Welcome from the Director

  • Two men wearing leis stand in front of a wall with large blue text that reads "True Journey Is Return" and "Dinh Q. Lê." The exhibition details and sponsors are listed below. One man is holding a drink, and both are smiling at the camera.

    Rory Padeken, associate curator and Dinh Q Lê at the SJMA opening of True Journey Is Return.

  • A red plastic chair sits in front of a large glass window with a view of the ocean and distant islands at sunset. The tiled floor reflects the chair and the soft hues of the sky.

    Dinh Q Lê’s studio in Saigon.

    As the summer sizzles, it is cool inside the San José Museum of Art—join us for a heady mix of thought-provoking exhibitions like Seeing through Stone and Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures combined with insightful public programs.

    We open our air-conditioned doors to San Jose Jazz Summerfest attendees as we proudly host the NextGen Stage on Saturday and Sunday August 10–11, complete with cool drinks and food provided by El Cafecito by Mezcal. Partnerships abound—including our tradition of co-hosting CityDance with the San José Office of Cultural Affairs. Come show us your salsa, cumbia, or samba moves every Third Thursday this summer at this popular event.

    First Friday in September will astound you with Calder: at home, among friends opening September 6. We can’t wait to unveil the exceptional SJMA permanent collection holdings by famed artist Alexander Calder. With new gifts of jewelry, household objects, and tabletop sculptures exploring ideas manifested in larger public commissions—we celebrate Calder for his innovation. We also celebrate the generosity of the Bay Area families who bestowed these works to our collection for long-term viewing. In tandem with Calder’s dynamic display is Still in Motion, an exhibition devoted to five contemporary artists who won the coveted Calder Prize.

    Dinh Q. Lê 1968–2024

    We join our worldwide art community to mourn the artist Dinh Q Lê, who very sadly passed away in early April at age 56. After presenting Dinh’s first major exhibition in the US in ten years in 2018, True Journey Is Return, he became a close member of the San José community. Born in 1968 in Hà Tiên, Vietnam near the Cambodian border, Dinh and his family fled the atrocities inflicted by the Kmer Rouge in 1978 when he was ten, and settled in Los Angeles. After art school and establishing himself with several groundbreaking exhibitions Lê gained international acclaim for his large-scale weavings that merge stills from Hollywood war films and documentary photographs of the Vietnam War. After returning to Saigon in 2005 he co-established SanArts to support the contemporary artists working there, and he had just acquired land in his hometown to build a studio there. (see photo) True Journey Is Return was organized by SJMA Associate Curator Rory Padeken, and accompanied by a catalog with essays and interviews by Rory with Moira Roth, Nora A. Taylor, Kièu Linh Caroline Valverde. 

    With condolences to Dinh’s family, the SJMA community mourns.

    S. Sayre Batton
    Oshman Executive Director