Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Springtime in Lux-land: Art and Nature in Bloom

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt.

Seat #1, a wall sculpture made of bits of prayer rugs and textiles and the artist’s hoodie, by Lux’s current artist-in-residence, Baseera Khan.

Lux Art Institute has been flying high lately. They currently have three exhibitions on view, just had their first Covid-time live public concert in their tree-lined courtyard and are in the midst of a busy season of spring and summer classes. In September, as you may have heard, they’ll be merging with San Diego Art Institute to become The Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego (ICA).

The new ICA promises to “be relevant, build community, present contemporary art, provide nurturing opportunities for artists, and embrace uniqueness.” But meanwhile, there’s plenty to see and do at Lux right now. 

In the street-level Education Pavilion, there’s an engaging display of collaged portraits by Amir H. Fallah, whose family emigrated to the U.S. from Iran during the 1979 revolution. This L.A.-based artist uses his subjects’ personal possessions, rather than their faces, to create his acrylic and colored-pencil portraits, which are on view through May 29. 

“Physical appearances don’t tell you much about who someone is,” he writes. “I’m interested in turning the history of portraiture on its head and trying to create an alternative way to describe someone.” 

First Person Shooter Game. Amir H. Fallah pieced together this woman’s life from objects found in her estate sale.

A Father, A Dad, A Friend (Home Brew)

 Next, combine art and nature with the plein-air [Glyph] exhibition, which allows you to admire the blooming greenery along Lux’s trails as you make your way up to the hilltop, where you can peer into Christian Tedeschi’s recycled fabric-rock well and walk around Beatriz Cortez’s steel and sheet-metal Glacial Erratic for a 360°view of the wide world around the Lux campus. Her piece well deserves the top spot here and will remain on view through August. 

Glacial Erratic

As you stroll the trails, you’ll have musical accompaniment---three separate soundscapes provided in response to the Lux landscape by Pavithra Prasad. Here’s a link to a two-minute video by the composer:

If you’re into wishful thinking, bring a coin for Candice Lin’s Wishing Tree—more of a log, really—that’s located just across from the entrance to Lux’s upper gallery. Use one of the rocks beside the piece to hammer in your coin as you make your wish. 

Then step inside the gallery, where Baseera Khans artwork challenges conventionally limited notions of personal identity and asks viewers to look closely and think about what each piece is trying to say. A Muslim born in Texas and based in New York City, Khan is a multi-award-winning artist dedicated to changing the way we designate certain people as “others.” Some of the wall sculptures here are visually striking; all offer an opportunity to engage directly with a life and culture that may be different from your own but invite you to feel your way in, whoever you are. Khan’s works are on view through June 5, and there’s an artist’s talk May 7 at 6 p.m. 

Baseera Khan’s Psychedelic Prayer Rug: Lunar Countdown, a wool rug designed by the artist, hand-made in Kashmir.

Reflectiona piece that invites viewer participation, made of two-way mirror film, acrylic, and archival inkjet prints. 

If you missed the March 15th Art of Elan concert, which included an array of lovely music performed by seven musicians and four dancers (with innumerable softly-chirping crickets singing backup) but was limited by Covid restrictions to only 50 attendees, all is not lost. Just click on PLAY at Art of Elan@Lux (link below) and you can hear all the music while you view the two photos here.         

Before the concert, Kate Hatmaker, San Diego Symphony violinist and Art of Elan’s Executive/Artistic Director, posed with NYC-based composer and longtime friend Ljova, whose piece “Two Roads” had its world premiere that evening, played by Hatmaker and her husband, cellist Alex Greenbaum.

Brooklyn-based composer/violinst Colin Jacobsen 
performed with his wife, dancer 
Maile Okamura, and
Alex Greenbaum in the San Diego premiere of Jacobsen’s “La Puerta.”

Lux Art Institute
1550 S. El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024
HOURS: Thurs-Sat, 2-5 p.m. 

Reservations and masks required. Admission is free, or pay what you wish.
To reserve time for a visit: 
For more information about artists and coming events:

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 

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