Dare to Dream

Last week I was able to cross off an item from my bucket list by doing a photo shoot at the Salk Institute. This mid-century marvel is the brainchild of Jonas Salk with the bold architecture of Louis Kahn making it not only a revolutionary place for science and research, but a pilgrimage site for architecture and design lovers. The historic campus of the Salk Institute has long been one of those iconic San Diego sites that you may have seen captured somewhere on social media, but not known exactly where this magical place might be.  Something about its raw materials and reverent stare toward the sea is reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple of the gods. Salk’s vision for the institute was to “dare to make dreams into reality.” Stepping into the space, it is obvious this was a place meant to harmonize with nature in order to inspire the mind towards great discovery.

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Because it is a functioning laboratory and research center with a lot of student activity, access to the site is strict and is allowed only between certain hours. My talented friend Bronson and I were lucky enough to be granted permission for a low key shoot in the public space. Both of us had dreamed of creating imagery here for a long while and we took full advantage of our time.

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Although the central plaza and the iconic river of life are the most well known, we were both equally inspired by the harmony and flow of the stairways and flanking cavernous hallways.

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We had a break in our summer heat and got an atypical cloudy day for the time of year. Initially bummed about this, my mind was quickly changed when I saw how this enhanced the already gorgeous light play in the space by diffusing it in a really magical way.

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It was really hard to pull ourselves away from the space. As the sun set, we kept seeing the space evolve with the changing light. We were oh so grateful for the time we had and it was such a blast. I’m so thankful to Bronson for always being willing to create art with me. I found it profound to be creating imagery in a space where cures are created and life is saved on a daily basis.

~SG

All photos by Bronson Pate of Bauman Photographers

 

Outfit Details:

Dress: Halter Dress with Fringe by Zara
Earrings: Lotus Statement Earrings by Kendra Scott

Noche de las Estrellas

Despite the hard deadlines, the burying amount of minutia and detail management and sometimes seemingly insurmountable stresses it can bring, event designing and planning has been a real joy in my life; one that I didn’t expect when I got into the field long ago. The creative outlet it provides me everyday is something that I try to never take for granted. Planning for the San Diego Museum of Art is a dream come true as it combines two of my great loves in life…art and this city of mine. Getting to help bring people together with art, make memories and in some way add to the art commentary in San Diego is so fulfilling. When I heard that an unparalleled collection of Modern Lain America Art was coming to be shown here and that we would host a celebration dinner my wheels immediately begun to turn. Modern Art is one of my favorite genres, but I haven’t been well acquainted with the Latin masters apart from Frida and Diego. Even while just looking at the thumbnail imagery while the show was being planned I was already impressed.

Planning an event around such big commentary and important artists is not something I take lightly. I aim to celebrate and take inspiration from without being trite and without reducing the art and artists to stereotypes or a “theme” in the gross sense.  Its not always easy to do this and requires a delicate hand, especially when your attendees will be well versed on art and in this specific genre. The event Noche de las Estrellas was born out of this dinner we would host alfresco under the stars as well as the spectacular luminaries of Latin American art we would be celebrating.

My ultimate direction on design I decided on was to focus on traditional decorative motifs from all over Latin America and break those down into a modernized version of their pattern and colors. I was inspired mostly by the patterns and colors of traditional Mexican serapes and Peruvian alpaca blankets, but also some of the more indigenous motifs of the Aztec and Maya. I knew renting a linen was not going to make the statement I wanted and it was beyond my time limits to create the tabletops myself, so I enlisted an artist friend I have collaborated with before that works with tape as his main medium. Dominic Fontana of Taped Metal Canvas was up for the task and we set out on 5 months of planning. He came to town the  week before the event and worked at the warehouse of our friends at PEP Creative to cover their custom wrapped dining tables with 11 unique taped designs. The results were spectacular and beyond my wildest dreams.

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With designer tabletop additions from Casa de Perrin and over the top tablescaping by Green Fresh Florals, it came together as an over the top color fantasy. All of my vendor pals pulled out all the stops for me and I’m oh so in awe of their talent.

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I am always known to plan my outfits way too far in advance and make sure they match the event somehow, but I had a bit of a snafu in this department.  I had selected a black and white stripe princess cut gown to contest with the lines of the table design, but both unfortunately and luckily I tried the dress on one more time the night before the event. As the zipper went over the waist seam the zipper busted beyond repair on such short notice. I had a mini panic meltdown. Then I decided that with zero time for emergency shopping with a 9 am set up time, I was going to have to shop my own closet. Deep inside I found a random BCBG gown I had purchased on a whim on sale at Bloomingdales months ago. I never buy a long formal dress without an event in mind, but there it was and it fit perfectly. I guess it was meant to be. I thought the colors worked well with the event decor and the design was was light and fresh looking. The dramatic open back is a little more skin than I would normally show for a donor event, but it wasn’t vulgar. I also took the star necklace that matched the neckline of the other dress and turned it into a jeweled headband. This was a real make it work moment.

0AF3B45C-43A5-49F9-AEE4-0EBD6046CE801018179X000531018179X00051Other than my dress fiasco, there were no other major fires to put out and the event really went off without a hitch. The attendees had a blast and we raised a lot of money for the Modern Masters from Latin America exhibition. Thank you to everyone who helped make this night unforgettable…you know who you are. And come see this gorgeous exhibition open now to the public.

Until the next event!

-SG

 

The Broad: A Museum Review

My colleague Sally and I went to Los Angeles last week for a one day events conference. Never wanting to miss an opportunity to infuse every trip with at least a little bit of art, I did a little research on what was near the conference venue in downtown LA. I was beyond excited to find that The Broad Museum was only a couple miles away. I have always wanted to see the broad and I had a very strong reaction to the space in many ways.

I had heard a lot of opinions about the space prior to visiting…Some good some bad. Mostly I heard about the long wait to get in. I am always pleased to hear about long waits to see art, but not keen on spending half a day in line, I was able to find a counterpart at the Museum who put us on a short list to get in. It certainly started our visit on a positive note. The building is quite the spectacle itself. With Large and overwhelming architecture and a unique layout with a strange imposing lobby, it felt theme park like in some ways…complete with a long slow escalator climb to the main galleries through a tunnel like the beginning of a roller coaster.

We first headed to the Yayoi Kusama infinity mirrored room being featured as that had a separate line. I have seen a lot of coverage on social media of these mirror rooms recently so I was quite excited to experience one. It is quite breathtakingly beautiful inside, but at the one-minute max per group, you hardly had a chance to let it soak in really before you were kicked out. If we had more time we probably would have waited in line again. We still managed to get a few gorgeous photos. I picked my Carven Paris dress just for the experience.

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Yayoi Kusama – Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away

 

We then made the slow climb to the main gallery spaces upstairs. Wandering through, I was struck by the owners flare for large scale pieces full of color and contrast. I have a similar aesthetic and I have to say there were very few pieces I didn’t like. The artist roster is quite impressive…you won’t find many better examples of Koons, Lichtenstein, Warhol or Ellsworth Kelly.

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Jeff Koons – Balloon Dog (Blue)
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Barbara Kruger – Untitled (You are a very special person)

 

Above clockwise from top left: Jeff Koons – Tulips; Roy LichtensteinMirror #1; Keith Haring –Untitled

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Andy Warhol –Rorschach

 

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Ellsworth Kelly – Green Blue Red

 

I was personally very fond of a couple quite large pieces by Takashi Murakami. When you first enter the space, the one pictured below flanks the Koons Tulips. It took my breath away.

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Takashi Murakami – In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow

 

After a riveting spin through these masterpieces, we headed back down to check out the temporary install called Oracle which is a comentary on contemporary society and the many forces at work. There were artists I knew such as El Anatsui and Jenny Holzer, but most I was not as familiar with. The pieces were just as large and striking as the big hitters upstairs but heavier in subject matter and execution. I found a Thomas Struth chromogenic print of an Aquarium in Atlanta Georgia particularly beautiful and a large scale work on paper by Mike Kelley really sucked me in.

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Peter Halley –Collision Circuit

 

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Thomas StruthAquarium, Atlanta, Georgia
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Mike Kelley –Infinite Expansion

 

Overall I thought The Broad was a museum experience unlike any other. The space holds a unique energy. The excitement of the other attendees was refreshing and inspiring and the quality of the collection is undeniable. I will definitely be back and hope on my next trip I have a bit longer to peruse. Next time you are in downtown LA you simply must add this to your itinerary.

-SG