Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 22nd
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

 

Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

 

Locavores Only

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.