on 28 Oct 2015 4:49 PM
  • Press
Three large-scale installations from the Museum’s permanent collection will be featured
October 27, 2015

San Diego, CAThe Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present three large-scale works from its permanent collection by artists Robert Irwin, Ernesto Neto, and Judith Barry at its downtown location from November 20, 2015 through February 21, 2016. The installations will fill each gallery with immersive artworks that engage viewer’s experience of physical space, light, and sound.

Please contact Leah Straub or Patricia B. Dwyer for high-resolution images of artworks, and to schedule interviews MCASD’s curatorial staff.

Robert Irwin: Light and Space
Light itself focuses and diffuses our gaze in Irwin’s environmental light installation Light and Space (2007). The piece creates a dialogue between solid architecture and empty space mediated by electric light—three forms of matter at different accelerations. Driven by an attention to phenomenological experience rather than illusion, Irwin’s work is an inquiry into the nature of perception.  Irwin’s early examinations into the nexus between what is seen and perceived with the senses, in addition to the physical conditions of a site, helped to define the aesthetics and issues of the West Coast Light and Space movement in the late 1960s. In this work—developed during Irwin’s residency in MCASD’s Robert Caplan Artist-in-Residence Studio—he uses fluorescent light tubes alone as the main triggers of a mass-less, enveloping perceptual setting. The specific objects utilized in the installation serve as a passive platform that facilitates the transformation of energy and triggers a phenomenal, visual experience. Resisting the need to jump to quick conclusions, Light and Space creates a response of pure attention and engagement.

Robert Irwin: Light and Space is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.

Judith Barry: Voice Off
An artist and writer who trained in architecture, Judith Barry creates experiential video works in which the viewer plays an integral role. These innovative installations often explore the relationship between physical space and psychological space—and how these spaces shape us as subjects. Presented at MCASD for the first time, Voice Off (1998-99) is a two-channel video and sound installation in which videos are projected onto each side of a wall dividing the gallery. As viewers and participants, we must navigate the two spaces through a passageway in the projection. On one side, a frustrated writer grows distracted by noises and voices that he hears—figments of his imagination, perhaps. Increasingly distraught, he obsessively tries to locate the source of these sounds. On the other side, figures appear in an ambiguous, dream-like realm inhabited by a succession of characters who sing, tell stories, and enact various social scenarios. Each video suggests various manifestations of the voice—interior or exterior, sung or spoken, expressive or silenced. Taken as a whole, this multi-layered installation dramatizes complex aural and vocal cues, exploring how sound might be visualized, and how it, in turn, shapes our experience of physical space.

Barry is the featured speaker at this year’s Annual Russell Lecture at MCASD La Jolla on Wednesday, November 18 at 7 PM. Tickets are available at www.mcasd.org.

Judith Barry: Voice Off is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.

Ernesto Neto: Mother body emotional densities, for alive temple time baby son
Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s monumental site-specific commission for MCASD, first presented in 2007, features immense organic forms, fashioned from suspended, translucent Lycra fabric filled with spices such as annetto, cloves, and turmeric. The installation suggests the microscopic landscape of the body at a macroscopic scale. Neto's installations contain a strong social component and an aspect of whimsy that purposefully combine architectural, sculptural, and atmospheric effects to create a specific visual and physical experience. As the viewer moves through both the gallery and the piece, they are surrounded by soft membranes and bathed in diffused light streaming down from the clearstory windows of the gallery through the translucent material. Developed in response to the light-filled, open-trellised architecture of the exhibition space, the work stands suspended between architectural and bodily space, creating a strong physical relationship with the viewer that must be experienced rather than merely seen.

Ernesto Neto is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.

About MCASD’s Permanent Collection
MCASD is proud to be a collecting institution and has an ongoing program of art acquisition, through gift, donation, or purchase. The Museum’s permanent collection includes more than 4,600 works created after 1950, representing a variety of media and genres: painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video, and installation. MCASD is known for collecting works by promising emerging artists and under-recognized, mid-career artists, as well as by major figures in international contemporary art. New acquisitions support and enhance the strengths of the Museum’s permanent collection as well as institutional initiatives, including a focus on emerging artists and Latin American art.

Among the greatest strengths of the MCASD collection are minimalism and Pop Art of the 1960s and 1970s, conceptual art from the 1960s to the present, installation art, art from Latin America, and art from California and the San Diego/Tijuana region. Many works in the collection are the result of artists’ residencies or works commissioned for MCASD exhibitions. In response to new local, national, and international developments in art, the Museum continually seeks to enhance its strengths and to expand the representation of artistic trends in its collection. At the same time, MCASD preserves, presents, documents, and interprets its holdings for current and future audiences.



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 4,500 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.

Leah Straub, Communications & Marketing Manager, 858 454 3541 x119, lstraub@mcasd.org

Patricia B. Dwyer, Communications Associate, 858 454 3541 x116, pdwyer@mcasd.org