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Monomania L.A.: Exploring California Collections

Through a series of short films and articles, Monomania L.A. profiles five L.A. as Subject collectors who have turned a monomaniacal obsession with a particular aspect of Southern California history into a public resource. These collectors have documented disparate subjects -- the California orange, sci-fi reading circles, political graphics, a Mexican rancho, African American photographers -- but their stories share one thing in common: a passion for history that has enriched our understanding of Southern California's past.

The short documentaries featured in the articles were compiled into an Artbound special episode that debuted Tuesday, March 17 on KCET, showcasing each collector. Read more about them here:

Monomania L.A.: Kent Kirkton and Images of Black L.A.

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Kent Kirkton's collection of images by African-American photographers is an essential resource for anyone researching the history of African-Americans in L.A.


Ernest Marquez and Rancho Boca de Santa Monica

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Ernest Marquez' family arrived in California in 1771. What began as a quest to illustrate a family history turned into a collection of 4,600 rare photos of historical Southern California.


Jim Kepner and the Sanctuary of Sci-Fi

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The science fiction collection of pioneering LGBTQ rights activist Jim Kepner reveals hidden harmonies between sci-fi fandom and LGBTQ activism in the 1950s.


Carol Wells and the Politics of Postering

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The Center for the Study of Political Graphics houses more than 85,000 posters, including the largest collection of post-World War II human rights and protest posters in the US.


David Boulé and the California Orange

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David Boulé has assembled perhaps the largest single collection of materials related to the production and promotion of California oranges.

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Carla Jay Harris "Sphinx," 2019. Archival pigment print. Two panels, 40 x 30 in. each. The work features a beautiful Black woman wearing a dark blue dress kneeling down in a golden meadow under a starry sky and bright orange sun. | Courtesy the artist

Now More Than Ever: The Need for Alternative Cultural Spaces

Learn more about the spaces filling the holes left behind by the historically white-centric L.A. art world.
Aerial view of Watts Towers Arts Center | Still from "Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11

Stretching Out into the Community: Five Key Watts Artists Who Helped Shape American Art

Meet the core artists who were the vanguards of the West Coast edition of the Black Arts Movement: Betye Saar, Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge and Jayne Cortez.
Mural at Mafundi Institute | Still from "Broken Bread" Watts

As If I was Carrying a Gun: Art and Surveillance in 1960s Watts

An arts movement emerged in ‘60s Watts. In response, federal and local law enforcement enacted counterinsurgency programs that infiltrated and co-opted Black arts and culture institutions and surveilled and targeted activists, artists and community member