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This week marks a big shift for the four-year-old Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair: It’s moving from former digs on the waterfront to Balboa Park. The fair puts a lot on display: Art for sale in booths presented by dozens of commercial galleries from around the country and the world, exhibitions from local universities and institutions and lots of parties.
This year, organizers are calling the fair “New Art City” and designating four districts: contemporary art, contemporary furniture and product design, midcentury and modern art, and booths for solo artists. It’s going to look a lot different. The event is taking a major turn away from being a glitzy destination fair in a hotel, and toward displaying facets of San Diego’s artistic identity.
“As it’s evolved, it feels better to be hyper-local, to be about San Diego first,” founder Ann Berchtold told the U-T’s James Chute.
San Diego CityBeat recommended a few of the ArtLabs that will feature objects — sculptures and furniture from local universities and a showcase of midcentury art and design like what was featured in last year’s “Craft Revolution” show at the Mingei International Museum.
This one’s right up my alley: UC San Diego art students will highlight historical events and happenings from the Balboa Park archives, like the nudist colony in Zoro Garden featured in the 1935 Exposition.
“It’s important in this moment for San Diego artists to have a space for experimentation; that makes for a healthier, more solvent city,” one of the students, Kate Clark, told CityBeat.
You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.
• What role should innovation play in the city? A forum with mayoral candidates Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio on Wednesday will try to pin down their approaches to creativity. More details here.
• And a two-day conference on innovation and culture in cities will feature tons of speakers and ideas about fusing creativity with cities’ identities, including voices from Pixar and an innovation district in Barcelona. (U-T)
Plus, we’re excited to present a miniature “Meeting of the Minds” interlude as part of the conference — featuring reprised presentations from our arts and culture events on local efforts to find a missing da Vinci and a music ensemble with a potent recipe for building an audience.
• My latest installment in our series examining controversies and big changes in Balboa Park centers on a major plan adopted in the late 1980s — and a way to pay for it — that aimed to fix the park’s long-running problems. The process of creating the roadmap stirred up debates that continue today.
Cars and parking versus pedestrians loomed large, and still does. And so did the question about how to balance the park’s emphasis on serving the museums and cultural institutions while still attracting community groups like clog-dancing troupes and badminton teams. Is the park the Smithsonian or the neighborhood gathering spot?
• You have to watch this video of beautiful timelapses shot around San Diego from local filmmaker Kevin Andrew Falk.
• Vanessa Dinning, one of our Meeting of the Minds speakers from February, penned a treatise on supporting local art for EverydayOpera.com. Her London friends who pooh-poohed her move to San Diego were wrong, she writes:
“I find more pleasure, more creativity, more inventiveness, more motivation, more focus, and ingenuity in the productions, exhibitions, concerts and presentations I experience here, in a relatively small local community than ever in the big city,” says Dinning.
• Notable San Diego artist Alfred Mitchell painted a landscape of the La Jolla Cove in 1950 that is often on display at the San Diego Museum of Art. The painting is the latest work featured in Ann Jarmusch’s great series for the U-T that showcases gems in our midst — paintings, artifacts and architectural landmarks whose stories you may not know.
“Mitchell certainly is a master in the representation of light, the way it dances, whether across a desert or a beach,” curator Amy Galpin told Jarmusch. Watch Galpin talk about the painting’s significance in this video on the museum’s website.
• He grew up in Junior Theatre and worked at The Old Globe before teaming up with “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on a musical comedy about Mormons. Now Casey Nicholaw’s got a Tony for “The Book of Mormon” under his belt. (U-T)
• This should be an intriguing conversation: Digital video artist Jennifer Steinkamp and UC San Diego psychology professor will discuss “the nature of experience” at the next science-meets-art Bronowski Forum Wednesday night. (Rancho Santa Fe Review)
• Local artist Doris Bittar installed her “dulcimoon” instrument at Grossmont College’s Hyde Gallery and gave KPBS a peek at how it works. The instrument comprises 87 strings — as the player glides a big panel over three hexagons, the panel plucks strings related to musical sounds from three different cultures: Aztec, Chinese and Arab.
• Past generations of artists trying to live and work in downtown and East Village found themselves moved and pushed from block to block by development and gentrification. Jim Bliesner catches up with a few of them. (San Diego Free Press)
• Plays opening on local stages this month include a fairy tale about a young prince, an embarrassing turn for a man whose wife’s underwear falls down in public and the happenings in a Chicago real estate office. Check out Jim Hebert’s rundown of these disparate offerings and others.
• The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library received its biggest donation ever last week, more than $580,000 from the estate of longtime La Jollan Mary Beth Jernigan. (U-T)
• Several Balboa Park institutions are hiring. (Balboa Park Beat)
• A new exhibit at the Natural History Museum about horses includes fossils found in Oceanside from when horses roamed here, around 40 million years ago. Read this quotation and just picture an ancient pony trotting up to the porch at the Top Gun house.
“The one in Oceanside was a little tiny horse that was probably running around in the dark forest when San Diego was subtropical,” Joe El Adli, paleontologist for the museum, told the U-T.
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