Botticelli, Titian, and Beyond, Exhibitions

Explore Traditions of Italian Art as an SBMA Teen Intern!


0 Comments 22 January 2015


Interns explore the relationship between contemporary Florentine street art and fine art tradition in the spring Teen Internship Program session. Left: Italian street artist Blub modernizes Piero della Francesca’s famous marriage portrait in an underwater scene with snorkel gear. Right: Italian street artist Clet simplifies Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man on traffic signs.

This spring brings new exhibitions, new programming, and new opportunities at SBMA, including a new session of the Museum’s Teen Internship Program! From February 24 to April 2 the Teen Internship Program will use contemporary Florentine street art to reinterpret various masterpieces on view in the upcoming Botticelli, Titian, and Beyond: Masterpieces of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums exhibition for a unique look at Italian art tradition. Storytelling and symbolism are explored through various media, including collage, stencils, and digital media.

For hundreds of years, Italy has been a hotbed of art movements and monumental artists. Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, gave us Raphael and Michelangelo, and continues to be an influential art capital. As tourists flock to this Tuscan gem to see masterpieces of centuries past, they are also being treated to a new wave of creator: the street artist.

This new breed of artist—such as Clet and the artist known as Blub—are clearly influenced by art history. How could they not be, living within a city marked by its cultural achievements? These street artists reinvent old masterpieces and breathe new life into historical works through the lens of graffiti, graphic design, and pop culture. Clet simplifies Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and then imposes it on traffic signs, while Blub modernizes Piero della Francesca’s famous marriage portrait in an underwater scene with snorkel gear.

In February, the Museum transports its visitors to Italy with Botticelli, Titian, and Beyond: Masterpieces of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums, giving Santa Barbara a taste of Italian paintings that span five centuries, all without the jet lag.

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The completed Museum Shop installation by SBMA fall teen interns

Over the course of the spring session, teen interns ages 15 – 18 work with Kendall Pata—a local graphic designer, Museum Senior Teaching Artist, and lover of all things Italian—to explore the professional art world and develop their own installation inspired by Botticelli, Titian, and Beyond. The internship culminates with a group installation in the Museum Shop window, featuring a modern interpretation of historical paintings selected from the exhibition. Interns are also responsible for developing and teaching a project to their peers at the Museum’s High School Event in March, based on the same exhibition.

For more information and applications, please click here. Applications are due February 6.

See what past interns say about their experience:

Paloma Paige, currently studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said she particularly enjoyed “creating an original project and learning about what goes into organizing an exhibition.”

Matt Freegard, an intern in Fall 2013, said he “thoroughly enjoyed how friendly everyone turned out to be” and “left with a better appreciation of how to collaborate with other artists.”

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Curator's Choice, Events, Lecture

Curator’s Choice Lecture: Michael Fried


0 Comments 05 January 2015


Guercino, “Samson Captured by the Philistines,” 1619. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1984.

Michael Fried, J.R. Herbert Boone Chair in Humanities at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, visits SBMA Thursday, January 15 for a special lecture on two miraculous years of production by 17th-century Italian painter Guercino. Author of the influential essay “Art and Objecthood,” which appeared in 1967, Fried has gone on to publish richly on a wide range of subjects, from Caravaggio through contemporary “art” photography. Before his arrival, SBMA Assistant Director and Chief Curator Eik Kahng took a moment to catch up with Fried and his current projects.

EK: You published a book on four contemporary artists in 2011 called Four Honest Outlaws: Sala, Ray, Marioni, Gordon (Yale University Press). And now you are interested in Guercino. Is there a through line between these artists? Or is Guercino part of a separate project?

MF: My Guercino talk is a version of the last chapter in a new book (still being revised) on painting in Italy after Caravaggio’s death. In that sense it goes on from my book The Moment of Caravaggio. What’s happened in recent years is that I’ve been working happily back and forth between the 17th century and the present, with various stops in between—mainly 18th- and 19th-century France. A constant theme of everything, of course, is the relation of the work of art to the beholder—my great subject.

EK: Can you explain what you understand by “High Modernism” for our audience?

MF: “High Modernism” is a term that covers the explosion of abstract painting and sculpture (to speak only of those arts) that took place starting in the 1940s and gained strength in the 1950s and 60s, at first in the United States and then elsewhere. Names like Jackson Pollock and David Smith epitomize it—or, more recently, Anthony Caro. I began my career as an art critic under its spell, and I continue to find it compelling to this day.

EK: Your pace of productivity seems to have quickened in the last few decades. How would you describe the difference between your more recent work and the now canonical earlier work, such as Absorption and Theatricality (University of Chicago Press, 1988)?

MF: That’s hard to say. I do tell my students that things get easier as you go along—your confidence increases and of course you have your earlier work to build on, if it is true.

EK: Your scholarship is typically described as original, groundbreaking, sometimes controversial. How do you characterize your approach within the current field of art history? Or do you think it should even be described as participatory in so-called art history at all?

MF: I think of all my writing about earlier art as historical in the most unequivocal way. But the field of art history has never been comfortable with what I do. Recently, though, the work of various younger art historians suggests that the situation has begun to change.

EK: And a question that I can never answer myself, but will pose to you anyhow: Who is the most important artist in the history of art?

MF: I have to pass. But for me Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe will always be the touchstone of my thinking about painting.


Curator’s Choice Lecture: Michael Fried
Guercino’s Anni Mirabiles (1619 – 1620)

Thursday, January 15, 5:30 pm
The years 1619 – 20 saw the young Italian painter Guercino produce major painting after major painting, seemingly without pausing to catch his breath. Yet the paintings themselves have remained curiously unexamined by scholars seeking to understand what exactly is going on in them. In this lecture Michael Fried tries to break that spell and say something about the deeper importance of Guercino’s art.

Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members and Students/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members
Reserve or purchase tickets at the Museum Visitor Services desks or online at

Fried will also speak about Cecco del Caravaggio’s Resurrection at UC Santa Barbara Wednesday at 4 pm. For more information, click here.





This lecture is sponsored by Dead Artists Society and is part of the Curator’s Choice Lecture Series, an innovative lecture series featuring prominent speakers hand-picked by the Museum’s curators. Distinguished experts offer fresh perspectives on the visual arts and provide stimulating opportunities for discovery in the Santa Barbara community.


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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Current, Exhibitions

Last Chance for “Art to Zoo”


0 Comments 30 December 2014

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Installation view of "Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014


Installation view of "Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014


Installation view of "Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014

The chance to experience photographs of our wise, kind, mischievous, and emotional fellow creatures is nearing an end. As we welcome in the New Year we hope you seize the final opportunities to view Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures before it closes Monday, January 5. The personalities of the animal kingdom have captured the attention of photographers since the invention of the photographic process, but for only three more days can you view this impressive array of masterworks in person. Ranging from the late 19th century to contemporary prints, the images truly speak to the presence and characteristics of the subjects.

As we conclude the photography department’s two-part exhibition series exploring the intersections of art and science, we encourage all to investigate the science behind animal life and intelligence not only within the photographs of Art to Zoo but also of the creatures in your daily lives. Like the impressive array of master photographic prints, the world’s creatures make for fascinating, surprising, and dynamic subjects. Captured in a range of photographic processes are the fleeting moments of animal nature and spirit. Though we often overlook the creatures that cross our paths, the photographs of Art to Zoo allow a contemplation of the meaningful life that evolves around us.

AtoZ_CatalogueIf you happen to miss your chance to experience the wonderment of our fellow species before the exhibition closes, visit the Museum Shop for a full exhibition catalogue!




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Current, Education, Permanent Collection

Draw, Paint, and Sculpt Ancient Myths After School


0 Comments 23 December 2014

Are you looking for a fun and educational after-school activity for the kids this winter? SBMA’s new ArtVenture After-School Class Athena to Zeus: Exploring the Art of Ancient Greece and Rome (Thursdays, January 8 – March 26) provides the opportunity for kids ages 6 – 12 to draw, paint, and sculpt artwork inspired by works in the Museum’s antiquities and European collections. This 12-week program includes an interactive docent tour of the Museum and weekly hands-on lessons at the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, where students reimagine ancient Greco-Roman characters, creatures, and epics.


Students explore Greek pottery design by creating their own  hydrias, or water vessels.

In the first project, students explore Greek pottery designs by drawing a hydria (water vessel) depicting a godly chariot procession. Students create their own coffee-stained paper as the foundation, then draw in India ink to complete their version of the myth in black-figure style.

In another project, students reinvent Athena’s Medusa ornament—a protective necklace entwined with snakes—using felt, recycled fabrics, and special charms.


Students recreate their own version of Delacroix’s retelling of the myth of Juno using expressive and sketch-like brushstrokes.

Inspired by Eugene Delacroix’s Winter: Juno and Aeolus, on view in Degas to Chagall: Important Loans from The Armand Hammer Foundation, students use expressive brushstrokes and gestures on a dark background to create their own version of the artist’s retelling of the myth of Juno, queen of the gods, as she summons Aeolus, god of the winds, onto Aeneas’s fleet. Delacroix often utilized a sketch-like or unfinished style of painting, which students use to emphasize the stormy scene before completing the masterpiece with handmade gilded frames.

To learn more about ArtVenture After-School Classes and Camps, to register, or to see a full upcoming schedule, visit


ArtVenture After-School Class
Athena To Zeus: Exploring the Art of Ancient Greece and Rome
Thursdays, January 8 – March 26, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
$300 SBMA Members/$350 Non-Members
Ridley-Tree Education Center, Santa Barbara Museum of Art at McCormick House
1600 Santa Barbara Street



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SBMA travelers take Croatia


0 Comments 22 December 2014

Croatia has been a land ruled by foreign empires throughout most of its 2,000-year history, leaving behind a wake of conflict and a mosaic of artistic influences. Traveling from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is a trip back in time; beginning with the northern villages, battle-scarred from the Homeland War of the 1990s, and ending on the Dalmatian Coast with the Illyrian and Greek ruins dating back to the fourth century BC. It is also a land of breathtaking and varied natural beauty. Lush green hills quietly roll across the north, while barren and dramatic mountains dive into the Adriatic Sea in the south.



Zagreb, Croatia

Our (me and eight SBMA Members) adventure began in Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb. Vanya, our amazing tour director, collected us from the airport and delivered us to the historic Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, which was built in 1925 in the Belle Epoque style for passengers traveling on the Orient Express train as they made their way between Paris and Istanbul. Previous guests include Queen Elizabeth II, Ella Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and now—the Santa Barbara Museum of Art travelers!

After taking some time to unpack and rest following our long flight, we gathered in the banquet hall for a welcome reception, before being set loose to explore on our own and discover first-hand the incredible charm the city and its people had to offer.

The next morning we were treated to an exceptional lecture on contemporary Croatia before heading out for a walking tour of the city, guided by our very own Vanya—a native son of Zagreb. Unfortunately, because this was Croatia’s Independence Day, most sites of interest were closed, but there were plenty of monuments, buildings, and gardens left to take in.

Plitvice Lakes


Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel the next morning, we made our way out of the city as Vanya continued our lesson in Croatian history and answered our questions about everything from politics to sports en route to Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Established as a national park in 1949, Plitvice Lakes is a 300-square-kilometer study in striking natural beauty. Pools of turquoise blue water cascade from one level to the next like a champagne fountain, down a 500-foot drop over a four-and-a-half-mile distance. We zig-zagged our way down the stone pathway and into the limestone gorge to begin our two mile hike along the wooden pathways that would guide us through this Thomas Cole painting come to life. After catching a ferry for a tranquil 20-minute ride over some of the most pristine water I’ve ever seen, we were treated to a delicious meal of local delicacies of either meat or fish and finally made our way out of the mountains and down the coast, transitioning from a grassy, tree-lined landscape to a more barren, rock-covered Mediterranean setting.

We pulled into Old Town Trogir by late afternoon, allowing us time to stretch our legs and unpack before heading down to dinner at our home for the next few nights: the Hotel Trogir Palace. This family-run luxury boutique hotel was perfectly located. Only a quick, five-minute walk to the center of town, and we could enjoy all the conveniences of the city without any of the noise to disturb our sleep.


A capella singers in Trogir

A capella singers in Trogir, Croatia

The next morning we were treated to another excellent lecture on Croatia’s seafaring history. Our lecturer brought to life the development of the Dalmatian Coast and the role its neighboring lands, especially Venice, played in influencing its story.

After our lecture, we were led on a walking tour of Old Town Trogir, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the town is small in size, it’s rich in cultural offerings. Our first stop was the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. Built in stages from the 13th to 15th centuries, it incorporates a mix of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. After, we strolled the yacht-lined promenade to the Kamerlengo Castle, built in the 15th century by the Republic of Venice. Finally, we worked our way through the narrow, cobblestone alleys to an open courtyard where we were serenaded with traditional songs by a group of local a capella singers. That afternoon we were free to shop, stroll, eat, and photograph our way through all this tiny gem of a city had to offer.


Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

The following morning we took a short bus ride past Roman ruins, catching a glimpse of the impressive nine-kilometer-long aqueduct that brought fresh water to the people of Split as early as the third century AD. Our tour guide led us through the ancient alleyways of former Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, beginning with a tour of the fish market. We explored the subterranean chambers of the palace, the above-ground Temple of Jupiter and the Cathedral of St. Domnius.



Hvar, Croatia

Our trip to Hvar Island was perhaps the most unique and entertaining travel date of the whole trip. This beautiful and tiny town has long been a center for trade and culture in the region, beginning with the Illyrians in the eighth century BC. The Greeks established settlements in 384 BC, including the UNESCO World Heritage site Stari Grad Plain—the world’s longest continually farmed agricultural site, which is still used today.

As the latest invaders, we checked in to the Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel, an amazing hotel right on the harbor that offers a first-class spa, swimming pool, and rooftop bar boasting the best view in town!

The next day—the favorite for many travelers—we started off with an epicurean lecture and tasting on the foods and wines of Hvar. Sitting in the hotel’s rooftop bar overlooking the Mediterranean, we learned about the various grapes unique to this tiny island and the world-class wines they produce. We then piled on to the bus and rode the short distance to the town of Stari Grad for an archaeological tour and visit to the Tomic Winery in the town of Jelsa for a tour and tasting.


SBMA Members enjoy a traditional dinner in Vrisnik, Croatia

Afterward, we were shepherded a short distance to the village of Vrisnik, where we settled in for a culinary experience at the Konoba Vrisnik tavern for a traditional Dalmatian cuisine of meat, fish, and potatoes paired with yet more of Hvar’s amazing wine! A friendly competition ensued quickly between tables as we argued over which group was having more fun. It wasn’t long before various family members of the tavern were joining in on the fun!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The next morning we packed up and began the day-long journey to our trip’s final destination: Dubrovnik. It was late afternoon when we pulled up to the Grand Villa Argentina hotel—right out of 1940’s Hollywood in its elegance—and got our first glimpse of the breathtaking old town of Dubrovnik. Nestled in the hillside, every room looks out across the water at Lokrum Island and offers a view of Old Town framed by palm and cypress trees.

Despite its longstanding independence, the city has had its share of suffering. It was nearly destroyed by an earthquake in 1667, which killed half of its population. It was under siege for more than a year by the Serbian and Montenegrin armies—cutting off food supplies and shelling the tiny city over 2,000 times from 1991 to 1992. Despite their hardships, the people of Dubrovnik have worked hard to repair the damage done and now thrive as the center of Croatia’s tourism industry. It hasn’t hurt that the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” has chosen Dubrovnik as its primary filming location.

On our final day in Croatia, we were given the entire day to explore and venture as far (or as near) as we wanted. It was a wonderful way to end our two-week adventure. We gathered as a group on the patio of the Grand Villa Argentina at sunset to thank our host and guide, Vanya, and raise a glass in a toast to all we had seen and all we had done together. Živjeli!


Upcoming SBMA travel opportunities:

Northern Spain’s Costa Verde featuring Bilbao
May 7 to 18, 2015
From Roman ruins, Gothic cathedrals and the titanium swirl of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to unforgettable mountain and sea vistas to tantalizing regional cuisine, discover the authentic and beguiling personalities of Basque Country, Cantabria and Old Castile on this value tour that is planned for SBMA Members only.

The Havana Biennial with Michelle Bird
May 20 to 27, 2015
The Havana Biennial, which showcases increasingly sophisticated and poignant works by Cuban artists, has become an important meeting place for artists from all over the world, and is one of the best barometers of how Cuba is changing. Visits to the Biennial exhibition spaces and artists’ homes will be led by Michelle Bird.

SBMA travel opportunities are one of the many benefits of Museum membership. To find out more about becoming an SBMA Member, visit our website here.

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Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Current, Exhibitions, Featured Artists, Permanent Collection

Back In the pink!


0 Comments 15 December 2014

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Installation view of "Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 31, 2014 – January 4, 2015

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Installation view of "Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 31, 2014 – January 4, 2015

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Installation view of "Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 31, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Currently on view in the Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection (on view through January 4, 2015) exhibition is In the pink (1964), an oil painting by Frederick Hammersley housed in a unique frame made by the artist. This striking painting, in dialogue with pieces produced in years earlier and later, appears just as fresh as the most recent works in the show.

In addition to its visual command, In the pink has a unique exhibition history at SBMA. In 1965, In the pink was one of 41 paintings included in a solo exhibition of Hammersley’s work, along with Left field (1964), which can also be seen in the Contemporary/Modern show.  After nearly 50 years, In the pink is on view at SBMA again, and now a part of SBMA’s permanent collection due to the generosity of the late artist’s foundation.


Left: Frederick Hammersley, In the pink, 1964. Oil on panel, artist-made frame. Gift of Frederick Hammersley Foundation. Right: Installation view of Paintings by Frederick Hammersley, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1965.


Hammersley, one of the four Abstract Classicists who helped father hard-edge geometric abstraction, moved away from this style of painting with works featuring more organic forms. Hammersley explained, “ … something happened there where the hard-edge painting stopped. I don’t remember why or how. But the motor was still running… I had heard about a Jewish painter [Avigdor Arikha] that would do a painting a day…And I thought, ‘That’s interesting. I understand restrictions…I’ll try that.’”[1] In 1964 alone, the artist made over three dozen organic paintings at the rate of one per day.[2]

In the pink is referred to as a “cut-up,” or a work in which Hammersley literally cut an organic painting into square units and reassembled the canvas into a grid. This method effectively merges the artist’s preoccupation with organic forms with his roots in geometric abstraction, creating paintings that are actively fluid yet firmly geometric.

Hammersley was very selective about the frames for his works. As he did often, he constructed the frame for In the pink himself, thus creating a fully cohesive work. The artist was also meticulous in selecting titles for his works; he left behind numerous notebooks of phrases, puns, words, and double entendres from which he drew for titles.

On view until January 4, 2015, be sure to visit the Contemporary/Modern exhibition in the Preston Morton gallery and welcome Hammersley’s In the pink back to SBMA!


[1] Elizabeth East, foreword to Frederick Hammersley: Organics and Cut-ups 1963-1965 (Venice, CA: L.A. Louver Publications, 2014), 5.

[2] Ibid. After this year of organic activity, however, Hammersley continued creating geometric paintings.

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Museum Shop, SBMA Staff

Museum Shop Holiday Gift Guide


0 Comments 08 December 2014

Hunting for the perfect gifts this holiday season? Our Museum Shop Associate Buyer, Erica, picked out her favorite unique and thoughtful gifts for everyone on the list. Continue below to see her choices, and stop by the Shop to see them in person!

For Kids


The Play Book Pack by Home Grown Books ($19.95) with Dress Up Cat ($39.95)

Founded and developed by reading specialist Kyla Ryman, Home Grown Books creates early reading content that’s both mentally and visually stimulating to spur children’s imaginations with simple, supportive text and storylines that appeal to children’s natural curiosity. The Play Book Pack includes nine Little Readers with few words per page accompanied by vivid watercolors and line drawings.



Stuffed “Creatures” and playset by UK artist Donna Wilson ($40 – $100), each sold separately

Whether you choose just one or create a scene, these friendly handmade Creatures are sure to get a smile. UK-based artist Donna Wilson has been selling her unique knitted creations since 2003.






Wee Gallery art cards for babies ($12.50)

Wee Gallery art cards are created from bold, whimsical, hand-painted originals that cater to a baby’s visual strengths. The black-and-white images and their repeating patterns captivate little ones. Use them to play with or as wall decor.




Cubebots stocking stuffer ($8.50 – $25)

Cubebots, inspired by Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, are a non-traditional take on the toy robot. They’re the perfect no-mess stocking stuffer for curious creators; the powerful hardwood frame holds dozens of poses while the durable wood limbs make him impervious to breakage. When it’s time to rest, it folds into a perfect cube.

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Handmade Poco A Poco finger puppets ($6.95 – $8.95)

For 25 years Poco A Poco has been offering unique, handmade gifts and folk art from Peru. Find a variety of playful finger puppets for babies and toddlers in the Museum Shop.





Handmade Pearls of Whimsy semiprecious stone jewelry ($120 – $300)

 For Her

Pearls of Whimsy, designed by artist Roxanna Keyani, offers cutting-edge jewelry designs inspired by nature and the lush colors of gemstones. Available in the Museum Shop are a variety of crocheted wire necklaces, bracelets, and earrings using semiprecious stones, pearls, and Swarovski crystals.



Globe bookends ($34)

For Him

A set of globe book ends are the perfect addition to any library. Browse our selection of books and exhibition catalogues to make it a complete gift set!







SBMA Gift Membership

For Everyone

Give the gift of membership! It’s the perfect gift for art lovers: unlimited Museum admission, invitations to exclusive Members-only exhibition previews, reduced or free admission to lectures and special programming, discounts in the Museum Shop and Cafe, and more! Find out more here.


Visit the Museum Shop at 1130 State Street
Monday – Saturday 10 am to 6 pm
Thursday 10 am to 8 pm
Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Education, Events

The Art of Giving


0 Comments 05 December 2014

The holidays are here and SBMA Teaching Artists have been hard at work preparing for the annual Holiday Gift Workshop,  for kids ages 5 – 12 on December 13. During this full day of art making, students create unique projects for holiday gift giving, inspired by the current exhibitions Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures and Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Jason lantern proto

Lantern inspired by Jorge Pardo’s lamp, Untitled (Sea Urchin) (2012), on view in Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Projects include a luminescent lantern developed by Teaching Artist Jason Summers who was inspired by Jorge Pardo’s Untitled (Sea Urchin) (2012) and its blending of art and design. The lantern’s design includes a watercolor shade and glass base glowing through tissue paper, and is built to hold a candle, making it a beautiful and functional gift.

In the pink painted blocks

Hand-painted puzzle inspired by Frederick Hammersley’s In the Pink (1964), currently on view in Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

For the younger children, Teaching Artist Jessie McCurdy leads in creating a painted block set based on Contemporary/Modern artist Frederick Hammersley’s In the pink (1964). Students paint their favorite animal onto wood blocks, which can be arranged in any number of playful compositions. These play sets use bright color palettes, visible brushstrokes, and distinct shapes for a fun “pop” style.

blind contour self portrait 2

Painted block set inspired by Frederick Hammersley’s In the Pink (1964), on view in Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

For older students, Teaching Artist Itoko Maeno leads a painted block set project using a blind contour self-portrait and a handmade box to house the blocks inspired by the fabric compositions of Lucas Samaras in Reconstruction #107 (1979). Both of these artist block sets take from Hammersley’s rearranged compositions, but they are more dynamic by remaining open to continual movement and play.

animal garland

Fabric garland inspired by Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures

With Teaching Artist Shannon Jaffe kids create a fabric animal garland, inspired by the animals in motion in Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs that are on view in Art to Zoo. However, instead of using a camera, students choose and create the shapes, colors, and positions that make up their compositions.

Holiday gift cards snow

At the end of the workshop, kids create printed gift papers and cards to wrap their gifts.

Wrap it all up with printed gift papers and cards made in Luria Hall with SBMA Education Department’s Kelly Almeida!

All Wrapped Up: The Art of Giving
Saturday, December 13, 9 am – 3 pm
Ages 5 – 12
Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, 1600 Santa Barbara Street
$65 SBMA Members/$75 Non-Members
To register, visit  or contact Rachael Krieps at 884.6441 or

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1st Thursday, Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Current, Events, Public Programs

Felix vs. Fido: You Decide the Winner


0 Comments 01 December 2014

The fur will fly this Thursday evening 5 – 7:30 pm on the Museum’s front steps during Felix vs. Fido! Watch a collection of looped cat and dog videos inspired by the current exhibition Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures and curated by SBMA Curator of Photography Karen Sinsheimer and UCSB Professor of Critical Theory and Integrative Studies Colin Gardner―and then vote for your favorite.

Here to introduce the night’s activities are co-curators for the respective sides are Spiffy, Wallace, and Darwin.

Spiffy Portrait


Hi, Spiffy here (yes, I’m a noun as well as an adjective). Obviously, as a Golden Retriever I’m biased towards the dogs, but I must admit that I’m a bit ambivalent about the whole process. Why is it that dog and cat videos are so popular on YouTube and elsewhere on the web? I mean, people are obsessed by them.

Now, my theory is that it’s because humans love to anthropomorphize their pets and get great enjoyment out of making them do human things while knowing full well that they’re still cats and dogs, with all the lack of domestication that implies. After all, what’s funnier than seeing dogs learning to drive or sitting upright at the dinner table, minding their manners while picking over their food like a critic from Bon Appetit? If nothing else it feeds the vanity of their owners because it shows off what expert animal trainers they are. No one stops to think that we just do it for the treats. What was it Hitchcock once said—“All actors should be treated as if they were cattle”? Or dogs, or whatever…

Actually, speaking as a dog, these videos are not funny at all—in fact they are downright speciesist, directing the human gaze on non-humans to set up a privileged site/sight of scopophilia. How would you like it if we dogs posted videos of humans scratching themselves for fleas, or lifting their leg on a fire hydrant? Of course you wouldn’t, but it’s basically the reverse of what you’re doing to us. Now, admittedly the great Merrill Markoe once wrote a piece about spending the day with her dogs and doing everything they did—the bit where they all scampered to the front door to bark at the mail man was particularly funny. But really, a Golden Retriever tidying his room? That’s unheard of. We may retrieve a chew toy but we never give it back. Now, a Border Collie I can understand as they’re complete control freaks but that video completely misunderstands the fundamentals of dog breeds.

And don’t even talk to me about Bill Wegman’s doggie baseball video. Now, I have a lot of respect for Man Ray and Fay Ray as they helped put Weimaraners on the map. And yes, all the dogs in the video are having a great time but not in the way Wegman thinks. We’re all out there sniffing the air, running around and chasing the ball (by the way, that pitcher deliberately served up a hanging curve just so Bill could hit a line drive and give us something to chase). But let’s face it, he’s the only one who actually cares about the rules. Look at the smug satisfaction on his face as he crosses home plate—you’d think he’d just won the World Series! As for us, we’d rather eat home plate—it’s crunchy!!

What we need here is a new approach that puts an end to speciesist behavior, where the animal-human hierarchy is dissolved in favor of a more horizontal parity. As my great friend Jane, who is admittedly a cat but also extremely smart, says, humans need to adopt a concept of grace, a “stepping aside” that cedes place and space to all species in a collaborative way. I think this is a brilliant idea and needs to be the topic of more videos, particularly…Oh wait, I just noticed. It’s ten to four: dinner time. Gotta go. See, I have them well trained. Until next time—see you at the dog park.




Wallace and Darwin

Wallace and Darwin, here, with our support staff, Karen and Bob Sinsheimer, to report on the upcoming skirmish with Spiffy and other species of the canine variety. We’re ready, however, to take on all species, as “superiority” is simply a matter of perception, from our high-minded, feline point of view.

Karen and Bob have become fairly well-trained, we must say. Though we don’t meow at each other, we’ve learned (Wallace especially) to key the meow cry to that of a hungry baby, so that once Wallace lets loose, either Karen or Bob is at the ready with the pull-tab cans and meals. We, of course, are by far the most specialized in such a sound but we will note the impressive abilities captured in YouTube videos. In the meantime we could use more treats in between meals, but refuse to do “cute” tricks for them…I mean, really.

We do find that pushing things off counters gives us a more commanding and 3-dimensional view of the material on the floor, not to mention that hiding the objects is much easier (wonder where that toy car went?) but far less entertaining to watch our mindless servants (Karen and Bob) aimlessly wonder about in search of things. Fellow cats have taken a likeness to our specialty and have expanded it to pushing items off a wide spectrum of house surfaces. It truly is fascinating and as if a dog could conceive of such a complex concept let alone perform in front of a recording device.

Our human companions do their best to cater to our desires, but training is tedious so we don’t push them. All in all, our staff is fairly responsive and life is pretty good.  We’re conducting more research in between naps and meals, but don’t look for human videos any time soon. Why would anyone want to watch such a lowly species engage in their menial activities especially as they prance around in odd draperies that cover their limbs? We suppose you really have no other options if you lack the fine furs of the feline.

Felix vs. Fido Video Projections
Thursday, December 4, 5 – 7:30 pm
Gather on the Museum’s front steps and watch a curated collection of looped cat and dog videos—from six-second videos to short films and everything in between—curated by SBMA Curator of Photography Karen Sinsheimer and UCSB Professor of Critical Theory and Integrated Studies Colin Gardner. Then cast your vote (Cat vs. Dog) on slips of paper, and see who wins during 1st Thursday!
Museum front steps

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SBMA Behind the Scenes, SBMA Staff

Happy Birthday, Richard West!


0 Comments 26 November 2014

Richard West PS

Richard Vincent West, former SBMA Director from 1983 to 1991

Today marks former SBMA director Richard Vincent West’s 80th birthday. West, who served as director from 1983 to 1991, was born in Prague, Czechoslavakia on November 26, 1934. Originally Richard Cenek Vyslouzil, his name was changed when his family fled Nazi Europe in 1938 to the United States, eventually settling in Los Angles. West received his Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UC Santa Barbara in 1961 and his Master of Arts in Art History from UC Berkeley in 1965. After graduating he became a Ford Fellow for one year at the Cleveland Museum of Art and spent another year at the Albright-Knox Museum. Prior to his directorship at SBMA, West was the director of the Crocker Art Museum for ten years.

Standing in the Tempest PS

Standing in the Tempest: Painters of the Hungarian Avant-Garde exhibition catalogue cover.

During his eight-year tenure at SBMA he oversaw the completion of the Park Wing, which opened on January 26, 1985, and produced several exhibition catalogues including An Enkindled Eye: The Paintings of Rockwell Kent (1985); Orbis Pictus: The Prints of Osckar Kokoschka, 1906 – 1976 (1987); and Standing in the Tempest: Painters of the Hungarian Avant-Garde, 1908 – 1930 (1991). Museum acquisitions grew significantly under his directorship, both in paintings and photography, particularly in the collection of American Art of the 1960s and 1970s, doubling the collections from 7,000 paintings to more than 15,000. One major acquisition to the collection—the Steinman Collection of Photography (donated by Arthur and Yolanda Steinman of New York in 1983), some 500 photographs from the late 19th century to the 1980s—significantly added to the overall photography collection.

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