Home News Montalvo Arts Center, ICA collaborate on must-see show in San Jose

Montalvo Arts Center, ICA collaborate on must-see show in San Jose

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Collaborating with the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose has been in the works for Saratoga’s Montalvo Arts Center pretty much since Executive Director Angela McConnell arrived in 2009. And even though it took 15 years for the two arts groups to find the right project together, it was most definitely worth the wait.

“Place: Reckonings by Asian American Artists” opened at the ICA’s downtown gallery last Friday, and it is a big, provocative, must-see show that calls out for multiple visits to give each piece the time and space it deserves. The exhibition, curated by Judy Koong Dennis and Zoë Latzer, showcases the diverse work of Asian American artists who have been part of the Lucas Arts Residency at Montalvo, a program that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. They include Ranu Mukherjee, Wanxin Zhang, the Filipina-American artist trio Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., Namita Paul and Bruce Yonemoto.

James Leventhal, executive director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary, speaks to the crowd at the opening reception for "Places: Reckonings by Asian American Artists" in downtown San Jose Saturday, March 23, 2024. Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao and Montalvo Arts Center Executive Director Angela McConnell are at right. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
James Leventhal, executive director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary, speaks to the crowd at the opening reception for “Places: Reckonings by Asian American Artists” in downtown San Jose Saturday, March 23, 2024. Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao and Montalvo Arts Center Executive Director Angela McConnell are at right. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

“I truly believe this is one of the best exhibitions for right now,” ICA Executive Director James Leventhal said at an opening reception last Saturday. “We’re in a time of disenfranchisement and problems and otherwise — whatever your politics may be — the more we come together as human beings the more we can be better.”

The pieces — including paintings, textile arts, ceramics, mixed media and video — examine issues of identity, the blending of Asian and American cultures, racial discrimination and the exploitation of Asian labor.  The exhibition runs through Aug. 11, with a curator-led tour planned for 5 p.m. on April 5 to coincide with the South First Fridays art walk. You can get more information at www.icasanjose.org.

"W.M. 265," an artwork by Namita Paul made with canvas, burlap, indigo dyes, sequins and other materials, is one of the pieces on display at "Places: Reckonings by Asian American Artists" at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
“W.M. 265,” an artwork by Namita Paul made with canvas, burlap, indigo dyes, sequins and other materials, is one of the pieces on display at “Places: Reckonings by Asian American Artists” at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

The opening reception drew a huge crowd, including Alan Burgess, who sponsored the exhibition with his wife, Doris; Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle; Peter and Beverly Lipman; SV Creates CEO Alexandra Urbanowski; former ICA Executive Director and Montalvo Artist Residency Director Kathryn Funk; and Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao, who brought along certificates of recognition for the ICA, the curators and Montalvo.

“Montalvo’s foundational vision can be distilled to one word, and it’s ‘belonging,’ ” McConnell said. “This exhibition is so closely aligned to that foundational vision that we couldn’t be more proud.”

Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao, right, presents certificates of recognition to Zoë Latzer and Judy Koong Dennis, curators of "Places: Reckonings by Asian American Artists," at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao, right, presents certificates of recognition to Zoë Latzer and Judy Koong Dennis, curators of “Places: Reckonings by Asian American Artists,” at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

RAIN CHECKS: Well, it looks like Mother Nature is overruling the Easter Bunny when it comes to Campbell’s Bunnies and Bonnets parade that had been scheduled for Saturday. Fearing a decent-sized storm literally raining on the parade, organizers decided to call off this year’s event and hope for its return next year.



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