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Momentum: San Jose Museum of Art exhibition invites artists to disrupt the status quo
Tony Oursler, Slip, 2003. Fiberglass sculpture, Sony VPL CS5 projector, DVD, DVD player, speaker, 43 × 35 × 15 inches. Gift of the Lipman Family Foundation, in honor of the San Jose Museum of Art's 35th anniversary.


SAN JOSE, CA.- As part of its continuing 45th-anniversary celebration, the San Jose Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition that showcases popular works from SJMA’s collection and disrupts the museum’s status quo. Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected, on view through February 22, 2015, takes as its premise the idea that artworks are animated by viewers’ responses as well as by the artist’s intention.

This project begins with a curatorial selection of works from the permanent collection around the general theme of movement, by artists such as Alexander Calder, Jennifer Steinkamp, Jim Campbell, and Leo Villareal. To further animate the exhibition, SJMA has invited ten “interveners” from a variety of creative fields (design, dance, comedy, calligraphy, cartooning, music, poetry, bodypaint, yarn-bombing) to respond to a work of their choice. Their personal artistic re-takes on the collection take many forms: installation display, text, sound, video, sculpture, performance—all on view in the galleries. Visitors, in turn, are invited to talk back both to the works in the collection and to these innovative interventions through open-ended activities.

Momentum includes favorite works from SJMA’s collection, including some that are rarely seen and several recent acquisitions on view for the first time. New media works that are set in motion through digital or mechanical means include Campbell’s Home Movies 300-3 (2006), Tony Oursler’s Slip (2003), Alan Rath’s Info Glut II (1997), and Villareal’s Untitled (for San Jose) (2012). Sculptural works like Tam Van Tran’s flamboyant Most Secret Butterfly (2009) and Alvin Light’s torqued July 1963 (1963) impart a sense of motion, as do the sweeping gestural lines and repetitive mark-making of Sonia Gechtoff, Il Lee, Ellen Carey, Fred Spratt, and Hassel Smith. The installation Burnt Patch by Andy Goldsworthy, an expansive site- specific work created for SJMA in 1995, went on view in November.

The “interveners” are: Craig Calfee, bicycle designer; David Perez, poet laureate of Santa Clara County; Carl Rohrs, calligrapher and typographer; John Edmark, inventor and product designer; Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, stand-up comic; yarn-bombing street artist Streetcolor; sound artist Marc Weidenbaum and his online collaborative project Disquiet Junto; Trina Merry, body paint artist; Lark Pien, cartoonist and graphic narrative artist; and Damien Smith, principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet.

“We invited these creative professionals to disrupt and, we hope, wildly animate the exhibition with their hands-on, personal responses to the works from the collection, in whatever medium, format, and scale they choose,” said Susan Krane, Oshman Executive Director of SJMA. “Familiar objects that SJMA’s visitors havecome to know and love over the years will trigger—and inspire—the makings of these creative minds. This hybrid exhibition promises to be open-ended, liberated from habits of pristine display, and impossible to predict. Momentum takes to a new level the notion of making the 21st-century museum open to interpretation.”

Kat Koh, curatorial associate at SJMA and curator of Momentum, says “Art is animated by actual movement, implicitly animated by the felt presence of the artist’s dynamic process, and continually animated by viewers’ ongoing participation in making meaning.”

As part of the call-and-response approach to the exhibition, visitors to Momentum are invited to add their own responses. Opportunities in the galleries include Etch-a-Sketch drawing, a dance floor, a slow art challenge, and an interactive station to electronically annotate images from the exhibition with words or drawings. Visitors can see each other’s “interventions” in the galleries or on the Museum’s website, sanjosemuseumofart.org.






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