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Flin Flon VIII, 1970 Frank Stella 108" x 108"

Standing at 8 feet by 8 feet, this monu- mental piece of art is one of the quintes- sential paintings of American abstraction in regards to the minimalist movement of the 1960s and 70s. It was created as part of a series of paintings where Stella utilized a protractor to form an over- lapping sense of shape. These shapes were then expanded outward in order to fill the canvas. The process, while perhaps somewhat simplistic, was used to challenge the viewer to look beyond the classic ideas of representational art. Whereas traditional paintings had offered a glimpse into a world through a clear window, Stella’s work took over the space without offering any such point of access. Thus, the piece became a painting about the process of paint- ing itself. To this day, the size and depth of the work con- tinues to draw visitors in. There is brilliance to the piece that allows for speculation while fueling the imagination. It is an important work of art visually, historically and in- tellectually and one that can be appreciated by all.

The Binney Collection, 1685 Edwin Binney 7.625" x 5.281"

Named after the collector, Edwin Binney, this wide-ranging display of artwork from South Asia is one of the museums most valued col- lections. Bequeathed to SDMA in 1986, the pieces include more than 2,000 paintings, which remain on rotation year-round. Ranging from 12th

–19th century, it is one of the

most inclusive and well-rounded bodies of South Asian paintings in the world. These include wa- tercolor illustrations, calligraphy scripts and even a few sculptural works that range from religious backgrounds including Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. At any one time there are approximately 40–50 pieces on display within the museum and a new renovation has created a bigger and better venue for their viewing!

Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, 1602 Juan Sánchez Cotán 27.125" x 33.25"

As one of the most famous and recognized works in the museum, images of this painting can be found on SDMA banners as well as on Balboa Park’s trolley signs. Often regarded as one of the greatest still life paintings ever made, this deep fascination has to do with the mystery behind the motivation of the work. One cannot contemplate the five pieces of fruit without wondering what it’s all about. Before the 1600s the practice of still life painting was fairly unusual. It was the time of naturalism and Cotán’s contemporaries, such as Caravaggio, were producing detailed paintings of religious scenes. So why had he chosen to focus on simple inanimate objects? Was it just a painting or was there some deeper hidden meaning? A few years after completing the piece, Cotán gave up his possessions and moved into a monastery. This has led many art critics to speculate that the meaning behind the painting is about finding God’s beauty in even the humblest of objects. Decide for yourself—but don’t miss seeing this masterpiece!


The San Diego Museum of Art: 1450 El Prado

Balboa Park, San Diego, CA Contact:

(619) 232-7931


Tuesday–Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm


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