January 12, 2007 - Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - Expanded Museum Opens In Downtown San Diego
January 12, 2007

Expanded Museum Opens In Downtown San Diego



The West Coasts newest contemporary art museum space is an architectural transformation of the historic Santa Fe Depot baggage building coupled with a new three-story structure

Expansion features landmark permanent commissions by artists Jenny Holzer and Richard Serra and opening exhibitions by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Roman de Salvo, Ernesto Neto, and Richard Wright

The expanded Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) in downtown San Diego will provide the city and the binational region with a new dynamic cultural venue, allowing the Museum to serve many more visitors with contemporary art exhibitions and educational programs for adults as well as children. Combined with the existing galleries across the street at 1001 Kettner Boulevard, the expanded Museum will have more than 16,000 square feet of exhibition spacefeaturing light-filled galleries and large spaces to present site-specific workas well as a new lecture hall and education room for hands-on, interactive art activities.

The Richard Gluckman-designed project features a thoughtful renovation of the 1915 Santa Fe Depot baggage building (now known as the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Building) and a new contemporary three-story structure (the David C. Copley Building).

The Jacobs Buildinga new exhibition venueshares an arched concourse with the Santa Fe Depot, a major transit hub for regional commuter trains and trolleys, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and travel to and from Tijuana, Mexico. Rail travelers and Museum visitors can experience Richard Serras monumental new permanent sculpture Santa Fe Depot, commissioned by MCASD and installed trackside in the Museums Figi Family Concourse. Consisting of six massive steel blocks that echo the rhythms of the stations arches, the sculpture unifies contemporary art with the flow of daily life along a highly trafficked public corridor.

The Copley Building features a new commissioned installation, For MCASD, by Jenny Holzer, which employs thousands of LED lights in enclosed clear plastic tubes. Installed vertically on the buildings eastern façade, these lights display scrolling texts of more than 200 of Holzers signature Truisms and other texts in both English and Spanish.

The international lineup of opening artists includes Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Ernesto Neto, Roman de Salvo, and Richard Wright. Together with the Museums original oceanfront site in nearby La Jolla, MCASD will provide an unprecedented variety of exhibition spaces and experiences for the community.

The first exhibition in the Jacobs Buildings Foster Gallery is The Hour of Prayer by Finnish video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila. Based on an episode in the artists life, The Hour of Prayer tells a story about death and mourning in New York City and Benin, West Africa. Split into four parts and projected simultaneously on four screens, the installation immerses the viewer in the narrative. The Hour of Prayer will remain on view through May 27, 2007.

San Diego-based artist Roman de Salvo has created a permanent, site-specific installation Utility Filigree for the Copley Building. An artwork using the artists own modular macramécomposed of electrical conduit, boxes and connectorsis installed on all levels of The Kresge Foundation Stairway, inside the Copley Building, providing both light and fanciful ornamentation.

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto has created a monumental, untitled installation in the Farrell Gallery that features hanging polyp-shaped sculptures. Made of fragrant spices such as lavender, cloves, and turmeric stuffed into skin-like Lycra fabric, these works are suspended throughout the gallery, engaging the visitors senses of sight and smell. The MCASD-commissioned installation will remain in place through May 27, 2007 and is part of MCASDs permanent collection.

Scottish artist Richard Wright has created two site-specific works for the Jacobs Building, made during a two-month residency at MCASD in 2006. Neither piece is situated where a viewer might expect to find a wall drawing; instead Wright sited his work as a means of engaging the architecture of the space. Working slowly and meticulously, he drew delicate lines of gold-leaf paint on a window between the Strauss and Farrell Galleries, for a work that will be permanent. Wrights second work, situated on the 30-foot north wall of the Strauss Gallery, features a simple geometric form in a repeating pattern that ebbs and flows according to the artists direct physical response to the space. This installation will remain on view through September 23, 2007.

On view in the new Jacobs Building, as the inaugural exhibition in the Wortz Gallery, will be Modern American Masters. This outstanding group of post-World War II American works by Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelly, Clyfford Still, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol represent the pinnacle of American mid-century art practices, from Abstract Expressionism to Pop to early Minimalism. The exhibition will be on view through February 14, 2007 and again from May 20, 2007 through July 7, 2007.

Founded in 1941, MCASD is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County, with two locations in La Jolla and downtown San Diego, and a collection of more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950.


Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
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