Works chosen at annual Selection Dinner, featured in Prospect 2013 at MCASD La Jolla

From MCASD Reports

At the 2013 Selection Dinner on Wednesday, May 8, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s International Collectors and Contemporary Collectors voted to purchase new works by four artists for the Museum’s collection:
  • Chiara Banfi’s diptychRedburst, 2012;
  • Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s sculptureBird In Space Prototype for MACH 10 Hypervelocity Test (Produced in collaboration with the United States Air Force, Arnold Engineering Development Center and University of Maryland College Park), 2012, and the accompanying photographMACH 3 Hypervelocity Test (Run 2, 001003), 2012;
  • Two related works by Andrea Bowers: a monumental drawing titled One Big Union, 2012, and a small photorealist drawing, Legalize My Man, 2012.
  • And Martha Rosler’s photomontage Runway, 1967-1972.

The prices of the works by the four artists exceeded the amount that was available for the acquisitions, and additional monies were contributed by several Collectors: Brent Woods and Laurie Mitchell; Michael and Tami Lang; Maryanne and Irv Pfister; Faye Hunter; and Lise Wilson and Steve Strauss.
These acquisitions are on view at MCASD La Jolla through May 27 as part of the exhibition

Prospect 2013


About the Collectors

For the past 28 years, MCASD’s premier membership groups (the Contemporary Collectors and the International Collectors) have provided significant funds for the acquisition of new works for the Museum’s collection through their annual dues.

Each year, MCASD’s curatorial staff organizes an exhibition of works to be considered for acquisition by the Collectors, and these works are then selected by ballot at the Annual Selection Dinner, which this year was generously underwritten by Northern Trust. This year, Members reviewed works by artists Chiara Banfi, Andrea Bowers, Tiago Carneiro da Cunha, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Martha Rosler, and Anna Sew Hoy.

Thanks to the Collectors’ support, MCASD has added 100 works to its collection-works that were collectively purchased for approximately $3.4 million and that today are valued at over $12.7 million.

The support of the International and Contemporary Collectors has allowed MCASD’s curators to discover new artists, enrich the MCASD collection, and build an engaged and informed community of collectors in San Diego.

International Collectors is co-chaired by Joan & Irwin Jacobs. Contemporary Collectors is co-chaired by Nancy and Matt Browar and Drs. Stacy and Paul Jacobs.

In addition to the Annual Selection Dinner, International and Contemporary Collector Members receive VIP access to all Museum exhibitions, art tours, lectures, literary, film, education, and performing art programs. For more information about joining the group, contact Edie Nehls at


(858) 454-3541 ext. 179


About the Artists

• Over the past decade, Brazilian artist


s recent innovations were spurred by her discovery of sunburst painting, a finish used on guitars to posit an area of light, transparent color surrounded by a gradual darkening toward the edges, producing the effect of a tonal burst or explosion. Working with an expert painter of musical instruments, Banfi learned the technique, in turn producing a breakthrough series of shaped paintings on wood, such as the diptych


  1. Though the sunburst technique is associated with guitars,


‘s glossy cherry surface and repeated rectangular forms equally recalls the work of West Coast minimalists like Larry Bell, Craig Kaufman, and Helen Pashgian. Banfi’s wall reliefs offer an elegant invocation of music separated from its material source, even as it suggests the objects of California’s “cool school” and the culture of “finish fetish.”

• Chicago-based artist

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

investigates the forces and systems-whether natural or cultural, social or scientific-that shape our globalized world. Working in sculpture, photography, video, and installation, he returns again and again to subjects such as modernity, technology, the environment, and immigration, and these concerns often intersect or overlap. He frequently collaborates with scientists, architects, engineers, and biotech researches, among others, to realize to his technically complex works.

Bird in Space Prototype for MACH 10 Hypervelocity Test

takes as its starting point the 1926-1928 legal battle over Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space, which was denied its status as a work of art and instead categorized as a manufactured metal object-subject to taxes from which works of art were exempt-delaying its entry into the U.S. If Brancusi’s iconic sculpture abstracts the physical characteristics of a bird to suggest the aerodynamics of flight, Manglano-Ovalle’s life-size reproduction made of aluminum and steel literalizes this suggestion. Working with engineers from the US Air Force Hypervelocity Testing facilities, Manglano-Ovalle subjected the sculpture to a hypervelocity test in a MACH 3 wind tunnel, setting the bird in flight at hypersonic speeds. The accompanying photograph

MACH 3 Hypervelocity Test

captures the sculpture’s flight in the wind tunnel through Schlieren photography, a process used in aeronautical engineering to photograph the flow of air around objects. Here Manglano-Ovalle returns Brancusi’s modernist sculpture to the site of militaristic technology that its streamlined form and seemingly machine-tooled surface always suggested.

• Andrea Bowers

is best known for virtuosic photorealist drawings based on archival source materials drawn from recent social and political history-old photographs, album covers, political buttons. This archival impulse remains central to Bowers’s process-she typically exhibits scrapbooks of research and ephemera along with more discrete artworks-but has been increasingly accompanied by an equally strong activist impulse. In the mid-2000s Bowers’s subject matter turned to a sustained exploration of direct action and non-violent civil disobedience, and she consistently solicits the involvement of grassroots community groups in her projects.

Bowers’s monumental drawing

One Big Union

depicts the figure of Libertas, Roman goddess of liberty, illuminating the sky and a sea of citizens below with her torch, in a manner recalling the Statue of Liberty. One of three recent large-scale drawings that appropriate political graphics from the early twentieth century, the drawing’s source image derives from the cover of the sheet music for “Internationale,” a song written in 1872 that would become a popular left-wing anthem. Rendered in Sharpie marker on a field of found cardboard, the work evokes the protest signage of recent Occupy movement encampments. Holding a dialogue with the 13-foot piece is a comparatively tiny photorealist drawing of a woman carrying a protest sign that reads “Legalize my Man.” Based on a photograph taken at last year’s May Day March in Los Angeles, this contemporary Libertas figure extends the call of

One Big Union

to include the rights of immigrants.

• Widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of her generation,

Martha Rosler

is concerned with the social and political underpinnings of everyday life. Though she is perhaps best known for her photographic work, Rosler’s practice also encompasses video, performance, installation, and extensive critical writings. While Rosler’s work is often aligned with feminist politics, her practice suggests that gender inequities are never distinct or separate from other forms of injustice. She is concerned with the workings of power broadly, as manifested in commonplace situations and rituals, ranging from cooking and garage sales, to airport travel and mass media reporting.

Born in Brooklyn, where she continues to live and work, Rosler moved to San Diego in the late 1960s and received her MFA from UCSD in 1974. With its pervasive military presence, San Diego was then the site of fierce debate about the war in Vietnam, and it was in this context that Rosler conceived the series

House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home

  1. Created initially for underground newspapers and other modes of grass-roots distribution, the photomontages combine documentary images of the devastation in Vietnam, extracted from


magazine, with images of domestic comfort and affluence in postwar America, clipped from the pages of

House Beautiful

  1. Through the synthesis of these disparate representations, the collision of images, Rosler produced new meanings, imbued with sharp critique. With the

House Beautiful

series, she made concrete the notion of the war in Vietnam as the “living room war,” a term that referenced the broadcasting of destruction and carnage into American homes via television reports every evening. In the photomontage


, a Vietnamese airfield is populated by American housewives who push lawnmowers and vacuums, as if engaged in an absurdist attempt to manicure the barren tarmac. The montage technique evokes pop artists such as James Rosenquist or Richard Hamilton, but in Rosler’s work, that recent tradition merges with the political, avant garde tradition of montage as practiced earlier in the twentieth century by artist John Heartfield or filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein.

Chiara Banfi

has created installations as well as paintings, collages, and wall-bound sculptures that investigate the underlying structures of the sensual world, with an emphasis on nature and music. Banfi’s earlier installations often employed cutting as a means of drawing, with organic forms suggesting floral and plant life cut from adhesive vinyl and set to sprawl across the walls and ceiling of a gallery. Music and sound have played a consistently important role in the artist’s work. When installing such vinyl pieces, she would often sing, allowing the sounds and rhythms she made to guide her movements, determining the pacing and placement of forms. Banfi subsequently incorporated material such as musical scores into her work, using sheet music as a ground or support for her collages, and developing a visual vocabulary based on notations. Each body of work has led to the next, as Banfi has become increasingly interested in engaging sound as a material, exploring its physical properties. She has isolated and presented discrete components of musical instruments-strings and tuning pegs, for instance-to create large, wall-bound stringed instruments that can be played by viewers.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Dr. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.