MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART SAN DIEGO (MCASD) PRESENTS TWO EXHIBITIONS IN CONJUNCTION WITH CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF 1915 PANAMA-CALIFORNIA EXPOSITION

 
 
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015 - 1:51 pm

San Diego, CA In honor of the citywide centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez and John D. Spreckels and The Impossible Railroad at its downtown location from July 16, 2015 through November 1, 2015.

MCASD’s connection to the centennial celebration lies within the Santa Fe Depot train station, which was redeveloped in 1915 in anticipation of the large volume of visitors that would arrive for the Exposition. MCASD Downtown is located in the former baggage claim building of Santa Fe Depot, and shares a roof with the active train station today.

The 1915 Panama-California Exposition was San Diego’s celebratory response its position as the first U.S. port for ships traveling north after passing through the recently opened Panama Canal. To attract the masses to the burgeoning city, Balboa Park—formerly an open space—was developed into a vast Mission Revival-style venue, many of the buildings from which still stand today. These buildings were programmed with performances and exhibitions from various cities, states, cultures, and groups.

In Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez, artist Byron Kim’s interest lies in the Panama–California Exposition’s ethnography exhibits, which staged displays of living Native Americans performing various activities, from making traditional crafts, to cooking, to ceremonial dancing. Maria Martinez (1887-1980), an established ceramicist from the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico's Rio Grande Valley, was featured demonstrating her famed revival of a traditional Pueblo style of black-on-black pottery. Kim, a La Jolla-born and New York-based artist, takes Martinez’s signature aesthetic as his point of departure for a series of minimalist paintings, taking cue from her monochromatic color, geometric and animal motifs, and even her making process. Known for his monochromatic paintings, Kim explores subjects of cultural identity, race, politics, and art history, all in the guise of pure abstraction. With these new works, Kim confronts notions of craft, primitivism, modernism, and the fraught legacy of events such as the Panama-California Exposition.

Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by proceeds from the 2014 Biennial Art Auction. 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.

For John D. Spreckels and The Impossible Railroad, artists Suzanne Hellmuth and Jock Reynolds take as their point of departure the MCASD Downtown Jacobs Building, once the baggage terminal of the historic Santa Fe Depot and the westernmost stop on the San Diego & Arizona Railroad that was constructed under the ownership of John D. Spreckels. The artist couple is creating a layered, multi-media installation employing working model trains, projected historic photographs, and an abundance of vintage luggage that will evoke both the construction and many challenges that beset what had become known as the “Impossible Railroad.” Spreckels, San Diego’s great pioneering business leader and benefactor, pressed on against every imaginable setback to fully complete America’s southern transcontinental railroad route.

Hellmuth and Reynolds began collaborating together in San Francisco during the 1970s and have produced numerous site specific performances, multi-media installations, and public artworks that have engaged selected historical events and institutions across America and Europe. Notable among these was their year-long residency that engaged the history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where radar was developed and then deployed to great effect during World War II. They worked to organize a centennial artistic celebration that helped to instigate the renewal of the first major library and community center that Andrew Carnegie built and opened in 1889 for his steelworkers and their families in Braddock, Pennsylvania. The duo also created a public artwork that explored the establishment of the School of Forestry’s famed tree collection and medicinal herb gardens on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

John D. Spreckels and The Impossible Railroad is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible bythe City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and proceeds from the 2014 Biennial Art Auction. 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.

Visit www.mcasd.org for details about upcoming programming for these exhibitions.

Please contact Leah Straub or Patricia B. Dwyer for high-resolution images of the artworks in each exhibition, as well as interviews with the artists or the exhibition curators.

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MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART SAN DIEGO

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.

www.mcasd.org