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Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected

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    A photograph of the sea, green with the light reflecting on it. There is a tiny speck of a duck in the middle of the water.

    Richard Misrach
    Untitled, from the series On the Beach, 2003
    Chromogenic print on paper
    71 × 113 1/2 inches
    Gift of the Lipman Family Foundation

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    Tony Oursler
    Slip, 2003
    Fiberglass sculpture, Sony VPL CS5 projector, DVD, DVD player, speaker
    43 × 35 × 15 inches
    Gift of the Lipman Family Foundation, in honor of the San Jose Museum of Art's 35th anniversary

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    The artwork's shape resembles a butterfly's wings. The center of it is similar to the markings of a hidden map.

    Tam Van Tran
    Most Secret Butterfly, 2009
    Acrylic, staples, and colored pencil on paper and canvas
    90 x 85 x 35 inches
    San Jose Museum of Art
    Created in part with funds provided by the James Irvine Foundation; commissioned by the Council of 100

Momentum sets out to disrupt the status quo and show that art is anything but just an inanimate object. This exhibition reflects on SJMA’s passages as an institution by looking at works in the collection from various eras in which artists explore notions of movement and the passage of time—two subjects that are not at all mutually exclusive. On view will be works by Alexander Calder, Jim Campbell, Sonia Gechtoff, Il Lee, Deborah Oropallo, Tony Oursler, Alan Rath, Jennifer Steinkamp, Tam Van Tran, Leo Villareal, and others. For its forty-fifth anniversary, SJMA invited creative movers and shakers from the realms of design, comedy, performance, music, writing, dance, and other fields to disrupt this exhibition of its permanent collection with their personal artistic responses to the art on view. Their interventions can take whatever form and be in whatever media, and in whatever scale, they so choose:

  • Bicycle designer Craig Calfee on the new media work Emmanuelle (2013) by Chris Fraser
  • Inventor and designer John Edmark on Alexander Calder’s sculpture Big Red (1959).
  • Venture capitalist-turned standup comedian Dhaya Lakshminarayanan on Alan Rath’s Info Glut II (1997)
  • Body paint artist Trina Merry on Rolfe Horn’s photograph Creek, Mashima, Japan (2001).
  • Poet David Perez on Jim Campbell’s work Home Movies 300-3 (2006)
  • Cartoonist Lark Pien on Il Lee’s Untitled #204 (2004)
  • Calligrapher Carl Rohrs on the photograph Solstice (1998), by Susan Manchester.
  • Damian Smith, principal dancer of the San Francisco Ballet, on the painting Grenholm (1965) by Fred Spratt
  • Yarn-bomber Streetcolor on Tam Van Tran’s Most Secret Butterfly (2009)
  • Sound artist Marc Weidenbaum and his online collaborative project Disquiet Junto on the video Untitled #8 (2004) by Josh Azzarella

To cap it off, visitors will be invited to “talk back” in turn to the exhibition through equally unexpected, open-ended, and self-curated modes of participation. 


Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation
Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation
Doris and Alan Burgess
Susan and Bruce Worster Foundation