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Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013

San Diego art that made an impact in 2013

13 artworks and exhibitions that made a mark locally

By Kinsee Morlan
courthouse Robert Irwin’s “Hedge Wedge”
- Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Anytime anyone puts together a best-of-the-year list, people get upset. Inclusion means exclusion, and, inevitably, those who get left out aren't happy. For this list, I asked artists, curators and arts advocates to either submit their own artwork and exhibitions or recommend others. I got such a huge response that I was ultimately forced to whittle things way down and only include bigger exhibitions and more public types of art. 

To those artists who submitted work, I promise your efforts weren't in vain—you are officially on my radar and in a folder I use to help find story ideas and awesome art for CityBeat's cover. Much of this list, which is in no particular order, is a result of my personal opinions and impressions of the past year. CityBeat contributor Susan Myrland filled in some major gaps since I spent a good chunk of 2013 under a rock otherwise known as motherhood.

Robert Irwin and Kim MacConnel | Federal courthouse | Broadway and Front Street, Downtown: The public artwork at the new Downtown courthouse is sophisticated, larger-than-life and helps to humanize and soften a serious and intense building. Robert Irwin's "Hedge Wedge" installation in the outside courtyard is a testament to his ability to carefully craft and reshape negative space in the real world. Inside, Irwin's 33-foot-tall prism piece elegantly catches light and reflects the images of those who've just entered through security. Just around the corner, Kim MacConnel's large-scale mural is lively, quirky and playful.

Jay Johnson’s installation in the new Registrar of Voters building
Photo by Karen Morrison

Public-art collection | San Diego County Operations Center | 5510 Overland Ave., Kearny Mesa: Public-art consultant Gail Goldman gets a lot of the credit for the tasteful collection of works sprawled across the county government's new Operations Center. This year, the county unveiled fascinating new historical pieces in Jay Johnson's "Artifact Display Project" and sleek large-scale sculptures by Jun Kaneko.


Product Etcetera’s portrait of Charles
and Ray Eames
Photo courtesy of Product Etcetera

Product Etcetera designs | COMMunity@ Joy | 4484 Illinois St., North Park: Can you purposefully manufacture a cool community? Maybe. LWP Group Inc.'s COMMunity@ brand of real-estate development is thoughtful and unflinchingly hip. LWP makes visual art a big part of every new development and its latest edition, COMMunity@ Joy in North Park, is no exception. The remodeled apartment building features rad pop-art designs by local studio Product Etcetera.



“Corpus Callosum” by Einar and James de la Torre
Photo by John Durant

 Public-art commissions | San Diego Public Library, 330 Park Blvd., East Village: The new central library is a hotbed of awesome art. Several stunning permanent public-art pieces can be found throughout the ultramodern, nine-story building. And that's on top of the rotating exhibitions in the library's Art Gallery and the works from the Civic Art Collection on view. One of the most striking and memorable works is "Corpus Callosum," the whimsical site-specific elevator installation by Einar and James de la Torre.


“The Candy Store” installation by Larry
and Debby Kline
Photo by Franz Krachtus

San Diego artists | Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair 2013: There's a lot to criticize at art fairs, which often include more commercial, sellable art. While that type of work was surely present at Art San Diego, there was plenty of more challenging work. Among the outstanding pieces was nearly everything by artists Larry and Debby Kline, Raul Guerrero's portraits featuring faces from San Diego art history and James Watts' beautiful Kokeshi-doll sculptures.




“The Real Deal” by Robert Irwin and
Philipp Scholz Rittermann
Photos by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

 

"The Real Deal" by Robert Irwin and Philipp Sholz Rittermann | 7611 Fay Ave., La Jolla: The Murals of La Jolla project has produced an astounding amount of public art in a very short time. The La Jolla Community Foundation commissions public-art projects on private property, avoiding much of the burdensome red tape of public art. Five new murals went up in 2013, the most remarkable of which is the photograph of a reality-altering Robert Irwin installation by photographer Philipp Sholz Rittermann. Rittermann has the skills and knowledge it takes to effectively capture and communicate the experiential nature of Irwin's work.


A chair from the English or American
aesthetic movement
Photo by Ken Kondo

 

Please Be Seated | Mingei International Museum, Balboa Park: Chairs serve a simple function but come in wildly diverse forms. The very good Please Be Seated exhibition, which is on view at the Mingei through March 30, is more a smattering than a survey, but the carefully selected samples give viewers a fun, interesting and educational whirlwind tour of seats, both historical and contemporary, from around the world.


ICE Gallery artists installations | Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights: Early in 2013, the artists behind ICE Gallery—Michael James Armstrong, Lee Lavy, Joseph Huppert and Thomas Demello—were essentially given free rein inside the Bread & Salt warehouse. The result was four extraordinary, polished, site-specific installations that breathed new life into the California light and space movement of the 1960s.

Lee Lavy’s untitled installation
Photo by Michael James Armstrong

Installation view of The Very Large Array:
San Diego / Tijuana Artists from the MCA
Collection
Photo by Pablo Mason

The Very Large Array: San Diego / Tijuana Artists from the MCA Collection | Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 1001 Kettner Blvd., Downtown: This show served as a reminder that the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego supports local artists. The Very Large Array pulled work from the museum's collection, highlighting artists working in San Diego and Tijuana. The salon-style show included art by the best of the best, including David and Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Doris Bittar, Tania Candiani, Hugo Crosthwaite, Roman de Salvo, Brian Dick, Glenna Jennings, Italo Scanga, Anne Mudge, Perry Vasquez, Jaime Ruiz Otis and Victor Payan.



Christopher Konecki’s installation at
Parachute Factory
Photo by Tommy McAdams

Warehouse 1425 and Parachute Factory | Temporary site-specific exhibitions: First came Parachute Factory, a mind-blowingly good exhibition featuring site-specific works by some of San Diego's top artists, who were allowed to take over different rooms inside a soon-to-be-renovated building. Next up was Warehouse 1425, a great show with a similar concept that featured many of the same artists. Sezio and Yeller Studio curated the first, artist Christopher Konecki the second. Anonymous artists sent CityBeat emails, calling Warehouse 1425 a blatant rip-off of Parachute Factory. The supposed controversy seems pretty silly now, and all that remains is the fact that two killer shows left a lasting impression by displaying work by great artists like Dave Persue, Exist 1981, Neko, Surge, Christina Liu, Carly Ealey, Saratoga Sake, Brian Hebets, Tocayo and Bradford Lynn.


The opening show at TPG2
Photo by MIKESUMOTO

 TPG2 opening exhibition | 1475 University Ave., Hillcrest: Paul Ecdao and Johnny Tran, the two curators behind Thumbprint Gallery, have clearly hit their stride. The Nov. 15 opening exhibition of their new Hillcrest gallery, TPG2, hosted a blowout crowd and solid work. Artists featured in the group show included Eric Wixon, Brian Dombrowsky, Ricardo Islas, Dan Allen, Jack Stricker, Paul Brogden, Matthew Land and Pamela Jaeger.


Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled” was on view
at MCASD as part of Behold America!
Photo by Cindy Sherman

Behold America!: Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums | San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Timken Museum of Art: We're surely going to miss the excellent shows organized by former San Diego Museum of Art project curator Amy Galpin, who recently left for a similar position in Florida. She left a mark on San Diego with Behold America!, an excellent selection of works made in the United States, from the colonial period to the present. Galpin got three major museums on board for the show, which was a walk through art history and included works by Cindy Sherman, Agnes Martin, Andy Warhol, Robert Henri and Eastman Johnson. The show opened in late 2012 but remained on view through early 2013. Galpin also curated SDMA's interesting Women, War, and Industry exhibition on view now through Feb. 18.



“10 Inches” by Brian Goeltzenleuchter
Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Object Object!: A Selection of Smaller Works | Helmuth Projects, 1827 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill: Helmuth demonstrated how a small, alternative gallery can put together a compelling, museum-quality show with Object Object!, a group exhibition featuring small works by 71 artists. Curated by Good Good Things, a project of artists John Oliver Lewis and Jessica McCambly, the roster included highly respected local and international artists including Sean Brannan, Tom Driscoll, Steve Gibson, Brian Goeltzenleuchter, Matthew Hebert, Jeff Irwin, May-Ling Martinez, Ingram Ober, Joe Yorty, Allison Wiese and Keri Oldham.


Write to kinseem@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com.




 
 
 
 
 
 
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