High Fidelity Summer at MCASD, La Jolla

The Museum of Contemporary Art takes a breath this summer with the exhibition High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s and you can, too, through September 5. Presenting mostly formalist selections from the museum’s permanent collection, the survey’s consistency emits minimal distortion, contrasted with the intensity of its predecessors Mexico: Expected/Unexpected and Here Not There: San Diego Art Now. 

Centered on the time, the show is as much about a reconfiguration of space. The galleries seem airier with their two-dimensional focus. Even selected work by Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Robert Cornell Modification, Rabbit), is framed, not shadowboxed, and Martin’s Untitled progressively disappears in patches in characteristic Martin fashion. Time’s passage, or timelessness, becomes most apparent, however, peering at the horizon through Robert Irwin’s punctured window, 1°2°3°4°, 10 years since its last installation.

Robert Irwin, 1⁰2⁰3⁰4⁰, 1997, Apertures cut into existing windows, collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Museum purchase in honor of Ruth Gribin with funds from the Ruth and Murray Gribin and Ansley I. Graham Trust, Los Angeles. © Robert Irwin. Artists rights society (ARS), New York. Photo: Becky Cohen

High Fidelity portrays the era as a thoughtful one, with a definite counterpoint to abstract expressionism. John Altoon, Robert Irwin, and John McLaughlin explore surface tension, positive and negative space, and limits or edge of painting, while Sol Lewitt, Alfred Jensen, and Donald Judd employ systems to determine their compositions. In the company of their art, the work of Vija Celmins, Bruce Connor, Edward Keinholz and John Baldessari, defined as “grittier and more informal,” become almost polite.

Phenomenal Previews

Previews of the must-see fall exhibition Phenomenal: California Light, Space and Surface will be available at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Kettner location until its official opening at both venues on September 25. Irwin’s work returns for this show, with the perceptual experiments of Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Bruce Nauman, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler. Phenomenal is part of “Pacific Standard Time”, a major region-wide initiative funded and spearheaded by the Getty Foundation; more than 50 cultural institutions across Southern California will tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.

James Turrell, Stuck Red and Stuck Blue, 1970, Construction materials and fluorescent lights wall: 180 x 168 in. (457.2 x 426.7 cm); aperture: 90 x 26 in.© James Turrell. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann.Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum Purchase, Elizabeth W. Russell Foundation Funds.


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About Bruna

I enjoy being a tourist in the city where I live and wrote a book of cityscape poems on this topic, called Dérive, based on riding subway trains to the end of each line in New York City. I presently write for SDCVB, San Diego's "official travel resource", and have penned articles on locations (as well as relocations) for publications like Archinect, Boldtype and The Knot and taught classes with a “citywriting” theme at schools, including UCSD, SCI-Arc and CalArts. I'm also “Lucien’s mom.”

How would you describe your ideal San Diego day?

(I just deleted about four paragraphs.) Depending on the neighborhood, San Diego offers such diverse and equally idyllic experiences - check blog posts for suggestions.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Trail runs at Torrey Pines State Park, hikes near Julian and walks along the city’s many beaches (of course).

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

I guess I’m middle-of-the-road - a veggie burger or linguine, with a glass of white wine.

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are…

For my toddler Lucien, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Rós and Kraftwerk, and for me, “The Focus Group and Broadcast Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age.”

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