In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Nikos' New Book | Main | Blogging Notes »

November 05, 2006

SoCal Art Museum Notes

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

There wasn't much blogging from me last week because I was -- what else is new? -- on the road. Down the California coast to Santa Barbara, San Diego and points between.

I might choose to subject you to accounts of the Del Coronado Hotel, the aircraft carrier Midway and other items I found interesting. But let's focus on the museums I encountered.

I'm not all that big on museums, zipping through the galleries faster than Nancy would like. If I go into a museum at all, I normally have a goal in mind.

The Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach was a counter-example. I had nothing in mind aside from the fact that it has a collection of California Impressionist art. We had simply stopped at Laguna Beach to take a look at the town, so I peeked inside the museum's front door. Time was short and the main displays didn't interest me much, so I bought a book at the museum shop that, as it turned out, I could have purchased elsewhere for half the price: bummer.

Two days later we toured San Diego's Balboa Park, partly because I strongly desired to view a particular Bertram Goodhue building in person. Not far away from the Goodhue was the San Diego Museum of Art which had (OhMyGawd!!) a prime example of the work of Joaquin Sorolla (see below).

Sorolla - Maria at La Granja - 1907.jpg
"Maria at La Granja" by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, 1907.
This was in the San Diego Museum of Art's 1926 inaugural exhibit and later presented to the museum by Archer M. Huntington. Plenty of free brushwork and impasto; almost a (huge) sketch, but it is very nice.

Of course I slapped down the cash and took in the museum. The Sorolla was, in my feeble judgment, the star of the place, which wasn't currently showing much that impressed me otherwise. Worse, their nice Bouguereau was on tour, so I missed seeing it.

The museum I definitely wanted to visit was the Irvine Museum. It's tucked away on the ground floor of an office building not far from the Orange County airport. But it features California Impressionists, a long-ignored group of painters that I find increasingly interesting. The exhibition area is fairly small, yet contained a good representation of the movement. The tiny bookstore had an excellent selection, and it was hard for me to restrain myself from buying more books than I did.

Even though I get to Santa Barbara once or twice a year, I've never visited the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Well, I always go into the museum store. But the museum never had exhibits that turned me on -- until now, with its Artists at Continent's End exhibit dealing with late 19th century painting from the Monterey Peninsula art colony.

Some of the work shown at Santa Barbara pre-dated the California Impressionist period. And the exhibit featured a part of California that is foggier and more coastal than many of the areas farther south with rolling hills and clumps of oak that were subjects for other painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

If any of you plan to be in southern California before early 2007, try to swing by Santa Barbara and view the exhibit before it ends its stay. And even if you decide you don't like the exhibit, the city itself is well worth the journey -- it's a favorite 2Blowhards haunt. The other museums mentioned have nice permanent collections that could be worth seeing at almost any time in the future.



posted by Donald at November 5, 2006


You were at the San Diego Museum of Fine Arts and you didn't hit the Timkin next door? You make me wonder some times.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg on November 6, 2006 6:36 AM

When you were in SB you should have given me a call. I'm meeting Michael Blowhard here for lunch this week

Posted by: Reid Farmer on November 6, 2006 8:18 AM

Santa Barbara is the archetype of coastal California — California as it should always be. A good art exhibit adds to the pleasure. Damn, I wish I could convince The Powers to move the organization I work for to Santa Barbara.

Posted by: Rick Darby on November 6, 2006 12:40 PM

Alan -- Yes, I noticed the building and the fact that admission is free. But I was ignorant of the place (although I'm in California a lot, I almost never make it down to SD -- it's well off my usual travel track, and my knowledge of it is sketchy in the extreme). Besides, the banners or posters or whatever outside it didn't jab any of my hot buttons. Plus, as I mentioned, I don't spend a lot of time in museums when traveling. And we had other sites to see that day. Finally, the main reason I was in Balboa Park was to look at the exterior of the Museum of Man and take some photos of it. But, because of your comment, I'll be sure to give it a whirl next time I'm in town -- thanks for the tip.

Reid -- Gee, that's too bad. Perhaps I should announce my travel plans in advance. I might learn about local sites (see above) and get to meet Faithful Readers.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on November 6, 2006 12:59 PM

Any homes under a million in SB?

Posted by: ricpic on November 6, 2006 5:01 PM

Big Sorolla & Sargent show right now or coming soon in Madrid at the Bornemisa-Thyssen.

Now why hasn't Sorolla gotten the treatment he deserves in "the West" i.e New York and sphere??

Posted by: Bob Garlitz on November 7, 2006 8:24 AM

$1 million is about the median home price here, so yes.

Posted by: Reid Farmer on November 7, 2006 10:06 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?