March 31, 2020 Art Without Distance: Solitary Garden Update

We’ve gotten a new letter from Tim Young, our Solitary Gardener at UC Santa Cruz who currently is on Death Row in San Quentin. Dated from March 23, the letter explains that while all of California has been on shelter-in-place, in San Quentin, staff (ungloved and unmasked) has continued to take 30-60 people at a time to the yard, the 40x50” outdoor concrete recreational area. As Tim explains, while he would love some fresh air, he’s choosing to stay in his cell.

March 26, 2020: Art Without Distance, Solitary Garden

The traveling exhibition called Barring Freedom about art and prisons that I am co-curating with Alexandra Moore, IAS graduate curatorial fellow, was supposed to open in late April in New York. While the exhibition is postponed (and now opens at UC Santa Cruz October 2020), Solitary Garden, the public sculpture and garden project that is part of that larger project is already growing at UC Santa Cruz.

The Harrisons' Future Garden, one year in

We opened Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison’s Future Garden for the Central Coast of California just a year ago. I was visiting the installation in May to photograph the dramatic plant growth in its three greenhouses and the surrounding landscape, and its high time I wrote about it here. The Arboretum recently finished putting in the new visitor seating area for Future Garden, so this is a fine time to look at how this multi-year art-and-ecology installation is (literally) growing up! 

Ruminations on "FOREST (for a thousand years...)"

Presenting Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's FOREST (for a thousand years...) in the redwood research forest of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden was one of the most rewarding curatorial episodes of my time here to date, and in fact of my whole career. We'd been working for more than a year with Janet and George to make this renowned and amazing 22-channel audio installation happen at UC Santa Cruz, collaborating with the Arboretum's great staff and assisted by the San José Museum of Art.

"Seeing and Knowing" Student Workshop at Lick Observatory

For me, one of the highlights of a year full of them was definitely the two-day student workshop we had at Lick Observatory in May. It was called "Seeing and Knowing in Art and Astronomy." The program emerged from Russell Crotty's residency at Lick and the exhibition we are working on for the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose, which will open this November. During Russell's time here we wanted to bring a group of undergraduate students up to Lick to experience the unique flavor of this historic and still scientifically significant observatory.