Saturday, November 6, 2010

Viva La Revolution and Kim McConnell at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

Contemporary art since the 1960s has ventured out of the white cube, sterile gallery. Two exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego explore this phenomenon.

The first show is Viva La Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape. Viva La Revolucion explores the relationship between street culture and high art. Each of the artist engage the viewer and the public in both cultural and political dialog. Showing a diverse range of 20 artists from 10 countries that are linked together by how their work addresses urban issues -- Akay (Sweden), Banksy (U.K.), Blu (Italy), Mark Bradford (U.S.), William Cordova (U.S.), Date Farmers (U.S.), Stephan Doitschinoff [CALMA] (Brazil), Dr. Lakra (Mexico), Dzine (Puerto Rico), David Ellis (U.S.), FAILE (Canada), Shepard Fairey (U.S), Invader (France), JR (France), Barry McGee (U.S.), Ryan McGinness (U.S.), Moris (Mexico), Os Gemeos (Brazil), Swoon (U.S.), and Vhils (Portugal). Although it may seem antithetical that a show on street art is shown in a gallery setting, MCASD does an excellent job at creating and expressing the sense of what these artists are trying to convey both in the subversive and engagement of the political and cultural lives of their respective societies. I believe that street art is beginning to find a place in high culture, whereas in the past it was dismissed as either graffiti or empty in any real meaning. Street art is now in the artistic dialog and MCASD has set the stage for the further discussion. The highlights of the show are the installations by Dr. Lakra, paintings and works by Ryan McGinness and Sheppard Fairey, Bansky, Vhils, Stephan Doitschinoff and Os Menos. Go see!!

Swimming Sisters of Switchback Sea
hand-painted block print on wood with found objects
Courtesy of the artist and Deitch Archive, New York
Photo by Pablo Mason

Scratching the Surface
sculpted brick wall with plaster and paint
Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Pablo Mason

(Left to Right) Os Gemeos
The Last Station of the Spring
Courtesy of the artists
Photo by Pablo Mason
Os Gemeos
Untitled 2008
acrylic and spray paint on wood
Courtesy of the artists and Deitch Archive, New York
Photo by Pablo Mason
The second show is the retrospective of artist Kim McConnel. Entitled Collection Applied Design: A Kim MacConnel Retrospective is the first full-career retrospective to be presented in San Diego of this influential, San Diego-based artist. Kim MacConnel is a painter who has engaged questions of abstraction, figuration, and decoration throughout his long career. Before Jorge Pardo, Andrea Zittel, Pae White and Tobias Rehberger, Kim McConnel was exploring the relationship between art and design. The retrospective is wide ranging in its scope with works dating from the 1960s to the present. McConnel is prolific in the works that he creates. His work is not only in a dialogue between art and design, but also the art of the world beyond the shores of the West. Throughout the galleries, not only are there paintings, drawings, fabrics, and other works of mixed media, there are also chairs and furniture designed by McConnel where the visitor is allowed to sit and engage the works in front of them. The show is strong, and I am definitely looking forward to the catalog where I hope McConnel's art is placed in the context of today's emerging art scene. The retrospective, I hope, will inspire and engage a new generation of artists who are truly breaking boundaries.

enamel on wood
panels: 46 x 46 in. each; overall: 46 x 138 in.
Museum purchase, International and Contemporary Collectors Funds
PHOTO CREDIT: ©2010 Kim MacConnel / Photo by Pablo Mason

Ad Jile
painted collaged paper
37 ½ x 57 in.
Courtesy of the artist

PHOTO CREDIT: © 1980 Kim MacConnel

Installation view, Selections from The Beach Collection, 1975–present, in the exhibition
Collection Applied Design: A Kim MacConnel Retrospective, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Photo by Pablo Mason

Viva la Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape
Jul 18, 2010–Jan 02, 2011 at MCASD Downtown, Jacobs Building
MCASD Downtown, 1100 Kettner Boulevard,
San Diego, CA 92101-3306

Collection Applied Design: A Kim MacConnel Retrospective
Oct 09, 2010–Jan 23, 2011 at MCASD La Jolla
MCASD La Jolla, 700 Prospect Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037-4291  

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD)
858 454 3541

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"Annihilation" a solo show of works by Vhils, at Over the Influence Gallery, Los Angeles, California