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Tour of the Mingei Museum

WHAT: Join us for a one-hour guided tour at one of our favorites, Mingei International Museum (tour limited to 22 attendees)

WHERE: 1439 El Prado in Plaza de Panama at Balboa Park (map)

WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

ADMISSION: $5.50, payable upon RSVP (Mingei members are free; contact Rachel directly to RSVP if you are a Mingei member)

PARKING: More info here; be advised that Cabrillo Bridge will be closed to vehicles (open for pedestrians)

EXHIBITS:

STRUCK BY MODERNISM: C. Carl Jennings, California Artist-Blacksmith (see photo above) explores the rugged individualism of Jennings, highlighting his physically demanding work as a blacksmith and his distinctive, modern approach to ironwork. Jennings went beyond what he called “plain blacksmithing” to pioneer the role of the artist-blacksmith in postwar California. A third-generation smith with a penchant for drawing, he received an education from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland (renamed California College of the Arts in 2003). His artistry is evident in sculpture and refined vessels, and objects such as hand-forged fireplace implements, dramatic gates and light fixtures. Jennings’ vigorous metal forms share a sense of visual simplicity and confident execution.

He was championed as an inspirational mentor by the community of American artist-blacksmiths that flourished during the 1970s, but Jennings’ artwork has received little exposure outside of this small group. Despite showing his work at major museums throughout California, his name remains largely absent from the familiar list of Northern California studio craftspeople with whom he regularly exhibited during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. STRUCK BY MODERNISM revisits Jennings’ life and career, recognizes his important place in the context of the studio crafts movement and celebrates the West’s first postwar modern blacksmith.

From woven mats to high-tech contemporary designs, PLEASE BE SEATED will tell the story of seating across both culture and time, addressing the never-ending quest to seat people comfortably, appropriately, and fashionably. Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection and from other institutional and private collections, the exhibition will present wide-ranging examples of seating from many periods and cultures; from woven Japanese mats and simple stools to the manufactured mid-century modern styles by popular American and European designers and beyond.

Rob Sidner, the Musuem’s director and the curator of PLEASE BE SEATED, has included more than 100 objects in the show. Among the objects visitors will find handmade seating of traditional cultures across the globe drawn largely from the Museum’s collection, along with 20th century to contemporary chairs, both factory and hand-made, on loan from a number of museum and private collections.

Throughout the exhibition, Museum visitors will encounter artistic invention in seating that is common and comfortable, traditional, and contemporary and with a dash of the unexpected and quirky. The range of seating examples will include bark cloth next to the ground and rugs, mats, pillows, stools and benches, moving on to both exotic and familiar chairs from pre-industrial societies. Highlighted among the more contemporary seating will be the designs of George Nakashima, Sam Maloof and especially Charles and Ray Eames – likely the most important designers of domestic and office ware in the 20th century.

Two brothers from New York City will bring their intricate and unusual artwork to Mingei International Museum in 2014 for a brand-new exhibition. FUNCTION and FANTASY – Steven and William Ladd will include both old and new work in a quasi-first retrospective of their art careers, featuring objects of use, tiered boxes, prints, and videos. The exhibition opens on February 1, 2014.

Collaborators for over a decade, Steven and William move freely between the worlds of craft, fashion, design and art. Their work is inspired, in part, by the physicality of the materials they choose to work with, such as beads, twill tape, metal fittings and fabric. The result is complex, labor intensive, meticulous, even obsessively-patterned but work that is abstractly referencing their memories of growing up in St. Louis. Their hand sewn boxes contain carefully constructed environments related to these shared memories of family life. When closed and stacked, the boxes become sculptural Towers, majestic works of art, at rest until the Towers are dismantled and contents revealed. The brothers often open the boxes through a rhythmic and choreographed performance, arranging them in their landscape formations. The landscapes are composed of found materials the brothers have sewn, beaded, scrolled, rolled or stacked, creating tightly organized settings that reference moments from their lives.

This exhibition will display a range of projects the Ladds have created in the last ten years, including beaded accessories such as handbags, scarves, ties, necklaces and bracelets, as well as large-scale installations, elaborate series of Towers (including a new “Mingei Tower”), drawings, books and six videos featuring the Ladd brothers talking about their work.

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  • Barbara

    the museum is so eclectic that everyone enjoys some parts I always like browsing in the gift shop

    February 24, 2014

  • Eiko

    I needed more information for the exhibits.

    1 · February 16, 2014

    • Rachel M.

      Thanks for the feedback; I will pass it along. Good to meet you!

      February 16, 2014

  • Karin R.

    The museum was amazing. I didn't care for the tour guide. I didn't feel like she knew enough about the exhibits to answer any of the questions that were asked. However, the museum was great on its own. Really enjoyed it.

    1 · February 16, 2014

  • Cris

    The guided tour given by the docent was very well done, and help me understand and enjoy the exhibits quite well. I had a nice time! Thanks for putting together this event Rachel!

    1 · February 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I found the Jennings exhibit very rewarding, and perhaps 60% of the Ladd brothers productions, particularly their ties and handbags. The boxes not called out by our docent spoke much more strongly to me than the others. I will say the quilt exhibit of two years ago remains the best in show which I've experienced here in San Diego.

    2 · February 15, 2014

  • Marie K.

    Rachel, it was a great idea to visit Mingei Museum. Great expositions!!! Specially Mr. Jennings blacksmith artwork. The chair exposition is also very good.
    Thank you!!! I am looking forward to going to the next one!

    2 · February 15, 2014

  • Phil C

    It was good.

    1 · February 15, 2014

  • Ha

    Thank you for organizing this lovely outing, Rachel. I've never been to the Mingei before; now I can't wait to go back.

    1 · February 15, 2014

  • Rachel M.

    Thanks for coming, everyone! Very interesting exhibits this time.

    2 · February 15, 2014

  • Rachel M.

    I just sent an email to all of the Yes RSVPs with more info and my cell number. Please let me know if you didn't receive it. See you soon!

    February 14, 2014

    • Karin R.

      Hi Rachel. I didn't get the email either. :-/

      February 15, 2014

    • Rachel M.

      Christine, Ha, and Karin: I just sent you a direct email with my cell phone number. See you soon!

      February 15, 2014

  • Cris

    Hi Rachel - Is there a spot still available for tomorrow's Mingei museum visit? If so, I would like to take it, and pay at the door.

    February 14, 2014

    • Rachel M.

      You're in, Cristina! See you tomorrow :)

      February 14, 2014

  • jennifer

    Have a wonderful time!! I just started volunteering there- you will love it:) I'm out unable to go but look forward to going to future events and meeting everyone..

    1 · February 11, 2014

  • Rachel M.

    The Mingei has added another docent for us on Saturday! 7 new spots now available.

    February 10, 2014

  • Rachel M.

    I'm looking forward to seeing everyone next weekend at the Mingei. A quick reminder to please update your RSVP immediately if your plans change and you can't make it because we have people on the waiting list. Thanks in advance for your help. I will be sending out an email later in the week with more info about the event, including my cell number. See you soon!

    February 9, 2014

  • Mary Beth T.

    I've been invited to go camping with my granddaughter on that weekend - an offer I can't refuse. Keep the $5 for the cause, and have fun!

    February 3, 2014

    • Rachel M.

      Thank you, Mary Beth. Have fun & we'll see you next time!

      February 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Rachel, I don't think I answered the query before getting to the PayPal link and making my RSVP. I would opt first for Struck, and second F & F.

    February 1, 2014

  • Rachel M.

    Note: We had to cap this event at 15 attendees instead of 30 because of limited docent availability at the Mingei. Please be sure to keep your RSVP up to date if your plans change. Thanks & see you Feb. 15!

    January 30, 2014

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