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San Jose Museum of Art showcases new acquisitions to its collection in two exhibitions
Doug Hall, Chrysopylae, 2012. Two-channel video installation with sound. Dimensions variable. Gift in part from the Lipman Family Foundation with additional funds contributed by the Acquisitions Committee. Photo: © Doug Hall.

SAN JOSE, CA.- Katie and Drew Gibson, longtime supporters of SJMA, believe that culture is a big part of what makes a city important and meaningful. From the very early days of the Museum, when it occupied the old library, they dreamed of an art museum with a collection of national prominence and gutsy distinction. The Gibsons have helped the Museum realize its ambitions for some thirty years. A developer of commercial properties in San Jose, Drew was a driving force, alongside Averill Mix, in the capital campaign and the construction of the Museum’s impressive new wing in 1991. He and Katie made a gift to name the Gibson Family Gallery and, to date, have generously donated seventy-five works of art from their extraordinary private collection to SJMA, including visitor favorites such as Mildred Howard’s monumental Abode: Sanctuary for the Familia(r) (1994), known affectionately as “the bottle house.”

This exhibition celebrates the Gibson’s legacy and their belief in sharing with the public the exhilarating experience that artworks bring. Highlights include works by California artists Robert Arneson, Nathan Oliveira, Raymond Saunders, and Richard Shaw, among others. Also on view will be a powerful sculpture by New Orleans artist Willie Birch, made in response to the harrowing 1992 “Rodney King” riots in Los Angeles; Maria Porges’s The virtues and vices of history, from the series “History Lessons” (1998); Mineko Grimmer’s Mahogany Music Box (n.d.); and the comical and subversive work of Donald Roller Wilson. In 2014, the Museum will present a separate exhibition of the Gibson’s gift of over thirty photographs by David Levinthal, an exemplary archive assembled with the artist that rivals the holdings of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Gibsons built their collection adventurously and independently, with a deep passion for art and a belief in supporting the work of living artists. These artworks were part of their daily lives and daily pleasures—and will now be enjoyed by Museum visitors for years to come.

Timelapse: Doug Hall and the Western Landscape
The iconic and glorious Golden Gate Bridge, recognized around the world, is nearly synonymous with the Bay Area. This summer, SJMA invites visitors to experience the bridge in a completely new way through the art of Doug Hall. In Timelapse, the bridge is more than a landmark: it is an elegant engineering feat, a symbol of global maritime commerce, a portal to the Pacific Rim, and a tourist destination of the West. This exhibition marks the debut of the Museum’s recent major acquisition, purchased with funds contributed by the Lipman Family Foundation and the Acquisitions Committee.

Chrysopylae (2012) is a dual-screen, high-definition, video portrait of the Golden Gate Bridge and the massive international container ships that pass under it on their way in and out of the San Francisco Bay. The explorer John C. Fremont named the mouth of the bay Chrysopylae, Greek for “golden gateway,” in 1846, long before the bridge was built. From land, from sea, and from above, Hall filmed the activities that take place at the extraordinary interface of nature and this manmade wonder. He went out to sea with the skilled bar pilots who guide the container ships through the rough currents of the bay and even climbed to the top of the bridge’s towers. Hall edited over forty hours of footage into twentyeight minutes that panoramically capture the monumental and the ordinary moments in daily existence at the Golden Gate. A sound track composed by Jim McKee and Joan Jeanrenaud in Dolby surround sound accompanies the footage. Hall’s binocular images and the deep, resonant sound create a multisensory experience that is kinesthetically felt as much as it is seen. Chrysopylae was commissioned for the exhibition International Orange at Fort Point, San Francisco, which was organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation in honor of the bridge’s seventy-fifth anniversary.

On view along with the video installation will be Hall’s photographs of attractions in the American West, such as Yosemite and Mount Rushmore—preludes to his portrayal of the far-Western presence that is the Golden Gate Bridge.

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August 12, 2013

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