CSUN Art Galleries welcomes Jerry McMillan

Fredy Tlatenchi

Jerry McMillan, a veteran of the Los Angeles art scene, will have approximately 100 works available for viewing through March 31 at the CSUN Art Galleries.

McMillan began to contribute to the Los Angeles art scene during the early 1960s, according to ArtBrokerage.com. It was during this time McMillan became involved in the controversial poster of 1961 “War Babies.”

The Getty Center’s website describes the photograph as first being displayed at Huysman Gallery in L.A., initially drawing the negative responses from both the liberal and conservative community. Showcasing a group of four men sitting around a table draped in the American flag, the men range from an African American holding a watermelon slice, a Jewish man holding a bagel, an Asian man a bowl of rice and a catholic holding a tin of herring.

The website mentions 1966, the year McMillan became the first photographer to have a one-person exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum. The works currently on display at the CSUN Art Galleries span fifty years of his career.

“He doesn’t limit himself to only photography, he brings sculpture into it, and when he was doing this, no one else was doing it,” said Ayda Gragossian, a 26-year-old art major at CSUN. “(Nowadays) people do this a lot and have a tendency to take it for granted”
McMillan taught at CSUN for 23 years as a part-time professor, according to Gragossian who currently works at the gallery.

The joshua trees, the L.A. city landscape and the American flag are reoccurring images in the gallery, whether it is in two-dimensional photographs or in long golden metal sheets that adorn the walls.

Daniel Jones, a 20-year-old junior cinema and television arts major, said he’s unsure if there’s a message that all the works displayed have in common.

“There is a lot of leaves and trees surrounding metal, the message could be nature-related. But to be honest everything seems so scattered,” Jones said.

Guadalupe Castillo, a 26-year-old photography major, didn’t share the same sentiment.
“Some photographs I’ve left with a strong emotion, even if I don’t get the message. Isn’t that enough?” Castillo asked.

Whether it is necessary for a photograph to convey a message seems to be a relevant issue for the visitors of this gallery.