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Brand Library exhibit captures artists' muse Joan Quinn

A new art exhibit in Glendale features images of Joan Agajanian Quinn, a close friend of icon Andy Warhol and the subject of portraits and other artwork by several famous artists.

On Saturday, the Brand Library Art Galleries opened its exhibit "Joan Quinn Captured," which displays works and portraits of Quinn, a Los Angeles native, created by artists such as Ed Moses, Matthew Rolston and George Herms, all of whom attended the opening.

Quinn was also in attendance, said Annette Vartanian, the library's gallery director.

The exhibit showcases roughly 100 portraits and original pieces.

Vartanian described Quinn as "a muse for many artists in various artistic movements." Their portraits are a dedication to her impact and influence, she added.

"She was a critical pacemaker of her time. Not just in L.A., but in New York, Tokyo and London," Vartanian said. "For someone to be that involved in that many movements and cities, it's hard to come by."

Quinn served as the West Coast editor of Warhol's "Interview" magazine for years. She's heralded by many as a critical force in art movements and even "fanzines" — fan-inspired magazines — of the 1980s.

Over the years, she's been one of the first to recognize artistic talent before the press and art institutions, said Laura Whitcomb, curator for the exhibit.

"She anointed them to be relevant, so to speak," Whitcomb said. "She really served as a woman who brought artists together, and had an interchange of ideas that formed contemporary art."

Along with bringing artists together, library officials want visitors to enjoy an educational experience. The exhibit includes panel discussions, talks and film screenings every Thursday through July 31. The weekly events are free, but require a ticket that can be reserved online.

"It's a very interactive exhibit. We want people to really experience the art, absorb the artwork" Vartanian said, noting the exhibit's televisions, encased in paper mache, air documentary clips of Quinn through the years.

Exhibit pieces were lent by galleries across Los Angeles, and some of the portraits are part of Quinn's personal collection, Vartanian said.

"People can't believe that we have such a vast collection of artwork in one exhibition," Vartanian said. "People loved seeing the portraits of Joan, but also meeting the artists."

One Venice artist, Laddie John Dill, known for his pieces crafted from light and earthy materials, showcased a tempered glass sculpture inspired by Quinn. Dill previously displayed his work at the Brand Library Art Galleries decades ago, and is now seen as a central artist in the California "Light and Space" movement.

Quinn proved to be an inspiration for many aspiring artists, Whitcomb said.

"She really helped them develop their careers," Whitcomb said. "She put California art on the map internationally."

The exhibit will be open until Aug. 1 at the gallery, located at 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale.

For more information, call (818) 548-2051 or visit and click on Brand Library Art Galleries on the left.


Follow Alicia Banks on Twitter: @AliciaDotBanks.


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