In an exhibition that will help celebrate the Centennial of Balboa Park’s 1915 Panama-California Exposition, artists Suzanne Hellmuth and Jock Reynolds will take as their point of departure MCASD Downtown’s Jacobs Building. Once the baggage terminal of the historic Santa Fe Depot, the westernmost stop on the San Diego & Arizona railroad, the building was constructed under the ownership of John D. Spreckels. Hellmuth and Reynolds are creating a layered, multi-media installation employing working model trains, projected historic photographs, and an abundance of vintage luggage. The exhibition will evoke both the construction and many challenges that beset what became known as the “Impossible Railroad.” The artists will explore how John D. Spreckels, San Diego’s great pioneering business leader and benefactor, pressed on against every imaginable setback to fully complete America’s southern transcontinental railroad route.
Hellmuth and Reynolds began collaborating together in San Francisco during the 1970s and have produced numerous site specific performances, multi-media installations, and public artworks that have engaged selected historical events and institutions across America and Europe. Notable among these was their year-long residency that engaged the history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where radar was developed and then deployed to great effect during World War II. They worked to organize a Centennial artistic celebration that helped to instigate the renewal of the first major library and community center that Andrew Carnegie built and opened in 1889 for his steelworkers and their families in Braddock, Pennsylvania. The duo also created a public artwork that explored the establishment of the School of Forestry’s famed tree collection and medicinal herb gardens on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
John D. Spreckels and The Impossible Railroad is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Support for the education programs surrounding the exhibition has been provided by N. W. Gibbons. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture Balboa Park Centennial Celebration Fund and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.
Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez presents a new project by La Jolla-born, New York-based artist Byron Kim, produced on the occasion of the Centennial of the Panama–California Exposition. Known for his monochromatic paintings, Kim explores subjects of cultural identity, race, politics, and art history, all in the guise of pure abstraction. In Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud, Kim’s interest lies in the Panama–California Exposition’s ethnography exhibits, which staged displays of living Native Americans performing various activities, from making traditional crafts, to cooking, to ceremonial dancing. Maria Martinez (1887-1980), an established ceramicist from the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley, was featured demonstrating her famed revival of a traditional Pueblo style of black-on-black pottery. Kim takes Martinez’s signature aesthetic as his point of departure for a new series of minimalist paintings, taking cue from her monochromatic color, geometric and animal motifs, and even her making process. With these works, Kim confronts notions of craft, primitivism, modernism, and the fraught legacy of events such as the Panama-California Exposition.
Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture Balboa Park Centennial Celebration Fund and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.
Anya Gallaccio is known for installations that employ organic materials that are subject to change and decay—flowers and fruit, sugar and ice—even as her work is inflected with a minimalist vocabulary suggesting durability and timelessness. For this exhibition, Gallaccio worked with students to build an unlikely technology: a 3D printer for clay to render a version of the iconic national monument, Devils Tower. Gallaccio joins a primal art material, clay, with a futuristic innovation, the 3D printer. With this effort, Gallaccio insinuates the slow build of geological time with the immediacy of 3D printing. The 3D printer suggests San Diego’s identity as a hub of technological innovation, even as the form, Devils Tower, possesses otherworldly connotations, as a sacred site in Native American tradition and the location of an alien landing in the 1977 film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. For Gallaccio, the printer’s extruded coils of wet clay highlight the potential slippage between artistic intent, the limits of materials, and technological processes in contemporary artistic practice.
Gallaccio’s work was first exhibited at MCASD in 1994 as part of inSITE, and has since been presented in numerous international solo exhibitions, at institutions including Tate London (2003); Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena (2005); Sculpture Center, New York (2006); Camden Art Centre, London (2008); and Artpace, San Antonio (2013). Gallaccio will have a forthcoming solo exhibition at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the Tate London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. A nominee for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003, the British-born artist is based in San Diego and teaches at the University of California San Diego.
Anya Gallaccio is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by gifts to the annual museum fund. Additional support is provided by Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, New York & Tokyo, Lehmann Maupin, New York & Hong Kong and Thomas Dane Gallery, London. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego | La Jolla
700 Prospect Street / +18584543541 / mcasd.org Thu - Tue 11am to 5pm
With two locations, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the region’s foremost forum devoted to the art of our time.
The largest definitive mid-career survey of the work of celebrated American artist Nicole Eisenman to date, Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993–2013 includes more than 120 works, charting the development of Eisenman’s practice across painting, printmaking, and drawing from the 1990s to the present.
Over the past 20 years, Eisenman has developed a creative and versatile vision that combines high and low culture with virtuosic skill. Fusing centuries-old art-making conventions and a multitude of art historic influences—including impressionism, German expressionism, and twentieth-century social realist painting—with contemporary subject matter, she depicts settings and themes as varied as bar scenes, motherhood, and the plight of the artist. Among her core concerns are depictions of community, identity, and sexuality.
Eisenman’s continual representation of women (both “butch” and “femme”) and female love not only imbues the practice of figurative painting with an audaciously queer bent but also recasts art history in a feminist light. Her wit spares no one and nothing, and it is indeed through her humor and the discomfort caused by her work that she communicates the multifaceted richness of the human condition. Her incisive sociopolitical critique operates through the quotidian and the absurd in ways that are both formally playful and visually breathtaking.
Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993–2013 has been organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and curator Kelly Shindler. Major support for the exhibition and catalogue has been provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Koenig & Clinton, New York; Karin and Peter Haas; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Ringier AG, Zürich; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin; Cathy and Jonathan Miller; Richard Gerrig and Timothy Peterson, and the Hall Art Foundation.
Funding for the San Diego presentation is made possible by generous lead funding from the Dow Diva Investment Group. Additional underwriting support has been provided by Fenner Milton and proceeds from the 2014 Biennial Art Auction. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.
Museum of Photographic Arts
1649 El Prado, Balboa Park / +16192387559 / mopa.org Tue - Sun 10am to 5pm
The Museum of Photographic Arts inspires through the presentation, preservation and collection of photography, film and video.