Wednesday, January 21, 2009

road trip exhibition @ SJ Museum of Art

Yesterday I went to the "Road Trip" exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Contemporary Art. It closes in just a few days, so I wanted to be sure to go. B. and I both have soft spots for road trips, and I just did a huge one for the MFA project, gathering seeds and plants for my greenhouse. Since then I've narrowed things down to the piñon--I wish I had already made that decision before going on the road, I could have had a very different, more focused experience.

There were some really great pieces, but overall, it was kind of a let down. I could think of 5-10 amazing performances/pictures/installations that would have been perfect for the show, but as it was, there just wasn't a lot to look at, and only the photographs seemed to work together. There was also a thread of maps and geography running through the show, but again, not developed conceptually by the curators (who seem to be anonymous--I can't find their names on any of the literature we picked up or on the website).

Highlights were photographs by Amy Stein, Lee Friedlander, and Eleanor Antin. B. and I both agreed that the best three things in the show were Tracey Snelling's diorama of a drive-in theatre with a screen in place of the movie screen, Nina Katchadourian's beautiful "map dissection" of the United States, and also Lordy Rodriguez's hilarious reconfiguration of a US map. I also liked Margarita Cabrera's Vocho, and Sophie Calle had a video running that looked like it would have been great if I had time to sit there and watch it. This style of exhibition seems an unfortunate way to screen a 75 minute film.

All told, if you missed this show, don't agonize about it, but if you go, find those three things, check out the photos, and you'll probably have a good time.

Upstairs, there is a really nice cardboard sculpture show worth checking out, and a delightfully creepy Tony Oursler piece in the gallery next door.

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About Me

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Lindsay Kelley is an artist and writer researching bioart, fringe foods, and uncommon modes of food preparation and ingestion. She is currently completing her book manuscript, The Bioart Kitchen. Lindsay holds a MFA in Digital Art & New Media and a Ph.D in the History of Consciousness, both from the University of California Santa Cruz. She works at the Public Library of Science on the PLOS ONE editorial team.