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AT THE GALLERIES

May 08, 1987|Robert McDonald

Landmark Art Projects, a nonprofit organization for the integration of art and the environment, is exhibiting models and concepts for the arena of the Museum of Seasonal Change.

The museum would be a three-acre deciduous-tree forest laid out in a grid with a central arena for changing art installations and performances.

"It is (proposed as) an environment for the discovery of natural processes and awareness of the subtleties of seasonal change in this region," the exhibition brochure says. The exhibit is on display in the lobby of the Imperial Bank tower (701 B St.).

The general ambition of the Landmark Art Collaborative, a group of environmental artists and landscape architects who conceived the project, is to change neglected and undeveloped sites in the city into sculptural spaces, as artists in Los Angeles and San Francisco and elsewhere have been doing for some years.

The organization's goals are laudable, certainly. It would be desirable to see many of the long-term vacant lots downtown used creatively, transformed into attractive environments, even temporarily.

However, few of the proposals seem calculated to inspire and garner support for this broader goal from business and political interests. They probably would alarm rather than attract them.

Some are so general that they lack any specific reference to "the subtleties of seasonal change in this region." But Eric Orr's slate and gold pyramid with water and fire would be sensational--anywhere, any time of the year. So would Kenneth Capps' installation of a boulder and four gnarled trees.

Other proposals are so complex that maintenance costs possibly would be prohibitive. Budgets should have been presented with the models, unless this merely was an exercise in fancifulness.

The Museum of Seasonal Change as now formulated seems very artificial, from the grid of trees to the "recordings of natural sounds" in Suvan Geer's proposal. (Why not "natural" natural sounds?)

It also seems redundant. San Diego already has a "museum of seasonal change." It is called Balboa Park.

The exhibition, supported in part with a grant of $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, continues through May 17.

It was called the "sleeper" of Artwalk a couple of weeks ago, a show that casual visitors discovered was something special even though it had not been widely publicized.

Pink and Pearl Gallery owner Richard Peterson (711 8th Ave.) sent out only 30 invitations for "an exhibition of public and private work," each one announcing a different, unpronounceable, nonsense title--"Skpqmzdut" and "Bwldpqckdh," for example.

The titles gave no clue to the nature of the exhibition, an overview of Peterson's own commercial and art work.

Included in the "salon"-style installation are many photographs with collaborative frames and mats by Sydney Kovac, which are themselves works of art in the tradition of assemblages made of found materials. Some of the images are erotic; a few, manipulated.

Not surprisingly, Peterson's "commercial" photographs are also artistic. They include the gorgeously photogenic waitress named Morris of the Java Coffee Gallery and the Electric Snakes band; gifted San Francisco performance artist Winston Tong; artists Bruce Conner, Mario Lara and Christopher Lee, and numerous rock stars.

Also on view are a number of album covers with Peterson photographs.

The exhibition continues through May 16.

The Acevedo Gallery has two concurrent exhibitions at different sites.

On view in the gallery in Mission Hills (4010 Goldfinch St.) are paintings and serigraph prints by Bolivian artist Mario Cespedes, a resident of Los Angeles. Connoisseurs of Southwest art favor his works for their scenes of native women, generally at work, in subdued desert colors. They are accomplished, although not compelling, works of art.

On view in a temporary downtown gallery (733 4th Ave.) are paintings by Mexican artist Sonya Fe. Generally featuring women with cats in flowery and verdant environments, they are sophisticatedly naive semiabstractions in shallow space. They are strangely haunting with respect to both composition and content.

Both exhibitions continue through May 30.

Spectrum Gallery (744 G St.), which exclusively exhibits the works of its San Diego artist members, is offering two innocuous solo shows.

Helen Redman paints bright panels of happy people at swimming parties. These playful images of the San Diego life style might be appropriate decorations for pool-side cabanas in some communities, but not in La Jolla.

Two of the bronze figures among Christopher Slatoff's realistic (but bald!) academic sculptures of women appear to have broken necks.

The exhibitions continue through May 23.

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