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Visual Art: Time Travelers

Upcoming exhibitions peer into the past and anticipate the future.

Intro | Classical | Stage | Film | Literature | Visual Art | Visual Art 2

WALL STORIES: The 'Border Cantos' exhibit at SJMA explores the U.S.-Mexico border in photos and collages of found objects.

Cantor Arts Center


Into the Forest While Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe will not be on loan from the Musée d'Orsay for Into the Forest, the famous painting does epitomize the mode and mood of French "plein air" painters in the 19th century. Look instead for prints, drawings and photographs from his contemporaries James Tissot, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Camille Pissarro. Feb 3-Jul 4.

Myth, Allegory and Faith The artistic school of painting known as Mannerism began in Italy during the 16th century. This comprehensive exhibition surveys over 180 engravings, etchings and woodcuts from the Kirk Edward Long Collection in order to trace the origins and development of the Mannerist style. Feb 10-Jun 20.

The Battle of Little Bighorn Indigenous undergraduates are curating a companion exhibition to the Cantor's current show Red Horse: Drawings of the Battle of the Little Bighorn featuring contemporary indigenous artists and their take on Custer's last stand. Feb 24-Jun 13.

The Wonder of Everyday Life The black and white etchings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries in this collection capture the daily life of Dutch society in the 17th century. Their gritty style of visual realism offers 21st century viewers various points of entry into the domestic interiors and exterior landscapes of the era. Feb 24-Jul 11.

Who We Be Inspired by Jeff Chang's 2014 book Who We Be: The Colorization of America, this exhibition examines the visual culture of America—how popular culture, multiculturalism and movements for justice intersect and overlap. The question raised: How do Americans see race now? Mar 30-Aug 29.

Blood in the Sugar Bowl Like the cotton trade in the rural South, sugar plantations in the 18th and 19th centuries were also entirely dependent on slavery. To illustrate this history, hand-crafted sugar bowls and lush paintings of plantations are juxtaposed against portraits of slaves with excerpts from their own narratives. Apr 6-Jul 4.

The Male Gaze The Austrian male gaze is scrutinized with examples of fin-de-sicle artists like Oskar Kokoschka and Max Kurzweil: did these artists create accurate or false depictions of women and their role in Viennese society? Apr 13-Aug 8.

An Oasis in Glass A date-shaped flask; a cracked fragment of a indigo blue mosaic glass; a sea green vase of free-blown glass: these are just a few of the 4th-century glass works from Syria and Egypt that will be on display in a space designed to recreate the wide expanse of a desert dune. Apr 13-Aug 8.

New Museum

Los Gatos (NUMU)

Thursday Nights at NUMU In an effort to expand the individual museum goer's experience of an exhibit, NUMU holds panel discussions, guest lectures and conversations with the artists on Thursday nights. Additionally, once a month, a StoryShare takes place to celebrate the art of storytelling. Upcoming topics include: the design and engineering of Versailles; guidelines for becoming a collector; the approach to color by 16th and 17th century European masters. Feb 4,11,18 & Mar 3, 10, 24.

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose

The mission of the museum is "to collect, preserve and share Japanese American history, culture and art" with its main focus on the Bay Area. The museum is a showcase of permanent and rotating exhibits that chronicle a century of Japanese-American immigration and integration. The permanent collections emphasize such diverse topics as the internment camps of WWII and the subsequent resettlement of those released; the pioneers of San Jose's Japantown; and, sports in the Japanese-American community. In February, a new exhibit opened, Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History, which explores the complex history of mixed race and mixed roots.

Computer History Museum

Mountain View

There isn't a better location than San Jose—the epicenter of Silicon Valley—to house the Computer History Museum. Explore, online and off, the way in which technology has impacted how we work and play. One of the permanent exhibits, Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing, is 25,000-square-feet which includes 19 galleries and 1,100 objects that document the history and glory of computing. You'll also find fascinating and thoughtful exhibits on autonomous vehicles, hacker culture and a tribute to Ada Lovelace, the visionary mathematician. The summary of the exhibit lovingly notes, "She has been referred to as 'prophet of the computer age.'"

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

Susan O'Malley Like Jenny Holzer and Laurie Anderson before her, O'Malley's language-based installations were entirely dependent on platitudes and clichés. Unlike them, she presented her new age signage without irony, brightened by rainbow colors and her belief in love and good cheer. Feb 20-May 22.

Gideon Rubin A routine examination of Gideon Rubin's faceless portraits yields more questions than answers. The poetic title of this exhibit, "Memory Goes as Far as This Morning," may provide a clue to their meaning. However, it's an oblique and ellusive one. These paintings erase the identity of his subjects, rendering the scenes an anodyne stillness. And yet, all that neutrality allows space for projection and recognition, like a house that's been staged for a potential buyer. With so much absence, the viewers must actively engage with the empty, forlorn spaces. Writing about his process in the essay "Why my figures lost their features," Rubin says the minimalist landscapes are deliberate. He transforms found photographs, old yearbook pictures and imagery from the Internet into "the materiality of paint" on his canvases. These eerie figures don't impart discomfort as much as spark forgotten or buried memories of family outings and adolescent friendship. In case you want to ask Rubin if he attempted a self-portrait with this approach, there are two opportunities to hear the artist speak. On Feb. 23, San Jose State University's Art Department will host him for a talk. He'll also be in attendance at the ICA on Feb. 28 for the opening reception and book signing. Feb 20-May 22.

Demarcate Cartographic imagery (the making of maps) is the shared and common denominator for the artists. Examining the "Territorial Shift in Personal and Societal Mapping" this exhibit tackles such themes as urbanization, the natural environment and the location of our social, emotional and political identities. Feb 28-May 29.

MACLA San Jose

Rasquache Renaissance From the hubcaps on your car to the barrettes in your hair, you declare your particular identity through the customization of the objects you buy. The show's motto could be: I buy, therefore I am. Through Mar 13.

'57 Chevy The American dream is continually redefined: not only through the eyes of each generation but also through the arrival of new immigrants who imagine their own version of prosperity and freedom. In this one-man play, Ric Salinas explores one family's move from Mexico to South Central Los Angeles and into the San Fernando Valley suburbs. Mar 10-13.

San Jose Museum of Art

Tabaimo: Her Room Tabaimo's videos are immersive and interactive: they cause an itch in the mind. The familiar takes a quick turn towards the disturbing. You're in for a trip. The outcome will depend entirely on your particular state of mind as you explore these "New Stories from the Edge of Asia." Through Aug 21.

Border Cantos Richard Misrach, a photographer of vast expanses, collaborated with experimental composer Guillermo Galindo to document the borderlands—geographical and psychological—that lie between the U.S. and Mexico. Feb 26-Jul 31.

SJ's 20th Century Vanguard Alongside the arrival of tech industry geniuses, a generation of experimental artists also moved into town: they helped establish a vital new aesthetic era in San Jose. Mar 11-Sep 18.

Community School of Music & Arts

Mountain View

CSMA Students & Faculty This year CSMA students and faculty will exhibit work on the theme of "Fur, Fins and Feathers," featuring approximately 500 pieces of art by students (grades K-8) and their art teachers from more than 20 local schools.

Through Feb 26.

Kaleid Gallery

San Jose

Use The Force 129 To date, the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens has earned closed to $2 billion at the box office. In case you're in need a local tie-in, this exhibit inspired by the film features artwork and a coffee table book by Fernando Amaro, Jr. Through Feb 26.

First Friday March Jason McHenry's quest continues. He's intent on creating one million paintings before he dies. This exhibit celebrates the 333,000th one; only 666,000 to go. Mar 4.

Palo Alto Art Center

Bird in the Hand More than 40 international artists collected here found inspiration in the wings and songs of birds. This "exotic aviary" is dedicated to the depiction of our fine, flapping feathered friends. Through Apr 10.

Listings by Jeffrey Edalatpour