More than 2,000 attended LB Art & Nature programs; more than 12,000 experienced beach art installation

Last weekend, from Nov 3 – 6, Laguna Art Museum presented the fourth annual Art & Nature program, a multidisciplinary exploration of art’s many and various engagements with the natural world. More than 2,000 people attended the weekend programs including lectures by art experts. 

 

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Photo by Scott Brashier

But the highlight of the event was undoubtedly Phillip K. Smith III’s 1/4 Mile Arc – a large-scale installation specially commissioned by Laguna Art Museum for Art & Nature – experienced by more than 12,000 beachgoers. The installation was on view day and night from Friday through Sunday. 

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The spectacular site-specific installation stretched along much of Main Beach with approximately 250 stainless steel posts just above the high tide line. The mirror-polished surfaces of the 10-foot posts, arranged in an arc across Laguna’s iconic Main Beach, reflected the changing colors of the ocean, sky, and shoreline. Forming a visible marker between the man-made and natural worlds, the artwork drew curious onlookers as early as Thursday during its installation.  

This significant event on the beach rather than inside the museum’s galleries expanded the impact of the arts to a large public audience. 

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Photo by Scott Brashier

On Friday, Nov 4, Phillip K. Smith III gave a public lecture at the museum. By then, 1/4 Mile Arc had been on view on Main Beach for an entire day, and the well-attended event followed the first of three spectacular sunsets that occurred during Art & Nature weekend.  

Smith received degrees in Fine Arts and in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design before returning to the Southern California desert where he was raised. Building upon explorations in the perception of light, color, and space, he creates intensely physical and seemingly ephemeral sculptures.  

His large-scale, temporary installations include the internationally renowned Lucid Stead (2013) in Joshua Tree, California, and Reflection Field (2014) and Portals (2016), both of which debuted at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. 

Smith’s monumental works are sited throughout California and beyond. Next year, he will participate in Desert X 2017, an international contemporary art exhibition that focuses on environmental, social, and cultural conditions of the 21st century.

For the Art & Nature keynote, the museum hosted renowned British art historian Martin Kemp on Sat, Nov 5. Kemp is Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University and is acknowledged as the world authority on Leonardo da Vinci. Approximately150 people gathered to hear him discuss the iconic Mona Lisa as a statement of the artist’s ideas about nature and the natural world.  

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Photo by Jerry Immel

Whatever goes up must come down

Also on Saturday, the preeminent Light and Space artist Helen Pashgian discussed her work with gallerist Peter Blake in advance of an opening of the artist’s works at Peter Blake Gallery. Pashgian is a major figure whose works were the subject of a major solo exhibition at LACMA in 2014, as well as other exhibitions at the Getty Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.  

On that same day, 125 visitors experienced an interactive sound performance inside the museum titled ‘I’, lighthouse waiting for storms. Artist David Horovitz and Jamie Stewart from the band Xiu Xiu created a participatory sound installation emulating the sound of a violent storm arriving from the sea and smashing into the shore. Visitors were invited to contribute to the maelstrom with chimes installed for this purpose, transforming the museum into an exciting temporary sound installation.

 

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