The gallery walls of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's Downtown location (in the Jacobs Building at 1100 Kettner Blvd.) will be papered over this week with exactly 1,242 12-by-24-inch drawings by local artist James Drake. For each day during the last two-and-a-half years, Drake kept what he calls a "visual diary."
"I measured all the walls on the museum, and that's exactly what fit on the walls," Drake says. "The whole idea started with, 'I'll do 1,000 drawings.' Basically, it was going to be a stream of consciousness."
The latest in the museum's quarterly series TNT (Thursday Night Thing) happens from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 10, and kicks off the exhibition Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash). The event includes a guided tour of the compositions—which are rendered in pencil, inks, charcoal and stencil—by chief curator Kathryn Kanjo and Drake himself.
The gallery has 10 walls covered in art, each of which "evolved" into separate "chapters," Drake says. "Sometimes that would be drawings of historical artists. There's one that has a lot of Hispanic and Central American cultural iconography. Visually they have their own character."
After the tour, guests can converge on the North Plaza, a newly renovated outdoor space across the street. Folks will have a chance to create their own drawings inspired by the installation and pin them up on the spot. The food truck Tortally Tasty will be onsite, as will be $5 beers and $6 cocktails and live music by local rock bands Stone Horse and Gunner Gunner.
The exhibition will also include a selection of pieces from the museum's permanent collection from earlier in Drake's career, which range from sculpture to photography, much of which focuses on the social conditions of life on the border.
Admission is $8 for students and seniors and $10 for everyone else (free for museum members). mcasd.org
2. A knockout
From 1821 to 1867, the Ether Dome was the operating room at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital and the setting for the first use of ether as an anesthetic in 1846. That historical event is the basis of a play, Ether Dome, by Elizabeth Egloff that was first staged in 2011 at the Alley Theatre in Houston. Now it's having its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse—opening on Sunday, July 13, and running through Aug. 10. The play zooms in on the relationship between dentist Horace Wells, a pioneer in anesthesia who unsuccessfully used nitrous oxide on a patient at the Ether Dome in 1845, and his student, the fame-and-fortune-seeking opportunist William Morton, who successfully used ether the following year. Tickets range from $15 to $45. lajollaplayhouse.com
3. Free to flow
Canvas Gallery (1150 Seventh Ave., Downtown) is a no-holds-barred venue, perfect for the upcoming Performance Series. With the pretense-free basement gallery as the backdrop, a lineup of performance artists will be allowed to play and experiment. Multidisciplinary artist Kristopher Apple will kick things off at 7 p.m. Friday, July 11, with "Collide / Escape," a piece he's directing that combines poetry, short stories, instrumental music, sound experiments and interactive video. At 7 p.m. Saturday, July 12, Apple will perform with fellow members of LIVE, a group of performance artists, in an improvisational dance-and-sound piece called "Composing My CorpoReality." At 7 p.m. Sunday, July 13, Pittsburgh-based violinist and composer Joey Molinaro will wrap things up with a set of what he calls "acoustic grindcore" music. Admission is $8 per show.
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