MOPA’s Photography Exhibitions Awe and Inspire

Infinite Balance showcases artists shortlisted for the world’s top prize for photography and sustainability.

One of my favorite art museums in San Diego is MOPA (Museum of Photographic Arts). Located in the appropriately picturesque setting of Balboa Park, my admiration for this museum not only stems from their consistent showcase of highly inventive and beautiful photographic art, but also because I always leave there with more knowledge and awareness of the world around me. The power of photography is undeniable, and the current exhibitions deliver a true visual tour-de-force.

Located in the Casa de Balboa Building in Balboa Park, MOPA is one of few institutions in the US dedicated to presenting the entire spectrum of the photographic medium.

The headliner exhibition, Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment is the first US presentation of artists shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet, the world’s top prize for photography and sustainability. The show presents the work of acclaimed contemporary photographers from across the globe, created under the three guiding themes: Earth, Growth and Water.

Infinite Balance showcases artists shortlisted for the world’s top prize for photography and sustainability.

The pictures are stunning – alarming, somber and telling about the impact of human progress on the environment. Many of the works are large-scale, presented beautifully in MOPA’s modern and open gallery space, leaving plenty of room to walk around, step back and absorb the photographs. There is a seating area set up in the main exhibition space, with monitors that show interactive videos created by the Prix Pictet. In these videos, artists talk about each of the themes represented in the exhibition – Earth, Growth and Water – providing a broader context to the work on display.

The second exhibition showcases the whimsical and creative talent of San Diego’s youth.  The 2011 Annual Youth Exhibition, See/Saw, features photography and film produced by San Diego student artists, created during MOPA’s education programs in 2011. Each photograph displays the name and grade level of each student artist. Many of the photographs are accompanied by artist statements written by the students themselves. The wonderfully fresh photographic works provide authentic and unencumbered views of the world, seen through the eyes of San Diego’s youth. Not only was I astonished by the high-caliber quality of the artwork, but was surprised also how clearly and concisely each artist conveyed their ideas in the artist statements. An innovative and interactive feature of See/Saw is a SMS text messaging system that allows you to send your comments to the student artists directly. I loved that I could to send encouraging feedback to a few of my favorite artists from the show.

MOPA's annual youth exhibition, "See/Saw" showcases photographic art by San Diego's youth.

The exhibition also highlights a special program that MOPA developed in India earlier this year, using photography to teach Indian teens to explore environmental issues in their communities. The photographs taken by twenty Indian students who participated in the program in January of 2011 are on display, revealing insightful and haunting images of the rural region in India. This video showcases the program developed by MOPA.

Both exhibitions are on view for the next few months: Infinite Balance closes February 5, 2012, and See/Saw closes on January 29, 2012.

Want to check out these exhibitions for yourself? We’re giving away two (2) sets of four (4) MOPA guest passes! Leave a comment by Noon on Thursday, November 10, 2011 for a chance to win!

This entry was posted in Arts & Culture, Insider Tips and tagged , , , , by Aki. Bookmark the permalink.
Aki

About Aki

After living in 8 cities in 4 countries, I adopted San Diego as my home town 10 years ago. Everything I love is here - the Pacific Ocean as my back yard, museums and galleries exhibiting world-class art, endless dining options, the coolest attractions, friendly people, a dynamic business community… the list goes on. And after a decade of living here, there is still so much more to see!

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

As a resident of coastal North County, my perfect San Diego Day always starts with a good surf session. Packing up the family, we’ll head to our favorite beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. After some fun in the sun and surf, we’ll head to Swami’s Café in Encinitas for their famous Acai bowl, then hit the road down south to any of the great San Diego attractions. Maybe a day at the Zoo, or check out some museums in Balboa Park? As an art lover and former gallerist, I love checking out new exhibitions at local galleries in La Jolla or Little Italy.

In the evening (if we can get a sitter), we love seeing live music at any of the great music venues in town. A concert at Spreckels Theater, a show at the Casbah, or an outing to the Belly Up in Solana Beach is always a treat. For dinner, we'll gather up some friends and head out to Stone Brewery Bistro & Gardens, or Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill. What's the best way to cap off a perfect day in San Diego? With perfectly crafted cocktails at Starlite, Craft+Commerce, or Noble Experiment.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Surfing & hiking. I also love yoga, which you can enjoy outdoors in San Diego. And shopping too, it’s officially an outdoor sport here.

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

That’s an apples and oranges question... On most days, I’m a linguine and red wine kinda gal. But I’ll go for a good Kobe burger and wash it down with a Hefeweizen.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

Archade Fire, Bon Iver and The xx.

Follow Aki on twitter: @akimartinsd

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