Tag Archives: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Days of Christmas continued…..

Today we are leaping from the Renaissance, in Italy, to installation art in southern California as we continue to celebrate the days of Christmas.

One of my favourite Robert Irwin pieces is 1°2°3°4°. ( I’ve written about Irwin here and here.)

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1°2°3°4° is a semi-permanent installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.  It’s an excellent example of a site specific work of art, which looks deceptively simple:  three squares of glass removed from the windows.

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

Listen to what Irwin says about his work:  And here it’s like I am saying, you know the kind of attention you have been taught to lavish on a Renaissance landscape within its as-if window frame, try lavishing that sort of attention on the world itself.  In fact, get rid of the windowJust experience the world!

….now you’ve taken the frame and sort of bent it, which just brings that even into more focus, it turns out that before it was slightly out of focus, but now, bang, it snaps into focus, becoming completely pictorial while in fact being the opposite of pictorial, which is to say experiential, because on top of everything else now you get the sounds drifting in from outside, and the soft breeze blowing, the whole thing becoming truly four dimensional.  (from page 270-271, seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees by Lawrence Weschler.)

Experience the world!  They are inspiring words for the new year.



Location, location, location!

If you’re a regular reader of The Art Caravan, you know I can’t say enough good things about the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (La Jolla).  (You can read my post from April 2014 , Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla.)

My last visit came with a bonus:  the showing of Robert Irwin’s installation 1°2°3°4°.  It’s part of MCASD’s permanent collection.  (You might also know that I’m rather fond of Robert Irwin, and his work that explores ideas of  perception.)

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Yes!  These are openings cut into the windows facing the Pacific Ocean.  The installation is oddly compelling.  Granted, it’s a pretty spectacular view (!), but 1°2°3°4° does cause the viewer to experience the artwork in a different way.  More of our senses are engaged besides the stunning visual:  the feel of the breezes, the scent and sound of the ocean, and the reality of the framed image.  (The glass is tinted, and  makes the view exposed by the opening appear more real….more immediate.)

If you’re in the area, it really is worth the effort to visit this gallery.  (The cafe closes at 3 p.m., so plan accordingly.)


El Anatsui: Gravity and Grace

A couple of years ago, a piece by El Anatsui stopped me dead in my trek through MOMA.  I didn’t know who he was, or the significance of the piece…..only that it grabbed my attention.  It was Bleeding Takari II, a huge, shimmering wall hanging.


Susan Vogel’s excellent documentary Fold Crumple Crush:  The Art of El Anatsui increased my interest in Anatsui’s art.  Click here for a brief trailer of the film.

The Art Caravan had the good fortune to see the travelling exhibition, Gravity and Grace: The Monumental Works of El Anatsui  at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.  It was a perfect setting for the works, as the Downtown location is in the historic Santa Fe Depot Baggage Building, a cavernous space with natural light.

Look closely at the work. (Click on the images for better viewing.) It is composed of recycled materials, often woven together with copper wire.  I admire how the microscopic pieces, beautiful and full of history, combine to create a macroscopic work of art.  It’s no wonder El Anatsui is considered the foremost contemporary African artist.