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Seeing the Light: Illuminating Objects

10 October 2015 – 03 January 2016
Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."                        -- Anton Chekhov

How do we perceive light on objects? As reflection, illumination, glow, radiance, shimmer, shine, or luster? For designers and artists the luminosity of materials is endlessly fascinating. The inherent transparency or reflectivity of surfaces heightens our experience and attracts us with their seductive quality. Frank Gehry's Fish Lamp glows from within, Beatrice Wood’s pottery has lustrous surfaces, and the shiny stainless steel of Sebastian Errazuriz's Chaise acts like a mirror. Diverse objects selected from the museum’s permanent collection and from private collections demonstrate the boundless fascination of the expressive power of light.

Robert Irwin, #3 x 6'D FOUR FOLD (all states shown above), 2013, light+shadow+reflection+color, promised gift of L.J. Cella, (c) 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Karen Bexfield, Luna Gris, n.d., kiln-formed glass, collection of David Kaplan and Glenn Osergaard
Karen LaMonte, Pianist's Dress Impression, 2005, cast glass, museum purchase with funds provided by David Kaplan and Glenn Ostergaard (c) Karen LaMonte
Jim Isermann, Untitled (0900), 2000, plotter-cut mylar (silver decals), (c) Jim Isermann
Sebastian Errazuriz, Wing Chaise Lounge, 2007, stainless steel, museum purchase with funds provided by Donna MacMillan, (c) Sebastian Errazuriz, Courtesy of Cristina Grajales Gallery
Larry Bell, Cube #44 (Green/Dark Grey), 2007, green color coated and dark gray glass sculpture, museum purchase with funds provided by David Kaplan and Glenn Ostergaard (c) Larry Bell
Phillip Lloyd Powell, Table Lamp, 1965, walnut with original fabric shade, gift of L.J. Cella (c) The Powell Family
Pat Lasch, A Couple's Prayer (from the Prayer Cloth Series), 2006, gold, silver, copper leaf and acrylic paint on Arches paper, gift of Albert Aaron (c) Pat Lasch
Los Carpinteros, Gafas de Prescripcion, 2012: Havana, Cuba; Madrid, Spain, plastic and mirrors, edition 1/25, museum purchase with funds provided by Donna MacMillan (c) Los Carpinteros
Jack Zajac, Large Split Almond, 1967, black Belgian marble, gift of Mr. and Mrs. H.W. McCurdy (c) Jack Zajac
Peter Sarkisian, Green Boiling in Pail 4, 2004, mixed media and video projection, unique in a series of 4, museum purchase with funds provided by Marilyn Pearl Loesberg and Alan Loesberg, and Donna and Cargill MacMillan, Jr. (c) Peter Sarkisian
Bertil Vallien, Resting Head, 1999, sand cast glass on waxed wood base and stand, gift of Cindy Miscikowski and the Ring Miscikowski Trust (c) Bertil Vallien

Using examples from midcentury to contemporary designers and artists, we examine how the chosen materials and media reflect light or illuminate. An out-sized globe designed by Robert Wilson for a stage production of Einstein on the Beach and the striking fabric, Magnum, designed by Jack Lenor Larsen for a theater curtain, each illustrate the drama of radiance. Modernist sculptor Harry Bertoia’s work, Golden Bush, uses copper and bronze to create a stylized natural form, while artist Jennifer Steinkamp mesmerizes us with her video of a hauntingly beautiful tree as it revolves through the four seasons.

Glass artists Dale Chilhuly, Angelo Barovier, Kait Rhoads, and Karen Bexfield demonstrate the seemingly endless possibilities of glass to merge color and light. Jewelry in gold and silver designed by artists Fletcher Benton, DeWain Valentine, and Lynda Benglis, and crystal-encrusted shoes by Debra Hovel reveal how personal adornment is fascinating. Mylar wall decals by Jim Isermann will create an environment in which this exhibition of diverse, luminous objects captivates us.

This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum and funded in part by Presenting Sponsor Renova Solar.


A+D Center Exhibition Sponsors: John Boccardo and Derek Esplin

Media Sponsor: The Desert Sun


Exhibition Season Sponsors: Dorothy Meyerman and Marion and Bob Rosenthal