Message from the Director

S. Sayre Batton
Oshman Executive Director

In the spring of 2018, the San José Museum of Art took important first steps toward becoming a borderless museum, essential to creative life throughout the diverse and permeable communities of San José and Silicon Valley.

On March 24, we produced a public Celebration of a San José Mural of Hope at Discovery Meadow in downtown San José in partnership with the Children’s Discovery Museum, Define American, Empire 7 Studios, and San Jose Jazz. For those of you who were there, thank you for coming to the party! We were honored to welcome nine-year-old activist Sophie Cruz, who traveled from Los Angeles with her family for the event. After speeches from Kerry Adams Hapner from the City of San José’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Jazmin Amezcua, Deputy Consul General de México en San José, Sophie took the microphone on the stage, and asked for “the children to take their parents to museums, and the parents take their children to museums!” Then, she led a chant and shouted, “No Walls! More Museums! No Walls! More Museums!” Two hundred guests clapped and cheered this little girl whose big voice is energizing the immigration movement.

On April 7, SJMA co-presented Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s FOREST (for a thousand years...) off- site at the University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden, organized with the Institute of the Arts and Sciences of UC Santa Cruz. Described as “beguiling and uncanny,” the immersive work changes the lives of many who experience it. In the New York Times, Sam Anderson recently wrote that the Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to the time we understand by the clock. Kairos had a distinctly different sense, meaning “key moments that managed to transcend the ceaseless drift to become opportune, defining, holy.” Experiencing FOREST (for a thousand years...) embodies a sense of kairos, as time seems to stand still in the presence of great art.

Both of these off-site projects fulfill SJMA’s goal to deepen our collaborations with arts and culture producers, schools, businesses, and our civic partners. As the cross- disciplinary connective initiative “New Terrains: Mobility and Migration” continues to unfold over the summer and fall, we are thrilled to leverage our collective strengths. As the artist Robert Rauschenberg said, “A good collaboration produces universal thinking.”

Our optimism guides the Museum’s ambitious programming in these uncertain political times. Rise Up! Social Justice in Art from the Collection of J. Michael Bewley features important works donated to San José Museum of Art as well as additional works on loan from his private collection. The works span nearly one hundred years of artistic production and explore issues that resonate with current political movements such as Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and the contemporary LGBTQ rights movement. Artists represented include Dorothy Cross, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Lesley Dill, Marlene Dumas, George Grosz, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili, Alison Saar, Mickalene Thomas, and Kara Walker, as well as Bay Area artists Robert Arneson, Sadie Barnette, Squeak Carnwath, Enrique Chagoya, and Tino Rodriguez. The exhibition opens June 8 and is on view through September 30.

Enter into a vision of “futuristic ruins” with the exhibition Won Ju Lim: California Dreamin’, opening June 22. This multimedia installation features SJMA’s recent acquisition by the Los Angeles-based artist, which explores memory and longing in a cinematic dream world. The artist will present a Creative Minds lecture on June 21. Stay tuned for details on a screening of one of the artist’s science fiction inspirations, Blade Runner.

The artists in SJMA’s summer exhibitions open our eyes to their expansive and inclusive worldview of the past, present, and future. And, as Rebecca Solnit writes, “We are as a culture moving on to a future with more people and more voices and more possibilities.” Join the conversation at SJMA!

S. Sayre Batton
Oshman Executive Director