Three artists take you ‘outside the box’ with inspired works opening Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art

By Susan DeMaggio

Lifestyles Editor

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will open three solo-show exhibitions at its downtown Jacobs Building location on Sunday, Jan. 23: Jennifer Steinkamp’s “Madame Curie,” Raul Cordero’s “Hendrickje,” and Joan Jonas’ “The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things.”

Speaking about the impact of the works, associate curator

Lucia Sandroman used the words “remarkable,” “rich” and “restaged.”

“Of course art gives us many reactions,” she said, “joy, wonder, sadness, fear … but I hope visitors to this show will feel awestruck. The works are remarkable moments in the careers of these three artists.”

Sandroman said each work (one video art, one painting, and one performance art) is rich in that it comes from a point in the artists’ evolution that allows him or her to masterfully restage their message through intelligent, skillful editing and layering.

Here is an overview of the show:

Steinkamp’s digital video animation work, “Madame Curie,” features a field of moving flowers and flowering trees. See it exhibited downtown at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego through June 19. Courtesy

• “Madame Curie,” on view Jan. 23-June 19, features a MCASD-commissioned digital video animation by L.A.-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp. Flowers rendered realistically for this work include marsh marigolds, May flower, chestnut blooms, and hop plants, among many others drawn from a list of some 40 plants mentioned in Marie Curie’s biography. Curie (1867–1934) received two Nobel Prizes for creating the theory of radioactivity, and for discovering radium and polonium. She loved flowers and was an avid gardener.

This video commission is inspired by Steinkamp’s research into atomic energy, atomic explosions, and the effects of these forces on nature. Her enveloping panoramic work will activate a field of moving flowers and flowering trees, reminiscent of her 2004 video projection, “The Wreck of the Dumaru.” It’s also in line with the imagery of her 2010 work, “Orbit Without Seasons.”

The work engages the architecture of the MCASD space and requires seven synchronized projections onto three walls of the 4,500-square-foot gallery.

Steinkamp is one of the most accomplished time-based, digital video artists working today. The exhibit is made possible through a gift from Joan and Irwin Jacobs.

• “Hendrickje,” Jan. 23-April 17, Cuban-born Raul Cordero presents a series of nine related oil-on-canvas paintings that together fall under the title “Hendrickje.” Rembrandt van Rijn’s 1654 painting portrait of his lover and common-law wife, “A Woman Bathing in a Stream” (Hendrickje Stoffels), is taken as the structural framework for the series that together forms a single painting documented by a photograph that is also part of the work.

Each canvas is a section of Hendrickje’s likeness that is layered with fragmented images taken from film, high fashion, photography, avant-garde art, and the artist’s own imaginings, among other sources.

Cordero subverts his own presence as a painter and instead lets the fast-paced sensitivity of video editing thread loose narratives that mash up visual history.

“Joan Jonas: The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things,” Jan 23-May 1, presents a complex five-channel video installation, an artistic consideration of the Hopi snake dance, a ritual that strongly affected Jonas during visits to Arizona in the 1960s. Since the 1970s, she has worked between media, freely incorporating video, movement, music, sculpture, and the spoken word into open-ended narratives.

Woven through the installation are references to the Southwest taken from German art historian Aby Warburg’s (1866-1929) 19th century recollections to the commercial present.

Jonas has commented that she is interested in “how stories are retold in contemporary terms and how stories come down to us in fragmented forms. The Southwest is a perfect example of different cultures layered on top of each other and next to each other.”

Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in the county. The museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950.

If you go

What: Three new exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays-Tuesdays; to 7 p.m. third Thursdays. Closed Wednesdays

Where: 1100 and 1001 Kettner Blvd. between Broadway and B Street

Admission: $10-$5

Contact: (858) 454-3541.

Related: 7 p.m. March 10, artists reception with gallery tours, music, and art-making activities; MCASD members receive advance admission at 6 p.m.

Related posts:

  1. Work of sculptor Alison Saar heralds her LUX residency
  2. Athenaeum Music & Arts Library to host art history lectures in La Jolla
  3. Madison Gallery welcomes sculpture on Prospect Street
  4. La Jollan Vicki Reed to head San Diego arts commission
  5. Kim MacConnel exhibits four decades of work at MCASD

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Posted by Susan DeMaggio on Jan 19, 2011. Filed under A & E, Art Galleries & Institutions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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