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Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected

Gathering Momentum

by Kat Koh, curatorial associate

Meaning, in art, is a chain reaction. It is the sum total of the artist’s intent and viewers’ cumulative responses. Art is often animated by dynamic traces of the artist’s hand and creative process—by a sense of movement and immediacy. Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected, organized to celebrate the San Jose Museum of Art’s 45th anniversary, showcases rarely seen works as well as favorite pieces from the museum's collection. It is an experiment with museum conventions.

The first layer of the exhibition is a curated selection of works related to the general theme of movement: kinetic, suggested, subtle, emotional, metaphorical. To further animate the exhibition, SJMA invited ten “interveners” from a variety of creative fields (design, dance, comedy, calligraphy, cartooning, music, poetry, body-painting, yarn-bombing) to respond to a work of their choice. Their personal responses form the second layer of the exhibition and take many artistic forms: formats of display, words, sound, performance, sculpture, furniture.

Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected is a “call-and-response” exhibition. Become part of the choir. This exhibition is an invitation to participate; to ponder, question, and reflect. Grab a cushion, take a seat. Undertake the ‘slow-art challenge.’ You will find various materials and suggestions for drawing, writing, dancing, and creative thinking located throughout the galleries. See what you think.

We would like to thank our wonderfully creative interveners for being game and enthusiastic experimenters

Craig Calfee, bicycle designer
John Edmark, inventor, designer, and artist
Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, stand-up comic
Trina Merry, body painter
David Perez, poet laureate of Santa Clara County
Lark Pien, cartoonist and graphic narrative artist
Carl Rohrs, calligrapher and typographer
Damian Smith, principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet
Streetcolor, yarn-bombing street artist
Marc Weidenbaum, sound artist (and his online collaborative project Disquiet Junto)