Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Think Big! Large-scale art works feature light, sound, scent at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) downtown

by Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
 First published in the La Jolla Light, Nov 2015 

‘Light and Space’ (2007) by Robert Irwin features 115 fluorescent lights on one wall. It is on view at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown San Diego location through Feb 21, 2016. Philipp Scholz Rittermann
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present at its downtown location, three large-scale installations by Robert Irwin, Ernesto Neto and Judith Barry, Nov. 19-Feb. 21. All three are part of the Museum’s permanent collection, which includes more than 4,600 works from 1950 to the present. 

Each room-size installation has a character all its own. Irwin’s “Light and Space” is an elegant arrangement of fluorescent light-tubes that creates a hypnotic, space-transforming experience for viewers. This is a fairly recent work by the now 87-year-old Irwin, who has created transformative indoor and outdoor installations for many venues, including, locally, MCASD-La Jolla and the Stuart Collection at UCSD. Irwin is one of seven long-lived and still active artists TIME magazine profiled in 2013 as “Legends at Work,” and this piece demonstrates his continuing exploration of the aesthetics of the 1960s Light and Space Movement he helped to define. 

 ‘Mother body emotional densities, for alive temple time baby son’ (2007) by Ernesto Neto is on view at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown San Diego location through Feb 21, 2016. Pablo Mason

Neto’s “Mother body emotional densities, for alive temple time baby son,” is a hanging garden of elongated, translucent Lycra sacs filled with aromatic spices that creates another sort of engaging experience for viewers. The Brazilian artist has exhibited in New York, London and Paris, where he was awarded the title of Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to the enrichment of French culture. MCASD commissioned Neto’s site-specific piece for the opening of its downtown location in 2007, and this is the first time it has been shown since then.

A still from ‘Voice off,’ a two channel video projection with sound (1998-1999) by Judith Barry is on view at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown San Diego location through Feb 21, 2016. Judith Barry
Barry’s “Voice Off” is a two-channel video and sound installation that has two separate narratives unfolding simultaneously on a double-sided screen. One shows a woman interacting with dreamlike voices, the other a man haunted by voices he cannot identify. Barry, whose background includes architecture, performance art, and computer graphics, is a New York-based artist who went from designing corporate party spaces to creating music videos, video projects for stores, magazine kiosks and London tube stations, and innovative video installations in venues around the world. A survey of her work will travel through the U.K. in 2016, and she gave the annual Russell Lecture at MCASD-La Jolla on Nov. 18.

“All three of these installations are environmental, enveloping viewers in different ways,” said Jill Dawsey, the museum’s associate curator. “The Irwin is all about light and space, the Neto is about scent and space, and the Barry is about sound, image and space, and how the voice can be visualized. We’re especially proud of the Barry piece, since we’ve never had her work on display before, and we had to work with her to design the right space for it, so viewers can navigate from both sides through a passageway in the screen.”

The exhibition’s opening night, Thursday, Nov. 19, is also the first of MCASD’s “Downtown at Sundown” events that will take place 5-8 p.m. on the third Thursdays of each month. Besides free admission, DJ music, and live performances, there will be guided tours of both MCASD and the nearby SDSU Downtown Gallery, plus discounts on food and drink at Stone Brewing Company and The Flight Path Wine Bar & Bistro, next door to the Museum. 

 IF YOU GO: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown location is at 1100 & 1001 Kettner Blvd., between Broadway and B Street. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closed Wednesday. Admission: $5-$10. (858) 454-3541.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful for STEM into STEAM

by Patricia Frischer

We got the good news today through John Eger that STEM May Become STEAM Officially (Huffington Post). This would be a huge step for nationally for the arts. It recognizes the value of the arts in making a well rounded student capable of performing to the highest levels at any endeavor they may choose.  Cutting the arts from education in the 70's was a huge mistake and we are lucky that the world is still turning as remedial arts training is necessary for a whole generation of students not given any help in being able to work well in teams, to communicate their vision, or think of original, innovative ideas. 

According to John Eger, ",,,  last week, the caucus--through Congresswoman Bonamici--successfully added an amendment to the rewrite of the nation's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation that will integrate the arts into STEM education.

According to Americans for the Arts, " The bill next goes to the House and Senate for final (and likely) passage in early December before landing on the President's desk."

The amendment specifically calls for "integrating other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM programs to increase participation in STEM, improve attainment of STEM-related skills, and promote well-rounded education."

Chula Vista is on the forefront of this push. They have spent $15 million to hire 72 elementary school teachers for the district. My hope is for every city in San Diego county to spend $15 million or more on the arts in 2016.  But for now we are grateful  to see this come down from on high and be a mandate for schools throughout America.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Affordable Art at SD Art Institute Balboa Park

By Patricia Frischer

Value Scale: Affordable Art Fair

Nov 21 to Dec 6
San Diego Art Institute
1439 El Prado, SD 92101
More info: Celia Gold 619-236-0011 

I think it is quite fantastic that you can go to an exhibition and buy works of quality from $15 to $500 in a lovely gallery space right in the middle of Balboa Park.  The works might not all  be your own taste, but they were all challenging and  wonderful to view.  

This show replaces the C Note exhibition (works priced at $100, $200 and $300) that was often extremely varied in quality and very wide in style. Although those shows seemed like they had something for everyone, I often found nothing that excited or stimulated me.

Value Scale is the start of a new tradition at SDAI which I encourage.  I wish there had been more information about the artists showing available.  A younger audience needs education if they are to become  buyers of work who can actually build the knowledge and confidence to become a new generation of collectors.  SDAI will invent its own way forward as the director Ginger Porcella finds ways to connect to the community. Docent tours seem a bit old fashion for this re-born space, but connecting one person at a time is essential. 

This is just a sampling of work...check out the show for yourself and make room for some new art or give the gift that shows you have really thought about the recipient.

Reg Oberg shows a pizza palette with a mosaic of the pyramids

John Staub
Peter Geise - I defy you not to find one you like!

Ricardo Sanders

Ricardo Sander - wall of plenty

Hung Viet Nguyen

Michelle Mateo

Edwin Nutting - my husband's favorite

Kenny King

Kenny King

Andrew Alcasid

Andrew Alcasid - no, the image is not crooked, each work is on a random piece of cut wood.

Jose Hugo Sanchez

Jose Huge Sanchez side view so you can see some of the depth of these extraordinary works.

All New Yorkers in Exile, please note San Diego Art Institute (1439 El Prado, SD 92101) is celebrating your immigration status with a party on Tues. Dec 15 from 7 to 1- pm. This one-night event will feature a "New York-style" party, complete with a hot dog eating contest, performing rats, and DJs (Permanence). The event will be hosted by local drag artist and personality Noah Michaels (Siren), and includes live music by Octa#grape. Enter the raffle on-site to win a free 3-night stay in NYC. Attire: Black (or fuhgeddaboudit) $25.00 online or $30.00 at the door. More info: Marina Grize 619-236-0011

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Convergence at Cabrillo Memorial Park by A Ship in the Woods.

By Patricia Frischer

Convergence curated by Lianne Muella is a A Ship In The Woods project  Sat. Nov 14 , 4 to 11 Nov 29th. There is a very exciting line up of 47 artist who will speak to issues of ecology and environmental sustainability as well as historical relevance and cultural significance of the people that have lived in and around Cabrillo.(1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr , San Diego, CA 92106) More info: Lianne Mueller 619.557.5450

There was a tree filled with wind chimes,, a light installations, video projections on the lighthouse, interactive works, a rock garden installation, experimental sound pieces inside old military bunkers on the site, dance performances, garden enhancements, pottery breaking, butterfly surrealism.

There is a vague map and a list of artist available, but it was really a treasure hunt and we only managed to see about a dozen pieces. The photo images below where mainly taken in the dark. My apologies for the works without name was hard to find the tags in the dark and the shots are more of a touch stone to what we saw instead of a description. 

Lianne Mueller spent her own money to curate this ambition gathering. She had to deal with the challenges (on going) of showing in a national memorial park. The installation work is only up for a very few weeks and much of the show was performance as well as site specific. This is a true convergence of efforts of so many artists and A Ship in the Woods to bring the public a gift of art just in time for Thanksgiving. 

P.S. We had never been to Cabrillo and it was a stunning view of bay, skyline and ocean especially as the night lights started to glow. 

Ryan Bulis

Composite images by Hugo Crosthwaite

Xuchi Naungayan shares her smashing pots and I was able to release the stress of the day with my own participation.

Allison Wiese reads aloud with the glow of a lamp by her side.

Harrell Fletcher

TML Dunn uses a strobe to give us a tiny house with burning flames

Becky Guttin giant charm bracelet is just one of many pieces she placed in a small side garden.

Neil Kendricks's projection on the side of the light house

Jeff Ray's minature bridge

Rubin Ochoa

Here is the photo taken at night of this projection on the ground, but below I have made a sample of what we really saw. The camera eliminates the  perspective like a chalk drawing that is only seen in perspective when the image is photographed

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

San Diego Art Prize 2015 at Art San Diego Contemporary Art Show

  By Patricia Frischer

San Diego Art Prize 2015 at Art San Diego Contemporary Art Show
November 5-8, 2015Booths #300 and #400, Balboa Park Activity Center, 2145 Park Boulevard, San Diego 92101
Wendy Maruyama with emerging artist Peter Scheidt and Roy McMakin with emerging artist Kevin Inman.

The 2015 SD Art Prize Catalog is available for a free download and has Art Notes by Tara Centybear, Curator at San Diego History Center, freelance Curator for the La Jolla Historical Society, Artist, and Teacher at MiraCosta College Mark Murphy, curator/ publisher/designer Murphy Design, Ginger Porcella, Executive Director, San Diego Art Institute, and Alex Zaragoza, freelance arts and culture writer 

We were privileged to have two booth at the art show again this year which featured the SD Art Prize recipients.

Peter Scheidt
  • Scheidt is taking found furniture which might be machine made and bringing it back to be worked on my hand. In this case adding storage. You can see the hand made marks. His preference is for Hand tools and used wood.
  • Mark Murphy says about Scheidt. “Designing an heirloom piece is actually a political act in 2015.”  He is interested in the Maker Movement and how it will affect the survival of a craft industry.
  • His newest project takes a 1957 bread truck/stepvan and turns it into a mobile furniture wood shop. Just like the food truck concept, this takes the art of repair right to the people.
  • Shaker chairs were hung on the wall for storage, and this (like in the Roy McMakin piece Use/Used) allows us to see them as artworks.

Wendy Maruyama
  • Angered by the senseless killing of a protected lion who was lured out of the park and then shot by trophy hunter Walter Palmer, she made this piece call Requiem in silent remembrance for all animals killed for this senseless sport.   Just a few weeks later, a significant and large bull elephant was killed by German trophy hunter.
  • Maruyama is concerned with the problem of wildlife poaching and the need for wildlife preservation in these two works. Her work is passionate as she visited these areas in Africa and saw first hand what is happening.
  • The string in the untitled elephant piece ties the slats of wood together, but there is still the possibility of movement. It is abstract but as soon as you know it is about elephants it reads clearly as that.

Roy McMakin
  • Use/Used: In this work McMakin found a children stool which is weathered and transformed it into art just by putting it on the wall. Below the works sits a duplicate stool that he manufactured and is covered in fresh clean matching paint. His idea is that this new stool will be used in life and gather scars, stains and a patina of wear and will become a new used part of the art work. This is a post modernist work with conceptual roots.
  • The 6 untitled drawings are part of a large number of drawings. They are NOT studies for his sculptures. But McMakin has always made drawings for things he see around him. These drawing are skillfully rendered just like the immaculate construction of his sculpture/furniture.
  • The mentorship between Roy and Kevin is very interesting. Roy’s works are tight and specific. Kevin’s works are looser but both men works with an intense intension.

Kevin Inman
  • Inman came from an art history background of abstract painting.
  • He now paints in antithesis of romantic landscape (which is seeing a revival right now) His landscapes come more from the abstract tradition
  • He arrived in SD in 2009 and his images start a story which he is discovering about SD.
  • Inman is most interested in the impact of humans on the environment He does not have message – not pro or con
  • He sees this urban landscape as a recording of the infrastructure of daily life.  Covers on homes to rid Termites, trash cans and dumpsters, a new trail in an old park.. Even our own Balboa Park is mainly man-made. 
  • His titles are very important to the work to record clues about the relationship.

The Timeline Project [META.MORPHOSIS]: SAN DIEGO'S EVOLVING ART LANDSCAPE The Timeline Project will depict a retrospective of the past and present San Diego Art Prize recipients.  The 120′ x 8′ wall will be built by ECOR Noble Environmental Design, with the graphic design created by students from the Media Design School of Digital Arts at NewSchool of Architecture & Design.

You can see the whole booth that Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance presented with this link to their catalog.  You can see works by Deanne Sabeck, Beliz Irslay, Becky Guttin, De la Torre Brothers, Hill and Stump, Hung Vet Nguyen, Marianela de la Hoz and many more. 

Here is a selection of works from other booths. The first set is all from the Cuban booths Conde Contemporary

Raiman Rodriguez Moya

Luis Enrique Toledo de Rio
Darian Rodriquez Mederos

Anthony Ardavin from Miami
The following images are from the Valencia Gallery who hosted the New Contemporaries exhibition for SDVAN this year.

Alvaro Blancarte and Aida Valencia (sculpture)

Aida Valencia

Aida Valencia detail of sculpture

Alejanddra Phelts from Valencia Gallery

Pablo Picasso ceramics from Masterworks Fine Art

Boris Guillan. A large carved work with eyes that glowed bright and dull. Very eery and beautifully presented if a little slick.

Stephanie Bedwell from the Mesa College Booth with SDAI artists

Stephanie Bedwell

Udin Kuru at David Alan Collections on Cedros in Solano Beach

Kim Niehans from the Art Produce Booth

Daphne Hill at Art Produce Gallery

Jesus Villalpardo from  Estudio Libertao

How could I not end with the business card holder. Some poor artist is rolling over in hisher grave.