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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: Allison Wiese

September 20–November 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, September 26, 6:30–8:30pm

Allison Wiese

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is pleased to present the artwork of Allison Wiese in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery from September 20 through November 1, 2014. The opening reception will be held Friday, September 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Allison Wiese will exhibit Speaking Otherwise, a new installation using common materials and textual diversions. Wiese is an interdisciplinary artist who makes sculptures, installations and architectural interventions. Her work drags ideas through time, re-plumbing the social and political landscape of the near past as a way of querying the lingering presence of certain American myths and pointing to truths about the present.

Wiese’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States at such venues as Machine Project in Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and Socrates Sculpture Park in New York. She is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, an alumna of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and was a Core Fellow of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 2001 to 2003. Wiese currently lives in San Diego, where she teaches studio art at the University of San Diego.

Rotunda Gallery: Pat MacGillis

September 20–November 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, September 26, 6:30–8:30pm

Pat MacGillis

Pat MacGillis will present Unexpected Beauty in Everyday Life showing mixed media paintings and drawings.From her daily walks above the ocean on the chaparral cliffs of Torrey Pines, to her extensive travels throughout the region and Latin America, Pat MacGillis draws inspiration from the beauty of daily life in Southern California. She has practiced her art making for over thirty years showing her work locally and nationally.

Pat MacGillis grew up on Long Island, New York. She attended SDSU and also studied visual art and anthropology at UCSD. She has taught in San Diego Community Colleges and at the UCSD Craft Center. She has organized many art projects with grants including a Picerne Foundation grant to work with San Diego’s underserved youth.




Joseph Clayes III Gallery: Roy McMakin
Is a Vase Worth More than a Bowl

November 8–December 27, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, November 7, 6:30–8:30pm
Walk-through: Saturday, November 8, 11am

Roy McMakin
Roy McMakin

The Athenaeum will present the work of Roy McMakin in the Joseph Clayes II Gallery November 8-December 27, 2014. McMakin will exhibit furniture-based sculpture, drawings of household objects and photographic work.

Roy McMakin is an artist who works in a wide variety of media. McMakin often incorporates furniture into his artwork. He combines form and function, furniture and visual art, to produce hybrid objects that can be non-functional or/and items of utility. His work often plays with scale and language, inviting both visceral response and conceptual contemplation.

McMakin has been the subject of exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle; and the Portland Art Museum. In 2010, Skira Rizzoli published a comprehensive monograph on McMakin, When Is a Chair Not a Chair. McMakin’s Favorite Color, 2010 is part of the La Jolla Mural project. McMakin graduated from UCSD and is currently represented by Quint Contemporary Art. He is relocating his studio Domestic Architecture from Seattle to San Diego. Domestic Furniture will remain based in Seattle. He lives in both San Diego and Seattle.

Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, November 7, 6:30-8:30PM and a gallery walk-through with Roy on Saturday, November 8 at 11AM. Both events are free.


Rotunda Gallery: Allan Morrow
Art Periodical Collage Series: Volume 2

November 8–December 27, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, November 7, 6:30–8:30pm

Allan Morrow

Allan Morrow will present Volume 2 of his collage series in the Athenaeum’s Rotunda Gallery. Although modest in size, the works are graphically powerful and created with flawless craftsmanship.

Morrow is one of San Diego’s best known local artists. His work has been exhibited locally at the Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art, among many other institutions, and dozens of galleries nation-wide. Allan studied at San Diego State University and San Diego City College.

The Art Periodical Collage Series was started in late 2002. Volume 2 of the series began in 2010. The raw materials for the series come from the pages of major art periodicals and art journals from 1972 to the present, including Arts, Art in America, ARTFORUM, ArtNews, etc., many acquired from the Athenaeum’s book sales. Holding onto these periodicals over the years started to take up valuable studio space. It occurred to me that I could collage the pages of the magazines into artworks, drawing upon the dynamic influence of history’s artists.

Allan Morrow

North Reading Room:
With Silken Twine:
Woven Paper by Merilyn Britt

November 8–December 27, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, November 7, 6:30–8:30pm

Merilyn Britt
Merilyn Britt

Merilyn Britt is a long-time resident of San Diego, who after a career in commercial book publishing discovered the fine art of printing limited-edition books by hand. Her paintings and books have been exhibited in local galleries, The San Diego Museum of Art, The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, and included in Mandeville Special Collections at the University of California, San Diego. This is her first exhibit of woven paper.

While collaborating with Brighton Press, San Diego, I explored plant dyes to print paper and silk. Then, after teaching solar-dyed pigments at the Paper and Book Intensive sponsored by the University of Iowa, I began weaving exceptional quality papers I collected from press trims and hand papermakers.

The lore of dyeing and its relationship with weaving led me to textile methods revealed by archaeology: anonymous artists of the loom. Contemporary wood and wire interweaving encouraged freer innovation with paper as weft in a harp of thread.

“Textiles can be utterly useless, fragile and curiously poetic and deserve to be admired in themselves.”   --Arthur Drexler on tapestry in 1956 group exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art