Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Mar 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Oakland Museum

ae_omcaFreshly Redesigned it is a California Dream
The new director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, Nina Simon, champions “the participative museum” and promises to make MAH a more interactive place, part of the daily life of the community. For tangible evidence of how exhilarating a “participative museum” can be, visit the redesigned Oakland Museum of California.

The museum has three components:  the recently redesigned California art and California history buildings, and a natural sciences building which reopens in 2012.  Originally dedicated in 1969 as the “museum of the people,” the post-modernist Kevin Roche-architected building was lauded then as an example of innovative museum design. Sprawling over four city blocks in the Lake Merritt side of downtown Oakland, its scored concrete exterior rises forbiddingly above street level, but atop the broad, welcoming staircase the concrete forgets to be fortress-like. Light plays dramatically on the interlocking planes of buildings and staircases and leads the visitor to arbors and gardens, restaurant and inviting tables amid trees and nooks where artworks delight. A huge Viola Frey figure guards the entrance to the art wing.

Oakland Museum claims “the most comprehensive collection of California art and culture in the world.” The art building’s 5,600 square feet of additional space and new attitude brilliantly represent the energy and creativity of California: the dramatic interior leads the viewer ever-deeper into galleries divided by freestanding walls that present ideas arranged thematically, not chronologically. California Land, California People and Creative California are the overarching ideas within which themes like Identity, Living Modern and Radical Acts offer a framework for daring juxtapositions. The Urban theme, for instance, ranges from a 1882 painting of Alameda streets to Manuel Ocampo’s Map of L.A. The idea represented by such intriguing diversity is augmented by peripheral glimpses of adjacent galleries. Nearby, Robert Hudson’s sculpture, Double Time, is surrounded by low desks which offer 3-D glasses to augment the composition of stripes and vivid interlocking shapes, earphones to hear music played in double time and a chance to write and draw, inspired by clever prompts. On the other side, a huge Barry McGee installation makes the connection to graffiti. Isn’t such peripheral stimulus the way that California creates?

The collection of California art of the last 150 years includes a deep representation of Bay Area Figurative art all held together by an extraordinary gallery of works by Richard Diebenkorn, which carry the viewer from figuration to abstraction. The Dorothea Lange archive finds a counterpoint in a collection of f.64 photographers. The Conceptual Art area might well convert the unbelievers.  Throughout, participative exhibits invite visitors to get involved. A temporary Michael McMillan exhibit, Train of Thought, peppered throughout the galleries, weaves another dimension of wild wit into each theme and provides a great reason to visit before Aug. 14.


Maureen Davidson writes about the arts as The Exhibitionist. This column and her radio spot and blog at KUSP.org are funded in part by a grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015 Editor's Picks

BEST NIGHT CAP WARSAW MULE AT SHADOWBROOK
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals