Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Balboa Park Centennial Art Surveys

Back in 1915 the Panama Exposition in Balboa Park presented work by some of America's finest artists.  San Diego benefited from this effort because it attracted travelers as well as new artist residents. There are a number of group shows in 2015 exploring those artists or duplicating that effort of 100 years ago.

San Diego Keeps Its Promise: Balboa Park at 100
San Diego Art Institute presents this show organized by Executive Director Ginger Shulick Porcella and Francis French, Director of Education at the San Diego Air & Space Museumwhich  is a collaborative exhibition, exploring the past, present, and imagined future of Balboa Park. This is the only multi-sensory approach which includes smells, sounds and compressed time. 

Several artists take a multi-sensory approach to addressing Balboa Park, as in Brian Goeltzenleuchter & Charmaine Banach's self-guided tour of the smells of Balboa Park, and Suzanne Thorpe's soundscape based on the wind speed in Balboa Park. Artists Vincent Mattina and Will Given create images that compress time, simultaneously allowing viewers to experience the past, present, and future of the park, while artists such as Beliz Iristay and Ruben Franco Notch have focused on the physical architecture of Balboa Park as a point of entry to discuss historical and social implications of the 1915-California Exposition. Finally, Kate Clark and Hermione Spriggs explore the history of unique events in Balboa Park's past, such as the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony, while Scott Polach explores plumbing and water conservation in  the park.Other participating artists include: Alex Young,  Bianca Romani, Carlos Castro Arias, Cat Chiu Phillips, Chuck McPherson, Dave Ghilarducci, Denise Strahm, Diego Leon, Francisco Eme, Jasna Gopic, Joe Nalven, Kathleen Kane-Murrell, Paul TurounetSaulo Cisneros,  
Vincent Mattina
At the SD History Center  the original works are on display of the 1915 era. The co-curators, Bram Dijkstra and Derrick Cartwright, working with Harry L Katz, the SDHC Visual Culture Curator,  reconstructed a representative selection of the major works of both the East and West Coast painters who were part of the 1915 exhibitions. This is a extremely impressive display of landscapes by masters and to see some of the original works on display in 1915 was very moving and made you feel the string of history stretched right to the present.  Showing until Jan 3, 2016.

( left to right:) parital images: Anna Springs,Detlef Sammann, Charles Fries, Maurice Braun,
Alfred R. Mitchell, Hanson Puthuff, William Wendt.
Alice Klaubber

Charles Fries

Guy Rose

William Wendt
Maurice Braun

Alice Klaubber

Under The Same Sky
Noel Baza has a new space at SD History Center and they are celebrating the tradition of San Diego landscape art with a look at what our artists today are creating under the same roof in this cleverly titled show. The space is adjacent to the Masterworks but does not attempt to compete with these works. Instead it is a something for everyone type of landscape show with multiple styles, sizes and prices available for sale.

Duke Winsor

Work bought by Bram Dijkstra for their collection

Gallery view
Also at the SD History Center, this is the definitive commemorative film of the exhibition of the 1915 Exposition showing several times a day so make sure and check the schedule. It really gives you a good idea of how the exposition was formed and the intent and how it was extended into 1916. There was a big honky tonk component which was fun. Actually in many ways they were less conservative and more daring than we are now.  Opening as the end of the month will be  a vast collections of historic memorabilia, photos, and artifacts as well and showing until March 2016.

Landscapes of Balboa Park
Lemon Grove Historical Society (3001 School Lane , Lemon Grove, 91945) is presenting Ed Roxburgh works from Feb 10 to April 10, including pastels by his grandmother, Margaret Kyle Roxburgh, who painted in the park in the first half of the 20th century.  On Feb 4th, Film Night in the Lemon Grove Library (all at 6:30 pm) features a rare screening of Jack Ofield's Emmy awarded PBS documentary (the first ever) about Balboa Park. Remastered and beautiful, the origins of the park and a day in its dazzling life are adroitly guided by host, the late Lionel Van Deerlin. There is an art talk with Ed Roxburgh and Helen Ofield on Tue. Feb 10 at 2 pm. and then Feb 18 Jack Ofield's second documentary about Balboa Park, the captivating and amusing "Postcards from the Fair," which details the 1935 exposition through vintage footage, archival photos and eyewitness accounts. Finally "Balboa Park: A Living Legend," Jack Ofield's third documentary about the park, will open the 50th Annual Congress of History Conference devoted to the centennial of Balboa Park. Two-day event in the Balboa Park Recital Hall. For tickets go to More info: Helen M. Ofield 619-463-0823
Ed Roxburgh
I believe in coincidences and so when Ed Roxburgh sent me this image of him painting a mural using Dr. Seuss images, I thought I would also make a comment about the show
Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss which is also at the SD History Center until Dec 2015. Ed's work is not in this show but maybe it should have been. I found the show confusing. It is fun for children definitely, with lots of hands on activities and cute furniture so it looks like a series of playrooms. But the work is all reproductions, nothing original where you see the hand of the artist Theodor Geisel. There are  sculptures that are bronze instead of multicolored as you might expect for children to enjoy. But these works are not by Geisel himself  but by his step daughter Lark Grey Dimond-Cates. I found out that all the works are in editions and for sale through outlets so there is a well developed  market for the art.  Although I have no problem exploiting the talent of Geisel, the show sent mixed messages. I guess they want adults and children to both enjoy the collect the work. But I would have enjoyed it more if this was clear and if they had included some original art as well as the reproductions and the work influenced by Geisel. 

We can look forward to two other survey exhibitions at the Oceanside Museum of Art  later in the year. One covers the history of the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild curated by Mark Lugo-Smith and the other will cover the Robert Pincus years at the Union Tribune with a selection of artist he reviewed and is now  curating.

Although there will not be a huge showy spectacular, that does not mean all the money for the Balboa Park centennial celebration has disappeared. Lots of infrastructure has been put in place to improve and make a more united park with all the advantages of collaboration. Read about that in the following articles.

A saved Balboa Park centennial? City Beat by Kinsee Morlan
Saving the Centennial Union Tribune by James Chute

Plus there are some fun events in the pipeline: The new lighting will be featured in the White Nights Celebration with late night opening for all the museums. The new hot spots in SD are the marker places and  a Makers Faire is scheduled. Coming up on Valentine’s Day is 100 Years of Weddings an with a chance for all those who were married in Balboa Park to come together.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful coverage of significant work. All hail, SDVAN and its hard-working founder.