Scratching the Surface: a Guide to South Bay Arts & Culture

Dotti Cichon (USA) and Anita Toivio (Finland), Cosmic Soup

Dotti Cichon (USA) and Anita Toivio (Finland), Cosmic Soup

Perhaps you should be listening to the track “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” in the background as you read this. No, scratch that. Forget what you know. I mean, literally, scratch it… like DJ QBert or The Bangerz. Funk it up a bit and make it your own. No one remembers the ones who played it safe.

FAll arts preview 2014We live in one of the most creative and innovative areas of the world, but if you’re like the majority of us you are probably busting your hump working 10-12 hour days just to keep going. It takes extra effort sometimes to find an answer to that great philosophical question, “Is life worth living?”

We’ve put this South Bay fall arts guide together to help you answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”

Jeffrey Bracco, Kit Wilder, and Max Tachis in <i>Art</i>; Photo by Mike Ko
Jeffrey Bracco, Kit Wilder, and Max Tachis in Art; Photo by Mike Ko

Art by Yasmina Reza

Sept. 18 – Oct. 19, 2014
City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. 2nd Street, San Jose
Tickets and Information

With plenty of drama in the real art world, it was a smart move by French playwright and novelist Yasmina Reza to write Art as a comedy (so smart in fact that it won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play). Comedy only works if the foundation is built upon truth and the truth is art is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. In this case, Serg pays an extraordinary amount for an all white painting by a flavor-of-the-month artist, which his friend Marc hates and Ivan is indifferent to (as with most things in his life.) The play evolves beyond determining the value of an artwork into questions about the value of friendship when hot buttons are pushed and ideals are chasms apart.

Chalk art by Alfred Preciado. Photo courtesy of Luna Park Chalk Art Festival

The 7th Annual Luna Park Chalk Art Festival

Sept. 20, 2014
Backesto Park, N. 15th and Jackson Streets, San Jose
Information

You would think most artists would be apprehensive about spending two days on their hands and knees on rough concrete creating an art work that will be quickly worn away by weather and foot traffic, but there’s a lot of love for this community event. This festival of the ephemeral is the primary fundraiser to support the Luna Park Arts Foundation. Through registration fees, booth fees, sponsorships and grant money, the Foundation is able to provide (much needed) arts programs to local schools. As all things that are truly grassroots, the Chalk Art Festival has grown from a small group of a dozen participants in 2008 to over 200 artists and 15 schools participating this year, thanks to the dedicated organizers and volunteers that have nurtured this event into a new Autumn tradition.

LedZeppelinImage383x330

Symphony Silicon Valley presents: Windborner’s The Music of Led Zeppelin

Sept. 20, 2014
City National Civic, 135 W San Carlos Street, San Jose
Tickets and Information

It’s good to see Symphony SV crossing bridges and blurring lines to expand the perception of what our classical orchestra could and should be these days. This one-night-only special performance features a full rock band, accompanied by singer Randy Jackson and creator Brent Havens guest conducting. Reviews of past shows have been enthusiastically positive of this orchestral treatment of rock at its most “classic,” especially from Led Zeppelin fans who weren’t quite sure what to expect. Hopefully symphony purists will give it a chance, too.

Art Party SJ

Anne & Mark’s Art Party

Sept. 20–25, 2014
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 433 Tully Road, San Jose
Tickets and Information

The Art Party began in 2007 when Anne Sconberg and Mark Henderson invited a few of their favorite local artists to hang work in their private home and asked a few friends to come over for an exclusive viewing in a posh setting. The event quickly outgrew the couple’s residence and was moved, albeit briefly, to an industrial warehouse that served more function than form or ambiance. This year, the event will span a 30,000 square foot parcel at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and run 6 days. It’s an ambitious move with a lot of space and time to cover, but Anne & Mark have big plans in the works for incorporating more visual artists than ever before, plus music, spoken word, dance, fire, fashion and art cars.

Photo by Henrik-Kam, courtesy of the Anderson Collection
Photo by Henrik-Kam, courtesy of the Anderson Collection

The Anderson Collection Opens at Stanford University

Sept. 21, 2014
Stanford University, 314 Lomita Drive, Stanford
Information

The Anderson family (Harry W., Mary Margaret and their daughter Mary Patricia) are well known in these parts for their extraordinary collection of contemporary and modern art, amassed over the past 50 years. Inspired by a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris, Harry and Mary quickly honed their vision and tastes and began collecting post-World War II American art, including a balance of household names alongside lesser-known artists. The Andersons have donated generously to Bay Area museums but have always wanted a dedicated space for the core of their collection, which Stanford was able to provide as part of its recent mission to develop more art awareness on campus and in the curriculum. (Every freshman is now required to create an artwork sometime during his/her first year.) A mere grass patch away from the Cantor Museum, the new building was designed by Ennead Architects, the folks who created Bing Concert Hall, and promises ample natural light and accessibility to the Anderson’s 121 works.

JLoughborough
Joseph Loughborough, The Dial, charcoal and goldleaf on paper, 60″ x 48″

Joseph Loughboourgh

Oct. 3 – Nov. 22, 2014
Anno Domini // the second coming of Art & Design, 366 So. First Street, San Jose
Information

Yes, we are picking an artist from our own gallery, but we’d go to this one even if we weren’t the curators. Joseph Loughborough spent his formative years exploring the derelict boatyards and creeks of Portsmouth, UK. After graduating from Portsmouth University, he pursued interests in art, philosophy and skateboarding culture, living in London, Paris and currently Berlin. Joseph is returning to A.D. for his 2nd solo exhibition in the U.S. The intensity of Joseph’s work in his March 2013 show had people circling the gallery, feeling unsettled in reaction to the constant gaze from the piercing eyes and awkward positions of his subjects. Charcoal is Joseph’s main medium, but lately he has been incorporating gold leaf in his imagery, creating an added tension of the humble and the decadent for this exhibit.

Photo by Brian Eder
Photo by Brian Eder

Y2K14 International Live Looping Festival

Oct. 15 – 20, 2014
Multiple South Bay Venues
Tickets and Information

Beginning in 2001, the Y2K International Live Looping Festival was the first of its kind. Looping is basically the repetition of a small section of sound; live looping refers to the art of creating, capturing, and playing back multiple loops on the fly in such a seamless way that a solo cellist can sound like an orchestra. The performances are often as experimental as music gets. The past couple of years have seen the addition of satellite festivals around the world, and this year the Y2K14 International Live Looping Festival has spread to 26 cities in 11 countries with the announcement of new editions in Spain, Dubai, Singapore and Bangkok. Y2K14 is centered around its home base in Santa Cruz, CA, with one-night auxiliary events in San Jose and San Francisco. This year’s festival will feature 11 performances by artists visiting from 9 countries in addition to the local loopers.

Photo by XueQIAN
Photo by XueQIAN

The Table by Blind Summit

Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2014
Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University, 327 Lasuen Street, Stanford
Tickets and Information

It’s not everyday I get to write about radical departures from traditional theater, but that is what makes the celebrated British puppetry theater group Blind Summit stand apart. Their goal is not just to entertain us, it’s to reinvent what we’ve come to expect from theater itself. Blind Summit has re-imagined the ancient art of Japanese Bunraku puppetry for a modern audience.

This fall, Blind Summit performs its acclaimed 2011 production, The Table, at Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall. The Table, which was a hit at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, stars a cantankerous two-foot tall cardboard character named Moses. He’s a funny, perhaps easily distracted, philosopher who wants to tell you an epic tale about God and Moses, life, death, and puppetry.

Organizer Diane Solomon of Silicon Valley Bikes! Photo by Cherri Lakey

Silicon Valley BIKES!

Now through April 30, 2015
History San Jose, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose
Information

No one will question that bicycling is huge in California, but few may be aware of the significant contributions Silicon Valley has made to the biking community. For some, it’s a means of necessary transportation and for others it’s a lifestyle regiment that can cross health and social spheres. Diane Solomon, a San Jose bicycle advocate and community connector, spent over a year researching, collecting and organizing this exhibition, laid out in the gallery space as a chronological history of South Bay biking. Ms. Solomon effectively expresses an impressive narrative of bicycling community accomplishments, starting with an 1842 Lefebvre velocipede (the world’s oldest human-powered vehicle) and ending with a low-rider custom bike fabricated by local legends, Pops Fabrication.

ITAB
Swarming by Rob Gonsalves and Anna Kristina Goransson, 2014. Hand felted dyed wool, computer with custom software, Kinect interface, projector, speakers. Photo by Cherri Lakey

ITAB 3: International TECHstyle Art Biennial

Now through November 9, 2014
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, 520 S. 1st Street, San Jose
Tickets and Information

The theme of art work and/or art exhibits at the “intersection of art & technology” is pretty prevalent these days; artists have an inherent need to explore new mediums. The ITAB 3: International TECHstyle Art Biennial began as a sort of satellite exhibition that took place during the Zero1 Biennial. Now that Zero1 is on hiatus, ITAB is a stand-alone signature exhibition for the SJMQT, featuring 36 artists from eight countries. All of the work satisfies the criteria of using technology, however I found some that I had to question, such as the use of Photoshop to lay out a design, or using an HD video to record a fabric pinwheel spinning in the wind. The mind seems to want to judge every piece with the question: “Does that count?” Though I’m not so sure it should matter. “Best tool for the job” is what I keep coming back to. Whether artists execute their visions with pencil, oils, plaster, found objects or software, it can be an interesting aspect of the art work, but could this new media art have been made using old-school methods with the same results? There are a few stellar pieces in the overall show that would not exist without new technological tools, and that alone give us a glimpse into the new frontiers fiber artists will take this ancient form.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    Since my wife and I moved to San José a few months ago, we can’t help but notice the huge amount of steampunk artwork, etc., here in the area. It stands out as a kind of signature art form in some ways. Never saw so much emphasis on steampunk where we came from (DC).

Author

Cherri Lakey

Co-owner/curator of urban contemporary art and culture gallery ANNO DOMINI // the second coming of Art & Design and producer of a bunch of other cool projects with partner Brian Eder. 

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