Silent faces and Constructed Mythologies.

Emotionally powerful images by internationally known Guatemalan photographer Luis González Palma can now be viewed at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The title of the exhibition is Constructed Mythologies.

Walk through the gallery and you’ll pass many faces whose expressions convey complex, often painful emotion. Some eyes stare through geometric shapes or fragile threads. Some of the images use sepia tints; some are presented as mosaics or unusual collages; photographs are often layered or cut into shattered pieces and made abstract, as if to depict a series of memories, or moments of living that pass like a dream.

The subjects of Luis González Palma are the indigenous Mayas and the Mestizo people of Guatemala. Their faces speak of silent pride and suffering.

According to one sign that describes the artist: His work is informed by curiosity and reverence for the human condition, woven into evocative images that present an untethered relationship to time and place. Working with symbolism, meticulous staging, and a keen understanding of religious and cultural iconography, González Palma masterfully creates rich narrative influenced by his Guatemalan heritage and perspective as a Latin American artist.

If you like true things, come view these photographs.

The final page of Constructed Mythologies is turned on January 20, 2020.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Baggage, a silvery orb, and contemporary art.

A large silvery orb is suspended from the ceiling of the Iris and Matthew Strauss Gallery, inside MCASD's historic Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building.
A large silvery orb is suspended from the ceiling of the Iris and Matthew Strauss Gallery, inside MCASD’s historic Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building.

On Sunday I headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego to enjoy a tour of their downtown Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building. This historic building was one of many fascinating sites that the public could explore during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

I arrived early and walked about the building’s spacious galleries, gazing up toward the high ceiling and around corners at intriguing artwork. The current exhibition is titled Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen. Trevor Paglen, a MacArthur Award-winning artist who lived as a child on military bases, creates pieces that concern mass surveillance and individual privacy. According to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego website, he “blurs the lines between art, science, and investigative journalism to construct unfamiliar and at times unsettling ways to see and interpret the world around us . . . in Paglen’s photographs the infrastructure of surveillance is also apparent—a classified military installation, a spy satellite, a tapped communications cable, a drone, an artificial intelligence . . .”

When it was time for the architectural tour to begin, our small group gathered near the museum’s entrance and we learned a little about the very unique Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building.

The building at first glance appears to be an extension of the Santa Fe Depot, San Diego’s downtown train station. In fact, what is now called the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building used to be the baggage building of the depot, and is separated from the train station’s passenger waiting room by an arched outdoor breezeway. The Santa Fe Depot, which is now a transit center that also serves Amtrak, was built in 1915 by Bakewell & Brown to accommodate travelers coming to San Diego for the Panama-California Exposition held in Balboa Park.

As decades passed, and travel by train waned, much less space was required at the station for baggage. Because of its historical importance, the huge old baggage building couldn’t be torn down or substantially altered.

The enormous interior space, large beautiful windows and high ceilings were perfect for a unique downtown art gallery. In 2007, the structure was converted by Gluckman Mayner Architects into an extraordinary downtown space for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

The downtown MCASD usually features more experimental art than their La Jolla location, so the unusually large galleries can be put to good use. I learned that past exhibitions have included some monumental artwork, even a full-size translucent polyester fabric and stainless steel “New York” apartment, complete with major appliances!

To explore art inside the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building is a remarkable experience. It’s like moving through a vast inner world where small dreams become large. Just as a museum should be!

Looking across Kettner Boulevard at the Santa Fe Depot. The old baggage building on the north side of the train station is now home to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Looking west across Kettner Boulevard at the Santa Fe Depot. The old baggage building on the north side of the train station is now used by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
At the north end of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building is the modern three-story David C. Copley Building.
At the north end of the historic Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building is the modern three-story David C. Copley Building.
The David C. Copley Building has featured additional gallery space, but now houses administrative offices for MCASD while their La Jolla location is renovated and enlarged.
In the past the David C. Copley Building has provided additional gallery space. It now houses administrative offices for MCASD while their La Jolla location is renovated and enlarged.
Sign in front of MCASD's entrance entices visitors to come in and gaze at the orb.
Sign in front of MCASD’s entrance invites passersby to come in and gaze at the orb.
Looking from inside the museum across Kettner Boulevard toward the America Plaza trolley station. The building seen to the right is MCASD's original downtown location, now used by the museum for educational programs.
Looking from inside the museum across Kettner Boulevard toward the America Plaza trolley station. The two-story building seen to the right is MCASD’s original downtown location, now used by the museum for educational programs.
As visitors enter the museum, artwork inside the Iris and Matthew Strauss Gallery immediately catch the eye.
As visitors enter the museum, massive artwork inside the Iris and Matthew Strauss Gallery immediately catches the eye.
Looking west out glass doors at the Figi Family Concourse and trolley and train platforms at Santa Fe Depot.
Looking west out glass doors at the Figi Family Concourse, and trolley and train platforms at downtown’s Santa Fe Depot.
One of several large cubes outside the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building, by artist Richard Serra, 2005
One of several large steel cubes outside the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building, by artist Richard Serra, 2005.
Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite, by artist Trevor Paglen.
Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite, by contemporary artist Trevor Paglen.
More artwork by the large arched windows of the old baggage building. This interior wall is part of MCASD's unique Iris and Matthew Strauss Gallery.
More artwork by the large arching windows of the old baggage building. This interior wall is part of MCASD’s unique Iris and Matthew Strauss Gallery.
Visitors to the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego enjoy photographs and other pieces by Trevor Paglen.
Visitors to the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego view photographs and other pieces by Trevor Paglen.
Sign at MCASD explains the current exhibition Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen. (click to enlarge)
Sign at MCASD explains the current exhibition Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen. (Click photo to enlarge for easy reading.)
Autonomy Cube, 2015, Trevor Paglen. Working hardware that allows users to connect anonymously to the internet, by routing Wi-Fi traffic through the Tor network.
Autonomy Cube, 2015, Trevor Paglen. Working hardware that allows users to connect anonymously to the internet, by routing Wi-Fi traffic through the Tor network.
True Art ... (CIA Special Activities Staff), 2016, Trevor Paglen. High temp epoxy.
True Art … (CIA Special Activities Staff), 2016, Trevor Paglen. High temp epoxy.
A look into a spacious art gallery inside MCASD's Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building.
A look into a spacious gallery inside MCASD’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building.
"Fanon" (Even the Dead Are Not Safe) Eigenface, 2017, Trevor Paglen. Dye sublimation print.
“Fanon” (Even the Dead Are Not Safe) Eigenface, 2017, Trevor Paglen. Dye sublimation print.
Amazing sights await eyes at downtown's Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego!
Astonishing sights await curious eyes at downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Contemporary art program for students in San Diego.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has a special Extended School Partnership (ESP) program for local 6-12th-grade students. Teachers have the opportunity to expose their students to contemporary art in partnership with the museum.

Students are taught about art making, collaboration and, according to a new sign posted near MCASD’s downtown location, their own identity, solidarity and activism. (As someone who is passionate about writing, I hope there’s an emphasis on personal freedom, truth-seeking and authentic creativity–not politics or propaganda.)

Yesterday I took a photograph of this sign in the breezeway between downtown’s Santa Fe Depot and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The two art panels were created by local students at Valhalla High School.

Read the sign if you’d like to learn more about this program.

(Click this photo to enlarge for easy reading.)
(Click this photo to enlarge for easy reading.)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Art on construction fence at MCASD La Jolla.

Images from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on a construction fence at the La Jolla campus.
Images from the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego decorate a construction fence at their La Jolla campus.

During my walk through La Jolla last weekend, I noticed some graphics on a construction fence in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. As I approached the fence, I read signs that provided an explanation.

This cool, temporary Inside-Out Gallery features images of works that are in the museum’s permanent collection. An expansion of the museum’s La Jolla campus is underway. Please read to the photo captions to learn about MCASD’s very bright future!

The Inside-Out Gallery features images from the museum's permanent collection. The La Jolla location is closed for construction. The gallery space is being greatly increased.
The Inside-Out Gallery features images from the museum’s permanent collection. The La Jolla location is closed for new construction. The gallery space is being greatly increased.
Red Blue Green, Ellsworth Kelly, 1963.
Red Blue Green, Ellsworth Kelly, 1963.
An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns), Yasumasa Morimura, 2001.
An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns), Yasumasa Morimura, 2001.
Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art, John Baldessari, 1966-1968.
Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art, John Baldessari, 1966-1968.
No Splash, Ramiro Gomez, 2013.
No Splash, Ramiro Gomez, 2013.
Bottles, Philip Guston, 1977.
Bottles, Philip Guston, 1977.
Sinjerli 1, Frank Stella, 1967.
Sinjerli 1, Frank Stella, 1967.
Under the Table 2, Nicole Eisenman, 2014.
Under the Table 2, Nicole Eisenman, 2014.
Pool Party, John Valadez, 1986.
Pool Party, John Valadez, 1986.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is expanding its La Jolla campus. The gallery space will be quadrupled from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is expanding its La Jolla campus. The gallery space will be quadrupled from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet.
A rendering shows the future museum after expansion. The design by New York City-based Selldorf Architects will offer dramatic views of the nearby ocean and coast.
A rendering shows the future museum after expansion. The design by New York City-based Selldorf Architects will offer dramatic views of the nearby ocean and coast.
Another rendering depicts a front corner of the museum after expansion.
Another rendering depicts a front corner of the museum after its expansion.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla is currently closed due to the construction.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla is currently closed due to the construction.
A plaque near the museum's entrance. In Memory of Ellen Browning Scripps. The building was her former La Jolla home.
A plaque near the museum’s entrance is In Memory of Ellen Browning Scripps. The original building whose facade is still visible was designed by famed architect Irving J. Gill and considered one of his masterworks. The building was commissioned by Scripps and became her La Jolla home.
Flowers, Andy Warhol, 1967.
Flowers, Andy Warhol, 1967.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Rare exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America.

Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.

The impressive, first-ever exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America is now on display at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. On Christmas Eve I was given a special tour of this exhibition, and I must admit it’s fantastic! For a limited time, visitors have the rare privilege to experience one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.

Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection contains almost a hundred memorable paintings, by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Joaquín Torres-García, Fernando Botero, Alfredo Castañeda and Fernando de Szyszlo. Many nations, cultures, themes, moods and styles are represented. You’ll see impressionistic landscapes, lively scenes depicted through the lens of cubism, weirdly rendered surrealism, and mind-bending, eye-teasing abstraction. Many of the works reflect different Latin American national identities. Many contrast modernity with the culture and memory of indigenous people.

I was struck by the deep emotion that radiated from most of these works. I detected human pride and passion, childlike innocence and gnawing guilt, deep love and intense anger, inexpressible suffering and irrepressible joy. These emotions were often presented in confused contrast.

One masterful work by Frida Kahlo titled Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon shows an innocent girl sitting between ancient symbols of night and day–the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. She is seemingly lost in a barren desert, a model of a World War II bomber in her hands. Her quiet expression contains resignation and sadness.

My few photos here are a modest representation of the actual exhibition. To see the true colors, the touches of light and seeping darkness, the diverse textures and stunning vibrancy of these many paintings, head down to the museum while you can. You might not have a chance to see this amazing collection again.

Modern Masters from Latin America is on display at the San Diego Museum of Art through March 11. Among the fantastic works are two by Frida Kahlo, but to see those you must visit by January 14.

A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
World's Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
World’s Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.

I recently published an odd, moving short story about a world made of bones. You can read it here.

Journey through dreams at the San Diego Art Institute.

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.

Stepping into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is like entering a world of dreams. Weird, unexpected dreams hover around corners, dangle overhead, emerge mysteriously from the floor and walls.

A journey through this dreamworld opens one’s eyes to the possibilities of human creativity. During my recent visit I felt as though I were floating through some sort of Twilight Zone. The unearthly sounds, the psychedelic whirls of video, the explosions of imagination, the seemingly sublime and inexplicable visions.

If you’re in San Diego and love provocative art, head over to Balboa Park! The San Diego Art Institute is more gallery than museum, with exhibits that change every couple of months.

One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity.
One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity  The current exhibit focuses on mixed media.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? To read a few stories I’ve written (and something that resembles a poem), click Short Stories by Richard.

Print Culture exhibit at San Diego Central Library.

A special exhibit at the public library in downtown San Diego showcases modern graphic design from the mid-twentieth century.
A special exhibit at the public library in downtown San Diego showcases modern graphic design from the mid-twentieth century.

A fascinating exhibition at the San Diego Central Library will be running through May 7, 2017. You can find it on the 9th floor in the library’s Art Gallery. The exhibition, titled Print Culture: Midcentury Modern Graphic Design in San Diego, concerns artistic expression and the evolution of printing technology during the mid-20th century. Emphasis is placed on San Diego-based independent artists and local businesses, particularly defense contractors.

Artists, graphic designers, printers and those who enjoy learning about San Diego’s history and culture really should pay a visit to the gallery. Here are some photos which provide a taste of what you’ll see.

Print Culture: Midcentury Modern Graphic Design in San Diego is an exhibition now showing through May 7, 2017. The work of local designers, illustrators and artists is on display.
Print Culture: Midcentury Modern Graphic Design in San Diego is an exhibition now showing through May 7, 2017. The work of local designers, illustrators and artists is on display.
Many images created locally for various purposes are shown in the gallery. A uniquely bold style of graphic design emerged in the 1950s and evolved over the ensuing decades.
Many images created locally for various purposes are shown in the gallery. A uniquely bold style of graphic design emerged in the 1950’s and evolved over the ensuing decades.
I was interested to see an image of Donal Hord's sculpture Aztec. A few days ago I posted photographs that I took of the iconic work of art.
I was interested to see an image of Donal Hord’s sculpture Aztec. A few days ago I posted several photographs that I took of this iconic work of art.
More examples of graphic design from this sometimes overlooked period. Many artists produced their own printed material.
More examples of graphic design from this sometimes overlooked period. Many creative artists produced their own printed material.
The defense industry in San Diego created many posters, drawings, charts, presentations and signs in the mid-20th century. Printing machines evolved which facilitated their production.
The defense industry in San Diego produced many posters, drawings, charts, presentations and signs in the mid-20th century. Printing machines evolved which facilitated their production.
More interesting examples of printed artwork and ephemera.
More interesting examples of printed artwork and ephemera.
Small-scale press operations created many types of colorful printed material, including greeting cards.
Small-scale press operations created many types of colorful printed material, including greeting cards.
A display case in the Central Library's gallery contains more unique examples of printed art.
A display case in the Central Library’s gallery contains more unique examples of printed art from the mid-twentieth century.
The special exhibition contains many graphic pieces that one can study and admire.
This special exhibition contains many pieces that one can study and admire.
Colorful posters, invitations and cards were popular in the mid-1900s.
Colorful posters, invitations and cards were popular in the mid-1900’s.
Graphics designed specifically for art galleries are also on display.
Graphics designed specifically for fine art galleries are also on display.
Some graphics produced by San Diego-based companies for the military.
Some graphics produced by San Diego-based companies for the military.
The U.S. Navy's large presence in San Diego required the production of many pamphlets, charts and other printed documents.
The U.S. Navy’s large presence in San Diego required the production of many pamphlets, charts and other printed documents.
One display explains how physical art was first conceptualized and created before appearing on a magazine cover.
One display explains how physical art was first conceptualized and created before finally being printed on a magazine cover.
A fascinating look at another era's artistic expression through graphic design. Our culture has been greatly influenced by the evolution of printing technology.
A fascinating look at another era’s artistic expression through graphic design. It’s apparent that our culture has been greatly influenced by the evolution of printing technology.

Writing is a struggle.  After revising my latest short story over and over again, I believe that I finally have it right. This story is so short you’ll be able to read it in less than one minute! It’s called The Piano Player Sat Down.

Thanks for visiting my blog!