“Emphasis: Santa Monica,” a new exhibit of works by Santa Monica artists curated by Bruria Finkel opened yesterday, August 20, at Santa Monica College’s Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery. It will run through October 18.
The exhibit, which features works in all media by 49 local artists, coincides with the grand opening of the 499-seat Eli & Edythe Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center, where the gallery is located.
On October 4, in conjunction with the exhibit, Al Young, poet laureate of California, will give a poetry reading from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Edye Second Space, the second, smaller stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center.
“Santa Monica’s Main Street, 4th Street, Franklin Street, Pier Avenue and the (Santa Monica) Airport have had a long list of artists who found their inspiration working there,” curator Finkel notes in the show’s catalogue. “To mention a few: Richard Diebenkorn and his “Ocean Park series” influenced by light, sea and sand; James Turrell, who pioneered the idea of light as an art medium; Judy Chicago, who created atmospheric pieces here; and of course Robert Irwin.
“Painters such as Ed Moses, Charles Garabedian, Arleen Hendler, Roberto Chavez, Curtis Hoekzema and innovators such as John Baldessari created in studios on Pier Avenue for years. Many more found the light and the community of artists a source of inspiration.”
All the artists with works iin the exhibit currently work and live in Santa Monica and some of them teach at SMC They are Elena Allen, Don Bachardy, John Baldessari, Edith Baumann, Tony Berlant, Ruth Bornstein, Janet Bothne, Bob Burchman, Shirley Cannon, John Clendening, Eileen Cowin, Judith Davies, Jennifer Diener, Barbara Drucker, Thomas Eatherton, Sam Erenberg, Finkel, Steve Galloway, Helen K. Garber, Frank Gehry, Greg Gioiosa, Phyllis Green, Mark Hanauer, Arleen Hendler, Ann Isolde, Kathryn Jacobi, Jennifer Jesswein, Tom Lundquist, Michael C. McMillen, Robin Mitchell, Brian Moss, Sylvia Moss, Manfred Müller, Patrick Percy, Ave Pildas, Astrid Preston, Barbara Robertson, Ruth Rosen, Katsuhisa Sakai, Lawrence Shapiro, Malissa Shriver, Elena Siff, Jon Swihart, Maritta Tapanainen, Chris Wilder, Diana Wong, Miriam Wosk, Takako Yamaguchi and Jody Zellen.
Finkel’s works have been widely exhibited. She has also created several public art pieces, and her work has been featured in books and is in archives of such institutions as the Smithsonian Art America Museum in Washington, D.C. She has curated shows throughout Southern California, including Track 16 and Arena 1 galleries at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station.
Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be is closed Saturday, Aug. 23.
The gallery is located at the SMC Performing Arts Center, Santa Monica Boulevard at 11th Street. For information, call (310) 434-3434.
The exhibit coincides with the gala opening of the college’s performing arts complex, where the art gallery is located.
The 499-seat theater will open September 20 with an inaugural gala featuring legendary singer Barbara Cook. The Edye Second Space, a 99-seat black box, opened last fall and is located right next to The Broad Stage.
The state-of-the-art Broad Stage will feature opera companies, symphony orchestras, musicals, dance companies, film and theater, under the leadership of artistic director Dale Franzen. The theater will also be used for SMC student performances, master classes and special events for the public as well as for the K-12 and college levels.
Several years ago, Finkel curated a similar exhibit. During its run, she suggested that the City of Santa Monica create an archive devoted to the works of artists in all media, including lierature, film and music, who lived and worked in Santa Monica.
At the time, we applauded the notion, and suggested that the City should buy Frank Gehry’s landmark house, when he moves into his new digs in Venice. preserve it and make it the artists’Archive.
As far as we know, the City hasn’t done anything, but it bloody well should before irreplaceable stuff disappears.