When Opera Santa Barbara approached the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to once again hold a free concert inside a gallery, there was much excitement surrounding this collaboration. The idea was to find the perfect pairing of opera and art to give the audience an all-encompassing experience for the senses. This is no small feat, as the classical vocal and visual repertoire are vast indeed! Upon hearing about the current exhibition entitled Heavenly Bodies at SBMA, Opera Santa Barbara‘s Community Engagement Manager, Kristen Reed knew exactly how to make this happen.This year marks the bicentennial of the unparalleled composer Giuseppe Verdi, and has many opera companies and symphonies celebrating this monumental birthday with performances of his most celebrated works. Opera Santa Barbara is no exception, as they are deep into the rehearsal period for Verdi’s final opera of Falstaff. Verdi had long retired from composing and continued to live out his days overseeing his previous operas in houses all over Europe. When coaxed out of retirement (at the age of 80 years old) to compose his grand finale of Falstaff, he decided that instead of creating an opera for the people, this would be his final ode to himself. The work was his only successful comedy―much of it due to the attention to detail he put into composing for the text, as if it were an homage to Shakespeare’s meter. Shakepeare’s fat knight will be eating and drinking his way through the production set to take place at the Granada Theatre on March 7th and 9th.
In this opera comes the aria, “Sul fil d’un soffio etesio” where the character of Nannetta invites the fairies of the forest (or rather the townsfolk dressed up as fairies) to come out under the magic of the rising moon. This was the inspiration for the program set to be performed in the Museum’s Heavenly Bodies exhibition on March 6 at 5:30 pm. Studio Artists, Sara Duchovnay and Sergio Gonzalez, will sing a selection of art songs and arias where the text draws inspiration from the sun, moon, and stars. Both Sara and Sergio graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Opera Santa Barbara is delighted to have them as part of the company. From Claude Debussy to Leonard Bernstein, this program will offer a delightful nod to the spectacular surroundings created by Heavenly Bodies.
Thursday, March 6, 5:30 pm
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
With lunar grace Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography, brings to Santa Barbara the wonderment of the heavens and contemplation of the sublime in her current exhibition Heavenly Bodies. Art and science merge to educate audiences through the aesthetically pleasing. Sinsheimer previously curated Imaging/Imagining Science in 1998 and PhotoGENEsis in 2002 as part of her over 23-year commitment to the intersections of art and science; a merging of subjective creativity with objective facts. Continuing this interest, Heavenly Bodies provides just a glimpse into the depth of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art science and art based photography drawn almost entirely from the permanent collection.
McCormick Gallery now reveals forgotten histories, unseen marvels, invisible mysteries, and beguiling creations through the illuminating images of Heavenly Bodies. Here the macrocosm, the microcosm, the ordinary made extraordinary, and conceptual constructs become photographic studies of the heavenly.
Unique photographs of astronomical events and observations, from contemporary NASA digital images to those dating as far back as 1902, attest to the evolution of space technology. These scientific artifacts are made glorious through photographic processes and the keen and subjective eyes of photographers.
Just as the luminous glory of deep space is impossible to see without the aid of technology, the similarly undetectable effervescence of microscopic subjects are made visible by the ingenuity of 20th- century artists. These photographs mimic the grandeur of the stars but in complete opposition to their magnitude.
Things one might encounter and subsequently overlook such as dying trees, Pacific sea kelp, bird swarms, or apples become monumentalized through the lens of visionary photographers. Celebrating the extraordinary nature of the ordinary, it is then up to the viewer to witness and understand the glory of these seemingly inconspicuous subjects, akin to these photographer sights.Planets and stars are revealed, the miniscule beauty that surrounds us is brilliantly captured, the quotidian is pedestalled, and all of the like are re-invented through conceptual photographs. These constructs are often produced without a camera; through Photoshop manipulation; or even by engineering photographic stages ― but all with a common goal to re-conceive visuals of science and space through the sublime.
Heavenly Bodies is on view until May 25, 2014. This exhibition is a challenging but enlightening experience for all―whether art or science inclined. No matter the heavenly forms depicted, Heavenly Bodies is a humbling reminder of the stellar and the superlative that surrounds us all.
Join us for a special lecture by Mary Tonetti Dorra on Sunday, February 23 at 3 pm about her new book Demeter’s Choice: A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Young Artist.
“Demeter” is Mary Lawrence, a well-born and well-bred young American woman who lived during America’s Gilded Age and defied the expectations of her class and time to follow her dream of becoming a sculptor. She became a protégé of the great American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, working with and for “Gus” in both America and France. Her story is not only a portrait of a remarkable young woman but also a vivid portrait of a fascinating period in American history. In addition to Saint-Gaudens, the cast of characters in Lawrence’s story includes some of the most famous and colorful characters of the period, including the great Beaux-Arts architects Stanford White and Charles McKim (McKim being one of Lawrence’s early suitors), and Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel.
Mary Dorra has lived in Santa Barbara since 1965. She came here with her late husband, Henri Dorra, who was a distinguished professor of art history at UCSB. Mary Dorra was born in Macon, Georgia, grew up in Texas, educated at Vassar College and spent three years in Italy, studying at the University of Florence and working for the Rome bureau of Time-Life publications. Mary Dorra has written extensively about travel and gardens for many publications, including Gourmet magazine, The New York Times, HG, Elle Décor, The Los Angeles Times, and Travel and Leisure. She has written two books, Beautiful American Vegetable Gardens and Beautiful American Rose Gardens. Demeter’s Choice is her first novel.
Her lecture will be followed by a reception and a book signing.
Demeter’s Choice: A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Young Artist
Sunday, February 23, 3 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
$5 SBMA Members/$7 Non-Members
Purchase tickets in person at the Museum Visitor Services desks, call 884.6423, or online at tickets.sbma.net.
Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Represents the Sole West Coast Venue
January 26 – April 20, 2014
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) represents the exclusive West Coast venue for a major exhibition of work by internationally acclaimed American artist Michelle Stuart. A focused survey of the artist’s drawings and related works, Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature highlights the artist’s radical redefinition of the medium of drawing—a field of intense artistic and scholarly interest today. The exhibition is comprised of nearly 60 works spanning the period from the late 1960s to the present day. These works encompass a characteristically varied and unconventional range of media, underlining Stuart’s major contribution to the practice of drawing.
Michelle Stuart, born and trained in California, has become celebrated for a rich and diverse body of work stemming from her lifelong interest in the natural world and the cosmos. Working in drawing, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and site-specific earthworks, she has pursued a subtle and responsive dialogue with nature and science. With an emphasis on organic materials and repetitive actions, Stuart’s oeuvre originates in particular in process-based sculpture of the late 1960s and the Land Art movement. During the 1970s she became known for her monumental drawings in which rolls of paper were smashed with rocks, stroked with earth, or rubbed with graphite until the characteristics of a given site became ingrained in its surface. These early frottage pieces capture the complexion of the site and act as indexical traces of the land. Often, works were made directly in nature. At SBMA, these wall scrolls are shown alongside Niagara Gorge Path Relocated (1975), a video documenting a 460-foot long drawing along the original site of the Niagara Falls.Several works in the exhibition respond to well known mythic sites, notably the Nazca Lines, the Uffington White Horse, and New Mexican petroglyphs. The drawing Moon (1969), is meticulously rendered from photographs taken at the lunar landing that year. Also included in the survey are Stuart’s “rock books,” inculcated with earth and other materials from specific sites; “seed drawings,” grids of seeds collected in various places, which bleed into and transform their paper supports; and other site-specific works Stuart has done around the world. The exhibition concludes with Stuart’s recent photographic grids, expansive works, which encapsulate the potent blend of “real history, imaginative history, and natural history” that has characterized her practice for over 40 years. Michelle Stuart was born in Los Angeles. After training at the Jepson Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute, she worked as a topographical draftsperson, mapping the earth’s crust from Las Vegas to South Korea. In the 1950s, she traveled to Mexico to assist the muralist Diego Rivera and spent three years in Paris, before settling in New York City in 1958. While living and working in NYC, Stuart has maintained a studio on the Pacific Coast from the 1980s to the present.
Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature was curated by Dr. Anna Lovatt, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Manchester, UK. It originated at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, UK (on view February 16 – April 14, 2013). It traveled to the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York (on view July 21 – October 27, 2013). Accompanying the exhibition is a 160-page hardcover catalogue with essays by Anna Lovatt, Jane McFadden, and Nancy Princenthal, as well as an interview with the artist by Julie Joyce (SBMA Curator of Contemporary Art).
Please join SBMA this Sunday for two exhibition related programs:
Curators’ Perspective: Jonathan Fineberg and Anna Lovatt
Sunday, January 26, 2–3:30 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
A rare opportunity to hear from two art historians/curators regarding their inspirations and ideas driving the concurrent solo exhibitions Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories are Worth Repeating and Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature.
Free for SBMA Members/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members (includes Museum Admission)
Purchase tickets at the Museum Visitor services desks or online at tickets.sbma.net
Book Signing: Michelle Stuart, Drawn from Nature
Sunday, January 26, 3:30–4:30 pm
Michelle Stuart and Anna Lovatt, curator of the exhibition, will be available to sign copies of the beautifully produced monograph Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature (Hatje Cantz, 2013), which accompanies the traveling exhibition.
These various prints and drawings were done by students in SBMA’s Homework/Artwork After School program and inspired by images of Eugene Delacroix’s Hamlet suite of lithographs presented in the Delacroix and the Matter of Finish exhibition.The students, aged 6 – 13, studied the works for visual clues in the scenes being depicted. They chose their favorite scene and sketched from the lithograph, sometimes focusing on a particular character’s facial expression or gesture. Close attention was paid to the lines and crosshatching techniques used by Delacroix to achieve the wide range of darks, lights, and textures in his expressive drawings.
Students translated their sketches into charcoal drawings, foam prints, and etched prints, developing their drawing skills along the way. For the etchings, these young artists scratched their images into matte board with carpentry nails, and the Museum’s small printing press was transported to the Eastside Library from the Ridley-Tree Education Center, allowing participants to experience this piece of equipment special to printmaking.
These works are on view through January 26, 2014 in Going Up!, a series of unorthodox installations of student artwork displayed in the non-traditional space of the Museum elevator. The title both refers to the enhanced experience of the passengers as well as to the student artists who are on the rise. Going Up! installations connect to special exhibitions or the Museum’s permanent collection and vary in size, subject matter, and medium.
Homework/Artwork After School is a free, after school program, that provides homework help from a certified classroom teacher, hands-on art classes inspired by current Santa Barbara Museum of Art exhibitions and taught by SBMA Teaching Artists, field trips to the Museum, and Family Nights. The program is in residence October through May at the Eastside Library.
Join Curatorial Support Group, PhotoFutures on Sunday, January 19, at 2 pm for the Curator’s Choice Lecture: Beth Gates-Warren. Beth Gates-Warren curated the 2005 SBMA-sponsored exhibition, Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration. This special lecture will focus on research from the exhibition and her latest publication Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum. Beth Gates-Warren is a Photographic Historian and former Director of the Photography Department at Sotheby’s.
The following is an excerpt from Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles.When Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather first encountered each other in 1913 neither foresaw that their pairing, both as colleagues and as lovers, would make photographic history, or that the wide array of talented people they were about to befriend and photograph would one day be remembered as vivid, archetypal characters in the history of early twentieth century America….[In the mid-1920s] Weston purposefully deleted much of his early history, and with it, virtually every trace of Mather’s presence in his life. It was a hasty decision Weston came to regret, and many years later, as he readied his journals for publication, he attempted to make amends by recalling Mather as "the first important person" in his life. But it was much too little and far too late.
Over the past half-century Mather’s reputation has faded completely away, while Weston’s has grown exponentially…Since Weston’s death in 1958, photography historians, prompted by Mather’s appearance in so many of his early photographs, have occasionally speculated about her origins and the role she played in Weston’s life, but because so little written documentation remained as evidence, the details of their relationship were generally believed to be irretrievable…Fortunately that assumption proved to be incorrect…[and] the history of their shared endeavors and intertwined friendships, played out against the dynamic backdrop of the City of the Angeles during the early decades of the last century, has now been reconstructed, and their story can be told at last. (Artful Lives, "Prologue," p. x)
Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston met in Los Angeles in 1913 and established a fondness for one another that extended past their professional working relationship as artists. Their photographs combined with Ms. Warren’s research provide insight into the history of Los Angeles during the rise of Hollywood as well as the economic and political unrest at the time.
Curator’s Choice Lecture: Beth Gates-Warren
Sunday, January 19, 2014, 2 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members
Reserve or purchase tickets at the Museum Visitor services desks, or online at http://tickets.sbma.net.
Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating
A Collaboration between Santa Barbara Museum of Art and
Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art and UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum present Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating―the first comprehensive exploration of this vital aspect of the renowned sculptor’s creative process. The exhibition has been organized by the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, and curated by Adjunct Parrish Curator Jonathan Fineberg, Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and traces Aycock’s career from 1971 to the present, highlighting the major themes that have governed her artistic practice.
While Aycock is best known for her large-scale installations and outdoor sculptures, her drawings capture the full range of her ideas and sources. Consisting of approximately 100 works, the exhibition will be presented in two parts. The 48 works on view at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (January 26 – April 20) cover the later years, when Aycock developed an increasingly elaborate visual vocabulary, drawing upon a multitude of sources and facilitated in part by the use of computer programs. The works on view at the AD&A Museum (January 25 – April 19) focus on the beginning of her career, including detailed architectural drawings, sculptural maquettes, and photo documentation for both realized and imagined architectural projects.
“Aycock is an artist who thinks on paper,” writes Terrie Sultan in the catalogue introduction. “Her spectacular drawings are equal parts engineering plan and science-fiction imagining. As in all of her work, fantastic narrative writings weave in and out of her images, inspiring her production of sculptural objects, drawings, and installations.”
Santa Barbara Museum of Art – Later Work
Language and architecture have informed Aycock’s drawings in ever-more imaginative ways. At the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Rosetta Stone City Intersected by the Celestial Alphabet (1985) and The Garden of Scripts (Villandry) (1986) show how Aycock uses as architectural elements, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Mesopotamian cuneiform, Native American pictographs, and Chinese and Sanskrit characters. Board games are another source of inspiration for the artist. The Celestial City Game (1988) is based on the heavenly city of Jerusalem, with snakes and ladders in a central checkerboard, surrounded by a city plan derived from an eighth-century illuminated manuscript. The deep whirlpool in the middle of The Glass Bead Game: Circling ’Round the Ka’ Ba (1985) was inspired by a photograph of people whirling in a rapturous, hypnotic dance around Mecca’s sacred site. Instead of the actual Ka’ Ba, however, the black structure hovering above the center is a depiction of a wooden shanty the artist saw in Cairo’s City of the Dead.
Both Aycock‘s built projects and her drawings achieved new complexity in the 1990s with the advent of computer graphics programs, which enable her to view forms from multiple perspectives, create mathematically perfect curves, generate precise construction drawings, reduce and enlarge at will, scale a piece perfectly in a site, and imagine points of view that are extraordinarily accurate. The way in which her several vocabularies of drawing mirror the multivalent simultaneity of her sources and trajectories of thought manifest both her conceptual clarity and her formal depth. But her drawing practice also anticipates how today’s emerging artists are employing systems-based drawing as an increasingly important venue for cultural speculation.
A suite of seven drawings from 1993, The Eaters of the Night (A Continuing Series), encapsulates many of Aycock’s concerns, including cities, wars, mechanical movements, games, universe schemes, languages, and dances. These intricate drawings in white ink on black paper place various schemes—city plans, dance steps, game configurations, and mechanical movements—on canopies of stars. Rock, Paper, Scissors (India ’07), from 2012, was inspired by a visit to the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. With a computer program, Aycock redrew the five-story structure repeatedly to produce a high tower of many stories, tapering to a peak. At its base a turbine or blade machine radiates from a central axle, while the structure is encircled by red and white curvilinear forms.
In another recent drawing in the exhibition, From the Series Entitled “Sum Over Histories”: Timescape #5 Over the Landscape of the Pacific Ocean (2011), Aycock appropriates a topographic rendering of the Pacific Ocean floor from an old exhibition catalogue, scans it into a computer, and stretches it out horizontally, distorting it into a flat sheet floating in space. She then uses a computer program to superimpose on the map whirlwinds and spinning tops, ribbon-like pathways doubling back and wrapping around themselves, helices and circular blades, and other complex forms. According to Fineberg, “This is the crux of Aycock’s work: peregrinations through unpredictable networks of meaning, in many directions at once, into the breathtaking landscape of a place you’ve never been before.”
Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara – Early Work
Alice Aycock first produced working drawings for imaginary projects in the early 1970s, at the same time as she began creating site-specific structures on an architectural scale. The AD&A Museum’s installation includes a broad selection of drawings, ranging from conceptual idea-making to detailed working documents for the construction of intricate and challenging monumental installations, as well as photographic documentation of projects realized during the 1970s and 1980s. Just as the early constructions choreographed the viewer through a mixture of psychological sensations, the early drawings from this period, among them Project for a Vertical Maze (1975) and Project for Five Wells Descending a Hillside (1975), depict imagined architectural constructions designed to elicit feelings ranging from comfort and security to anxiety and distress.
In the late 1970s, language began to figure more prominently in Aycock’s work, in the form of increasingly elaborate and allusive titles and narratives that reflected the many sources she mined for ideas—contemporary and obsolete science, philosophies and belief systems, mythology, fantastic architecture, archeology, family history, literature, and clinical psychology texts, especially those dealing with the language of schizophrenia. Several major drawings from this period are on view, including Project Entitled “The City of the Walls: A Narrow City, A Thin City…” (1978) which is complemented by a disjunctive, free-ranging text set in the Middle Ages and referencing multiple sites such as Cairo’s City of the Dead; Bloomfield, Indiana; Sarajevo; and Reykjavik.
During the early 1980s, Aycock’s interest in machinery and mechanics—cross-bred with imaginary science of the Ghostbusters variety—intensified, resulting in a series of works that are represented by drawings and maquettes. These include The Miraculating Machine in the Garden (1980); From the Series Entitled How to Catch and Manufacture Ghosts: “Collected Ghost Stories from the Workhouse” (1980); Rotary Lightning Express (An Apparatus for Determining the Effects of Mesmerism on Terrestrial Currents) (1980); and The Savage Sparkler (1981). Commenting on The Miraculating Machine in the Garden, Fineberg writes, “It is a romantic scientific apparatus, like something from an old Frankenstein movie, seemingly capable of harnessing awesome natural forces.”
About Alice Aycock
Born in 1946 and educated at Douglass College and Hunter College, Alice Aycock emerged in New York in the 1970s, and her approach to art exemplified the ways artists radically redefined the trajectory of art during that decade. Her work was exhibited widely during the seventies and eighties, from the Museum of Modern Art to Documenta. Aycock has also had a profound effect on succeeding generations of artists, both through the example of her new work and through her teaching at various institutions, chief among them the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she has taught since 1991. She also served on the Public Design Commission of the City of New York from 2003 to 2012, and is currently a visiting artist at Mount Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD.
Aycock’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Parrish Art Museum, among many others. She has exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the world, and her permanent public art works are on display at locations throughout the United States, among them New York, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Sacramento, Tampa, Dallas, Kansas City, Ann Arbor, and at the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY. Aycock’s 1998 sculpture Star Sifter was recently reconfigured into a new version of the work, which is now featured prominently in the center of JFK International Airport’s Terminal One Departure Hall.
A fully illustrated catalogue, featuring an interpretive essay by Fineberg and an introduction by Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan, will accompany the exhibition. It is the first scholarly exploration of the pivotal, enormously productive role drawing has played in Aycock’s career over the course of her 40 years as a professional artist. The catalogue is published by the Parrish Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press.
This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Eric and Fiona Rudin, Agnes Gund, The College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Eliza Gatfield, Henry S. McNeil, Joseph M. Cohen, James Salomon, and Beth Rudin DeWoody.
The presentation at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is realized through the support of SBMA’s The Museum Contemporaries, Jane and Ken Andersom, Marianne and Norman F. Sprague III, Dorothy and John Gardner, and an anonymous donor.
Learn more about Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating and other exhibitions and events at our Press Room.
Susan Straight is the author of ten novels, including “A Million Nightingales”, “Highwire”, “Moon” and “The Friskative Dog”. She is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. The following is her commentary on the “LAX/Noise Abatement Zone” series, part of the exhibition “John Divola: As Far As I Could Get” This is her final entry in a series of three posts.
The glimpses of home—of what makes a house and slice of acreage a home—are what make you melt when you stand before these images. The photographs in John Divola’s LAX/Noise Abatement Zone series are some transformative combination of elegy, epitaph, and epiphany. The front doorways, beyond which you can see how humans chose decorations for the rooms in which they had decided to live. The tender fringe of fabric that is how we make a window ours, the sliding doors which are so California, broken in the shapes of cartoon superheroes, as if someone flew out of this house instead of being told to leave home. The back doorways, beyond which you can see how families arranged the yards in which they had decided to play and whisper and drink and watch each other. The angular darkness of empty benches where once someone sat, the intricate patterns of the domestic plantings and the wild weeds that have now taken over the abandonment.
They weren’t abandoned, these homes. Their emptiness was a statement of power—that these houses once built with new stucco and dreams, tended or untended, laughter or shouting, beer or soda consumed at the tables and in the yards—these houses were not as important as the runways and flight paths that would take thousands of other humans over them to tumble out and spill into the LAX terminals and then drive down rivers of asphalt to their own homes or the hotel rooms or the offices that waited, empty, for them.
But in their abatement, Divola stood and peered into the doorways, the windows, the sliding glass doors that no one builds now, the yards that might seem tiny to Californians now accustomed to McMansions, the décor that seems retro and cheap, the owl you may find at Goodwill—but remember that everything in your own living room right now might in thirty years be found at Goodwill. The flowers on the wall, the vines on the stucco, and the fan of trellis where someone once tied stems.
In that way, Divola’s photographs remind us not just that some houses are told they are worth more than others, and some lives are not erased but lifted up and moved almost as with massive paperwork—fingers, but that art lets the moment of the leaving, the melancholy lingering of what we wanted, be visible forever.
When the Santa Barbara Museum Art (SBMA) asked Mitchell Thomas and me to come up with a "Pop Up" theater event to celebrate the exhibition Delacroix and the Matter of Finish, and, in particular, the Hamlet suite (a series of sketches inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet) we decided to take the words "Pop Up" literally and came up with the idea for Surprised by Shakespeare on January 9th, 5:30–7:30 pm in the Museum galleries.We wanted to highlight other works of art in various forms that, like Delacroix’s prints, were inspired by Hamlet and have them "Pop Up" in different galleries of the Museum at different times during the evening. So if you wander the Museum on the night of the 9th you just might stumble upon Celeste Tavera singing Death of Ophelia by Hector Berlioz, or find yourself face to face with actor Jeff Mills performing a soliloquy from Lit Moon Theater’s production of Hamlet, scheduled to tour China later this year. You could turn a corner and hear a reading of poems inspired by the character of Ophelia read by local poets David Starkey and Paul Willis from their edited volume, In A Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare.
Each of the works in the Hamlet suite was inspired by a scene from Shakespeare’s most famous play and you can hear some of those scenes read by local actors Marianne Robins, Alister Chapman, and Mark Nelson. Casey Caldwell and Lauren Wright will be performing the famous “Get thee to a nunnery…” scene and Mitchell and I will share a moment from history (that never happened) when we recreate the classic Rowan Atkinson/Hugh Laurie comedy sketch where Shakespeare’s agent attempts to force the bard to cut down his famously lengthy play.
So please join us and get ready to be Surprised by Shakespeare, flabbergasted by Ophelia, and confounded by Claudius as the spirit of Hamlet invades SBMA.
Surprised by Shakespeare: Pop-Up Performances
Thursday, January 9, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Although Delacroix and the Matter of Finish may only be on view for three months at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the exhibition actually took over three years to make. The extensive time spent on research, travel, and arranging loans culminated in an intense few weeks of design, construction, and installation, one of the most exciting and fascinating aspects of the exhibition process. Under the direction of Assistant Director and Chief Curator Eik Kahng, the installation team included couriers overseeing the safe transport of the paintings to Santa Barbara from all over the world, an exhibition designer to reimagine the McCormick Gallery, art handlers to carefully hang the paintings on the walls, a lighting specialist to bring out the brilliant hues of Delacroix’s vibrant works, and a vinyl wizard to carefully adhere the facsimile reproductions of three of Delacroix’s largest paintings to the wall.
Talking While Walking: Delacroix’s Hamlet Suite
Thursday, December 12, 6:30PM