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San Jose Museum of Art
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BETA SPACE: PAE WHITE
July 18, 2019–January 19, 2020

SAN JOSÉ, California (July 13, 2019) —The sixth installment of the San José Museum of Art (SJMA)’s exhibition series “Beta Space” presents a compendium of new and recent work by internationally renowned artist Pae White. The exhibition features three new immense paper clay paintings; a dramatic new silk-screened electroplated steel mobile; a series of delicate cotton and rayon letters and numbers handstitched on paper; and two massive installations making their US debut: a 127-foot long tapestry woven with metallic threads and a chess set comprised of over 100 toys fashioned from glass, wood, clay, porcelain, plastic, acrylic, and rubber. Beta Space: Pae White opens on Thursday, July 18, 2019, 5–9pm through January 19, 2020.

“The work of Los Angeles-based artist Pae White transcends nearly all traditional boundaries—between art and design, craft and fine art, architecture and installation, theory and practice,” said S. Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director at SJMA. “White’s practice across various media and disciplines captures the spirit of the ‘Beta Space’ series: her work brims with artistic risk taking and experimentation—qualities that resonate with the wildly creative and innovative ethos of Silicon Valley.”

Beta Space: Pae White features both her monumental installations and newly created works of art that will transform the gallery and encourage visitors to rethink how they move through space and to reflect on everyday objects, materials, and phenomena. Shifting our associations and ideas regarding architecture and conventional museum display practices, White’s work, which often features elements of traditional craft merged with digital practices, shares and allows room for different types of workmanship that are often overlooked within the walls of a museum.

“White’s art is always kinaesthetic—as much a bodily as visual experience that plays with the senses,” said Rory Padeken, SJMA associate curator and curator of the exhibition. “Her work is as alluring as it is ambiguous, suggesting that things may not be as they may seem. The handmade nature of her work, combined with sophisticated technologies and inventive processes, allows for a high degree of improvisation.”

The centerpiece of the exhibition is foreverago (2017), the artist’s largest tapestry to date at 127 feet long. Shown in the United States for the first time, it will meander through the gallery, creating a sinuous wall-like structure that presents both the front and back of the weaving. Revolutionizing the genre of tapestry for the 21st century, White relied on the help of skilled artisans while employing advanced digital imaging techniques to weave together colorful cotton, cashmere, and metallic threads, and used custom software that randomizes distribution patterns to produce her seemingly chaotic scene. Part of the artist’s ongoing series “Bugz + Drugs,” foreverago explodes with a cacophony of insects—ladybugs, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and crickets—descending on mushrooms, poppies, and cannabis—plants known for their psychoactive, calming effects. Renderings of antique Japanese kimono fabric samples and Byzantine icons further enhance an already rich and visually abundant composition.

About Pae White
Born in 1963 in Pasadena, California, Los Angeles-based artist Pae White received her BA from Scripps College, Claremont, California in 1985 and MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena in 1991. She received a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship in 2003 and a Getty Mid-career Fellowship in 2009. Her solo exhibitions include Saarland Museum, Germany (2017); Le Stanze del Vetro, Venice, Italy (2017); Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2015); Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2012); Art Institute of Chicago (2011); Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2010); Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona (2008); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2007); and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2004). Her public art projects include Metro Rapid Line, Los Angeles County; Oslo Opera House, Norway; and Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. Contributions to publication design include Extreme Abstraction (2005); Ex-Machina, with Jorge Pardo (2002); and Jorge Pardo (1997). Her advertising projects and magazine cover designs have been featured in Art in America, Art issues, Artforum, frieze, and make. Her work is in the collections of the Hammer Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Tate Modern, London.

About Beta Space
The exhibition series “Beta Space” takes its cue from the legendary Silicon Valley garage: it is a work in progress, resourceful, experimental, and innovative. These projects are purposefully intended to be the opposite of exhibitions planned years in advance. “Beta Space” is a place to encourage artistic experimentation, to incubate ideas, and to foster creative opportunities as well as links within our community.

Launched in 2011, “Beta Space” addresses several priorities for SJMA: to closely connect its audiences with artists and with the artistic process; to showcase the cross-disciplinary interests of many contemporary artists; to foster timely collaborations; and to reflect the diversity and innovative spirit of Silicon Valley. “Beta Space” encourages artists to experiment and venture into new areas by creating new work commissioned by SJMA for the exhibition. Invited artists work collaboratively with the exhibition curator to develop and refine ideas and content for the exhibition.

Previous projects from the series include Ruben Ochoa and Kevin Appel (March 26–August 14, 2011); Anna Sew Hoy (August 27, 2011–February 26, 2012); Ranu Mukherjee: Telling Fortunes (August 18, 2012–January 13, 2013); Diana Thater (March 13–September 13, 2015); and Victor Cartagena (March 17–September 4, 2017).

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World
May 16, 2019 – October 6, 2019
Koret Gallery

Curated by Lauren Schell Dickens, curator at San José Museum of Art, and Jodi Throckmorton, curator of contemporary art at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World is the first mid-career retrospective of the artist’s work. Co-organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and San José Museum of Art, the exhibition presents almost twenty years of Banerjee’s large-scale installations, sculptures, and paintings—including a re-creation of her work from the 2000 Whitney Biennial; sculptures featured in the 2017 Venice Biennale; and recent work for the Prospect 4 New Orleans biennial.

Banerjee creates vivid sculptures and installations made from materials sourced throughout the world. She is a voracious gatherer of objects—in a single sculpture one can find African tribal jewelry, colorful feathers, light bulbs, Murano glass, and South Asian antiques in conflict and conversation with one another. These sensuous assemblages reverberate with bright colors and surprising textures present simultaneously as familiar and unfamiliar.

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World focuses on four interdependent themes in Banerjee’s work that coincide with important issues of our time: immigration and identity; the lasting effects of colonialism and its relationship to globalization; feminism; and climate change.

Exhibition Catalogue
A full-color, 160-page catalogue was co-published by SJMA and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, on the occasion of this exhibition. It illumines the crossover contexts in which Banerjee works—as an American artist, a native of India, a global citizen, and a feminist. It includes full color illustrations, a detailed chronology of the artist’s life and work, and essays by co-curators Lauren Schell Dickens (SJMA) and Jodi Throckmorton (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts); Rachel Kent, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and writer Allie Biswas.

$45, available for purchase at the Museum Store.

Artist Biography
Born in Calcutta, India in 1963, Banerjee grew up in London and eventually moved to New York. She received her BS degree in Polymer Engineering at Case Western University in 1993 and took a job as a polymer research chemist upon graduation. She left the science profession to receive her MFA from Yale University in 1995. Banerjee’s work has been exhibited internationally, including but not limited to New York City; Paris; London; Tokyo; Los Angeles; New Delhi; Milan; Singapore; and notably an installation at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC in 2013. The artist’s works are also included in many private and public collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Queens Museum, New York City; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York City. Her work was recently featured in Viva Art Viva at the 2017 Venice Biennale and Prospect.4 in New Orleans. Rina Banerjee currently lives and works in New York City and Philadelphia.

Koret Gallery: Rina Banerjee Learning Lab
May 16, 2019 – October 6, 2019

Explore Rina Banerjee’s use of material in the Koret Family Gallery’s interactive Art Learning Lab where you will make observations, ask questions, and participate in creative experimentation.

Catherine Wagner: Paradox Observed
April 5, 2019 – August 18, 2019

Curated by Kathryn Wade, curatorial associate

Catherine Wagner (born 1953, San Francisco) has an analytic eye—an impulse to examine and organize information. Like a scientific researcher, she imposes order on a chaotic world. Photographing within institutions of learning—classrooms, laboratories, and museums and archives—she isolates and reclassifies objects, abstracting them from their original meaning. This exhibition presents Wagner’s monumental installation Pomegranate Wall (2000) in SJMA’s permanent collection, the glowing 8-by-40-foot arc of photographs taken with an MRI machine and made during an artist residency fellowship at the Museum. Shown with black-and-white photographs of plant and animal matter from Wagner’s visual investigation of science laboratories, the immersive installation explores life from the inside out.

Wagner’s interest in science began in the classroom, not her own, but while traveling to schools across the country where she photographed lecture halls, biology labs, and classrooms. For Wagner, these sites of learning embody society’s aspirations and values; blackboards, science experiments, and empty desks possess the markings of human inquiry and the highly structured systems through which knowledge is developed and conveyed. For her later series “Art & Science: Investigating Matter,” Wagner gained access to professional laboratories where the artist’s photographic documentation acts as a counterpart to scientific research, focusing on its tools and methods of analysis through compositional use of isolation, classification, and sequence.

With science as a subject matter, Wagner adopted its tools of observation too, using medical imaging devices as she would her camera. In 1997, she was awarded a two-year fellowship from SJMA to work with technology. Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines and scanning electron microscopes (SEM), Wagner captured organic materials like fruits and vegetables, and animal bone with crisp precision and analytical clarity. Imaged in reverse of a camera—from the inside out, rather than the outside in—MRI scans of pomegranates resemble human cells. Monumentally scaled and clinically backlit in Pomegranate Wall, Wagner’s images possess the authoritative weight of science. Abstracted from the laboratory setting, however, pomegranate specimens become a kind of artifact of humanity. They call attention to scientific technologies that allow us to visualize the microscopic and molecular—the fundamental components of life that are not perceivable to the human eye. And, along with Wagner’s other laboratory photographs, they draw parallels between scientific and artistic investigation that attempt to decipher the codes and invisible structures of human life.
Artist Biography

Catherine Wagner was born in 1953 in San Francisco. She received her BA in 1975 and MA in 1981, both from San Francisco State University. She is the recipient of major awards, including the Rome Prize (2013–14), a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEA Fellowships, and the Ferguson Award. Her work is included in major museum collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; and the San José Museum of Art.

Sponsored by Casey and Jack Carsten and Tad Freese and Brook Hartzell. In-kind supporprovided by Anglim Gilbert Gallery and Gallery Luisotti.

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