Category: Santa Barbara Museum of Art

It's not too late to catch many Pacific Standard Time shows

April 4, 2012 |  2:58 pm

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Last Saturday, several local museums offered free admission as a way to mark the end of the sprawling six-month-long exhibition festival Pacific Standard Time. But don't throw away your little red guide to the PST shows quite yet.

As could be expected from such an unwieldy event involving many different institutional schedules, several exhibitions are spilling beyond the official six-month mark, giving people a little more time to fill in gaps in their knowledge of Southern California art history.

Here's a list of shows that run beyond this week: 

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Art review: 'Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910-1912'

November 4, 2011 |  1:00 pm

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The close and competitive working-relationship between Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the radical, game-changing development of Cubist painting is a standard story in the history of Modern art. Braque, conjuring a bit of mountaineer melodrama, said, "We were like climbing partners roped together." Picasso, employing more than a hint of sexist condescension, said that during the most intense period of give-and-take growth, Braque worked as if he were Picasso's "wife."

The last time the story was told in a museum exhibition was more than 20 years ago. New York's Museum of Modern Art pulled out all the stops for "Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism," brilliantly untangling a knotty artistic revolution that opened the door wide for work ranging from total abstraction to anti-art Dada. Nearly 400 paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and prints began with the run-up to 1907's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," the Spaniard's manifesto in reaction to Matisse, which blew away Braque when he saw it. The show then went on to survey in exhaustive detail the dialog between them until 1914, when the French painter went off to war and suffered grievous wounds that nearly killed him.

We're unlikely to see anything like that definitive MOMA presentation again anytime soon. But now the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, have joined forces to offer a centennial look centered on the year 1911 -- the most intensive in the two artists' working relationship. "Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910-1912," seen already in Texas and now in California, shines light on the movement's analytical phase. Call it Cubism 101, a primer on the start of something big.

The show is very small -- just nine canvases by Picasso and five by Braque. The inevitable gaps are partly filled by almost all the etchings and drypoint prints they made at the time. Ten prints are by Picasso, exceptionally prolific throughout his long lifetime, while eight are by the more deliberate Braque.

Among this modest selection, however, are some of the finest Cubist paintings either artist made. They  start with Picasso's fresh -- and decidedly strange -- "Man With a Clarinet," loaned from Madrid's Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and prominently installed on the center wall.

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Painter Charles Garabedian--on opera

February 26, 2011 |  7:00 am

GaraIt will come as little surprise to those who know his work to find that the painter Charles Garabedian is an opera fan. He paints on an operatic scale, of life and death and love and war. His subjects are larger-than-life mythological figures like Adam and Eve, Odysseus, Prometheus and Apollo. Hanging in the studio on the day of my visit is an ongoing series of paintings on paper based on Strauss’ opera "Salome."


Never one to take himself too seriously, however, the 87-year-old artist describes his passion in bemusedly self-effacing terms. “I like the music,” he says. “I love the singing. The singing is beautiful. The drama, the tragedies. Do you like Wagner? We’ve been to several Rings, my wife and I. I listen to that and I say this is the dumbest music I’ve ever heard, I feel foolish for liking it, and yet I’m drawn to it.”


Garabedian speaks humbly of painting as “nothing more than a journey of self-discovery” — he leaves it to others to label it art — and sounds as surprised as anyone by what he’s turned up along the way. 

“Recently I said to myself, 'You’re a narrative painter, live with it.' I hate the idea of being a narrative painter. But even my abstract work is narrative. It’s all narrative! Then I look at myself and I say, 'Well, I like opera. What can be more narrative than those stupid operas?' The things that inspire me are tragedy and mythology and comedy. These are the things I deal with.”

To read my profile of the artist, who currently has a retrospective at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, click here.

--Holly Myers

 

Photo: The painter in his studio.

Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

Art review: 'Charles Garabedian: A Retrospective,' Santa Barbara Museum of Art

February 1, 2011 |  5:30 pm

Charles Garabedian, Prehistoric Figure (Male with Green Circle), 1978-80SANTA BARBARA -- Thirty years ago, Charles Garabedian first showed his gorgeous suite of nine panel-paintings called "Prehistoric Figures" as the culmination of a San Diego museum survey of his career. They haven't been seen together again since 1984's Venice Biennale.

The paintings, most long since dispersed into public and private collections, have now been reunited for "Charles Garabedian: A Retrospective," which opened last week at the Museum of Art here. Even if the rest of the show were not so engrossing -- and it is -- they would be worth the trip to Santa Barbara on their own.

When first shown it was hard to know quite what to make of them. One or two male or female nudes are shown in each, occupying relatively barren landscapes.

The figures twist, turn, tumble and even fall, their arms akimbo and often reaching toward the panel's edge, as if trying to grab some aesthetic stability there. Unlike the similarly configured bodies in Robert Longo's ultra-chic "Men in the Cities" drawings, begun the year after Garabedian started his series, stylish high drama is not their focus.

Garabedian's figures are pushed to the foreground and their faces are placid, betraying no sense of anguish, ecstasy or despair.  The landscape's horizon line is low, making the nudes feel monumental, even though each panel is only 40 inches high. And the bright cerulean sky unfurled behind them seems massive -- wide open and filled with limitless possibility.

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