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WHAT'S UP! Museum of Contemporary Art:


Big art happening in a small space


Thursday Night Thing draws young avant garde for cutting-edge socializing


By Jeff Britton SDUN Reporter


Three delightful exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego show the versatility of the Jacobs Building, renovated through the generosity of Joan and Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm renown. The space is truly a work of art, and the avant garde exhibits are drawing younger crowds for cut- ting-edge socializing at quarterly Thursday Night Thing happenings, where artist talks and live music stimulate the senses. One recent event found artist Jennifer Steinkamp and Raul Cordero on hand to discuss their work, while folks in the Berglund Room experimented with making art. The room featured a scent station where guests could smell and wear a scent created for their geographic region. Cuckoo Chaos and Jamuel Saxon, the former a winner and the latter a multiple nominee at the San Diego Music Awards, kept the pace lively. The focus of the event, how-


ever, was the visual art, which was fascinating in its diversity. In the Strauss Gallery, a white- on-white cloth assembly by Chi- nese artist Yin Xiuzhen took center stage. Xiuzhen works in site-spe- cific installations with a mattress serving as the background. In this piece, she whimsically adorned it with cloth items in the shape of scissors, knives, bullets, a saw, a wrench and a screwdriver all made out of colored cloth. Nearby, Matt Mullican’s


oil rubbings on a huge canvas grabbed attention with their fine balance. Mullican creates frames within frames, layers of shapes and objects that appear to be done with oil crayons instead of paint. Rita McBride’s precision sym- metrical craftsmanship is evident in “Toyota,” a rattan paean to the automobile, glued together so meticulously it must have required a group effort.


Another wall, with a view of Amtrak trains through the win- dows, featured Matthew Day Jack- son’s stainless steel shelves, along with a variety of sculptural pieces suggesting religious symbols and altarpieces, although they’re


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actually iconic figures from past events. A whimsical work depicts the U.S. moon landing, with Lego characters juxtaposed with half of a human skull and a box-like structure containing home- construction materials such as plywood and carpet remnants. A Coke bottle exposed to radioac- tivity is also part of the exhibit. Encased in plexiglass, it has a gorgeous, iridescent quality. Speaking of radioactivity, Jennifer Steinkamp has created a new digital video animation called “Madame Curie,” inspired by the artist’s recent research into atomic energy, explosions and the effects of these forces on nature. In the original baggage room, three walls come alive with a sea of pulsating, vibrating digital marigolds, chest- nut blooms and hop plants, creat- ing has a stunning effect as if they are swaying in an actual breeze. Another video artist, Joan Jo- nas, transforms a third room with a very personal message that uses her skills as a performance artist. Inspired by the Hopi snake dance during her visits to Ari- zona, Jonas creates a silver snake slithering along a black backdrop as the centerpiece. “The voices of the dead live on,” intones one of the five video screens. “Everything we live through is a metamorphosis.” The


San Diego Uptown News | Mar. 18–31, 2011


17


Raúl Cordero, Hendrickje, photographed in Havana, Oct. 29, 2009, by Alejandro González—part of MCASD exhibit.


sound is poor but you can glean cer- tain tidbits about the purpose of the dance. One image with a derelict seaside building covered in graffiti is a dramatic combination of visual


and cinematic forms, with a singer and pianist playing an appropriately sultry, evocative score. “All humanity is eternal and at all times schizophrenic,” continues


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