Get to Know: Jim McHugh and the ESMoA


Make a trip to visit the ESMoA and get to know photographer Jim McHugh.


Did you know that El Segundo has an art museum?  It’s actually an “art laboratory” called ESMoA – El Segundo Museum of Art. Located in quaint downtown El Segundo (208 Main Street), ESMoA opened in January 2013. The large rectangular gallery, gleaming white walls and high ceilings makes the space feel more like a private collection rather than a formal museum. In fact, artnet listed ESMoA as one of their top 10 private contemporary art museums in the US.

The museum is the brainchild of Eva and Brian Sweeney – she an architect, he an entrepreneur, and together passionate collectors who have supported the arts through their Los Angeles/Berlin-based private art initiative artlab21. While searching for an art storage building in El Segundo, the couple was approached by then-Mayor Eric Busch, who played a major role in convincing them to make their collection available to the public.

ESMoA holds an eclectic collection of modern and contemporary artists including Gustav Klimt, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, and Claude Monet. It also offers an active artist-in-residence program including a studio with on-site living quarters, and a robust reading and education program. Each experience (or show) is built around a question or theme that will allow viewers to create their own connections and interpretations.


David Hockney painting “The Photographer and His Daughter,” a painting of photographer Jim McHugh and his 15-year-old daughter, Chloe McHugh. Painting made in 2005. | Photo: Jim McHugh.

TOUCH: Original Artworks Paired with Photographic Portraits by Jim McHugh is an art experience that showcases McHugh’s photographic portraits of L.A. artists from the 1960s to today – including rarely seen vintage Polaroids and original 8×10 transparencies – with original works by many of the artists who have posed for McHugh including David Hockney. The archives of McHugh hold nearly four decades of rare images chronicling the city and the diversity of artists working there.

Meet and Greet with Jim McHugh and Prime
Sunday, November 15th, 1:00pm-4:00pm


Explore photographs that capture 40 years of the LA Art Scene in Experience 19: TOUCH with renowned featured photographer Jim McHugh. Meet Jim and Joe Reza, AKA Prime, an original member of the K2S crew, ESMoA Experience 11: SCRATCH artist, and creator of the cover image for the the Getty Research Institute’s graffiti Black Book. Prime, the subject of a recent Getty video, #gettyinspiredJoe Reza AKA Prime, is both a friend and significant artist in McHugh’s recent work. The photographer and artist will be available to discuss their work, share experiences, and sign exhibition posters.

Here is an excellent online gallery of McHugh’s portraits.

Bio Pic Jim McHugh

TOUCH features Lita Albuqueque, John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Mary Corse, Gajin Fujita, Alexandra Grant, Gronk, David Hockney, Mike Kelley, Rachel Lachowicz, Enrique Martínez Celaya, Ed Moses, Noah Purifoy, Ed Ruscha, Alison Saar, Peter Shelton, John Sonsini, Henry Taylor, and the list goes on. The art experience runs through January 31, 2016

My kids wanted to touch the bright orange Particle Dispersion: Orange Vega by Rachel Lachowicz. En Pointe by Alison Saar got a giggle because it was a sculpture of a naked woman and (not surprisingly) was voted as their favorite piece in the exhibit, with David Hockney’s The Photographer and his Daughter and John Baldessari’s (skateboard deck for Supreme) pulling a close second. Cold Beer Beautiful Girls by Ed Ruscha was my personal favorite.


Bring your whole family to see TOUCH on Sunday December 13 from 11:00 am-4:00 pm for ESMoA’s Family Day. ESMoA will challenge visitors to put on their art detective caps and search for clues in a scavenger hunt, plus make art inspired by some of LA’s legendary artists from the current show.



Through school field trips, community and family days, PLAY @ ESMoA and the newly launched READ @ ESMoA, ESMoA aims to develop of love of art and art appreciation for all ages through diverse education programming. All workshops are led by ESMoA Education Specialists with the goal of fostering education and creativity through art and art appreciation.




PLAY @ ESMoA is an early childhood program designed for 3 – 4 year olds (and their favorite adult) that introduces the youngest visitor to art through age-appropriate short stories, gallery play activities, and hands-on art making activities. The next PLAY is on November 14.


READ @ ESMoA is a new program for kids ages 5 – 7. The first READ launched in October and gives kids the opportunity to explore Experience 19: TOUCH through age-appropriate stories, gallery discussion, and drawing activities that relate to the themes explored in TOUCH. The next READ is scheduled for January 16, 2016.


The Eva and Brian Sweeney Collection includes the School of Barbizon; Impressionist works by Monet, Sisley and Pissarro, the influence of the Düsseldorfer Malerschule with Achenbach and Schirmer; an exquisite selection of early 20th-century works on paper of Klimt, Khnopff, Alma-Tadema; the founders of Blauer Reiter and Bauhaus with Kandinsky and Klee; American heroes from illustrators Leyendecker and Parrish; Pop from Rauschenberg to Warhol; Photorealism stars from Close to Estes; and contemporary artists like Peter Doig and Ghada Amer and their even younger colleagues from Leipzig, Berlin, London and Los Angeles. The collection offers a rare opportunity to glimpse how old masters can be contemporary and younger artists far more classic than suspected.

Written by Heather Koopman

Photo Credits:  ESMoA