South East North West: New Works from the Collection

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    Diana Al-Hadid, South East North West, 2017. Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, plaster, gold leaf, copper leaf, painter’s tape, and pigment; 130 × 168 × 5 inches. Gift of the Lipman Family Foundation. Courtesy of the artist. © Diana Al-Hadid. Photo credit: Object Studies

On view through September 27, 2021 at the San José Museum of Art

To conclude the year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, the San José Museum of Art (SJMA) presents South East North West: New Works from the Collection through September 19, 2021. Organized by SJMA curator Rory Padeken, this exhibition demonstrates SJMA’s new strategic vision in action, by bringing together notable acquisitions from the past five years and featuring the work of internationally acclaimed artists, including those working in California and the Bay Area, as well as emerging artists garnering critical recognition.

SJMA was founded by a diverse group of artists and community leaders in 1969, during an especially tumultuous moment in US history. These individuals were committed to creating an arts institution that was dedicated to inclusivity, new thinking, visionary ideals, and the same innovative spirit that is found at SJMA today. Propelled by the support and generosity of artists, gallerists, collectors, patrons, and members of the Acquisitions Committee and Council of 100, the permanent collection has evolved over the past five years into one of increasingly greater inclusivity and relevancy.

“We are thrilled that audiences can experience these works for the first time. It represents a great deal of hard work and generosity and we are incredibly grateful to all of our donors who supported our new strategic vision and helped make these acquisitions possible,” said S. Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director, San José Museum of Art. “As the only collecting art institution and museum in San José dedicated exclusively to acquiring the art of our times, our permanent collection serves as a valuable resource and public legacy. South East North West shows how art can open audiences’ eyes to cultural, political, and social issues.”

“SJMA’s collections are dynamic—always growing and evolving. South East North West celebrates the diverse artistic achievements of artists in our region and beyond and sparks conversation among visitors,” shared Rory Padeken, SJMA curator. “Adopting the title of a monumental, two-panel mixed-media work by Diana Al-Hadid to symbolize the breadth and depth of the collection, South East North West testifies to SJMA’s adventurousness and ambition of becoming a borderless museum for the future.”

Many artists in the exhibition offer provocative and poetic responses to often-polarizing cultural, political, and social issues. Mona Hatoum evokes the agony of exile in her work Drowning Sorrows (2001–02), which is composed of severed clear glass bottles arranged in a circular formation on the floor. Andrea Bowers, Chitra Ganesh, and Lara Schnitger address ongoing struggles for gender equality and women’s rights to imagine a more just world. In his painting Trauma Eve with Virus Bombs (2001), David Huffman reimagines African American stereotypes in order to reclaim them from prevailing narratives of the Black experience.

In our twenty-first century digital age, artists such as Petra Cortright, Hayal Pozanti, and Margo Wolowiec push the boundaries of representation and contemporary image making using new media technologies. In contrast, artists such as Tacita Dean and Tony Feher show us that the simplest elements—whether images of clouds for Dean or blue painter’s tape for Feher—can prove to be profoundly pleasurable to the senses. Other artists featured in the exhibition include Firelei Báez, Tony Berlant, Alexander Calder, Tiffany Chung, Russell Crotty, Jay DeFeo, Genevieve Gaignard, Kojo Griffin, Robert Hudson, Yojiro Imasaka, Jitish Kallat, Hung Liu, Frank Lobdell, Vanessa Marsh, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Robert Minervini, Richard Misrach, Ruben Ochoa, Nathan Oliveira, Josephine Taylor, William T. Wiley, and Imin Yeh.


South East North West: New Works from the Collection is dedicated to the memory of Theres Rohan and her unwavering support for artists and the artistic process. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the SJMA Exhibitions Fund, including generous contributions from the Lipman Family Foundation, Doris and Alan Burgess, Glenda and Gary Dorchak, Cheryl and Bruce Kiddoo, and Diane Jonte-Pace and David Pace.

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, Adobe, 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.

San José Museum of Art

SJMA is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San José, California near the Plaza de César Chavez. The Museum is open Friday–Sunday, 11am–5pm. SJMA has implemented a dedicated hour of each day for our most vulnerable guests to enjoy the galleries, inviting seniors, those who are pregnant, and those with underlying health concerns as determined by CDC guidelines, to visit SJMA Friday–Sunday, 11am–12pm. For up-to-date information about SJMA, visit Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free to members, college students, youth and children ages 17 and under, and schoolteachers (with valid ID). For more information, call 408.271.6840 or visit