Southern California art exhibits

Welder at Work

Some clichés smell okay, others stink. Whenever I hear a California enthusiast hyperventilating about how the West Coast is culturally “cutting edge” and so “out there,” I remember that the last time David Smith (the ...

The Way We Were

The atrium at the Museum of Photographic Arts offers an essay on what we thought we were as a people during the ’50s and ’60s. Constellated images by several photographers tell us that, before anything ...

Flaunt It: Racy Women from Regal Times at SDMA

As a warm-up before you see the splashy Gainsborough exhibition running at the San Diego Museum of Art, make a pass at Fragonard’s late 1770s Blindman’s Buff in the Timken. In a vaguely bucolic setting, ...

Woodwork by Hodgkin

I’m sitting on a bench in the San Diego Museum of Art, which has just opened an exhibition by the British painter Howard Hodgkin. Pretty quiet here, only four other warm bodies, one of them ...

Floating World

When in 1853 Admiral Perry and what the Japanese called his “black fleet” (the ships were painted black and their coal-stoked engines puffed black smoke) sailed into Yokohoma Harbor, he couldn’t have known he’d be ...

Double Vision

When Henry Luce launched LIFE magazine in 1936, he was on a storytelling mission. He said he wanted to edit photographs “into a coherent story and harness the main stream of optical consciousness.” He wanted ...

The Lush Life of Toulouse-Lautrec

Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t frequent adult entertainment establishments. Not anymore. But whenever I drive from the airport to Balboa Park, while going up Laurel I sometimes give a friendly nod to Pure ...

Rock photography at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park

Not being a musician or performer, I have no idea what it’s like to be in a life that lurches from on-the-road lulls between gigs to the raw, over-the-top energy of performance. Like most of ...

Hero Worship

We usually think of the Greek gods as figures, as human embodiments, but to the Greek mind the gods were also, above all, states or conditions of being. Poseidon is god of the sea, yes, ...

States of Mind

Photography is a great dumping ground of sentimental clichés. Lovebirds, autumn leaves, maternity-ward prune-faces, sublime mountain streams, birthday antics... Fill in the list. Grand illusion-maker that it is, and connoisseur of the uncanny, photography is ...

Poet of Joy

By the 1880s, Renoir was well established and well to do. He’d already fought what he called les combats de l’impressionisme and triumphed as the impressionist with the most glamorous palette, the sunniest disposition, and ...

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