The upcoming Pop-Up Opera recital marks the one-year anniversary of Opera Santa Barbara’s collaboration with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. For this particular blog post, I feel it’s important to highlight the people at SBMA who gave me a chance to curate this wonderful event: Patsy Hicks, Kristy Thomas, and Katrina Carl. This team of unbelievably talented women has made it such a pleasure to collaborate and exchange inspirations. I could not be happier with how Pop-Up Opera has evolved into a marriage of our two art forms.
This recital series is always a free performance but still begs the intellectual attention of its audience. The music performed among art exhibitions often requires audience members to step outside of familiar melodies and listen in for the relevant, delicate moments when the music and art inspire one another. Although this recital may only be 30 minutes in length, it often packs as much beauty as one could hope to gain exposure to in this setting.
When I approached baritones Daniel Cilli and Elliott Hines about the possible theme of “animal natures” their ideas continued to push boundaries of what is normally presented to an audience, and beyond what I could ever have expected from them. It’s that reason I am so excited for this particular Pop-Up Opera. When we sat down to discuss the music for the program, Elliot Hines pulled out the catalogue from SBMA’s exhibition Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures he purchased from the Museum Shop. While looking through these photographs of rare moments of animal natures it became clear that the music would follow suit. Many of the works offered in the program are rarely performed on recordings, let alone on a live stage.
Pianist Tatiana Vassilieva has also been an integral part of the collaboration on this particular program. If you have yet to deduce from her name that she is Russian, you will certainly hear it in her interpretation of the songs by Russian composer Georgy Sviridov. Normally, in a concert like this, at least a few arias from famous operas would be sung, but because each artist brought such enthusiasm for the art of song there was no need. It seemed a disservice not to let these brilliant songs stand on their own. While both gentlemen will sing the more familiar Schubert songs, they will also include two beautifully romantic French chansons from Henri Duparc and some more obscure compositions by expressionist Arnold Schönberg and American modernist Charles Ives.
If you plan to visit Downtown Santa Barbara for November’s 1st Thursday, I recommend beginning your journey at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to enjoy this free presentation of some of the world’s most beautiful classical vocal music.
Thursday, November 6, 5 pm
As many of you prepare your animal-themed getups for this Friday’s festivities we hope you have a chance to visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s current exhibition Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures for some inspiration and animal facts (for you must act the part of your costume in addition to looking it.)
Featured alongside photographs throughout the exhibition is an impressive selection of work-specific recordings made available through our free Guide By Cell program. These insightful entries examine behaviors and characteristics of the animal subjects, broadening our knowledge of the species while we appreciate the allure of the photographs. Several photographers featured in the exhibition detail the impact of animal encounters, a soulful presence often culling them to capture the emotional existence of our fellow creatures. Local scientists, initially attracted to the composition of the images, delve into the physique of the creatures and the importance of adaptations.
Whether you’ve donned fur, feathers, antennae, or scales Art to Zoo encourages you to take on the behaviors of your costume. Through this impressive selection of photographs you’ll feel inspired by the regality of a perched cougar, the exquisite symmetry of an owlfly, the elegant grazing of a Skye Pony, or the swarming dancing of the Red Wing Blackbird. We hope our Guide By Cell recordings may further your imaginations and appreciation of these animal natures.
Listen to a few recordings available in Art to Zoo:
Featured Artists Joan Myers discusses her image Elephant, India (2013), seen above. ─ Guide By Cell #3
UCSB Biology Lecturer John Latto discusses artist Linda Broadfoot’s Siberian Owlfly, seen above. ─ Guide By Cell #10
Featured Artist Lukas Felzmann discusses his work photographing flocks of black birds. ─ Guide By Cell #5
Local photographer and horse expert Kimberly Kavish discusses Keith Carter’s image Skye Ponies (1998), seen above. ─ Guide By Cell #12
Don’t forget to grab an “Explore from Home” sheet before you leave the galleries. Simply follow the phone instructions featured on the sheets to listen and learn from our free recordings anywhere!
This Saturday, local artist Samuel Guzman stops by the Museum Shop with his Stabiles, handcrafted sculptures made from a single wire and accentuated by a Tillandsia (air plant). The structures embody a unique aesthetic by balancing weight and space in an organic form.To learn more about Guzman and his work, continue reading below for a brief Q & A by our Shop Associate Buyer, Erica Longley.
What is your background? Have you always been an artist?
I would say that I have always been an artist, but one that was on hiatus. I was a very dedicated young artist since about 10. Although I never had a direct focus by attending art school, I did start taking college art classes while in high school and continued up until a few years ago…I did four years of art in high school that took me through various mediums and then my passion for cycling took over. I became a competitive cyclist and that is when all the art went dormant. My background is originally in food and wine. Prior to moving to Santa Barbara from Sonoma I worked in the front of the house for some of our countries best chefs, the ones that make the top 50 restaurants of the world list. From there I worked for luxury hotel brands such as Four Seasons, Bacara and the San Ysidro Ranch. Now I just consult since I feel that I can find solutions for peoples businesses from the perspective of a customer.
How long have you been making Stabiles?
Well, I officially started making Stabiles in June of 2013. I did all the design and composition in May of 2013 and fully executed by June. I tell everyone that the whole project has been serendipity and that I was able to find the solutions to my designs while riding my bike for long distances. The idea behind Stabiles was to combine a little art and something living into people’s lives; two things that we all need. I always joke that I sneak art into people’s homes in the form of a plant or planter, so to say.
How did you decide to start using the travelling Stabiles Mobile?
Having spent some time thinking of what I had done by creating Stabiles, I felt that I needed to show the public my designs in my own context. I was doing shows and although I was turning heads and selling pieces, I felt that some of my work would get lost with all the negative space. My initial solution was to build some really cool displays and it worked, but I needed to reach wider audiences since the public was dictating that I had a broad demographic with Stabiles. Later my senses of space took over and since I really like it when things breathe, and Stabiles need to breathe so they can truly shine, I decided why not just build a showroom/Shop that I can take anywhere. So the truck (Stabiles-Mobile) is the installation and the art and goods are inside.
Join us in the Museum Shop this Saturday to meet the artist and shop his Stabile sculptures!
Stabiles Pop-Up Shop
Saturday, October 25, 12 – 5 pm
The dawn of the 1960s ushered in new considerations of art and its display. A work of art was no longer restricted to the boundaries of the frame, which was made evident by the immersive installations and environments that sprung up during this time. Also, the production and presentation of art began to move outside the walls of the museum. “I’m not a white cube kind of guy,” Cuban-born artist Jorge Pardo—who joins us this Thursday evening for a unique Curator’s Choice Lecture—once declared in the New York Times. In fact, many of his projects, which are often site-specific, exist outside of the context of the art institution.
Take for example 4166 Sea View Lane (1998), a project commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in which Pardo turned a Mount Washington home into a work of art. Five years after the commission began, public tours led by docents took place for five weeks; upon the culmination of the project, Pardo moved into the residence. A sculpture, work of art, and residence, 4166 Sea View Lane blurs the lines between architecture, design, and art.
Pardo employs architecture, design, sculpture, and painting to create work that challenges the established definitions and boundaries of these disciplines. The artist is not interested in making art for art’s sake—instead, Pardo fuses function into his projects, which range from a pier he created in Münster, Germany to the re-design of Dia: Chelsea’s first floor in New York.
Pardo’s current project exists at Tecoh, a 740-acre compound in the northern Yucatán jungle. Through sustained engagement over the past six years, “Pardo has combined Mayan culture and modern design, local craftsmanship and computer-generated technology, natural landscapes and fantastical interiors to produce a suite of kaleidoscopic experiences.” The artist effectively conflates art and life, leading us to ask: Is Pardo’s work art, architecture, or design?
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear Pardo—who is visiting from Mérida, Mexico, where he lives and works—speak about his work and artistic process. This Curator’s Choice Lecture is presented in conjunction with the current exhibition Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection which features the artist’s colossal lamp sculpture Untitled (Sea Urchin) (2012).
Curators Choice Lecture: Jorge Pardo
Thursday, October 23, 5:30 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
Free to SBMA Members and Students/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members
Reserve or purchase tickets at the Visitor Services desks or online at tickets.sbma.net.
Join us this Thursday at 5:30 pm for a rare opportunity to hear from curator, author, and former museum director William Ewing. Stemming from his most recent publication Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography, Ewing will present 120 works created by 21st-century photographers for an in-depth study of the evolving tradition of landscape photography.
Landscape photography, as interpreted by Ewing, finds itself at the cutting edge of contemporary image making, featuring the last untouched regions of the earth, scarred terrain, and entirely conceptual landscapes. Each photograph represents an original viewpoint driven by an enduring fascination with the land as well as the urgent need to take stock of our rapidly changing environment. The resulting dialogue and images are a thought-provoking meditation on the meaning of landscape.
Ewing’s forty-year career has been split on both sides of the Atlantic. After serving in a range of positions at several international museums, Ewing was appointed as the director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland. He has authored monographs and thematic publications, and organized exhibitions that have shown worldwide. For more than a decade Ewing also engaged students in lectures on the history of photography at the University of Geneva.
Following the program, Ewing will sign copies of Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography, which will also be available for purchase, in the Museum Shop.
Curator’s Choice Lecture: William Ewing
Landmark: The Fields of Photography: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous
Thursday, October 16, 5:30 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
Free to SBMA Members and Students / $10 Non-Members / $6 Senior Non-Members
Reserve or purchase tickets at the Visitor Services desks or online at tickets.sbma.net.
As one of the five schools and colleges comprised by UC Santa Barbara, the College of Creative Studies (CCS) is home to 400 undergraduates enrolled in eight majors: art, biology, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, literature, mathematics, music composition, and physics. Described as a “graduate school for undergraduates,” CCS attracts particularly driven and focused students who are not simply content to absorb existing knowledge, but who are motivated to join the faculty in creating new knowledge through original work in art, music, literature, mathematics, and the sciences.
As an example of the creative opportunity and impressive community collaborations possible through CCS, and why it serves as the perfect second venue for Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, we bring you a short piece written by the Director of the Gallery, Dan Connally. Here we have a unique and no doubt humorous interpretation of a photograph, Bois de Boulogne Monsieur Folletete Le Secretaire de Papa avec son chien Tupy, Paris (2012) by Jacques Henri Lartigue, on view in the CCS Gallery’s portion of the shared exhibition. Enjoy the piece and make sure to get to the CCS Gallery before October 19 for your chance to see and imagine the life and thoughts of Art to Zoo’s animals.
by Tupy the terrier, as transcribed by Dan Connally
Salut les amis,
Tupy here, keeping it real all the way from doggie heaven. I’m glad you like the picture of me “flying” through the air, it’s a classic right? Like I’m a canine Evel Knievel avant la lettre. There are some things you should know about it though. First of all, that’s not joy on my face—don’t kid yourself. And it’s not fear—don’t insult me. C’est un jeu de concentration. As you can see my idiot “master,” M. Folletete, has launched me too high and too close to the edge and if I don’t nail this I’ll land hard on the far bank, not in the water. But would they care? Not if the stupid photograph was interesting. Ever since the kid started coming around with that camera everyone has been acting silly; posing and doing tricks and stuff. They sit up; they stay when he says stay, and generally just act the fool. Cameras change everything. You ever see a painting of a guy throwing a dog across a creek? Il s’agit de la folie pure.
And Lartigue himself? Bon sang, don’t get me started. Dude’s hands smelled like vinegar, and he never knew where to scratch. Eyes like a bird. Un vrai amant de chats (says it all). Had a thing about jumping. A dilettante if you ask me. Want to know a real photographer? William Wegman, that’s who. Guy’s a genius. Check him out.
Anyway, so long, I’m out of here. BTW my real name is Ahroonufph. In Dog that means “He Who Doesn’t Let Go.” … aka Tupy.
P.S. You want to know what doggie heaven is like? It’s a park with big trees and lots of lampposts. Sixty-eight degrees, soft green grass, every aroma you can think of in the air, no fleas, and none of those damn jingly tags. Want to play ball or Frisbee or just kick back with a massage? They got angels for that. A dog’s dinner is always meat! And it’s warm, know what I’m saying? Wish you were here. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
To see Tupy’s concentration for yourself, visit the College of Creative Studies Gallery on the UC Santa Barbara campus through October 19.
Please call 805-893-2364 or email CCS Director Dan Connally at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If we look back more than 20,000 years ago to Homo sapiens earliest years, we are reminded of a burgeoning relationship, that of the human and animal. Recall the Lascaux caves in France, deemed one of the first works of art, depicting man and creature surviving through partnership. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art invites viewers to revisit this long-lasting symbiosis in Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, which opens next week. As we continue to co-exist with our fellow animals, extending a tradition of cooperation and respect, we recall the ancient theme of animal appreciation and understanding through a younger art form: photography.
Embark on an adventure of animal appreciation, photographic aesthetic, and scientific investigation in the Museum’s Emmons, Von Romberg, and Colefax Galleries as well as a shared portion at the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (on view September 26 – October 19, 2014). This curation of photographs from the Museum’s permanent collection combines the unique photographic sensibilities of master artists with the foremost research on animal cognition, behavior, and characteristics. Our instinctual predilection to artistic expression leads us toward a greater appreciation and understanding of nature’s creatures.
As we so often anthropomorphize the animals we encounter, this exhibition suggests we look deeper into these qualities, for scientific research continues to prove that the characteristics that make us “human” can be found in a range of species. Famed photographers such as Larry Fink, Imogen Cunningham, and George Tice were once captivated by the forms and behavior of animal subjects; perhaps awed by the near humane presence of these subjects. Art to Zoo suggests we continue to engage with such images but through a scientific lens, encouraging a quiet contemplation of animal existence such as in Camille Soyagua’s drifting gelatinous jellyfish, Fink’s clawed and statuesque praying mantis, Henry Dixon’s powerful and solitary cougar, and Cunningham’s limbless meandering snake.
Though artistic expression has since evolved from the cave walls and into galleries we may continue to marvel at the art of animal natures.
For more information and related programming, please visit our website here.
This fall the Santa Barbara Museum of Art extends its popular weekly ArtVenture programs into two new and exciting ArtVenture After-School Classes inspired by the Museum’s current exhibitions and permanent collection.
In Art to Zoo: Animals in Art young artists and animal lovers ages 7 – 12 draw, paint, print, and sculpt amazing animal art inspired by photographs in the exhibition Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures (on view September 28, 2014 – January 4, 2015).
Get a glimpse of some of the projects SBMA Senior Teaching Artist Monika Molnar-Metzenthin dreamed up for the class below.
Monika brings her experiences from a six-week artist residency in Eastern India to life as she guides students in a printmaking project inspired by Joan Myers Elephant, India (2013). Students learn about traditional Indian art and why elephants are sometimes painted and decorated as they create their own versions.
Poetic photographs of bugs and other winged creatures lead to a three-dimensional interpretation using everyday materials such as packing tape and wire in new and unexpected ways. These sculptures look particularly beautiful hanging in front of a window, dancing in the breeze and catching light through their translucent wings.
James Balog’s charming Chimpanzee with Curtain (1991) inspires the enchanting “Pets in Clothes” acrylic painting where students are encouraged to think of their own pets’ personalities and create an appropriately personalized wardrobe.
Art to Zoo: Animals in Art
Wednesdays, September 24 – December 17, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
$300 SBMA Members/$350 Non-Members
For more information and to register, visit www.sbma.net/kidsfamilies.
Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection—which opened last weekend and can be seen at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art through January 4, 2015—features significant paintings and sculptures from the Museum’s permanent collection, dating from 1958 to the present. The works on view highlight the persistent influence of modernism throughout the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st.
Artists on view include Helen Frankenthaler, Guy Goodwin, Frederick Hammersley, Josiah McElheny, John McLaughlin, Jorge Pardo, Larry Poons, and Lucas Samaras.
John McLaughlin, whose two rectilinear paintings hang in the exhibition, sought pure abstraction in his art. He stated, “I want to communicate only to the extent that the painting will serve to induce or intensify the viewer’s natural desire for contemplation without benefit of a guiding principle.” Similarly, the exhibition serves as a space for reflection and observation, with illuminated sculptures and paintings presented in a way that sparks various connections.
The exhibition also debuts several recent SBMA acquisitions that have never before been on view. An immense lamp sculpture, Untitled (Sea Urchin) (2012), by artist Jorge Pardo recalls mid-century design merged with organic elements, while Frederick Hammersley’s Growing Game (1958) and In the pink (1964) showcase the artist’s clever hard-edge compositions painted with visible brushstrokes.
For more information about the exhibition and related programming, visit our website here.
For Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839–1892) and his audience, the moon was a special symbol of human emotions.One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, currently on view in the Asian Art galleries at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, was Yoshitoshi’s largest and most important series. Through the poetic theme of the changing moon, Yoshitoshi explored the vast range of human emotions and intensely felt moods: from awe to tenderness, the sensual to the heroic, the whimsical to the profound, and the humorous to the melancholy. He contributed to it over the course of seven years, completing the last three images only two months before his death.
Yoshitoshi was considered one of the last giants of the ukio-e (floating world pictures) of the Meiji period (l868–l9l2), during Japan’s era of transition to modernity. Using innovative concepts of space, texture, light, and color, he produced an enormous number of woodblock prints and newspaper illustrations. He revitalized the traditional subjects of legends, heroes, and battles, and later expanded his repertoire to include themes from Chinese and Japanese literature and Noh drama.
Visit the Museum’s Upper Level to view the final rotation of this three-part exhibition, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, in the Eichheim Gallery of the Asian Art galleries.