The Art of Music lives in San Diego!

The Art of Music is a cool exhibition now playing at the San Diego Museum of Art. Depicted in this poster is Fernando Botero's painting Dancing in Columbia, 1980.
The Art of Music is a cool exhibition “now playing” at the San Diego Museum of Art. Depicted in this poster is Fernando Botero’s painting Dancing in Columbia, 1980.

Do you love beautiful music? Do you appreciate fine art?

Answer yes to both questions, and you have two compelling reasons to visit an exhibition “now playing” at the San Diego Museum of Art!

The Art of Music explores the intersection of art and music throughout world history, from ancient times to the present. Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art will experience a large variety of paintings, posters, sculptures and film, depicting musicians, dancers and various aspects of life that are splashed with the colors of music. Visitors will also enjoy seeing many extraordinarily beautiful musical instruments, historical objects related to music, and encounter surprising sounds at every turn.

My museum docent friend Catherine recently provided another great tour! There was so much to absorb, so many cool sights and sounds, that I hardly know how to translate my feelings into words. I could’ve spent many hours just lingering. The experience was almost like standing on stage during a symphony orchestra’s performance, and turning slowly around with eyes and ears wide open.

I was absolutely floored by the impressive sweep of this exhibit, and the number of pieces by important artists. I noted works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Salvador Dalí, William Hogarth, Toulouse-Lautrec, Jasper Johns and John Baldessari, a highly regarded artist who grew up in National City in San Diego’s South Bay.

The very first piece visitors encounter is Baldessari’s Beethoven’s Trumpet (with Ear) Opus #127, a fun sculpture which perfectly captures the essence of what is to come. Press your own ear against the ear trumpet and you’ll hear musical notes penned centuries ago by Beethoven, as if they’re emerging from the famous composer’s brain!

In other rooms, visitors can listen to a statuette of a satyr playing the pipes of Pan, a qin from China dating from the 19th century, or an absolutely gorgeous 18th century harpsichord that was converted to a piano.

One amazing room in the exhibit contains the Microtonal Wall, created by Tristan Perich in 2011. A large section of wall contains 1,500 small speakers, which are tuned individually to create a complex and interesting continuum of pitch. The interactive experience was so fascinating, I ended up walking with my ear close to the wall bobbing up and down like a mesmerized chicken!

Another dazzling room is filled to the brim with psychedelic concert posters from the 1960s! Aficionados of this type of artwork will find themselves in heaven!

The Art of Music features so much cool stuff, and such variety, I couldn’t possibly describe it all here. You really have to go see for yourself. I’m no expert when it comes to either art or music, but I found myself completely enthralled!

Here are a few samples of what you’ll experience…

People head up steps from Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama to visit the wonderful San Diego Museum of Art.
People head up steps from Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama to visit the wonderful San Diego Museum of Art.
Neck-Amphora with Apollo Playing the Cithara, and Hermes, Athena and Dionysus. Greece, Attica, circa 510 B.C. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Neck-Amphora with Apollo Playing the Cithara, and Hermes, Athena and Dionysus. Greece, Attica, circa 510 B.C. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Shiv Chand, Madhumadhavi Ragini of Bhairav, ca. 1690. The San Diego Museum of Art.
Shiv Chand, Madhumadhavi Ragini of Bhairav, ca. 1690. The San Diego Museum of Art.
Lyre Guitar, early 19th century. The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lyre Guitar, early 19th century. The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Childe Hassam, The Sonata, 1893. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Childe Hassam, The Sonata, 1893. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's first poster, Moulin Rouge - La Goulue. Introduced into poster design a bold simplification of form, space and composition learned from Japanese woodblock prints.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s first poster, Moulin Rouge – La Goulue, which introduced into poster design a bold simplification of form, space and composition learned from Japanese woodblock prints.
Beauford Delaney, Marian Anderson, 1965. J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art. Renowned singer was first African American artist to perform at the White House, in 1936.
Beauford Delaney, Marian Anderson, 1965. J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art. Depicts renowned singer who was the first African American artist to perform at the White House, in 1936.
Hans Burkhardt, Sex Pistols, 1981. Courtesy Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Hans G. and Thordis W. Burkhardt Foundation.
Hans Burkhardt, Sex Pistols, 1981. Courtesy Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Hans G. and Thordis W. Burkhardt Foundation.
John Baldessari, Beethoven's Trumpet (with Ear) Opus #127, 2007. Beyer Projects.
John Baldessari, Beethoven’s Trumpet (with Ear) Opus #127, 2007. Beyer Projects.

The Art of Music lives in San Diego!

Go check it out! The Art of Music, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, runs through February 7, 2016.

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Do you like to read inspirational, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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