All visitors who aren’t members must buy a general admission ticket.

9am-7pm daily

2024 Exhibitions

Trees Talk

March 16–June 2, 2024

Focusing on Descanso Gardens’ magnificent heritage coast live oaks, Trees Talk explores the hidden network that allows trees to communicate with one another.

Trees can sense the world around them and can communicate about it. Visitors explore what we are only just discovering about how much information trees can pass along. 

Oak trees intertwine their roots, forming a vast, tangled mat beneath the ground. Fungi connect the roots of different trees, creating a huge network that helps trees share information and nutrients. This process is highlighted in a playful interactive exhibit.

This beguiling exhibition showcases touchable and interactive elements, drawing on actual wood taken from oaks that tragically fell during a severe storm in 2023. Visitors can investigate acorn sprouts that show how roots develop as an oak tree grows and examine intriguing fungal entanglement.

Finally, visitors find out how they can help all trees benefit from their partnerships with fungi and lounge with books and references as they find out more about how Trees Talk.

Trees Talk is open from March 16–June 2, 2024 from 10am–4pm in the Sturt Haaga Gallery.

Trees Talk is funded in part by Heather and Paul Haaga.

HWAJODO: Flowers and Birds in Korean American Art

June 27–September 29, 2024

For centuries, Korean artists have celebrated the beauty of nature, particularly flowers and birds, in a wide range of media, from paintings called hwajodo (flower and bird pictures) to ceramics, textiles, and lacquerware.

HWAJODO explores the enduring themes of nature, particularly flowers and birds, that have been a focal point in Korean art. This exhibition uniquely combines traditional representations of flowers and birds, particularly in minhwa (Korean folk painting), with the abstract and stylized interpretations of contemporary artists, reflecting a bridge between the past and present, tradition and innovation.

The exhibition is divided into two main sections:

Traditional Art: Featuring the vibrant and colorful minhwa paintings of Song Kyu Tae, a Master of Korean folk painting, his student Kee Soon Sung, President of the Korean Folk Art Association, and several of her students in Los Angeles. Highlights include Kee Soon Sung’s spectacular eight-panel screen depicting the Ten Symbols of Longevity and modern examples of traditional Korean ceramics, wood carvings, and lacquerware.

Contemporary Art: Showcasing the works of four prominent Korean American artists: Dave Young Kim, Dana Weiser, Hei Myung Hyun, and Jane Park Wells. These artists, each with their unique approach and connection to their Korean heritage, offer a fresh perspective on the depiction of flowers and birds in large-scale murals, ceramics, textiles, and abstract paintings.

HWAJODO: Flowers and Birds in Korean American Art juxtaposes traditional Korean flower-and-bird imagery created by several artists working today in the minhwa, or Korean folk painting style, with works by four contemporary Korean American artists who live in the Los Angeles area.

Hei Myung Hyun and Jane Park Wells are well established artists who grew up in Korea but were trained in the United States, for whom natural motifs are often abstracted and stylized elements of larger geometric compositions.

In contrast, the works of mid-career artists Dave Young Kim and Dana Weiser, who were raised in the US, often draw directly from traditional Korean art, as a way of reconnecting with their more distant cultural roots.

Although their works may be aesthetically many years and miles from the traditional artworks on view, they still resonate deeply with age-old Korean artistic expressions of flowers, birds, and other aspects of nature.

The exhibition is curated by Asian art historian Meher McArthur. HWAJODO is presented with community partner The Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles and generously funded by the Pasadena Art Alliance. Additionally, programs are sustained by an endowment from Heather and Paul Haaga.

HWAJODO is open from 10am–4pm, June 28–September 29, 2024 in the Sturt Haaga Gallery. The opening reception for HWAJODO is June 27, 2024 from 5–7pm.