All-day road-trip Tuesday to the two Museums of Contemporary Art in downtown San Diego, and the one in La Jolla. The three venues were given over to Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface. I expected the Turrells to be the main event, what I got out of this exhibition was a much more favorable sense of several artists I previously considered boring.
De Wain Valentine has always struck me as a manufacturer of pointless oversized lumps of candy. But I was completely blown away by Diamond Column from 1978: two tall prisms, joined at the bases, standing on end. The thin edges on either side are simultaneously transparent, reflective and refractive. You both see through it, and encounter reflections, and encounter images with spectral halos. Eerie, impassive, simple, puzzling. The photo above doesn't do it justice.
- Peter Alexander’s drawings made with colored bars of wax on paper.
- Mary Corse’s 1968 untitled square of glowing white plexiglass and neon crackled with energy like some fascinating/scary artifact from outer space.
- The highlight of the San Diego installation was a Craig Kaufmann bicolor plexiglass sheet hung at the end of a hallway, on a wall lit up indirectly with sunlight. It looked ravishing. Like a delicate sheet of tissue, rather than a heavy slab of toxic synthetics.
The museum shop in downtown SD was almost entirely devoted to housewares, toys, bags, and other lovely, clever, useful things by local craftspeople. Including pots by TW! Very good company!