Scripps on Prospect: Evolution of Villa and Cottage
Axline Court, MCASD - September 21, 2013 - January 5, 2014
Scripps on Prospect: Cultural Legacy
Jacobs Gallery, MCASD - January 31, 2014 - April 6, 2014
Scripps on Prospect: "Evolution of Villa and Cottage" and "Cultural Legacy" are collaborative exhibitions that examine the historical evolution of two buildings—the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego at 700 Prospect Street and the La Jolla Historical Society’s Wisteria Cottage at 780 Prospect Street.
The story of these iconic buildings serves as a mirror to that common ground, reflecting the history of the La Jolla community.
Both buildings share a long-time association with the Scripps family: South Moulton was Ellen Browning Scripps’ residence from 1896 to her death in 1932; Wisteria was purchased by her half-sister, Eliza Virginia, shortly after it was built and remained in her name until her death in 1921.
Both buildings also share an association with master architect Irving Gill. It was Gill who designed Ellen Browning’s second South Moulton residence after the first one burned in 1915, and it was Gill who remodeled Wisteria for Virginia in 1908-09.
Over time both properties changed significantly in use and appearance Ellen Browning’s house evolved structurally, becoming an Art Center and then Museum, with new architectural designs first by Robert Mosher in 1959-60 and, then by Robert Venturi in 1996.
Wisteria passed in ownership to the Scripps-linked Revelle family and transformed functionally, becoming the privately-operated Balmer School (predecessor to La Jolla Country Day School) in the 1940s and afterwards The Nexus and John Cole’s bookstores.
Despite changes, both properties retained status as cultural and educational landmarks on Prospect linked with a common past. In the public eye one remains humble, a cottage rooted in the Craftsman vernacular architecture of the 19th century; the other turned big-sister Cinderella as an internationally respected art museum. MCASD’s building has become an important example of postmodern architecture; LJHS’s cottage an important example of historic preservation.
Today, the future of both buildings remains bright. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego thrives as the region’s foremost forum devoted to the exploration and presentation of the art of our time, presenting works across all media created since 1950. Under the stewardship of the La Jolla Historical Society, Wisteria is undergoing an ambitious restoration project that re-shapes its presence as a community center and repository of local history. This exhibition traces the evolving shape and character of the two buildings, each with unique stories of design and function, both from a common era, yet sharing a divergent history.
Click images below to see larger view.
| Irving Gill, East Elevation of House for
Miss Ellen Scripps,700 Prospect, La-
Jolla, 1915 reproduction drawing.
| Irving Gill, Alterations in Residence for
Miss Virginia Scripps, 1907 reproduction
Funding for this exhibition provided by Peter B. Clark, Robert and Pascale Bauer, Garth Conboy and Laura DuCharme Conboy, Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP, Florence Riford Community Fund at The San Diego Foundation, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, Members of the La Jolla Historical Society, and Members of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego