Archive for January, 2012

Murals of La Jolla, #5, Ryan McGinness

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Detail, 53 Women by McGinness

The fifth mural in the La Jolla Murals series is easy to see and find.  It covers the horizontal span of a wall facing a parking lot and can be seen from Herschel Avenue.  Actually, unlike a couple of previous murals, it’s hard to miss.

It is a digital print on Sintra panels stretched on aluminum frames. It’s black with geometric figures in vivid colors. And it is six feet, 8 inches high and 40 feet 7 inches long. It’s called 53 Women.

Ryan McGinness explains that he works to “iconify the underlying visually logical geometries inherent in my figure drawings . . .and capture the purely aesthetic experience of graceful curves and sensual forms inherent in my models.” Okay. We can see that.  On his web page he has a book shelf with books he has written.  One is Flatness is God. Okay. We can see that, too.

McGinness also says, “These drawings are my version of what is sexy.” Okay.  Fifty-three nudes, bright, iconic, stretched over 40 feet. I guess it is.

I talked to a fellow across the street from the mural. He said reactions are mixed to the mural. And a couple of comments from passersby were negative. Put something sexy on a long wall and that figures.

The four previous murals are non-confrontational.  Baldessarri’s is hard to see, and it’s a plam tree and brain cloud. Anya Gallaccio’s is an electron microscope image of a grain of sand. Kim MacConnel’s and Roy MacMakins’ are pure color designs. This one is definitely an “in your face” mural.  It reminds me of stencil street art by such artists as Blek Le Rat and Banksy. Clear cut images in unexpected places.

53 Women, Ryan McGinness

Makes you wake up.



San Diego Maritime Museum’s Book by Bruce Linder about Cabrillo’s Ship

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Under construction, a replica of the Spanish galleon San Salvador

The San Diego Maritime Museum is constructing a replica of Cabrillo’s galleon.  At least it is what the scholars consider is probably what Cabrillo’s ship maybe looked like.  It is going up frame by frame at Spanish Landing in San Diego.  And it is taking shape in a section of the park which also has a blacksmith’s shop, a sail maker’s shop, and Kumeyaay Indian displays.

Bruce Linder has written an elegant book detailing what is known of Cabrillo and his voyage up the California coast in 1542, San Salvador, Cabrillo’s Galleon of Discovery.  Cabrillo seems to be an important, but elusive, explorer.  No records exist regarding the San Salvador’s construction, only a little is know of Cabrillo’s life, and less of his death on that voyage.  But what I like about the book is that Linder has presented a reasonable picture of the Spanish impetus to discover–mostly looking for gold, of course.  And he acknowledges that the Kumeyaay and Chumash Indians had an established culture already on our coast.  Linder sees the exploration of the western coast of California as a major turning point not only in map making, but also in world history, and   gives us information about the range of maritime knowledge in 1542 and puts us in touch with that world of exploration.   The book’s illustrations are superb, from the maps to the construction details of a Spanish galleon.

This is history that is not dull in a book worth looking at.