The Water Projects

Diana Al-Hadid
Nolli's Orders, 2012
Steel, polymer gypsum, fiberglass, wood, foam, plaster, aluminum foil, and pigment
156 × 264 × 228 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery

Ernest H. Brooks II
Winged Wall, Antarctica, 2010
Archival pigment print
16 × 20 inches
© Ernest H. Brooks II

Khvay Samnang
Untitled, 2011
Digital C-Print, 31 ½ × 47 ¼ inches
Image Courtesy Artist and SA SA BASSAC

With California in the sixth year of drought, issues around water are at the forefront of political, social, legal, and artistic activism. The San Jose Museum of Art will present a trio of projects to encourage visitors to reflect on the precious yet public nature of this natural resource:

Diana Al-Hadid: Liquid City
Diana Al-Hadid is fascinated by boundaries, where something begins and ends. How do we define a space—be it architectural, sculptural, or experiential? Drawing on a panoply of art-historical and scientific references, she explores the space between two-dimensional mark-making and three-dimensional sculpture, the imagined and the real, interior and exterior, belonging and alienation, the ruin and the yet-to-be-completed. (Friday, February 24, 2017–Sunday, September 24, 2017)


Fragile Waters: Photographs by Ansel Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II, and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly
Water is very much on the minds of Californians after six years of drought. Fragile Waters celebrates this precious, essential resource and encourages dialogue about water conservation. One hundred and seventeen black-and-white photographs by three artists whose works span a century create a powerful collective statement. Ansel Adams’s early prints, made from 8-by-10-inch glass plate negatives, are some of the most iconic images in the history of photography. His reputation as an artist is matched by his role as a founder of the modern conservation movement. The exhibition will feature thirty-seven works by Adams— including rarely seen historic images from his family’s private collection—along with photographs by Ernest H. Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly. (Friday, March 17, 2017–Sunday, August 6, 2017)


The Darkened Mirror: Global Perspectives on Water
Our simultaneously abusive and dependent relationship with water has made it an international battleground not only of environmental issues, but also of humanitarian concerns. The Darkened Mirror complements the pristine waterscapes on view in the exhibition Fragile Waters by presenting recent work by international artists who address our conflicted relationship with water today. From their twenty-first-century points of view, they reveal an essential resource that is no longer merely threatened, but actively besieged: it is a troubling reflection of the contemporary moment. (Friday, April 7, 2017–Sunday, August 27, 2017)