Jasper Johns, William de Kooning, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol— these stellar American artists are now part of the American canon of contemporary art history. Yet when Emily Fisher Landau collected their art (and works by numerous other now-prominent artists), they were radically adventurous and far from famous. Landau became one of the preeminent collectors of postwar art in the United States. This exhibition is in essence a survey of American art since the 1960s: it is drawn from Landau’s historic promised gift to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
In intriguing tableaus staged with toy figures and miniature dioramas, influential photographer David Levinthal explores history and pop culture, from the Wild West and baseball to pornography and the horrors of the Holocaust. SJMA’s exemplary collection, features the finest examples from Levinthal’s career from 1975 to the early 2000s.
This spring the San Jose Museum of Art goes public with a selection of exciting acquisitions from the last three years. Initial Public Offering marks the debut of various works in SJMA’s galleries. From Clare Rojas’s folk-inspired narrative paintings to Tim Hawkinson’s cardboard and urethane foam sculpture Scout (2006-2007)—the artist’s absurdly humorist take on the human figure—the works in this exhibition signal a bold, new direction for SJMA’s permanent collection.
Artists give us a chance to view the world in new ways and through their eyes. We view their works and notice tiny details—what makes a structure an architectural gem, the heat of a moment, weather that can change our mood. The artist frames a view and uses angles and perspective to guide what we see. As you look for yourself, do you feel small or powerful? Can you fly or do you feel the dirt on your belly? Are you energized or at peace?
You are what you eat. This exhibition—the catalyst for an accompanying festival of activities presented by thirty partnering organizations—celebrates and explores the role that food plays in our lives. The agricultural bounty of our region has brought waves of immigration (Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Mexican, Vietnamese) and shaped a rich history of cultural diversity, which today we share in part via food. From food trucks to molecular gastronomy, food helps define the Bay Area’s communities.
Food punctuates daily life and shapes family traditions. It is a manifestation of commonality and culture. Your childhood may have been nurtured by food memories—of meals and mealtimes, of abundance or want, of family roles and rituals. We each may take our small comforts from Wonder Bread, roti, pita, tortillas, challah, injera, or bánh….
Our “daily bread” takes centerstage in the first installment of Around the Table, Jitish Kallat’s expansive installation Epilogue (2010 – 2011). Here, Kallat honors his late father through a deeply personal series of photographs of progressively eaten roti (the round, traditional South Asian flatbread).
Consider the letter. At its most basic, it consists of one or more straight or curved lines, sometimes touching or forming geometric shapes. With these simple lines, humans build complex codes, communicate with each other, and grapple with the mysteries of the universe. The artists in Mark My Word use letters, challenging us to see them for what they really are, objects to be played with, read literally or not, or combined to enhance a story. In the Koret Family Gallery, we invite you to engage in your own word play.
Traditional versus cutting-edge, high-brow versus low-brow. A new generation of Mexican and Mexican-American artists is fascinated by these potentially contradictory concepts. The artists whose works are featured in this exhibition draw inspiration from Mexico’s deep well of visual culture.
Frank Lobdell conjures dreamlike landscapes of mystery and longing. His images—vibrantly colored and fantastical—are simultaneously mechanical, yet anthropomorphic. Though best known for his intense, brooding paintings and personal symbology, Lobdell has in recent yearsgiven color primary importance in his work. Frank Lobdell: Wonderland will examine the evolution of the artist’s work and the ways in which he organizes his forms and figures in space.
This Kind of Bird Flies Backward: Paintings by Joan Brown is the first in-depth examination of this beloved Bay Area artistʼs painting in over a decade. The exhibition is the first to explore Brownʼs art in the national context of the womenʼs movement: the movement paralleled her career, yet she has been largely excluded from its history.
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