Online Catalogue
Special Events
The A List
Chamber Music
Summer Festivals
New Music
Special Concerts
School of the Arts & Art Classes
Outreach & Education
About Us & Employment Opportunities
Join our Mailing List
Athenaeum Art Exhibitions
  Facebook Twitter

Exhibitions || Lectures  || Special Events  || Annual Gala || Night Owls
Past Exhibitions New! || Calendar || Maps & Driving Directions

23rd Annual Juried Exhibition Call for Entries!
Please e-mail Sami for the prospectus at

Submissions are due by June 18, 2014

Hamilton Press Lithographs, 2013


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.

Back to top
Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Joseph Clayes III Gallery: 2013 San Diego Art Prize Recipients: James Hubbell with Brennan Hubbell, Larry and Debby Kline with James Enos

April 5–May 3, 2014
Opening reception: Friday, April 4, 6:30–8:30 PM, free

For the fourth consecutive year the Athenaeum presents the work of the San Diego Art Prize winners. The San Diego Art Prize spotlights established San Diego artists together with emerging artists. A panel of local art administrators selects the established artists and they, in turn, select an emerging artist. In 2013 the winners are James Hubbell with emerging artist Brennan Hubbell, and Larry and Debby Kline with emerging artist James Enos.

J. Hubbell

James Hubbell

James Hubbell studied design and painting at Whitney Art School in Connecticut, then served in Korea. Returning home, he studied painting and sculpture at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Hubbell has designed hundreds of commissions, including doors, sculptures, fountains, and gardens. He has created restaurants, homes, chapels, schools, and parks, but is best known for the chapel at Sea Ranch, California, and the Palace Doors of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. At the present time, he has become increasingly interested in parks and gardens as a way to link the human world to the world of nature. Some of the most recent work is the Gazebo Park in Shelter Island, a fountain at the City Complex on Coronado, and a large forged-iron gate at the Julian multi-use library. James Hubbell’s work has an international reputation with work completed in the United States, Mexico, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and China. Hubbell, along with his wife, Anne Stewart, created the Ilan-Lael Foundation, an arts education nonprofit that creates “a space to connect people, art and nature for a more sustainable and harmonious world.”

B. Hubbell

Brennan Hubbell

Brennan Hubbell began creating art as soon as he could walk. Even as a kindergartener, he helped build Ilan-Lael, the art and nature center, which is now home to his parents, Anne and James Hubbell, and Hubbell Studios. His work is wide-ranging, from large public sculptures to smaller commissions in a variety of materials, including mosaic, wood, and iron, and often featuring water and light. He also works in video documentation. Hubbell attended Webb Academy in Claremont, California, then went on to major in fine arts at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. In his twenties he studied permaculture in Oaxaca, Mexico, under the instruction of Chuck Marsh, the North Carolina–based permaculturalist and designer.  


Debby and Larry Kline

Debby and Larry Kline are collaborative artists with a focus on issues of justice. They pose provocative questions, challenge preconceptions, and generally screw with context to make a point. They strongly believe that the process of experimentation leads to truly amazing things in the studio. The Klines have been featured in many solo exhibitions, including those at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (San Francisco), California Center for the Arts Museum, La Casa del Túnel art center (Tijuana), Southwestern College Art Gallery, Mesa College Art Gallery and the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. Their work was featured in Nature/Nation, an international exhibition of environmental artists at Museum on the Seam (Israel), which involved traveling to Jerusalem and creating a one-ton adobe structure on the roof of the museum. They have participated in The Center for Land Use Interpretation’s residency program and were highlighted artists at the Beyond the Border International Contemporary Art Fair and the Art San Diego 2013 Contemporary Art Fair.  Their work has received international acclaim and coverage in both fine arts and mainstream publications. 


James A. Enos

James A. Enos is an artist and architectural designer producing narrative works that offer an alternative imagination of urban space. Focusing on questions of civic identity and collective strategies for social change, he offers a poignant critique toward addressing what he describes as the “fundamental aesthetic challenges facing North American cities.” By way of institutional performances and public programming, and via interdisciplinary visualizations, Enos pairs our erroneous and irrational conceptions of the 21st century landscape with provocations of reciprocity. He is the co-founder and director of The Periscope Project, a collaborative project platform, urban think-tank, and former alternative space, and has served as the North American project director of Port Journeys for the Spiral (Wacoal Art Center), Tokyo, and Zou-no-hana Terrace, Yokohama. He has exhibited in the architectural exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion in the 13th Venice Biennale, among other national and international institutions.


Rotunda Gallery: Omar Lopex: TADA!

April 5–May 3, 2014
Opening reception: Friday, April 4, 6:30–8:30 PM


TADA! is a collection of projects by artist Omar Lopex consisting of images created on glass, metal, Super-8 and analog film. Tintypes, an artist's book entitled "Relampago," and portraits, shot in situ at the Athenaeum, will be exhibited in the Rotunda Gallery. Lopex is an artist based in San Diego & Tijuana. He has exhibited at the San Diego Museum of Art's Summer Salon, Art Produce Gallery, unLocation Gallery, the San Diego Contemporary Art Fair, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the Mariposa Gallery in Tijuana. He says of his work: "The tricks, hustles, nuances and mistakes involved in analog photography—physically recording light on a material—resonate with the concepts that fascinate me: lies, magic, play, the Real and the Pretend."

Joseph Clayes III Gallery: Regarding the Disregarded: Photographs by Jan Staller

May 10–June 14, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, May 9, 6:30–8:30 PM
Film about Jan Staller by Dale Schierholt: 7 PM in the Athenaeum’s School of the Arts La Jolla studio


It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau’s remark could well apply to the photography of Jan Staller. Images from his published monographs, Frontier New York and On Planet Earth, Travels in an Unfamiliar Land, will be exhibited in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery in the Athenaeum. These photographs depict the urban and industrial landscapes in Greater New York from the late 1970s through the 1990s, as well as those from travels to places as distant as Asia and as near as New Jersey. Selected from more than thirty years of work, these works plot the range of his interests while demonstrating a consistent investigation of the expressive possibilities of the photographic medium. Staller’s philosophy and process will be examined in a documentary film currently in production by independent filmmaker Dale Schierholt. The film will be screened at the Athenaeum in conjunction with the show.

Involved in photography from childhood and holding a BFA from the Maryland Institute, Jan Staller moved to New York City in 1976. He was soon completing assignments for The New York Times Magazine, Life, Fortune, Forbes, and other publications. At the same time he began his personal work: color photographs of the industrial and urban landscape of Manhattan and the greater metropolitan area. Before long these photographs would appear in photography journals and art galleries. Staller's influential nighttime photographs have been exhibited and collected by galleries and museums worldwide, including the Julie Saul Gallery, MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and the New Museum. His most recent photographs of a Manhattan construction site were published in the November 8 issue of The New York Times Magazine.


Rotunda Gallery: 12th Annual SDSU Art Council Scholarship Exhibition

May 10–June 14, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, May 9, 6:30–8:30 PM, free


The Athenaeum presents for the twelfth consecutive year an exhibition of artwork by scholarship winners of the San Diego State University School of Art, Design, and Art History. The SDSU Art Council selects students from the upper division of the undergraduate or graduate programs. Each of the award winners receives the opportunity to present their artwork or thesis paper in the Athenaeum’s Rotunda Gallery.

The show is a consistent highlight of the Athenaeum’s exhibition calendar. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, May 9, at 6:30pm. A short ceremony in the Rotunda will honor the winners.