In May, Forest Lawn Museum (Glendale), in collaboration with the Velaslavasay Panorama, opened “Grand Views: The Immersive World of Panoramas.” This free exhibition runs until September 10 and explores the history of panoramic paintings – an immersive, large-scale artistic format popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries. Organized thematically, the exhibition addresses three major topics: the early history of panoramas, crucifixion panoramas and panoramas in Hollywood and Los Angeles.
A centerpiece of the exhibition is “Panorama of the Valley of the Smokes” (60 feet long, 5 feet wide), painted in 2000 by Sara Velas (founder of the Velaslavasay Panorama). The painting visualizes the natural landscape of Los Angeles before it became a metropolis and in the century prior to the arrival of the film industry. Archival photographs, ephemera and a newly constructed model of the rotunda where the panorama was originally displayed will also be exhibited.
“Grand Views” also includes prints, broadsides and other artwork from the late 18th through early 20th centuries. These rare objects are related to panoramas exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia throughout the “heritage era” of the panoramic medium. Artifacts address topics ranging from world travel to the American Civil War.
The Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection, located next to Forest Lawn Museum, showcases the “Crucifixion” (195 feet long, 45 feet wide), painted by Polish artist Jan Styka in the 1890s. The exhibition features original artifacts related to Styka’s colossal painting and other crucifixion panoramas. The “Resurrection” (70 feet long, 51 feet wide), painted by American artist Robert Clark, is also on display in this hall. Completed in 1965, Clark’s work was commissioned by Forest Lawn as a companion to Styka’s painting.
Panoramic paintings have long influenced cinema and other immersive-media formats, and the final section of the exhibition features a Hollywood backdrop (21 feet long, 15 feet wide) painted in the 1950s. It is displayed alongside other cinema artifacts, including original film strips on loan from 3-D SPACE: The Center for Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema and Education.
In other news, Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries continued its 108-year tradition of Memorial Day remembrances with free, parkwide Memorial Day commemorations at its six southern California locations. The remembrances enabled generations to come together to celebrate the lives and memories of American veterans with patriotic elements, including keynote addresses, presidential proclamations, invocations, patriotic music, the presentation and retiring of the flag, wreath laying, giveaways and more.
The Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills commemoration featured speaker Dr. David Smith, brigadier general; emcee Michael Ellington; an invocation and benediction by Monsignor Frank Hicks; a presidential proclamation by Police Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton; and music by the Los Angeles Concert Band.
Forest Lawn – Glendale’s celebration included the Glendale Sunrise Rotary’s Field of Honor American flag dedication and culminated with a stage event. Flags were available for a $50 sponsorship, with proceeds benefiting local veterans. forestlawn.com