John Henry installation by David Adey, 2010
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library has earned a reputation
as one of the outstanding art galleries and art collectors in San Diego.
The Athenaeum’s art exhibition program, begun in the 1920s, has
grown tremendously in both scope and recognition, particularly in the
past 20 years.
Exhibitions are presented in three gallery spaces: the Joseph Clayes III Gallery, the
Rotunda Gallery, and the North Reading Room. Approximately eight exhibitions
per year are presented in each. Exhibitions in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery focus
on nationally and internationally recognized artists. The Rotunda Gallery
emphasizes community partnerships or emerging regional artists. Art in
both galleries are related to the Athenaeum’s
other focuses, namely books or music. Works have included limited edition
artists' books, drawing, painting, site-specific installations, photography,
sculpture, collage, mixed media, architecture, and calligraphy.
The North Reading Room, opened during the library’s expansion
in 2007, is devoted to showcasing the Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred
Torri Arists’ Books Collection. For each exhibition, one artist
or press from the collection is highlighted.
Exhibitions have given deserved recognition to San Diego artists including
Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Patricia Patterson, Manny Farber, Italo Scanga, Zandra
Rhodes, Russell Forester, Ernest Silva, Faiya Fredman, Jean Lowe, Viviana
Lombrozo, Becky Cohen, Nina Katchadourian, Ethel Greene, Robin Bright,
Raul Guerrero, Ellen Phillips, James Hubble, Jo Ann Tanzer, Christine
Oatman, Roberto Salas, Marie Najera, Kim MacConnel, Teddy Cruz, Adam Belt,
Jim Lee, Jay Johnson, David Adey, Ellen Salk, Gail Roberts, Sondra Sherman, and Philipp Scholz Rittermann. Artists from across
the U.S. and around the world have included Harry Sternberg, Mauro Staccioli,
Marcos Ramirez (ERRE), Nathan Gluck, William Wegman, Faith Ringgold, Ming
Mur-Ray, Rolf Händler, David Teeple and Peter Dreher.
The Rotunda Gallery features annual collaborations with the La Jolla Historical
Society, the San Diego State University Art Council, and Children’s
Hospital. Other community projects have included a fundraising exhibition
for the Pacific Rim Parks Project.
The Athenaeum’s Annual Juried Exhibition, and Biennial Artists’
Book Juried Exhibition are among the most prestigious in the San Diego
area, and the most sought-after by entering artists.
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s art exhibitions are on
view during library hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.,
and Wednesdays until 8:30 p.m. There is no charge for admission. Opening
receptions, lectures and artist’s walk-throughs are also free of
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