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Schlemmer Show Lands At San Diego Museum

July 16, 1986|HILLIARD HARPER | San Diego County Arts Writer

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Museum of Art has scored an artistic coup by grabbing the Oskar Schlemmer exhibition, which will appear here Sept. 6 to Oct. 12.

The German painter, stage designer, sculptor and teacher at the Bauhaus art school during the 1920s, was an innovative force in the 1920s and '30s whose painting was in reaction to Expressionism. It might be reaching some to call Schlemmer, who worked with daring combinations of dance, music, costumes and masks, the father of modern performance art, but not by much.

When the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art dropped out of the exhibit's four-city U.S. tour, San Diego museum director Steven Brezzo jumped at the opportunity and "jiggled our schedule" to pick up the exhibition before Los Angeles could get it. Only one California venue was allowed. A show of California landscapes was postponed until later in the fall.

In his numerous canvases featuring dancers, Schlemmer sought to link nature and spirit, portraying existential states rather than emotion. Included in the exhibit's 200 paintings, drawings, stage designs and costumes are "Bauhaus Stairway," "Ascending the Stairs" and drawings, designs and costumes from Schlemmer's "Triadic Ballet."

Organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art, the show also will be seen at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in New York.

PUBLIC ART: Members of the City of San Diego Planning Commission are concerned about the lack of public art in San Diego and its place in the development process. To bone up on what other cities have done, they have scheduled a public workshop for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the City Council chambers, 202 C St., 12th floor. Art Professor Sally Yard will conduct the workshop.

Assistant Planning Director Mike Stepner said the commissioners have observed that "a great deal is being written about public art" and, in their travels to other cities, they have noticed that the amount of public art in San Diego pales in comparison.

The seven members of the powerful panel that advises the City Council on land-use matters "want to expand their knowledge of public arts. The workshop is not an attempt to usurp the authority of other government bodies," Stepner said. (The Public Arts Advisory Board nominally advises the City Council on arts matters.)

The commission's new interest could affect private developments. In the past, Stepner said, art has never been a concern when developers were presenting project proposals before the commission. The city could require certain developers to provide arts amenities as part of their projects.

GALLERY EDUCATION: In an effort to make the art works of the Putnam Foundation collection more accessible to the general public, the Timken Art Gallery in Balboa Park is reviving its "Painting of the Week" program.

Over the years the Timken has developed its collection of about 40 European and American works, focusing on quality rather than quantity.

"Some people with no art background feel intimidated by the collection," a Timken spokeswoman said. "We don't want to scare people away because we have 'high art.' "

Dropped a few years ago after a staff member departed, the "Painting of the Week" program is designed to make the paintings more accessible to the public. It consists of a brief lecture by a staff member to be given Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., beginning July 23. The talk will touch on the artist, the painting of the week and its place in the collection.

The featured painting next week will be a 13th-Century dossal with Madonna and Child and Angels by the Magdalen Master.

ARTBEATS: The year-old Natalie Bush Gallery, 908 E St., is in financial trouble. A benefit reception will be held at the gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. . . . Proceeds from the July 30 San Diego Pops concert will benefit the San Diego Symphony Musicians Fund. Richard Hayman, former arranger and conductor of the Boston Pops, will conduct. . . .

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