Artists in Residence: San Jose's 20th-Century Vanguard

Stephen French
Section, 1967
Stereograph on paper
28 × 26 inches
Gift of Fletcher and Roberta Benton
Photo by Douglas Sandberg

Tony May
Awning, 1966
58 × 58 × 51 inches
Canvas, wood, rope, and hardware 

Sam Hernandez 
Dichos y Bichos II, 2007
173 × 121 × 1 5/8 inches
Walnut, sliver patinated bronze, gesso

Fred Spratt
Big Red #1, c. 1973
70 × 6 inches
Acrylic lacquer on aluminum

Rupert Garcia
Portrait of Bertolt Brecht, 1982
42 × 29 inches
Pastel on paper

Jacqueline Thurston
Radiation Treatment, 1976
4  × 4 1/2 inches
Gelatin silver print on paper
Gift of the artist, in honor of the San Jose Museum of Art's 35th Anniversary

Friday, March 11, 2016Sunday, September 18, 2016

By the 1960s, San Jose was in the midst of rapid-fire transition from a small agricultural community to a sprawling metropolis. The tech industry was swelling, and by the end of the decade the population had grown five-fold. This era also brought to town a new, innovative community of artists, many of whom were recruited from across the country by San Jose State College (now San Jose State University). Fresh from top graduate schools and conversant with the radical artistic thinking of the time, this generation of artists brought new vitality and a proclivity for experimentation to town.

These forward-looking artists all lived or worked in San Jose. They were instrumental to the establishment of the San Jose Museum of Art in 1969, in the midst of the counterculture revolution, and are part of the history of this Museum in many ways. Artists in Residence pays tribute to an inspiring, dedicated, and especially influential generation of San Jose artists who helped ignite the contemporary artistic life of the city, founded its galleries and artistic spaces, and fostered generations of students, artists, and collectors.

Drawn exclusively from SJMA’s permanent collection, the artworks in Artists in Residence reflect an intrepid push to the vanguard. The works on view are as varied as the artists themselves, however. From the formalist abstract painters to the wry conceptual artists, these San Jose artists were forerunners in the field whose long careers are marked by a sense of continual aesthetic evolution.

Included in the exhibition are works by Geoffrey Bowman, Rupert Garcia, Erin Goodwin-Guerrero, Sam Hernandez, Tony May, Gail Nanao, Harry Powers, Lynn Powers, Fred Spratt, and Jacqueline Thurston alongside new acquisitions by David Middlebrook and Stephen French. Their work continues to impress us, as do their longstanding contributions to the South Bay community and to this Museum.

Sponsored by University Art, Eileen and Alfred Fernandes, and Deloitte LLP.