↖ Museum from Home
Content Stream
Curators' Dashboard | Downloads | Exhibitions | Online Education | Public Programs | Social Media | Video

A Digital Publication of San José Museum of Art
on the 50th Anniversary Launches June

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the San José Museum of Art presents a FREE digital publication titled 50X50: Stories of Visionary Artists from the Collection, highlighting fifty artists from the permanent collection. Discover more about the lifelong work of celebrated artists like Diana Thater, Alan Rath, Ruth Asawa, Leo Villareal, Louise Nevelson, and more through multimedia content—including interviews, video, and audio. Explore documentation of artworks, exhibitions, and studios to learn more about the professional and private lives of artists, as well as their ideas, creative processes, and lasting influences.

These in-depth explorations introduce new scholarship and fresh insight into the artist psyche. Additionally, the selection of artists reflects the gender parity inherent within SJMA’s collection: the publication features 25 men and 25 women.

SJMA is committed to equitable access to the arts, and 50X50 will further SJMA’s vision to become a borderless museum, offering anyone with an internet connection the chance to gain deeper understanding of iconic artists in our permanent collection.

Stay tuned for the launch of this exciting initiative June 2020!

Visionary Artists Highlighted:
Diana Al-Hadid, Benny Andrews, Robert Arneson, Ruth Asawa, Judy Baca, Firelei Báez, Rina Banerjee, Ruth Bernhard, Elmer Bischoff, Barbara Bloom, Joan Brown, Jim Campbell, Enrique Chagoya, Robert Colescott, Mary Corse, Roy De Forest, Jay DeFeo Llyn Foulkes, Gauri Gill, Andy Goldsworthy, Doug Hall, Mona Hatoum, Tim Hawkinson, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Mildred Howard, Jitish Kallat, Dinh Q. Lê, David Levinthal, Hung Liu, Frank Lobdell, Richard Misrach, Lee Mullican, Louise Nevelson, Manuel Ocampo, Nathan Oliveira, Tony Oursler, Alan Rath, Alison Saar, Raymond Saunders, Jennifer Steinkamp, Hito Steyerl, Stephanie Syjuco, Tabaimo, Masami Teraoka, Diana Thater, Leo Villareal, Bill Viola, Catherine Wagner, William T. Wiley, and Betty Woodman.
This open access publication will be made available for free online and in multiple downloadable formats, including PDF and EPUB.
Public Program | Digital Art Project(ed): Insight into Digital Installations at The Crocker + SJMA [Live Online]

Wed, Jun 10, 2pm PST | Free; online registration required.

Join Matt Isble, Director of Exhibition Design at the Crocker Art Museum and founder of MuseumTrade.org, and Richard J. Karson, Director of Design and Operations at the San José Museum of Art (SJMA), for an insider’s perspective on the process of making visible the invisible in digital art installations. Artwork from Bill Viola, Mark Hansen + Ben Rubin, and Alan Rath currently on view at the Crocker and at SJMA will be discussed among other time-based media artwork.
↑ top

This week, we revisited Make Me a Summary of the World—the mid-career retrospective of acclaimed Indian American artist Rina Banerjee, which was on view at SJMA last spring and co-organized by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Photo Album | Rina Banerjee Installing Make Me a Summary of the World at SJMA

Banerjee creates sprawling sculptural installations and objects made from found objects and materials sourced from across the globe. In a single work, one can find African tribal jewelry, colorful feathers, light bulbs, Murano glass, and South Asian antiques—both real and fake—in conflict and conversation with one another. Mounting this exhibition was no small feat, requiring a collaborative bi-coastal team of 24 people, including registrars and couriers from both Museums, artist assistants, and the expert installation team at SJMA, led by SJMA’s Director of Design + Operations Richard J. Karson. See the photos HERE.

Video | A Visual Diary of Cross-Country Collaboration

Watch this visual diary of the cross-country collaboration between the San José Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, featuring the exhibition Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World. Watch the journey HERE.
Video created by Richard J. Karson, Director of Design + Operations.

Photo Album | Kids Summer Art Camp Rina Banerjee-Inspired Sculpture

The sculpture on the left was created by Kids Summer Art Campers, ages 6–8 (2019). It was inspired by Banerjee’s vibrant and mixed-media practice. Take a closer look at the camper's sculpture HERE.

KIDS ART CAMP – SUMMER 2020 [Live Online]
This year's Kid Summer Art Camp is moving online! Campers will participate in virtual tours of working artists’ studios with live demos, tutorials, and #STEAM.

Weekly guest artists: Imen Yeh, Yojiro Imaska, Vanessa Marsh, Tony May, and Leslie Shows.
Register Today!

Make Art at Home | Artistic Styles: Rina Banerjee

SJMA’s Museum Experience and Education department looks at Rina Banerjee's sculptural work and the colorful, eclectic, and unexpected materials the artist uses. Learn how Banerjee’s practice can serve as inspiration to create a found-object version of the California Golden Poppy. Watch the tutorial video HERE.
#SJMAED | #ArtAtHome | #FoundObjectArt
↑ top

The San José Museum of Art (SJMA) is home to a historic building with a noble past—one that has been serving the community since the late 1800s.

Initially a US Post Office, it also served as the city’s public library before becoming a contemporary art museum in 1969. The building’s unique century tower clock, which is still wound every week, has become an iconic landmark of downtown San José and the Museum is proud to be its steward. Shelter in place may keep us from entering the building, but the opportunities for engagement, learning, and community building abound. We revisit our beloved building virtually and patiently await the time we can safely welcome you back again.

Photo Album | Historic Wing Facade Details

SJMA is a historic landmark! Designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke and constructed of locally quarried sandstone, this Romanesque building was constructed by the US government in 1892. See the photos HERE.

Photo Album | Historic Wing Blueprints

We dug into the vaults to share the blueprints for the historic wing portion of our building. The building was designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, however, local architect Theodore Lenze updated the design, building the spire several feet taller than originally planned. And during the 1906 earthquake, the building suffered little damage, except for Lenze’s clock tower, which partially collapsed. See the blueprints HERE.

Flickr Photo Gallery | SJMA Through the Lens of Visitors

See how others view the Museum. By the steps of the Museum lies the location of California Historical Marker 461, the site of California's first state capital from 1849–1851 encircled with palm trees⁠. Today, the Circle of Palms is a hub of downtown activities, hosting a number of events and attractions. See the Flickr photo gallery HERE.

Photo Album | Past Celebrations and Looking Towards the Future

We're reminiscing favorite pastimes at SJMA. We miss being a place to see art, but also as a hub of congregation and festivities. We look forward to sharing these experiences with you in the future! See the Facebook photo album HERE.

Video | SJMA is More than a Building, We are a Community

On behalf of Oshman Executive Director S. Sayre Batton, the staff, and Board of Trustees at SJMA, we thank our amazing volunteers for their amazing generosity and many years of service. We miss you all and look forward to reuniting at the Museum soon! Watch a short video HERE.

Join our Community Online
San José Museum of Art believes that art has the power to transform minds. During this challenging time, we are here to provide some artful moments to enjoy from home. Discover more about your favorite artists and exhibitions. Learn how exhibitions are made with Director of Design + Operations Richard J. Karson and drop in for our ever-popular late-night Facebook First Fridays, also online.
↑ top

San José Museum of Art (SJMA) has always been both a resource and a partner to the Silicon Valley community. During Shelter in Place, the Museum is committed to creating and providing thoughtful programming online—making us truly a museum without borders. See what SJMA has to offer.

Facebook First Fridays returns! Virtually!

Video recording of the program coming soon!
Feeling isolated? Don't let shelter-in-place stop you from connecting with one another. Join local DJ Omar Perez live from his living room as he spins melodic and moody songs to soothe the soul, and those night-time ballads that make you wish the night never ends.
This musical nightscape brought to you by
Sponsored by Facebook

Discover How Exhibitions are Made with SJMA’s Director of Design + Operations [online]

Thu, May 14, 12:30pm | Free; online registration required.
Join the SJMA’s Director of Design and Operations Richard J. Karson for an inside look into what goes into making an exhibition: design, planning, and collaboration. He will pay special attention to the cross-country collaboration of Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World, which was co-curated with Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA).

Online Education

SJMA’s education department is creating new art-making videos and lesson plans. They can be found on the newly launched Education Facebook group and on the Online Education page web page. Each week they focus on a particular art-making theme, delving deeper every day.
Make Art at Home

Kids Summer Art Camp

SJMA’s ever-popular summer art camp is moving digital! There will be virtual artist studio tours hosted by local artists, art-making tutorials, and lots of fun!
Learn More

Past Events
This week we moved our gallery talk online, hosted a poetry invitational virtually, and held an online prom. Don’t worry if you missed any of these events. They were all recorded and will be available shortly, under our Museum from Home section.

Presented by SJMA
+ Poetry Center San José
In honor of National Poetry Month, Bay Area poets created new works inspired by art in the San José Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Hosted by Janice Lobo Sapigao the Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County and co-sponsored by Poetry Center San José, the event featured poets Mighty Mike McGee, Janice Lobo Sapigao, and Eileen Hernandez-Cuellar who recorded their poetry in their respective homes. Originally slated to occur in real time, the event was moved to online, and was pre-recorded.

SJMA assistant curator Kathryn Wade held a gallery chat online and was joined by two Rapoport scholars Terri Cohn and Alla Efimova.

SJMA celebrated International Dance Day with the New Ballet by hosting an online prom in solidarity with all of the high schoolers whose proms have been canceled! DJ Yas provided the soundtrack and Emmy Award-winning choreographer Ben Needham-Wood led a dance mob. Pre-event video tutorials for DIY corsages, crowns, punch and snack recipes, makeovers, and flash-mob choreography were created and live HERE. Presented in partnership with Mezcal, Mosaic Silicon Valley, New Ballet, Persia, Rosies & Posies, and San Jose Museum of Quilt & Textiles.

↑ top
Happy Earth Week from SJMA!

It feels like forever since we’ve seen a butterfly or been able to walk amongst our palm trees. We invite you to re-look at art inspired by and made with nature.

Artists often allow us to see something familiar from a different perspective. They challenge us to think more closely about the world we live in and the things we interact with every day. SJMA celebrates Earth Day and Earth Week by sharing works of art that invite us to think about the environment, its fragility, and its beauty.

Artist Spotlight Video | Diana Thater’s Untitled (Butterfly Videowall #2)

Diana Thater uses technology to emphasize the fragility of nature in Untitled (Butterfly Videowall #2). Comprised of five video monitors and two fluorescent lights, with the power cords uncovered on the ground—these screens tempt the viewer to get as close as possible, which results in the viewer becoming dangerously close to the art.

Thater filmed monarch butterflies as they rested on the ground at a butterfly sanctuary in México, where millions of monarchs hibernate after their migration from Canada. Due, in part, to the lack of foliage in which the butterflies normally take refuge, their only option was to gather together on the forest floor—an extremely vulnerable position. By placing upturned monitors on the gallery floor, Thater created a meditative experience through which to consider the lives of other creatures who share this planet. See a video of the artwork HERE.
Diana Thater’s Untitled (Butterfly Videowall #2) is part of the exhibition Almost Human: Digital Art from the Permanent Collection (through, July 5, 2020).

Behind the Scenes Video | Andy Goldsworthy’s Burnt Patch Installation

Andy Goldsworthy created a site-specific installation for his exhibition, Breath of Earth, at SJMA in 1995. Burnt Patch required three full days to install by three people. The pine sticks used are from a specific area of the Sierra Mountains near South Lake Tahoe, called Fallen Leaf Lake. SJMA Director of Design + Operations Richard J. Karson went with Goldsworthy and learned the artist's process. Branches were snapped off trees with a park ranger’s approval. The center blackened sticks were burnt by Goldsworthy and Karson at SJSU’s outdoor foundry. Karson keeps a blowtorch on hand when he installs the piece to re-char some branches as they are placed in the center. Each time Burnt Patch is installed, branches need to be snapped to fit a particular section. When the larger branches run out, Karson goes to the mountains to collect additional branches. When it rains, the sticks absorb the water and bend slightly as they dry. In this sense, the piece is alive.

This artist collected pieces of nature to create a sculpture, which was placed in the Museum’s outdoor sculpture court. People could then view the work from a distance, either from an outdoor balcony above, or through the glass windows. By using works collected from the mountains and that anyone could pick up or step on, but placing them in an environment that creates a barrier to touching them, Goldsworthy asks us to reexamine the value of these objects that what we break or burn in the woods.

Online Education: Make Art at Home | Natural Found Object Art

The SJMA Education team has been exploring materiality this week, looking at the many ways we can create art! We were inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's Burnt Patch and his ephemeral art practice. Spend some time outside and get creative with what's around you! Watch the video HERE.
Reminder: Stay at home to complete this project! If you can't gather natural materials, try using objects inside your home! This natural found object art video is part of SJMA’s newly launched Education Facebook group and Online Education page, with new tutorials and videos posted daily.

Thank you for being part of our community
San José Museum of Art believes that art has the power to transform minds. During this challenging time, we are here to provide some artful moments to enjoy from home. Discover more about your favorite artists and exhibitions. Attend a public program online and drop in for our ever-popular late-night Facebook First Fridays, also online.
↑ top
Do Ho Suh’s Karma (2010)

Do Ho Suh’s monumental bronze sculpture, Karma (2010), ascends to a height of 23 feet as male figures balance atop one another’s shoulders while covering the previous figure’s eyes with his hands. The magnitude of the sculpture is accentuated by the stacked figures becoming smaller as they stretch up into the sky. Near the top of the sculpture, Karma curves as though the bottom figure is incapable of maintaining a through line from the present to the past.
Do Ho Suh, Karma, 2010 (cast 2017). Bronze and copper-plated steel. On loan from the collection of an anonymous charitable foundation.

Behind-the-scene photos | Installing Karma

Do Ho Suh's bronze sculpture, Karma is 23 feet high, with 98 figures stacked atop one another, curving towards the top. The installation began in late January, with a total of 15 people (including 3 crane operators). One lane of San Fernando Street was closed down to accommodate the crane that lifted the sculpture into SJMA's Oshman Sculpture Court. See the photo album HERE.

Do Ho Suh’s Gate (2005)

Do Ho Suh's Gate (2005), is a recreation of his father's interpretation of a traditional scholar's house that was typically found in Korea before the city’s shift to modernize buildings, which resulted in destroying historical architecture(1950–60s). While Suh's father built his version with reclaimed wood, Suh used transparent fabric that is more amenable for travel. See the photo album HERE.

Do Ho Suh's Gate was on view in the exhibition The House Imaginary (April 20–August 19, 2018)
Image caption: Do Ho Suh, Gate, 2005. Silk and stainless steel tube, 128 1/2 x 83 1/4 x 39 1/4 inches. Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Purchased with funds provided by Carla and Fred Sands through the 2006 Collectors Committee (M.2006.104). Photo by JKA Photography.

Video | Do Ho Suh’s Karma Installation

The sculpture, on loan from an anonymous charitable foundation, was lifted into SJMA's Oshman Sculpture Court via San Fernando Street. 15 people were on-site to assist in its safe installation and to document this process.

Online Education: Make Art at Home | Newspaper Sculptures

Get creative with some newspaper sculptures! Experiment with the forms you create and change your sculpture as you go.
This newspaper sculpture video is part of SJMA’s newly launched Education Facebook group and Online Education page, with new tutorials and videos posted daily.

Thank you for being part of our community
San José Museum of Art believes that art has the power to transform minds. During this challenging time, we are here to provide some artful moments to enjoy from home. Discover more about your favorite artists and exhibitions. Attend a public program online and drop in for our ever-popular late-night Facebook First Fridays, also online.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Tag us with #ShowMeSJMA or email us at info@sjmusart.org.
↑ top
Exhibition | Sonya Rapoport: biorhythm

In 1984, local artist Sonya Rapoport imagined a future fantasy world in which we consult computers to assess how we feel. Rapoport was at the forefront of creating art that incorporated technology. As she continued to use traditional mediums like collage and drawing to reflect upon and record her emotions, Rapoport also looked to early computer programs to predict how she felt. By comparing and then combining these two sets of data points, Rapoport created pictorial languages that appropriated the visual motifs of emerging computer programs and technology. Learn more HERE.
Sonya Rapoport Biorhythm Audience Participation Performance
On Friday, February 7, 2020, Sonya Rapoport: biorhythm opened to the community as part of Facebook First Fridays. The night featured a recreation of the artist’s interactive Biorhythm Performance, originally designed and held by Rapoport at WORKS/San José in 1983. Participants were asked how they were feeling as they entered the gallery. They then had their biorhythm read with a biorhythm calculator, and then were invited to have their palms read by a palmist. See the photos HERE.

Video | Installation Time-lapse

Sonya Rapoport: biorhythm was installed over the course of 10 days by 4 exhibition team members painting walls, creating displays, hanging art, and arranging lighting. This original exhibition was curated by Kathryn Wade, assistant curator, with gratitude to the Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust. Click HERE to watch.

Photo Album | Sonya Rapoport's Pictorial Diary

In 1980 artist Sonya Rapoport created a "pictorial diary," in which she marked each calendar day with collaged information as well as tracked how she felt physically, emotionally, and intellectually. At the end of each month, she then compared her personal findings to those generated by a computer program, which claimed to read an individual’s biorhythm. She later showed this work as an exhibition in 1982. See the photo album HERE.

SJMA Education | Video Tutorial | Calendar Collage

Artist Sonya Rapoport used her own symbols and found data to create a secret language. Learn how to collage a daily calendar inspired by Rapoport's work. We'll set it up, show you how, and you can make it your own by tracking your emotions throughout the month—creating your own secret language! This video will challenge young artists from 3rd–8th grade.

Did you know that SJMA’s education team has developed a Do-It-At Home art curriculum? Follow SJMA’s newly launched Education Facebook group to see all the projects!

↑ top
Video | Winding a Historic Clock

Do you know what time it is? Or even what day? Time seems to meld into itself these days, but at SJMA, we are watching the clock—the clock tower, that is!

Video | Another Look of the Clock Tower

San José’s historic clock, manufactured and installed by Danish clock-maker Nels Johnson himself in 1909, was originally part of the City’s first post office and library. The so-called Century Tower Clock was designed to last 100 years, hence the name, and it instantly became an iconic marker of downtown.

The clock has survived turbulent times for over one hundred years, including the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Thanks to the Museum’s dedicated staff, who wind it weekly and care for its maintenance, the Century Tower Clock ticks on. We hope this symbol of San José’s enduring history provides a sense of comfort, solace, and continuing perseverance in the face of our current crisis.

Photo Album | Historic Images

The San José Museum of Art is housed within two buildings—a Richardsonian Romanesque historic building, originally a post office built in 1892, and a new addition that opened in 1991. The building suffered little damage in the 1906 earthquake, but alas, the original clock tower and steeple were destroyed. During 1908-09, James Knox Taylor designed and built a new shorter tower for the building. In 1909, Nels Johnson personally installed one of his Century Tower Clocks which is still in use today. See the photos HERE.

Behind-the-Scene Photos | Inside the Clock Tower

The clock is powered by gravity. The simple mechanism is operated by 500-pound weights suspended from cables that descend two stories. A hand crank raises the cables and their weights when the clock is wound every 3-4 days. The bell is housed in an adjacent compartment and was manufactured by McNeely and Company West in Troy, New York, in 1908. The clock is one of only five Nels Johnson clocks known to be in existence and one of the two that has not been converted to electric power. See the photos HERE.

From Our Partner | Museum Replicated

Our friends at Legoland Discovery Center Bay Area built a mini-replica of our historic building for their Miniland!! Some fun facts about this Lego replica: it took 31 hours to design it and 101 hours to build it. The replica includes 6,650 Lego bricks and weighs seven pounds!
↑ top
Video Preview | Creative Minds: Tommie Smith and Glenn Kaino

With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith explores one man’s action to raise his fist for what he believed in. And the whole world was listening. Last month, as part of SJMA’s popular Creative Minds series, artist Glenn Kaino and Olympian Tommie Smith revisited the Museum to speak about that life-changing moment. View a special preview of the Creative Minds talk HERE.

Behind-the-scene photos | Installation of Bridge

In order to exhibit Glenn Kaino’s monumental work, Bridge, the SJMA installation team had to design and build a custom rigging apparatus that was attached to the gallery's architecture to suspend such a large piece below a glass ceiling. The sculpture is comprised of hundreds of pieces of hardware and thousands of feet of cable. See the photos HERE.

What would you raise your fist for?

Tommie Smith and Glenn Kaino led drawing rallies around the United States, inviting participants to use the Osmo mirroring device to retrace the monumental moments that led him to champion his beliefs. This online interpretive space allows you to explore the metaphor of “passing the baton” by reflecting upon personal causes and sharing what you will raise your fist to support.

We at SJMA believe in the power of a voice, and how that voice can carry and reverberate through history and inspire future generations. We would like to know, what would you raise your fist for? SJMA is listening. #ShowMeSJMA

With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith

In 1968, at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, San José State University runner Tommie Smith raised a gloved fist during the medal ceremony to protest human lefts abuses around the world, and to bring international attention to the struggle for civil lefts in the United States. This act of protest, which still reverberates today, is explored in a series of collaborations between Smith and Los Angeles–based conceptual artist Glenn Kaino. Learn more about the exhibition HERE.

Recommended Reading Related to With Drawn Arms
Tiffany E. Garcia, librarian at San Jose Public Library, compiled a reading list for the exhibition. Some titles are available online through your local library as ebooks or audiobooks. See the list HERE.
↑ top

We're Listening
As we navigate through these challenging times, it’s imperative that we learn to listen to one another, and not just talk over each other. Often we want to connect by saying how we feel, but sometimes the best way to relate to one another is to listen. Share with @san_jose_museum_of_art what you'd like to see and hear. Tag us with #ShowMeSJMA or email us at info@sjmusart.org.

We at SJMA will be listening to you and hope to connect with you further. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Ask us questions, tell us how you're feeling, and share your thoughts with us!

The Listening Post was installed over eight days by four people. It took two days to put up the ceiling rigging, four days to set up the work, and was followed by two days of testing. It is stored in 9 large wooden crates and has traveled locally and internationally, from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, to New York City, to London, England; Madrid, Spain; Montpellier, France; and Arhus, Denmark.
↑ top
With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith
With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith is sponsored by the San José Museum of Art's Exhibitions Fund with generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Applied Materials Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from McManis Faulkner, Tad Freese and Brook Hartzell, and Tech CU.

Programs at the San José Museum of Art are made possible by generous support from the Museum's Board of Trustees, a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José, the Lipman Family Foundation, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, Facebook Art Department, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, the SJMA Director's Council and Council of 100, the San José Museum of Art Endowment Fund established by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and The William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Image: Installation view of With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith, San José Museum of Art, California, 2019. Photos by JKA Photography.