Thursday, May 13, 2021

Wes Bruce: Wondersound Part 2 at New Children’s Museum

 by Patricia Frischer

Wes Bruce and one of the smaller visitors to existing Wondersound

Wes Bruce
In conversation with Megan Dickerson from the New Children’s Museum about the new patio addition to Wondersound

Existing Wondersound

Wes Bruce is in the middle of creating a new space outdoors at the New Children’s Museum on the patio next to the existing Wondersound. that so many of us have enjoyed. You might also remember Bruce for his major installation at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

Megan Dickenson and Wes Bruce in conversation

Megan Dickenson and Wes Bruce covered in compost!

Wes Bruce and the New Children’s Museum discussed how this new space will create a place to pause made for adults and children to allow for both emotional and physical air flow. They spent the day before the talk compositing the site and seeing that job as a metaphor for turning over the trauma of the last 14 months. They want this area to contain a vessel for recovery and re-connection. Continuing the metaphor, the use of the word “sound” as a body of water between two bits of land creating an entrance for  the wind to blow, sun to shine, and birds to sing.  The new Wondersound is an expansion from inside the museum to outside which is a catalyst for healing and a sort of creation of a new sound body  

Beginning sketch for the patio

As an artist Bruce is a terrific graphic designer and the older installation is mainly animals, but the outside will have images of plants as well as the real thing with lots of poetry and words included. He describes himself as a professional mess maker. But ultimately, he works to knit the community together and empower them. This project is not a thing, but an experience. In planting this garden, he hopes to help people learn about what their heart needs.

The New Children’s Museum is open to member now and opening to the public again on May 21st 
Ribbon cutting:  8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Public access:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The new Wes Bruce Wondersound garden space will be opening June 4th. 

If you want to listen to the entire talk or any of the other other artists' talks, they are available on the New Children's Museum website.

 2021 Re-imagining the Brave Look Book at the Children’s Museum shows many of the artists’ commissions at the museum

Angela Washko - Provocative Art: Poking the Bear

by Patricia Frischer

The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness, 2012-2016

Angela Washko: Computing in the Arts Lecture Series presented by UC San Diego Visual Arts on May 13, 2021.  

Angela Washko is a performing art star. She was never really satisfied with her training in the visual arts as it did not seem authentic to her own interest. Very early in 2006, she started role playing in the World of Warcraft online game and was certainly a star there with a large following and lots of high powered awards. By 2012 she was fed up with what happened when fellow players discovered she was a girl. Not only did she decide to form The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness within the game, she made this an outside/public art project. She needed the reputation of her avatar to be able to hold sensitive and revealing sessions about gender discrimination within the game. 

Angela Washko

Not too surprising that led her to take a deep dive (with a nice grant) into some of the feminist issues surrounding the manosphere/alt all of the Pick Up Artist. These are men that specialize in telling other men how to break down women’s resistance to sex. The Pick Up Artist did not take well to this exposure and the video. TheGameTheGame is what she created to help women understand what these men were doing, resist or even turn the tables on these guys and pursue them

Roosh V from Banged

Alpha Game, 2019

Pick Up Artists like Roosh V with his multiple Bang books, seminars, digital instructions have now gone from being seduction guides for their community to life coaches but they still exist. Banged is her revealing interview of Roosh V and led to Alpha Game, 2019 made from a code designed to take his most used phrases and create poetry then lyrics for the Alpha song. 

Millionaire Worthy, 2013

Angela Washko has made many other bodies of work and it is well worth a visit to her website to see all of her work. An early video Millionaire Worthy is a take off of the reality TV show Millionaire Matchmakers. She analyses the top 100 qualities that those millionaires on the show requested. This tongue in check take off asked if you are worthy and do you want to pay $39.99 to find out how to capture your own milliionaire.

Workhorse Queen, 2021

In her most recent documentary Workhorse Queen we learn of the after effects of  rejected candidates from the RuPaul drag queen reality show. This is a sympathetic view of what a queer role model could be.

Washko, needless to say, has had to learn how to create a safe space for herself online because her works are provocative. But when you hear her speak it is from a place of genuine interest. Her performances are interventions second, but seem first to come from a genuine desire to learn more.

At the end of this interview, she spoke of her teaching experience which has widened her scoop and added more and more mediums to her arsenal. She is certainly a gladiator amongst media artists.

You can watch the whole interview below or YouTube Stream: 

Angela Washko is committed to telling complex and unconventional stories about the media we consume from unusual perspectives. She is the founder of The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft, a long-term intervention inside the popular online video game. A recent recipient of the Creative Capital Award, the Impact Award at Indiecade, and the Franklin Furnace Performance Fund, Washko's practice has been highlighted in The New Yorker, Frieze Magazine, Time Magazine, The Guardian, ArtForum, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, The New York Times, Rhizome and more. Her projects have been presented internationally at venues including Museum of the Moving Image (New York), Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Milan Design Triennale, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki), and the Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennial. Angela Washko is an Associate Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Baseera Khan Studio Series Talk at Lux Art Institute (ICA)


By Patricia Frischer

In early May, Lux Art Institute presented another of their Studio Series Talks for current Artist-in-Residence, Baseera Khan. This is a self-confident artist from Texas now living in New York with a political agenda based around clothes and including performance, installation, sculpture, wall works and even a TV show to come. She is charming and engaging and grateful for this first showing in San Diego but she also admits that she does not do collaboration because of her controlling personality. I found that admission rather refreshing.

It helped me, as it always does, to hear the artist speaking about their own art. At first glance you might not notice these works were all tied together by clothing as she never mentions this. But what brought it home to me was how she identified everyone in the audience who asked a question with a description of the clothes they had one. “You with in the cool leather, you in the safari jacket, you in the black with embroidery.”

It is the politics of these works that is the challenge that she wants to present to her audience. For example, how the Nike company who offers customized sneakers did not allow certain words and how she worked around this. And an acoustic blanket with a couple of openings surrounded with gold embroidery that she hides in during some of her performances, sneaking out the occasional arm or leg.  Or the bench seats dressed in bits of fabric scrapes with vibrating subwoofers for deciding if we are allowed to sit comfortably, some of which ended up as wall works. The giant Corinthian columns cover with snake skin are all about power especially the power of history and who gets to sit at the table.  

So from the woven messaging prayer rugs to covering herself with charcoal to climb a body parts wall leaving behind charcoal smears that are framed, she is literally laying it all out or climbing the walls.

The 6 episodes of a TV show she started during the pandemic after she recovered from COVID-19 is in the works for 2023. But during her time in Cardiff by the Sea, she is inspired by flora and fauna and beaches, all things not accessible in New York.  Just maybe some of our colors will work their way into her next new project back east.

Lux Art Institute Artist-in-Residence: Baseera Khan
In Studio: Through May 8, 2021
On View: Through June 5, 2021

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Beyond Bedding: Local Quilt Shows Display High Textile Art

One view of Momentum by Christine Mauersberger

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt.

The back wall of Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints, on view at Cannon Art Gallery through May 23.

Now that many of our museums and galleries are open, it’s a joy to see art in person again. And some of our happiest moments lately were at two wonder-filled quilt exhibitions —one in Carlsbad, and one at Liberty Station—and you don’t have to be a quilter to love them.

 On view at Carlsbad’s Cannon Art Gallery is Material Pulses: Seven Viewpointsan eye-popping display of 17 pieces by 7 fiber artists who use a range of traditional and experimental techniques. Curated by Ohio-based Nancy Crow, a major figure in the world of contemporary art quilting, this travelling exhibit has been on the road for almost four years, and includes artists from four U.S. states, one Canadian province, and a county in England. This is its only appearance in California.


Before Thought by Elizabeth Brandt

Beyond the obvious differences in styles and colors, the closer you look, the more each quilt reveals its own fascinating details. The two that caught my eye as I stepped into the gallery were the ones just behind the front desk—large, brilliantly colored geometric shapes on dark backgrounds by Elizabeth Brandt. What first drew me in was the colors, but up close, the intricate machine-stitched lines were amazing, creating whole patterns of their own.


Things Fall Apart#3 by Mary Lou Alexander

I also found the trio of quilts by Mary Lou Alexander engaging, even more so when I saw they were all titled “Falling Apart,” inspired by one of my favorite poems, “The Second Coming,” written by William Butler Yeats just after World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic. “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” It’s definitely worth taking time to read the labels beside all the quilts here—they’re very informative.


Veiled Confusion, by Jayne Willoughby

Then there were the two pieces by Jayne Willoughby, with their huge, pale, egg-shaped figures that seemed to invite meditation. They’re two-sided quilts, and I so wanted to see the reverse sides with their “riotous color systems” but that wasn’t possible, since no one was allowed to touch them, even with gloves. So even though there were small colored photos of what we were missing, we were only able to see half of the artist’s intentions.

Another view of Momentum by Christine Mauersberger

But the centerpiece here, and surely the most unusual quilt you’ve ever seen, is Christine Mauersberger’s Momentum. It’s 9 feet tall, 10 feet deep, and nearly 8 feet wide, made of strips of red plastic masking film machine-stitched over white tulle fabric. It came in seven folded pieces, with the artist allowing each venue on the tour to hang it their own way, using whatever arrangement they wanted. Many of the venues ended up not showing Momentum, but fortunately Cannon has high ceilings, the right lighting system, and enough imagination to install it here, and it’s a real treat.

 In fact, the whole exhibition is a treat. Don’t miss seeing it live, for yourself, while it’s in town.

Cannon Art Gallery
Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints
The artists: Mary Lou Alexander, Claire Benn, Elizabeth Brandt, Christine Mauersberger, Denise L Roberts, Jayne Willoughby, Barb Wills
On view through May 23, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission. Face coverings required.
1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, in the Carlsbad City Library complex
Tel. 760-602-2021
For more information and a virtual tour of the exhibit, see


 Meanwhile, down in Point Loma’s Liberty Station, Visions Arts Museum (VAM) has a lot going on—four textile arts exhibitions, one of them the blockbuster travelling quilt show Deeds Not Words: Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage. Co-curated by Sandra Sider, curator of the Texas Quilt Museum, and Pamela Weeks, curator of the New England Quilt Museum, the show premiered last summer, in the centennial year of the 19th amendment. 29 award-winning artists from around the U.S. were invited to create 28 artworks for the exhibition—VAM’s Curatorial Manager, Rebekah Deep, called them “the Who’s Who of quilt artists”—and they responded with an array of materials and styles honoring some of the many, many women who strode the long road fighting for the right to vote.


Katharine Dexter McCormick by Pixeladies

One of my favorites was a piece by a pair of fiber artists who call themselves Pixeladies celebrating Katharine Dexter McCormick, an ardent activist for voting rights and an early supporter of Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control center in the U.S. in 1916. When diaphragms were illegal in this country—are you old enough to remember diaphragms?—McCormick smuggled over 1,000 of them from Europe to Sanger’s clinic by sewing them into her clothing. Pixeladies included a “hidden homage” to McCormick by sewing two diaphragms into their quilt.


Standing Together by Pat Kumicich

Another interesting piece—actually, they’re all interesting—is Pat Kumicich’s Standing Together, for which she created a background of pages from a found book of suffragist sheet music. And there’s a delightful one by Susan Shie, dedicated to the youngest woman at the 1848 Seneca Falls Women’s Conference, 18-year-old Charlotte Woodward Pierce, who was the only one of those women still alive when the 19th amendment was finally passed in 1920.

Charlotte, Knight of Potholders in the Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie. Check out the other women included, like voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and some of the 102 women in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Frances Watkins Harper, by Sandra Sider

Sandra Sider, one of the exhibit’s two curators, contributed a piece dedicated to Frances Watkins Harper, who spent most of her life fighting for racial equality—in the suffragist movement as well as everywhere else. In 1866, she spoke at the 11th National Women’s Rights Convention, alongside Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, saying: “We are all bound up together in one bundle of humanity,” which inspired Sider to create this quilt.


VAM’s Curatorial Manager Rebekah Deep poses with Jill Kerttula’s Union Station 2.

You can learn a lot about history here, reading not only the accompanying labels, but the words stitched into each piece. Then move on into the back gallery and Urban Voyeur, where Jill Kerttula combines photography with bits of fabric and lots of stitching to give a compelling look to the street scenes she sees, inviting you, the viewer, to become part of the picture.

There are two more one-woman shows in VAM’s lobby—Hillary Waters Fayles’ “botanical embroideries” and Carolyn Harper’s hand-embroidered batik portraits of homeless people—not to mention a very appealing gift shop. If you haven’t been here lately, it’s definitely time to plan a visit to VAM. 

Visions Art Museum: Contemporary Quilts & Textiles
Deeds Not Words, Urban Voyeur, Threaded Canopy & Look me in the Eye
On view through July 3, Thurs/Fri/Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission. Face coverings required.
2825 Dewey Road, Suite 100, at Liberty Station in Point Loma.
Tel. 619-546-4872
For more information and a virtual tour of the exhibitions see

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at

Friday, April 30, 2021

Irma Sofia Poeter: Herself and the other

 by Patricia Frischer

Irma Sofia Poeter celebrates 25 years of her artistic trajectory with this retrospective show presented in CEART Tecate, (Federico Benitez s/n, Downey) Baja Norte. Una y lo otro: Conexion Tecate extended until the end of June.. With a selection of more than 50 pieces this exhibition shows the different technics, formats and themes that this Mexican-American artist has explored. More info: 011 52 (665) 65

I was very sad to miss the 25-year retrospective of Irma Sofia Poeter at Central Estatal de las Arts in Tecate this last month. She very kindly sent me a video walk through of some of the exhibition which you can see below.

Poeter was a San Diego Art Prize recipient in 2016 where she showed a part of the migration series of cloth works that are like highly embellished mandalas. At this retrospective she is showed one of these pieces that is her own story of migration from south to north and back south which has jeans as a central medium. She now lives in Tecate and considers herself a border artist.

The wide range of materials used in this show is very exciting. In her early paintings, the subject is always women and how they are viewed in society. The use of fabric does seem to be a hallmark of her art as seen with the sleeves of man’s shirts hanging down from the ceiling, actually close enough to touch you as you walk beneath them.

Her chakra dresses are made from materials from all over the world. Each of the 7 outfits represent one the chakras. I can relate the dresses to architecture as they are obviously constructed with layers to be decorative and still utilitarian. Poeter was trained as an architect and she is building her own home and studio as we could see from the maquettes on view.  

The variety of  mediums is not confusing as Irma Sofia Poeter herself is the subject which makes the show coherent.  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Steamrolling: At Mesa College, It’s Fine Art

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt.

Art professors Wendell Kling and Alessandra Moctezuma carefully reveal the student prints at the press preview of Heavy Duty.

Steamroller printmaking? I’d never heard of it until I received an email about an upcoming event at Mesa College. Fine arts professor/gallery director Alessandra Moctezuma had come up with another bright idea for Covid-time art: an outdoor community event called Heavy Duty.

Last November, she organized a drive-through exhibition that invited local art-lovers, safely ensconced in their cars, to view a series of current-events-related banners created by local artists. Now, on May 7, displayed on the same campus parking-lot fence, there will be another drive-through exhibit, this time of large-scale woodblock prints made with the aid of a rented steamroller. 

Moctezuma, an artist and printmaker herself, said she didn’t exactly come up with the idea herself; she’d learned about steamroller printmaking online. “They’ve been doing it for years on campuses in Florida and elsewhere,” she said. “But I think we’re the first to do it in San Diego.”

Three months ago, she invited 16 professional printmakers to participate, giving them time to create 3’ x 5’ designs. Professor Wendell Kling offered interested students the possibility of making smaller 12-inch square versions; master printer Chris Lahti gave instructions in online zoom workshops, and 24 students completed their pieces during spring break. 

My husband and I had a chance to watch the printmaking process at a press preview April 21. First, plywood boards were laid on the ground, while the artists carefully inked their carved wood plates. Once they’re ready to roll, each plate is placed in a holding form and covered with fabric and a protective layer of padding. Effectively, the steamroller acts as a giant-size mobile printing press as it’s slowly driven over the artworks—at least twice, to ensure a good transfer. The inking—like everything else—was painstaking. And the reveals were exciting! All the final results were impressive, as you’ll be able to see for yourself at the May 7th event.

The inking: Artist/gallery coordinator Jenny Armer—she’s also the steamroller driver.

Artist/sculpture-lab technician Trevor Amery with his just-inked wood plate.

The placing of the fabric

Jenny on a roll

The full student prints reveal, with Alessandra Moctezuma & Wendell Kling

The final reveal: Master printer Chris Lahti and Jenny Armer display her finished print.

Heavy Duty: A Drive-Through Steamroller Printmaking Exhibition

May 7, 3-5 p. m. Free admission.
San Diego Mesa College, Parking Lot 1
7250 Mesa College Drive, San Diego, CA 92111
For more information, contact Alessandra Moctezuma

Participating artists:
Trevor Amery
Jenny Armer
Jennifer Anne Bennett
Ty Creighton & his daughter, Samantha Creighton
Brian Gibson
Wendell Kling
Chris Lahti
Mary Manusos
Jim Melli
Morgan Miller III
Yvette Roman
Sibyl Rubottom
Katie Ruiz
Jose Hugo Sanchez
Katy Yeaw

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at