The rollicking energy of “On The Edge,” an exhibition of mostly Southern California artists of the 1970s through the ‘90s from the Jack and Joan Quinn Family Collection, is only rivaled by the exuberance of its collector, Joan Agajanian Quinn.
This vibrant art lover, in partnership with her now-deceased husband, the prominent Los Angeles attorney Jack Quinn, lived and entertained amongst layers and layers of art, art objects and Armenian rugs they amassed over their 56 years of marriage. Architectural critic Martin Filler called the collection, on view through November at the Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, Massachusetts, “a crash course in post-war L.A. Art.”
Quinn said that people asked her if she would show the exhibition at their galleries and women’s clubs and community things. “And I said no,” she replied. “Because I thought it was so narcissistic to take your collection and have people say, ‘Oh, look what you’ve done, look what you’ve bought.’”
“I’ve changed over the years. The artists are very well known. Their voice can make a difference in the community. The community can know them and learn from them, and schools can come in.”
Now in her 80s, Quinn finally gave in to the dogged requests of curator Rachel McCullah Wainwright of the Bakersfield Museum of Art and agreed to share her art with the public. For the show’s first iteration in the Central Valley, Wainwright selected pieces from the Quinns’ home, the homes of their twin daughters Amanda and Jennifer, and holdings at Jack Quinn’s former law firm, Arnold and Porter in Los Angeles. To fit the Armenian Museum’s simpler quarters, the curator trimmed the Bakersfield show from 146 to 86 pieces.