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Athenaeum Art Exhibitions
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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 charge.

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Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Joseph Clayes III Gallery: Manifestations of Sibyl
REDUX: Books, Prints, Collages & Then Some

June 21–July 26, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, June 20, 6:30–8:30 PM, free


The Athenaeum is proud to present the artwork of Artist-in-Residence Sibyl Rubottom in the Clayes Gallery. Recent artist’s books, collages and prints will be on view. “Then Some” includes iPad drawings and a Books Arts Shrine.

Twenty-four years ago my first show at the Athenaeum was entitled “1x1 and then some.” This show, “REDUX,” revisits recurring themes to indicate a return to and revival of archetypal imagery, such as astronomy, botanicals, physics, textiles, typography, water, and of course, elephants. 

In this show are recent artist’s books, including “The Water Book: Cenotes,” depicting forays in the underground grottoes of the Yucatan; “The Second Quarter,” four poems by Otis Rubottom, prints from the “Dream Sequence,” a series using layering in intaglio prints around themes of entry into and emergence from the dream state, and collages, including “The High Himalayan Range,” a series of adapted maps from the Mt. Everest region.

“Then Some” points to other objects, like iPad drawings and a Book Arts Shrine, in the tradition of "cabinets of curiosity." I wanted a ‘cabinet’ to carry sample book structures to my workshops. This shrine has evolved from practical origins into a repository and reliquary of books and objects that I cherish, to form a traveling workspace I can bring from village to village, as the Tibetans do with prayer altars when on pilgrimages through the high Himalayas.

Sibyl Rubottom was born in New York and received her BA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Yale. After travel in India, she returned to San Diego to raise her family and nurture a custom fabric design business. Sibyl co-founded Bay Park Press and is the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s Artist in Residence and teaches at the Athenaeum School of the Arts and UCSD. Sibyl’s work is held in many public and private collection including The Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Yale University, Brown University, UCSD, UCLA and the Athenaeum.


Rotunda Gallery: Bay Park Press Interns: Leah Goren, Anthony Lukens, Morgan Miller III

June 21-July 26, 2014
Opening reception: Friday, June 20, 6:30–8:30 PM


Leah Goren

Leah Goren is an illustrator and surface pattern designer living in Brooklyn, NY with her curly-haired cat. She graduated in 2012 from Parsons School of Design with a BFA in Illustration.


Anthony Lukens
Anthony Lukens studied printmaking and artist book making under Sibyl Rubottom and Jim Machacek at Bay Park Press between 2001 and 2007. Spending much of the last few years as a traveling musician, his drawing documents the humor, beauty, and sleep- deprived absurdity associated with life on the road. Seemingly mundane moments take on new meaning in Luken’s artwork. An avid surfer and dog petter, Anthony lives and works in San Diego, with his wife and their very small dog, Gretel.



Morgan Miller III
Morgan Miller III is a fifth generation San Diegan from Point Loma, and currently lives in Golden Hill.  He is a graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, with a BFA in Illustration.  He is the current assistant at Bay Park Press specializing type-setting for letterpress, creating linoleum block prints and various forms of etching, and bookmaking.  He is a member of the San Diego Book Arts and has done demonstrations of letterpress for the Book Arts Fair held at UCSD.


Joseph Clayes III Gallery: 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition

August 2-August 30, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, August 1, 6:30–8:30 PM, free

Jurors: Sally Yard, Professor of Art History, University of San Diego and
Derrick Cartwright, Director of University Galleries & Professor of Art History, University of San Diego

Reasor Maxey
Kim Reasor and Brad Maxey

Forty-three artists have been selected for the Athenaeum’s 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition, on view in the Joseph Clayes III and Rotunda galleries, August 2 through 30, 2014. The opening reception will be held on Friday, August 1, 6:30—8:30 p.m. The event is free to attend for both Athenaeum members and the public.

First, second, and third place honors will be awarded by the jurors at the opening reception. The Athenaeum’s executive director Erika Torri choses jurors from prominent arts institutions or local galleries each year. This year’s jurors Sally Yard, Professor of Art History, University of San Diego and Derrick Cartwright, Director of University Galleries & Professor of Art History, University of San Diego chose 43 from over 1100 images submitted by 220 artists.


Amanda Rouse

“The challenge of picking the works for the Athenaeum's juried exhibition was especially great this year. So many talented artists submitted compelling images,” said Derrick Cartwright. “Sally and I opted to select images that struck us as coherent approaches to contemporary problems in representation through a wide variety of media. Technical accomplishment was important, but so was a willingness to take risks and find new excitement in common things. I was especially drawn to works that demonstrated an appreciation of art history without resorting to imitation. In the end, I hope the works on display both carry a conviction about the importance of contemporary practices in our common culture and offer the Athenaeum's public a broad array of challenging choices."


Margaret Noble

Open only to artists who live, work, or have exhibited in San Diego, the Athenaeum’s annual juried exhibition provides a platform for local artists to receive excellent exposure and to draw inspiration from talented peers. Acceptable submissions this year included 2-D and 3-D media, with the exception of functional or craft art. All submissions have been completed within the past five years.


Jim Graham and Chris Martino

Past jurors include Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Stephanie Hanor, past Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Arthur Ollman, former Director of the School of Art, Design and Art History at San Diego State University, Mary Beebe, Director of the Stuart Collection at UCSD, Ben Strauss-Malcolm, Gallery Director for Quint Contemporary Art, Mark Quint, Owner of Quint Contemporary Art, Ariel Plotek, Assistant Curator, San Diego Museum of Art, and Amy Galpin, Associate Curator, Art of the Americas, San Diego Museum of Art, to name a few.


Portia Krichman

Selected Artists Names in Alphabetical Order:

Nina Preisendorfer Baker Sean Hnedak Margaret Noble
Warren Bakley Donna Knierim Cliff Oliver
Stephanie Bedwell Portia Krichman Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio
Gregory M. Brown Carolyn LaFrance Jonathan Osio
Paul Craig James Lasry Karl Pilato
Annette Cyr Nancy Lee Kim Reasor
Kathi George with Bill Kelly Richard T. Lonsdale Josie Rodriguez
(Doug Regel Rome Editions) John Makinster Amanda Rouse
Douglas Dow Chris Martino Michael Rybicki
Peter Fay Brad Maxey Neil Shigley
Kaori Fukuyama Kathy McChesney James SOE NYUN
Peter Geise Lori Mitchell Lynn Susholtz
Jim Graham Michelle Montjoy Scott Thornycroft
Renetta Happé Marie Najera Adriana Zagorsky
Therese Cipiti Herron Cathy Nguyen