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Amusement Land

1956 Ynez Johnston Born: Berkeley, California 1920 pastel and ink on paper sheet: 24 x 35 1/2 in. (61.0 x 90.2 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon C. Schild 1981.137 Not currently on view


Artwork Description

Amusement Land alludes to California’s blockbuster attraction, Disneyland, which opened in July 1955. The park’s grand opening alone drew more than 15,000 visitors to Anaheim, not far from the artist’s home in Los Angeles. Within the pastel fields of color are references to the park itself, including a body of water, trees, roller coasters, and children’s faces. The red stripes repeated throughout the composition might refer to the sails of the park’s private ship. While most of Johnston’s works from the 1950s are obsessively intricate compositions resembling surreal cityscapes, this drawing is highly gestural, loose, and intentionally childlike.

Abstract Drawings, 2012

Keywords

Abstract

Architecture Exterior - commercial - recreation

drawing

crayon - pastel

ink

paper - wove paper

About Ynez Johnston

Born: Berkeley, California 1920