Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 - 11:13 am

San Diego, CA—On Thursday, February 13, at 7 PM, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts will present its annual Russell Lecture at MCASD’s La Jolla location. The 2014 Russell Lecturer is internationally acclaimed artist Byron Kim. 

A La Jolla native who lives and works in New York, Kim pushes the edge of what we understand as abstract painting. His works often appear to be pure abstractions, but upon investigation and contemplation, they reveal a charged space that connects to the artist’s personal experiences and raises questions about issues concerning politics, environmentalism, and cultural identity.  

Synecdoche, Kim’s signature work, is an ongoing series that consists of a grid of hundreds of small panels that each match to the color of a specific person’s skin. It is both a portrait of people in the artist’s life and an exploration of race and community. Indeed, MCASD owns several works by Kim, including a multi-panel portrait of its Board of Trustees based upon skin color, which is part of the Synecdoche series.

Kim’s mid-career survey, Threshold, originated at the Berkeley Art Museum and travelled to MCASD, and the Samsung Museum of Modern Art in Seoul as well as several other locations in the United States. Kim was included in the landmark exhibition Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today, at the Museum of Modern Art, NY and Tate Liverpool, UK. Most recently, works from his Sunday Paintings series were on view at the Brooklyn Museum in the exhibition Unfolding Tales: Selections from the Contemporary Collection. In 2014 he will be included in the forthcoming exhibition Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s at the Montclair Art Museum.

Byron Kim received a BA from Yale University in 1983 and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1986. He has received numerous awards including the Alpert Award, UCROSS, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. Kim has participated in many other international exhibitions including the 7th and 3rd Gwangju Biennale, Korea in 2000 and 2008. He is currently a Senior Critic at Yale University.

For many years, MCASD and UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts have partnered to bring contemporary artists to the city through the annual Russell Lecture program. The Russell Foundation was established in the will of Betty Russell, one of MCASD's founding docents and a long-time supporter of UCSD. She specified that funds from the foundation should help "foster the appreciation and study of the modern visual arts and creativity of young artists" through support to the Museum and the University. Past Russell Lecture speakers have included Nancy Rubins (2006), Robert Irwin (2008), Sophia Calle (2009), Isaac Julien (2011), and Tania Bruguera (2013).

In addition to the public lecture, Kim will have a chance to meet and interact with students in UCSD’s Visual Arts Department as part of the Russell Foundation program.

Tickets are now on sale at both MCASD front desks during regular gallery hours and one hour before the evening’s lecture at the Box Office. Tickets can also be purchased at Tickets are available at a limited capacity and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The Russell Lecture is free for MCASD Members and UCSD faculty, students, and staff. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $5 for seniors and non-UCSD students.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.


The UC San Diego Visual Arts Department is intentionally and uniquely situated as a multidisciplinary arts program housed in one of the nation’s top institutions for higher education and research. Founded in 1967 by some of the country’s leading conceptual artists—David and Eleanor Antin, Helen Mayer, Newton Harrison, Allan Kaprow, Manny Farber and Harold Cohen—the department offers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Master of Arts (M.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees (Ph. D) degrees. The Visual Arts Department is founded on the distinctive premise that the production of art, and historical and theoretical reflection upon art, are most effectively pursued within a single discursive community. It is an innovative space that encourages students to reach across media-specific boundaries into new forms of art making.


# # #