadership, Nancy Graves Foundation, Cooke’s Crating, and Beach Building Services of CSULB.
This exceptional work is a fitting addition to the Museum’s Art Park and outdoor sculpture collection that adorns the 320-acre CSULB campus. The original outdoor sculpture collection works predate the founding of the Museum in 1973; they originate from the 1965 International Sculpture Symposium, which saw nine sculptures commissioned and installed born out of innovative collaborations between established artists and industry. Like these initial public art works, Sequi used advanced techniques in partnership with manufacturing leaders.
Using techniques originating in the ancient world and developed during the Renaissance, Graves partnered with Tallix Foundry in upstate New York to cast each element of this sculpture using upscaled molds made from actual plants. Graves then hand-painted the surface with special paint developed by NASA contractors for vehicles used to explore space. This type of multidisciplinary collaboration is a hallmark of the Museum’s collection and of Grave’s oeuvre.
Sequi joins the diverse assembly of public art officially cared for by the Museum including eighteen sculptures, two murals, and a Millard Sheets mosaic. Graves sculpture becomes the twenty-first sculpture officially a part of the outdoor sculpture collection. The announcement of a twenty-second sculpture made in bronze, planned to be installed in the 2023–24 academic year, is coming soon.
Before her premature death, Graves was noted for integrating the social and natural sciences into a practice that ranges widely across media, including printmaking, drawing, painting, and sculpture. The Museum holds multiple works by Nancy Graves; all demonstrate a multidisciplinary approach and a strong sense of color—a hallmark of the Museum’s collection. Works such as these support the Museum’s commitment to further material innovation and multidisciplinary art practice while upholding its mission to be a community of people who examine, critique, and create contemporary art and culture.
Explore Art Park with Walking Tour Map
With this significant addition to the permanent collection now accessioned, the Museum celebrates by sharing educational opportunities with the public. Campus visitors are encouraged to use a self- guided Art Park walking tour map which can be viewed or downloaded online at csulb.edu/museum.
About Nancy Graves
Nancy Graves (1939–1995) is an American artist of international renown. A prolific cross- disciplinary artist, Graves created sculptures, paintings, drawings, watercolors, and prints. She also produced five avant-garde films and innovative set designs. Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Graves graduated from Vassar College in 1961. She then earned an MFA in painting at Yale University in 1964, where her classmates included Robert Mangold, Rackstraw Downes, Brice Marden, Chuck Close, as well as Richard Serra to whom she was married from 1964 to 1970. Five years after graduating from Yale, she was the youngest artist—and only the fifth woman—to be selected for a solo presentation at the Whitney Museum of Art. Graves’ work was subsequently featured in hundreds of museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide, including several solo museum exhibitions. She was awarded commissions for large-scale site-specific sculptures and her work is in the permanent collections of major art museums. A frequent lecturer and guest artist, her work was widely documented during her lifetime. In 1991 she married veterinarian Dr. Avery Smith. Graves travelled extensively and was fully engaged with the cultural and intellectual issues of her times. Her brilliant career and life were cut short by her untimely death from cancer at age 54.
About Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum
The Museum is a community of people who examine, critique, and create contemporary art and culture. It develops exhibitions and programs that serve students, campus communities, and the public, and works to build accessible educational opportunities around art and art making. All are welcome to enjoy innovative and multidisciplinary projects in an enriching learning environment. We invite folks to explore our exhibitions, Art Park, and sculpture gardens as they shop, and learn at the only museum in Long Beach that’s always free. More information: csulb.edu/museum | @thekleefeld