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 email@example.com 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.
Mike Kelley, whose drawing Apple Tree is currently on view in Left Coast: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, has always been interested in the conflation of childhood sexuality, popular culture, and the pervasive powers of cultural archetypes as particularly powerful forms of psychosexual catharsis. In Kappa (1986), as well as The Banana Man (1983) and Family Tyranny/Cultural Soup (1987), which all screen this Thursday evening at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, he uses slapstick, whoopee cushion jokes, and vast amounts of sexual innuendo—these films are not for the faint of heart—to infuse even the most innocent form of language (physical as well as spoken) with unbounded (and, more often than not, highly destructive) carnal desire.
Thus in Banana Man—Kelley’s first and only truly solo video performance—he appropriated a marginal character from the TV show Captain Kangaroo who he had never seen perform but was able to reconstruct from friends’ first hand accounts. Anyone who knew Mike—before his untimely passing in 2012—would know exactly what to expect. Instead of a benign visit to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood we get something closer to a cross between Antonin Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty,” Pee-wee’s Playhouse and the BBC’s Look Around You, a wicked satire on scientific education films and school programming.
Underlying Kelley’s satirical take on an otherwise serious subject is his focus on jokes (which were of considerable interest to Freud as agencies or cathexes of unconconscious desires), particularly the archetypal slapstick action that always gets a laugh. This helps to explain Kelley’s well-documented fondness for Benny Hill, for as he pointed out in a 1984 interview with the author:
“I really like to use low-comedy stuff because I think it is a basic humor that is embedded in the culture, whereas high humor is specific to a time. That’s all I’m doing—it’s the same thing. All the jokes in Aristophanes are the same as the jokes in Benny Hill. It’s just that they relate to different politicians, or whatever. But what’s actually funny is not that—that’s just the framework. What’s actually funny is that someone’s getting hit in the ass with a baseball bat. That’s got something to do with child rearing […] something to do with western culture; or the male-female problem—that’s always been funny. Maybe it’s not funny in other cultures, but it’s funny in our culture [...] Benny Hill is just two jokes. It’s a little schmuck and a beautiful woman and then him sitting on something.”
Kelley associates these jokes (as cultural archetypes) with child abuse in Family Tyranny, (a harrowing, improvised collaborative performance with Paul McCarthy) and the Oedipus Complex in Kappa. In the former, Freud’s primal scene is displaced onto a simulated father-son rape. In contrast, Kappa reframes the Oedipus myth through an ancient Japanese folk story, whereby Freudian desire takes the form of Kappa (played with gleeful malevolence by Kelley) a Shinto god of freshwater who resembles a hairless monkey with a dish-like indentation in his skull.
After an expository tour of a temple dedicated to the libidinal sprite (it’s hard to tell whether this is real or completely fabricated), the Yonemotos quickly insert Kelley into an archetypal, over-theatricalized sexploitation scenario: a Hollywood mansion where Sophocles’ Jocasta (played by Warhol icon Mary Woronov) sunbathes languorously poolside under the lecherous eyes of her teenage son, Eddie (Oedipus: geddit?), played by Ed Ruscha Jr. Because the audience knows the Oedipus story so well, we are, of course, incredulous that mother and son cannot see the through the web of myth that has enveloped and trapped them, thereby making Freud’s all too tragic premise seem preposterous in the first place.
Ultimately, Kelley turns Freud’s would-be science of psychoanalysis into a sublime version of the obscenely vulgar Carnivalesque, a willful overturning of established social hierarchy which runs completely counter to fixed signifying structures like the oedipal family unit. As Mikhail Bakhtin noted, “Carnival was the true feast of time, the feast of becoming, change and renewal. It was hostile to all that was immortalized and completed.” In other words, it was the very stuff of booze, the bawdy and the bibulous. Bottoms up everybody!
Free Film Screening: Three Films by Mike Kelley
Banana Man, Kappa, and Family Tyranny/Cultural Soup
Thursday, August 14, 5:30 pm
Introduction by UCSB Critical Theory and Integrative Studies Professor Colin Gardner
The films may not suitable for young audiences and include some challenging material.
Mary Craig Auditorium
Reserve tickets at the Visitor Services desks or online at tickets.sbma.net.
Wondering what to do on these Hot Summer Nights? Why not take a field trip to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Friday, August 15 when temporarily empty galleries become an absurdist form of Studio 54 for Atelier: Dada Disco and Left Coast Artists’ Party. High meets low and they get along famously at this homage to all things irreverent and provocative inspired by the current exhibitions Living in the Timeless: Drawings by Beatrice Wood and Left Coast: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art. Cocktails, donuts, popcorn, a retro riff on the Ballet Russes, live music, and great art make up just about all the Hot Stuff we can handle.
Break out your Bianca Jagger white suit and your best dance moves for a Dada-inspired disco of Donna Summer hits. How else to best celebrate the twin iconoclasts: Beatrice Wood and California’s Left Coast artists?
Take a step onto to the dance floor in McCormick Gallery, where Tina Villadolid offers up the hits of the ‘70s with Donna Summer covers and two sets of dancers move across the gallery against a backdrop Dada films and “Dada Live” footage, courtesy of Echelon A/V. Watch as some dancers, choreographed by Robin Bisio, offer up Beatrice Wood-inspired movements while others perform a reinterpretation of the Ballet Russes’ 1917 production of Parade choreographed by Kaita Lepore Mrazek. Then, get in the Dada spirit with a six-seat bicycle ride to nowhere on Left Coast artist Robert Wechsler’s Circular Bike.
Santa Barbara’s own The Kinds offer up a steady flow of original songs and odes to California on the Museum’s front steps for the night. While you’re there, activate rumpled sheets of Betelgeuse and Bedtime, an interactive installation inspired by the work of April Street and created by SBMA Senior Teaching Artist Kendall Pata. The oversized nocturnal canvas bridges the gap between dreaming and waking and the public and the private as guests apply their own sleep signatures to it.
Take a break from the disco in Robert Wechsler’s relaxing Purring Chair in Preston Morton Gallery. Then, make your way to the Leave it to Chance Cocktail Station, a game of chance of randomly selected garnishes to accompany your Cutler’s Artisan Vodka, manned by Santa Barbara artist and mixologist David J. Diamant. Or try out an April Street-inspired Rumpled Bed: Cutler’s vodka, lemonade, and a splash of Tabasco sauce to spice things up.
Atelier: Dada Disco and Left Coast Artists’ Party
Friday, August 15, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
$25 SBMA Members/$30 Non-Members
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sbma.net/atelier.
The large, three-panel drawing by Kim Jones, Untitled (War Drawing Triptych) (2000, 2001, 2008), in the current exhibition, Left Coast: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, was produced by the artist over an eight-year period. Like most of his drawings, Jones works on them for intervals of time, storing them until ready to work on them again. He repeats this process numerous times until they are released for exhibition. As Jones has stated in the legend for the War Drawings, the drawing “can continue indefinitely.” Indeed, it can easily be imagined that if the drawings weren’t finally sealed off in their frames, Jones would take them back and continue to work on them more.
Jones’s War Drawings reveal an extensive process—the staging of a battle between “x-men” and “dot-men,” among a “fortress” with thick walls and other structures, including “living quarters, places of worship, offices, factories, supplies, and jails.” These, as well as the surface of the paper itself, serve as sites for a detailed and sometimes frenetic sense of action and obliteration that is revealed not only through the artist’s nearly obsessive positioning of forms, but also through detected areas of erasure.
The genesis of the War Drawings came from the artist’s childhood. At age seven Jones suffered from Perthes disease, a generative bone disorder, and was confined for several years due to his handicap. “Jones spent much of his youth in solitude, immersed in Marvel comics, Disney cartoons, and playing with army figures. He also created things: cartoon sketches, clay sculptures, and pencil drawings of imaginary wars that played out in Xs and dots on paper, a body of work that formed the basis of his mature war drawings.”
It is interesting to consider Jones’s alter ego as a performance artist—Mudman—as a sort of physical manifestation of the artist’s “Xs.” Slathered in mud with a bundle of crossing sticks strapped to his back, Mudman was the enactor of performances such as Wilshire Boulevard Walk, “a twelve-hour trek that would last from sunrise to sunset, east to west, along the central corridor of the city of Los Angeles.”
To explain his process for the War Drawings, Jones created a legend for the drawings which can be found in his retrospective catalogue, Mudman: The Odyssey of Kim Jones (2007) (from which the quotes above are extracted). Jones will be signing copies of the book in the Museum Shop after his lecture.
Artist Lecture: Kim Jones
Sunday, July 27, 2–3:30 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for 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.