Art exhibits in San Jose plus surprising inspiration

Yesterday … the first of of what I’ve planned as a three-day field trip, while hubby is at conference at Stanford University in Palo Alto.  I grabbed the train to soak up exhibits at San Jose Museum of Art.

The highlights . . . First, walking through the front door and seeing a giant slinky-coiled sculpture made of car tires!  Betsabeé Romero carved pre-Columbian icons and symbols into car tires create this lobby frontispiece for Mexicanismo.  The exhibit shows work of emerging artists inspired by the high-brow and low-brow contradictions of Mexico’s visual culture.

Renegade Humor—jarring, absurd, downright bawdy juxtapositions of pop culture, socio-political, puns and color.  Here’s a bit of the museum’s assessment of the featured counter-culture artists of the ’60s and ’70s: “Their laid-back, flippant attitudes reflected the shifting values of the time and often belied deeper social messages.”

Two favorites, never just one:

“Desire for the Other” by Brian Goggin.  It made me laugh out loud, this 34-foot red vinyl couch with 66 mahogany legs looking very much like a giant insect.

“Various Political Paper Dolls  (Wearing the Issues on Their Sleeves” by Kathy Aoki.  Viewers were invited to dress the figures with magnetic clothing provided.  A terrific sense of humor, maybe the best antidote for the political despair of our times?

Wonderland—Frank Lobdell’s dreamy, fantasmagorical landscapes.  I’ve only ever seen his work in books.   His hybrid form of abstraction, which draws inspiration from Goya and Picasso (I didn’t know that before) quickly drew me into his  canvases.

* * * THEN an epiphany!

I was South of Market on my way back from seeing exhibits and browsing the library at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.  I’m always looking at pavement, nothing new about that. But for whatever reason, deteriorating paint of street markings caught my eye. Glorious—the patterns and textures!  I knew instantly this was inspiration for something new, a series of prints?

Click for my Flickr album San Jose De-Surfacings

Ahhhh — love the way travel sets my head to spinning.  Today, I’m off on the train to San Francisco MOMA.