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Contact: Leah Ammon, (408) 961-5814 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pleasures of Challenged Perspective: Rashomon at Montalvo
Groundbreaking sculpture by Chuck Ginnever installed on newly-reopened Great Lawn launches Montalvo’s 2013 Art on the Grounds program
SARATOGA, Calif. – Montalvo Arts Center is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, March 13, with the reopening of its newly replanted Great Lawn, an important work of art will go on view to the public: Rashomon, an installation created by contemporary sculptor Chuck Ginnever. Hailed by art critic Kenneth Baker as “one of the most significant and little-celebrated innovations in late 20th century art,” Rashomon is organized by the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, California, in cooperation with Gayle MaxonEdgerton, Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is presented to the public as part of the 2013 season of Montalvo’s Art on the Grounds program. “It is an honor to bring Rashomon to Montalvo,” said Executive Director Angela McConnell. “The guiding vision for Art on the Grounds is to orchestrate thought-provoking interactions between visitors and contemporary art in unexpected settings. With this installation, we reaffirm our aim to be one of the Bay Area’s most
ABOVE: Rashomon, by Chuck Ginnever, is an installation of 15 identical geometric forms.
engaging sculpture parks.”
“As part of our On the Road program—a satellite exhibitions series developed with partner venues throughout the Bay Area—we sought a new venue for the Rashomon exhibition after it closed at the ICA last month. I immediately thought of Montalvo,” said Cathy Kimball, Executive Director and Chief Curator at the ICA. “The setting on Montalvo’s Great Lawn is ideal. Ginnever’s ultimate intention was for the work to be presented out of doors.” A contemporary of artists Sir Anthony Caro, John Chamberlain, Mark di Suvero, and Eva Hesse, Chuck Ginnever
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is a prolific and engaging artist known primarily for his large-scale abstract sculpture in welded steel and bronze. Ginnever’s work directly engages with notions of subjectivity and perception, and questions our presuppositions about rationality and universal views. As Kenneth Baker has written, “much important sculpture of our era has concerned itself with tensions between the bodily and mental grasp of the real. Rashomon goes to the heart of that matter.” The installation consists of 15 identical geometric forms, each three feet tall, with 15 unique sides and eight balancing points. Fashioned out of bands of steel, the pieces have been made without right angles or parallel lines. They are installed at Montalvo in an organically-shaped grouping. For the viewer, the pleasure of experiencing Rashomon is a two-fold exercise in challenged perspective: moving through the installation, shifting vantage points cause one to read forms alternately as twodimensional shapes with flattened planes, and three-dimensional objects in space. The viewer is furthermore challenged to weigh the perception of the individual pieces as unique objects against the intellectual knowledge they are exactly identical. Ginnever explains, “my work sits motionless and is only activated by the viewer moving around it—only then does it start to perform.” This inspires slow and deliberate engagement with the work, and encourages visitors to savor each new moment of uncertainty. The title of the work is borrowed from Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film of the same name in which the mutually contradictory testimony of four eyewitnesses to a violent crime demonstrates the inherent unreliability of subjective experience. As John Yau, writing for the web publication Hyperallergic, observed, “the gap between sight and memory—between the object and how we remember it in the mind’s eye—is one of Ginnever’s preoccupations.” According to Kimball, Ginnever’s fascination with shifting perspectives dates back to his childhood in San Mateo, where, as a boy, he observed the movement of fog banks across the hills. “The passage of light and shadow across the landscape impressed upon him at an early age that each individual’s perception of the world is highly personal and always in flux.” This investigation of perspective is especially relevant to Flourish: Artists Explore Wellbeing, Montalvo’s programmatic theme for 2013-2014. “I am delighted to welcome Rashomon on our grounds,” said Kelly Sicat, Director of Montalvo’s Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program. “I believe the experiential nature of Ginnever’s work will engage visitors with wonder as they move through the sculpture hoping to capture its illusive form. Through that quest to identify the similarities in each perspective, a deeper understanding of the nature of perception, reason, and imagination will be achieved–valuable tools in the pursuit for happiness and wellbeing.” Rashomon was originally produced by the artist as a maquette for a monumental 13-foot-high series. To date,
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the artist has created three of these full-scale sculptures, which were last on view at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University in 2000. RASHOMON BY CHUCK GINNEVER What: A perspective-bending sculpture installation When: Wednesday, March 13 through Sunday, September 15, 2013 Where: The Great Lawn of Montalvo Arts Center, 15400 Montalvo Road, Saratoga Admission: The grounds of the Montalvo Arts Center are open for free to the public daily from 8am-6pm M-F; 9am-5pm Sat-Sun. For more information about accessibility, please visit www.montalvoarts.org/about/visit/.
Quotes above from Kenneth Baker are taken from his article “Ginnever's 'Rashomon' suite in San Jose,” San
Francisco Chronicle, November 23, 2012. Quote above from John Yau is taken from his article “The World According to Charles Ginnever,” Hyperallergic.com, posted January 13, 2013.
Montalvo Arts Center is an oasis of culture and nature whose mission is to create and present arts of all types, nurture artists, and use our historic Villa, buildings, and grounds in innovative ways that engage people in the creative process. Located in Silicon Valley's Saratoga hills, Montalvo occupies a Mediterranean-style Villa, built in 1912 by Senator James Duval Phelan, surrounded by 175 stunning acres, including the campus of our international Lucas Artists Residency Program. Senator Phelan bequeathed the villa and grounds to the people of California for the encouragement of art, music, literature and architecture, a mandate that Montalvo has carried forward ever since its founding. For more information about Montalvo Arts Center, call (408) 961-5800 or visit www.montalvoarts.org. The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is an energetic art space located in downtown San Jose dedicated to making contemporary art accessible and exciting to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The ICA has long been committed to presenting exhibitions that include visually compelling and conceptually challenging contemporary art, as well as a variety of educational programs intended to help our audiences reflect upon these works. Exhibitions are presented in three galleries and the space is activated by opening receptions, First Friday gallery walks, programming in the front windows, panel discussions, printmaking workshops in the on-site Print Center, brown bag lunches and impromptu conversations in the galleries. Founded in 1980, the ICA is a member-supported, non-profit organization. For more information, please visit www.sjica.org. Chuck Ginnever was born in San Mateo, California, in 1931. After traveling and studying photography and sculpture in Europe and California in the early 1950s, Ginnever moved to New York City and completed his MFA at Cornell University in 1959. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe and is part of numerous important private and public collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University; Runnymeade Sculpture Garden in Woodside, California; Storm King Center in Mountainville, New York; and the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester. A California native, Ginnever currently resides in Putney, Vermont. For further information, please visit the artist’s website at www.chuckginnever.com. Gayle Maxon-Edgerton, GME LLC, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is Exclusive Artist Agent for Chuck Ginnever.
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