Raise your hand if this has happened to you before: Water bottle in hand, you approach the front desk of a museum, eager to see the latest exhibit its curators have to offer. But just before you get to the front desk to purchase your ticket, you’re reminded by a museum attendant that no drinks are allowed in the exhibit rooms. Sheepishly, you consider how to get rid of the offending plastic-contained liquid.
This Thursday night, November 18th, The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) puts this regular reproof on hold. In fact, the offence is sanctioned from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. as SDMA hosts “Culture & Cocktails,” an event that turns this Balboa Park museum into a hip, lounge-like arena complete with DJs spinning and bartenders pouring.
This month’s Culture & Cocktails event features “Dreams & Diversions,” SDMA’s newest exhibit showcasing their first rotation of 250 years of Japanese Woodblock prints. With spirits in hand, have a close look at the six rooms of ukiyo-e prints curated by Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, the Museum’s Curator of Asian Art, with Howard A. Link, Senior Curator Emeritus of Asian Art and Keeper of the James A. Michener Collection at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and Hiroko Johnson, Professor of Asian Art History at San Diego State University.
According to the panel descriptions in the exhibit, ukiyo-e depicts “the people and places associated with the pleasures of this world.” Dominating the first two rooms of the exhibit is the work of two of the most influential ukiyo-e artists of the Edo Period, Katushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige. Revel at how fine the lines are in each piece of art, such as the blossoms in Hokusai’s ”Yatsugatake in Shinano Province,” and then gain some insight on how intricate the woodblock print technique is by participating in any one of the three SDMA planned activities.
If you have a chance, locate the print titled “Act VII of Chushingura” by Kitagawa Utamaro in the fifth room of the exhibit and see if you can identify why Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose poster art is also on exhibit in SDMA, was influenced by Utamaro’s work as suggested by Lionel Lambourne in his book, “Japonisme.” Also, as you review the kabuki prints in the fifth room, see if you can spy the male kabuki actors in female kabuki roles—male actors in female roles were captured as either wearing a small square fabric fastened just above their foreheads or wearing a wig that has hair tied up from the front and sides but bare in the scalp area.
Admission to the event is $15 for non-SDMA members, which includes one free cocktail and free tastings of Sapporo beer (who is also co-sponsoring the event); admission is free to SDMA members. Online ticket sales are hosted by Ticketmaster. In order to avoid a $3 surcharge, be sure to select the “TicketFast®: NOW” option when prompted, which will send you an e-mail to print out the tickets you’ll present at the event.
Part culture. Part rebellion. All good fun.
San Diego Museum of Art | 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA | (619) 232-7931
This event takes place Thursday evening, November 18th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Guests will have access to all SDMA exhibits, including the featured “Dreams & Diversions” exhibits. Click here to purchase tickets online.
Bring cash for the cocktail bars. Cocktails priced between $4 to $6; beer from $3.