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Attempt to Raise Hell and Octagon: Photographs by Kevin Lynch Opens July 12 at Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, CA.- Attempt to Raise Hell and Octagon: Photographs by Kevin Lynch, will open July 12, 2009, at MCASD in downtown. Attempt to Raise Hell is the second in a two-part collection exhibition series featuring works acquired by MCASD over the past 25 years. Dr. Hugh M. Davies, MCASD's David C. Copley Director, curated the exhibition, which features large-scale installation pieces that showcase the architectural spaces of MCASD's downtown Jacobs Building. The first exhibition in the series was Weighing and Wanting, which was on view in the fall of 2008. Octagon: Photographs by Kevin Lynch presents a series of before and after portraits of competitors in the Ultimate Fighting Championship taken by Los Angeles-based photographer Kevin Lynch. Both exhibitions will be on view through September 27, 2009.

Attempt to Raise Hell
The exhibition's title is taken from Dennis Oppenheim's mechanical installation of the same name -- featured in the exhibition -- in which a seated, silver-headed marionette wearing a dark suit rings a bell by suddenly hitting it with its forehead. This sense of humor, poignancy, and the unexpected can be seen in many of the works in Attempt to Raise Hell, which highlights the Museum's pioneering history and ongoing commitment to showing, commissioning, and collecting installation art. Featured in the exhibition are works by artists Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, María Fernanda Cardoso, Russell Crotty, Lewis deSoto, James Drake, Charles Gaines, and Ann Hamilton, among others.

In conjunction with the exhibition, MCASD has commissioned San Diego artist Jim Skalman to create a unique, site-specific work. Skalman, Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Point Loma Nazarene University, is known for his subtly subversive environmental sculptures and will create a new installation in response to the Museum's galleries.

For most of its history, MCASD has been a primary patron of artists who make work that is not easily accommodated or commodified. Fundamental aspects of installation artwork are its connection to a physical site and to real conditions -- be they visual, historical, or social -- and often, a bridging of traditional art boundaries: public and private, individual and communal, high style and vernacular. The works in Attempt to Raise Hell range from poetic meditations on life, death, and religion to political responses that have a contemporary resonance beyond specific historical events. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Hugh M. Davies, The David C. Copley Director of MCASD.

Octagon: Photographs by Kevin Lynch
Mixed martial arts is a sport with a passionate and expanding audience. Octagon (named for the eight-sided cage in which the fighters compete) presents photographs by Kevin Lynch, who was given unprecedented access to document the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial artists, both ringside and behind the scenes. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a monumental grid of before-and-after photographs of the competitors prior to and following their matches. Using a globe light in order to best emulate locker-room lighting, Lynch's portraits of the fighters illustrate both their intensity and their vulnerability.

Also included with this exhibition to provide context is a DVD of an Ultimate Fighting Championship event that occurred at San Diego's Miramar Marine Corps base. Octagon is accompanied by an illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring a foreword by playwright David Mamet and an essay by art critic Dave Hickey.

Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego | Kevin Lynch | Vito Acconci | Chris Burden | María Fernanda Cardoso | Russell Crotty | Lewis deSoto | James Drake | Charles Gaines |  |

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