Barring Freedom, co-organized by the UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences, brings together contemporary artists confronting the historical and structural racism embedded in the criminal justice and mass incarceration systems.
Welcome to SJMA's first ever interactive virtual exhibitions featuring artwork from our kids summer art camp young artists, SJMA's gallery teachers and studio art educators, as well as our professional guest artists.
In 1993, Hans Ulrich Obrist together with artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier, conceived do it, an exhibition based entirely on artists’ instructions, which could be followed to create temporary art works for the duration of a show. do it questioned authorship, challenged traditional exhibition formats, and championed art’s ability to exist beyond a single gallery space.
Sonya Rapoport: biorhythm focuses on a decade of rapid transformation in the artist’s practice—from her first SJMA exhibition of paintings in 1974 to her computer-mediated interactive performances—examining the artist’s prescient exploration of computer-collected and -analyzed personal data and its aesthetic and cultural implications.
Art Learning Lab is a dedicated exhibition space inspired by Sowing Creativity, the Museum’s award-winning STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education program. Featuring a diverse selection of work from the permanent collection, the Art Learning Lab reveals how artists engage cross-disciplinary concepts in their approach to art-making.
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 rights abuses around the world, and to bring international attention to the struggle for civil rights 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.
Oakland-based artist Woody De Othello creates anthropomorphized household objects in ceramic. Belying their cheery and colorful veneers is a darkly comedic sense of exhaustion. Born in Miami to a family of Haitian descent, Othello is interested in the nature of many African objects, which offer both ritual and utilitarian functions and possess a spirit of their own. His sculptures express a tension between the animate and inanimate and draw humor from a place of pain.
This archival exhibition examines the broader history of athletics at San José State University beyond Tommie Smith and within the historical framework of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
The technologies developed in Silicon Valley have intrigued and inspired artistic experimentation for more than three decades and pave a way toward the future. Almost Human: Digital Art from the Permanent Collection highlights artists who use digital and emergent technologies from custom computer electronics and early robotics to virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Los Angeles-based artist Pae White transcends nearly all traditional boundaries—between art and design; craft and fine art; theory and materiality. Her curiosity with the world reveals itself in her transformation of ordinary objects into profoundly transient experiences that defy logic, yet remain oddly familiar.
Known for her large-scale works of art made from materials that she has sourced throughout the world, Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World is the first mid-career retrospective and touring exhibition of the artist’s work. This major exhibition focuses on four interdependent themes in Banerjee's work: identity, globalization, feminism, and climate change.
Explore Rina Banerjee’s use of material and play with language in her titles in the Koret Family Gallery’s interactive Art Learning Lab where you will make observations, ask questions, and participate in creative experimentation.
Catherine Wagner’s visual investigation of laboratories explores systems of scientific research and knowledge. Highlighting her monumental Pomegranate Wall (2000) and photographs taken within laboratories, this exhibition considers the parallels between artistic and scientific inquiry and process.
This series highlights women artists and filmmakers whose works draw on the histories of representation and performance in film and video to address some of the most pressing social issues of our time. Topics range from representations of African Americans in vernacular culture to the politics of space and collective memory.
Though she is well known for her monumental painting The Rose (1958–66), Jay DeFeo’s visual and poetic associations play across a remarkable array of media and material. This focused exhibition highlights her prolific use of photography—unique prints, photo collages, and photocopies—in conversation with drawings and paintings from the 1970s and 1980s to track the artist’s visual vocabulary across media and subject matter.
One of our most elemental behaviors as physical beings—like eating, sleeping, and breathing—is walking. It’s an amateur activity. But what happens when we become explicit, inquisitive, and deliberate about what is as natural to us as eating and breathing? Walking is both universal and idiosyncratic: we all walk but choose different paths, peppered by different interactions and experiences.
A show within a show, Other Walks: Gabriel Orozco is an in-depth look at the photographs and videos of Gabriel Orozco, who since art school has walked the streets and experimented with what he encounters. For Orozco, photography is less a medium than a tool for collecting his interactions with circumstances and objects. He sees his straightforward photographs—rainwater collected in an umbrella, fleeting footprints embalmed in concrete, steam rising from a grate—as containers of events or phenomena that are still occurring, still being experienced, through the viewers’ act of looking.
The largest solo exhibition in the United States in more than a decade of the work of internationally-renowned artist Dinh Q. Lê, this exhibition of five major video and photography installations entwines rarely heard narratives of war and migration from people in North Vietnam, the Vietnamese diaspora, and refugees who, like Lê, have returned to live in their home country. Assembling these obscure stories through the collection of found photographs, artists’ war sketches, and oral histories, Lê presents a multifaceted story about Vietnamese life before, during, and after the Vietnam War. In the process, he questions the viability of collective memory and reveals the effects of trauma on the cultural imagination.
SJMA will present the US premiere of Won Ju Lim’s multimedia installation California Dreamin’ (2002), recently acquired by the Museum. Born in Gwangju, South Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, Lim created California Dreamin’ while living abroad in Germany during a period when she was intensely homesick.
Conversion is the third installment of Koret Family Gallery exhibitions to focus on STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Explore the intersection of art and engineering through artwork selected from SJMA’s permanent collection.
This exhibition highlights the generous 2016 donation to SJMA’s collection by J. Michael Bewley, as well as works from Bewley’s personal collection. Bewley, a retired employment lawyer in San José, was committed to combatting social injustices in the workplace. Spanning nearly a hundred years of artistic production and encompassing various mediums including painting, sculpture, collage, photography, and textile, these works are united by a strong social and political motivation.
In The House Imaginary, the house is a lens through which artists explore memory, identity, and belonging in an increasingly itinerant world. The house can be a lightning rod in which social policies around immigration, homelessness, urban planning, race, and gender intersect with personal histories and fictions. After the horrors of World War II, theorist Theodor Adorno famously declared, “dwelling, in the proper sense, is now impossible…. The house is past.” He was claiming that personal security can no longer be considered apart from the systemic oppressions and omissions necessary to retain that security. This recognition is achingly urgent today in an era of global migrations, heightened awareness of inequalities, and San José’s own housing crisis.
Many of Raimonds Staprans’s paintings showcase the landscape and architecture of California as rooted equally in reality and in the artist’s imagination. Taut contours and bold hues define fields, marinas, lone trees, and architecture—all devoid of people—while scorching sunlight descends from skies of the deepest blue. His still lifes of fruit, artist’s materials, and chairs share a quality of light and rich color—sometimes a full prismatic spectrum—that imbue them with a pervasive loneliness. The assertive brushwork and traces of revision present in all his work remind the viewer that his chief reality is paint on canvas, his subjects formal elements in his process.
Crossroads: American Scene Prints from Thomas Hart Benton to Grant Wood focuses on early twentieth-century American culture and society through lithographs, etchings, and wood engravings. The fifty-seven prints in this exhibition, produced between 1905 and 1955, encompass a broad range of art styles collectively known as “American Scene.”
The Propeller Group anchors its ambitious projects in Vietnam’s history and its paradoxical present. Based in Vietnam and Los Angeles, the art collective extends its reach to address global phenomena, from street culture to international commerce to traditions shared across cultures. In multifaceted projects, The Propeller Group blurs the lines between modes of cultural production and embraces the formats of branding campaigns, television commercials, Hollywood movies, and music videos to explore the complex ideologies that drive global commerce, war, and cultural and historical memory. One highlight of the exhibition is The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music (2014), a visually lush film that follows funerary traditions of the Mekong Delta. It combines documentary footage, staged reenactments, and fantastical scenes to explore slippages between real and imagined rituals shared across cultures. The film is accompanied by sculptures inspired by traditional Vietnamese funerary objects: a carved jackfruit wood snake with gold fangs and an adorned water buffalo skull.