Explore the Era

Delve into the postwar Los Angeles art world in this online archive, which provides additional material related to the exhibitions on view at the Getty Center. Learn about hipsters and happenings, and the venues across the city where all the action took place through images from the archives and first-hand accounts with the artists.

Marjorie Cameron

Cameron in "Night Tide"

Cameron in a film still from Curtis Harrington's Night Tide, 1961. Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation

Marjorie Cameron (1922–1995) was born in Belle Plain, Iowa, and enlisted in the Navy in the 1940s, where she drew maps and worked in a photographic unit, an experience that motivated her to pursue art classes after World War II. Cameron later met and married Jack Parsons, a spiritualist and mystic who was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Like his friend L. Ron Hubbard, Parsons was a follower of occultist Aleister Crowley. Cameron and her magical aura were influential to artists Wallace Berman and George Herms, both of whom she met in the early 1950s. Her whimsical and sometimes disturbing works depict ethereal metamorphoses and transformations.

Historic Map Locations

Works of Art

  • Untitled (Portrait of Crystal), ca. 1961, Marjorie Cameron.

    Untitled (Portrait of Crystal), ca. 1961, Marjorie Cameron. Ink and gouache on wood panel. 43 1/2 x 11 3/4 in. Collection of Scott Hobbs. Permission courtesy of Cameron Parons Foundation

  • Untitled (Peyote Vision)

    Untitled (Peyote Vision), 1955, Cameron (from Semina journal, no. 1). Reproduction of ink drawing mounted on cardstock. 3 13/16 x 4 in. Courtesy of Cameron Parsons Foundation

  • Semina cover with photograph of Cameron

    Semina cover with photograph of Cameron, 1955, Wallace Berman. Semina journal, no. 1 (1955) by Wallace Berman. Gelatin silver print mounted on cardstock. 7 1/2 x 4 in. The Getty Research Institute, 2564-801.no1.2. Courtesy of the Estate of Wallace Berman and Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles

Explore the Archive

  • Video: George Herms on California assemblage

    Video: Artist George Herms shares anecdotes about the California assemblage community

  • Video: Lyn Kienholz on censorship

    Video: Arts advocate Lyn Kienholz talks about censorship in the L.A. art scene

  • Video: George Herms on Cameron

    Video: George Herms speaks about the work of Cameron, 2002. Footage courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation

  • Cameron, ca. 1955

    Cameron, ca. 1955. Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation