Category Archives: Art

Best Museum Without Walls: Tim Rudnick’s Venice Oceanarium

Have you ever seen grunion run at midnight at the edge of the ocean? Or looked at sand from all over the world through a microscope under the white tent at the end of the Venice Pier on a Sunday? Or walked by a circle of people in November reading “Moby Dick” out loud, one at a time through a microphone, surrounded by a huge actual whalebone at the breakwater on Venice Beach?

Each one of these sea-centric activities is hosted by the Venice Oceanarium, a museum without walls since 1995, founded by Tim Rudnick.

In the late ’80s, when Rudnick was in his mid-40s, he decided to go back to school.

“One of my daughters, Pesha, gave me a book for my birthday with the inscription, ‘To dad, who knows everything.’ That made me want to find out more,” shares Rudnick. …

Read the full article at The Argonaut.

Paradise Found

IMG_5912-copy“I paint almost every day,” says Rich Untermann, owner of the Spanish Garden Inn in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. “When I like a painting, I frame it, and hang it someplace in the hotel. I shift them around until they feel comfortable—it is in a constant shuffle.”

Over the years, Untermann’s paintings have filled up most of the hangable places in the hotel’s public spaces and 24 rooms. The self-taught painter is also an architect and, 17 years ago, he designed the hotel with the help of his wife, an interior designer.

The couple moved to Santa Barbara from Seattle in 1995. On their list of requirements for their chosen relocation was an ocean and a university. “My wife and I wanted to buy property downtown—an urban hotel, and historic, like Santa Barbara,” says Untermann.

Their lushly landscaped Spanish-style boutique hotel is located, appropriately, on Garden Street. …

Read the full article at Artillery Magazine.

It’s For the Birds: Artists Explore our Feathered Friends

Water garden by Gary Smith, Nests for Lotusland

Water garden by Gary Smith, Nests for Lotusland

Nestled in an upscale residential community in Montecito, Lotusland is a 37-acre nonprofit botanical nirvana filled with over 950 species of exotic plants arranged in nearly 20 gardens. It’s also the historic estate of the late Polish opera singer and socialite Madame Ganna Walska, who purchased the Southern California property in 1941 and gifted it to the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation when she died in 1984.

Bronze crane statues and a small Shinto shrine surrounded by a wisteria arbor sit in the Japanese garden. Three tiers of benches made of sandstone circle the theater garden, which is dotted with Madame Walska’s French collection of antique stone figures, called “grotesques.” Lotusland is a natural treasure and also a resource to educate about a subject that’s core to the garden’s mission: plant conservation.

Open to the public since 1993, the Lotusland staff has gardened sustainably and organically for the past 20 years, which might make it the only such garden in the country that can boast such a claim. Because of its green practices, 85 species of birds take refuge either year-round or for extended visits in the gardens—which planted the seed for Lotusland’s current art exhibit, “FLOCK: Birds on the Brink” running through May 23. …

Read full article at Artillery Magazine.

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Thoroughly Contemporary: Santa Barbara’s CAF grows up

Gallery_Interior_bigger“We are not solely regionally focused,” says Miki Garcia, executive director of Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, which will change its name to Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara next week. “The artists that we show are local, national and international, so the projects that we’re doing here are on par with what the MOCA and the Hammer are doing [in Los Angeles]. It’s smaller in scale because of the footprint, but the kind of work that we’re doing in terms of contributing to the field is just as rigorous. We are expansive in our mission to present the most compelling contemporary art being made today.”

The newly named Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara has been an alternative arts space since 1976. Admission is free. According to Garcia, who has been in charge of daily operations at the nonprofit institution since 2005, MCA Santa Barbara has always been concerned with and engaged in process, and supporting—not canonizing—artists. Without a permanent collection, the exhibitions come and go about every three months.


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“Our job is not to say this is the best art of all time,” Garcia says. “We are not an encyclopedic museum whose mission has a retrospective, historical position. Ours is: This is what’s happening now. That’s the more interesting story for us.”

Although museum is now part of its title, MCA Santa Barbara has no immediate plans to acquire work for a permanent collection. …

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