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MCASD Adds New Works to Collection at 2010 Collectors' Dinner

SAN DIEGO, CA.- At the 2010 Collectors’ Selection Dinner on Wednesday, May 12, MCASD’s International Collectors and Contemporary Collectors voted to purchase three new works for the Museum's collection: Sarah Oppenheimer’s architectural intervention, P-41 (2009); Douglas Wheeler’s acrylic and neon tubing painting, Untitled (1965); and Kim MacConnel’s enamel on wood painting, E1, E2, and E3 (2010).

Common threads through all of Sarah Oppenheimer’s projects are an interest in behavioral psychology and attention to the mechanics of visual perception. For P-41, two parallel, horizontal apertures were inserted into a wall dividing MCASD La Jolla’s Fayman Gallery. Entering on the east side of the room, visitors get a disorienting, bifurcated view of objects and other visitors in the adjacent space. P-41 uses strategically placed mirrors to double and invert the image of what is viewed through the piece. Oppenheimer’s work is sometimes compared to “institutional critique,” an approach pioneered in the 1960s by artists including Daniel Buren and Michael Asher. Installations affiliated with institutional critique rejected the notion that museums are neutral spaces, demonstrating instead the ways that exhibition spaces (and all spaces) are coded with specific meanings. Rather than focusing on the intellectual and physical frame of the museum, however, Oppenheimer’s installations endeavor to refocus the attention of the viewer on themselves and the process of looking.

Since the early 1960s, Douglas Wheeler has explored the potential of light as a medium and perception as a primary focus in his art. He is best known for his glowing light encasements (Plexiglas boxes illuminated from within by neon lights) and enveloping ganzfeld environments. What is not well-known is that Wheeler’s light environments evolved through a practice of painting. Untitled (1965) is the only surviving work by the artist that illustrates this point. The work comprises a monochrome canvas subtly sprayed with light washes of acrylic color. The canvas appears to float off the wall because it is mounted on a reverse-bevel frame that is embedded with neon lights. This transitional work will be prominently featured in the upcoming exhibition Phenomenal: California Light and Space, which will be on view at all MCASD locations in fall 2011.

Kim MacConnel has lived in San Diego since the late 1960s, when he was a student at the University of California, San Diego and has long been a touchstone of the art community here. As a professor in the UCSD Visual Arts Department from 1977 onward and as a working artist, MacConnel’s influence has extended to several generations of younger artists including Polly Apfelbaum, Jim Isermann, and Laura Owens. The artist’s first solo museum show, Collection Applied Design, was organized for the Museum (then known as the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art) while he was still a graduate student. E1, E2, and E3 (2010) are three jewel-like abstractions of brilliant enamel hues on wood, which demonstrate the ongoing vitality of MacConnel’s practice. This fall, MCASD is proud to present the first retrospective of Kim MacConnel’s work, which will cover four prolific decades of work.

Each year, MCASD’s curatorial staff organizes an exhibition of works to be considered for acquisition by the Collectors, and these works are then selected by ballot at the Annual Selection Dinner. The 2010 Collectors’ Dinner featured a three-course meal designed especially for the groups by Tapenade Chef Jean Michel Diot. Floral arrangements and décor were provided by The Floral Department.

MCASD | Sarah Oppenheimer | Douglas Wheeler | 2010 Collectors' Dinner |

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