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The 2014 Artists Council Exhibition is currently on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Jorgensen Gallery and Marks Graphic Center. This year’s juror, Donna MacMillan—a generous supporter of the museum—selected some 70 works among submissions from about 400 artists.

The exhibit shows a broad range of representational, non-representational and abstract art in varying media. MacMillan also selected one piece of video art.

The Best in Show award went to Elaine Sigwald for her digitally hand-painted photograph “Sojourners Passing Through Time and Space.” The oversized, glossy vertical image is awash in organic brown and orange-black shapes. Electric blue-white ganglia-like forms create an intense dimensionality and offset the deep browns and oranges. The piece is worth noting, if only for its size and for the artist’s technical proficiency.

Another award winner is Cindy King, whose pen-and-ink drawing “Hills of California” was discussed in a previous Coachella Valley Independent story on the artist.

“Vertical Hold II,” by Irene Ryan Maloney, is a narrow intaglio print. A scratchy purplish form is at the bottom of the work; as a viewer’s eyes moves upward, a well-articulated head in black and white appears. With a blank upward stare, the head at the top becomes what appears to be more of a death mask than a portrait. The piece contains a quiet, controlled power. This print earned the Michele Jamison Memorial Award.

Lucia Grossberger Morales’ “Fractal Sines” didn’t receive an award, but it’s worth noting as the only piece of video art in the show—and it is a stand-out addition. In silence, a video monitor displays a screen of seemingly ever-changing, amorphous cloud-like formations, for four minutes. Clouds change from fun, light and floating, to ominous and threatening. Grossberger’s mesmerizing and almost hypnotic creation shows off shades of blue and purple, with hints of grey.

Atop an orange-red painted panel, Darrell Corn applies a rich deeply-saturated blue encaustic to create “Borneo.” About 80 percent of the panel is covered by the encaustic, and the eye wanders across the entire painting, seeking spaces where the contrasting orange-red peeks through. When a viewer blinks, the orange-red forms seemingly move from backdrop to foreground. The experience of depth is further enhanced by the orange-red patches that at times seem to float.

Jim Riche’s black-and-white photograph “Visitor Center” at first seems like a dramatic presentation of the iconic mid-century building that greets visitors when driving into Palm Springs on Highway 111. The angled roof commands the space with cirrus clouds dancing in the background; unfortunately, the artist’s attempt to frame the bottom of the image by including the small treetops and possibly the ground doesn’t work. The irregular black band, to me, was a visual distraction.

Kim Chasen’s “Blocks 2,” an acrylic and mixed-media piece, consists of two horizontal bands of five blocks. The face of each block is textured to enhance the experience, and each face is in a muddied color, like lime green or orange.

All works in the show, valued between $500 and $6,000, are for sale. The proceeds are equally divided between the artist and the museum’s educational programs.

The awards ceremony for the show takes place in the museum’s Annenberg Theater at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7, and is followed by a reception in the Elrod Sculpture Garden and the museum’s lower-level galleries. Admission is free and open to the public.

The 2014 Artists Council Exhibition is on display through Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, in Palm Springs. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and noon to 8 p.m., Thursday. Admission is $12.50 general; $10.50 for seniors; $5 for students; and free to members, kids 12 and younger, active military members and everyone the second Sunday of each month and after 4 p.m. on Thursday. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit www.psmuseum.org.

Below: “Borneo,” by Darrell Corn.

Published in Visual Arts

Comedy

Coachella Comedy/Improv Festival

A weekend celebration of improv and comedy! See improv teams and comics perform and compete! Visit the website for a complete schedule. 4 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 13. $20 to $85. Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo Street, Indio. Coachellaimprovfest.weebly.com.

Film

Dive-in Movies at Wet ’N’ Wild

Dive-in Movies are included with park admission. Play during the day on Fridays, and stay late to enjoy a film poolside. The movies are intended to be family-friendly, but please use discretion. Movies will start after dusk, and the park will be open until 10 p.m., weather permitting. July 11: Frozen. July 18: The Amazing Spider-Man. July 25: The Lego Movie. Aug. 1: Grown-Ups 2. Admission prices vary. Wet ’n’ Wild Palm Springs, 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-327-0499; www.wetnwildpalmsprings.com.

Kids’ Summer Movie Series at Ultrastar

A selection of family-friendly films are shown at 9:30 a.m. every Monday through Friday, through Friday, Aug. 22. June 30 through July 4: Turbo. July 7-11: Walking With Dinosaurs. July 14-18: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. July 21-25: Ice Age: Continental Drift. July 28-Aug. 1: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. $5 for a 10-movie package; $1 at the door. UltraStar Mary Pickford Cinemas, 36850 Pickfair St., Cathedral City. 760-328-0484; www.ultrastarmovies.com.

Lit Flicks: All the President’s Men

See how great books can turn into film classics! Prior to the film, enjoy popcorn and kick back for a short conversation by film and literary experts. This will be facilitated by Tod Goldberg, director of the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert’s low-residency MFA program. After the film, there will be a brief discussion. 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 23. Free. University of California, Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-834-0800; palmdesert.ucr.edu/programs/Lit_Flicks.html

Moonlight Movies—Captain America: The First Avenger

Bring your blankets, low-back sand chairs, snacks and the whole family for fun and movies under the stars. Sunset, Friday, July 11. Free; call for other Moonlight Movies events. Fritz Burns Park Pool, 78107 Avenue 52, La Quinta. 760-777-7090; www.la-quinta.org.

Music

Copa Events

Ross Mathews presents Jackie Beat, the world-famous drag superstar and comedy writer, at 8 p.m., Friday, July 4. $20 to $40. Amy and Freddy, headliners for 13 consecutive years with RSVP Vacations, perform at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19. $25 to $40. Copa. 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-3554; coparoomtickets.com.

Fantasy Springs Rock Yard Concert Series

At 7:30 p.m., full-throttle rock music fires up with a cover band to get audience members out of their seats. At 9 p.m., the tribute band takes over and plays audience favorites. At 10:30 p.m., the cover band comes back out and continues the live music until midnight. Saturday, July 5: Tribute to Queen. Saturday, July 12: Tribute to Bon Jovi. Call for information on other concerts. Free. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 888-331-5645; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Friday Night Tribute Concert: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Spotlight 29 Casino invites everyone to come out and enjoy the Friday-night tribute concerts. Guests must be 21 years and older. July 4: Lynyrd Skynyrd. Call for information on other dates. Free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

The Melvyn’s Artists’ Showcase

Join Mikael Healey, musical director, each Wednesday at 8 p.m. for open-mic night, featuring singers, poets, instrumentalists and artists of all types. Free. Melvyn’s Restaurant at the Ingleside Inn, 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs. 760-325-2323; inglesideinn.com.

Special Events

Independence Day Celebration Benefiting AAP

Join supporters of the AIDS Assistance Program at the legendary O’Donnell House for a dazzling celebration. The evening includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. Valet parking provided. 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 4. $100; advancaae purchase required. The O'Donnell House, 412 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs. 760-325-8481; aidsassistance.org.

Lyfted Productions Presents Independence Fe5tival + UFC

The party features DJ LF and DJ Sean; and a carnival theme on the patio with a dunk tank, bungee pull, vodka snow cones and more. Come early to hang with the beautiful Kilt girls and watch the UFC fight on more than 40 big screens. 10 p.m., Saturday, July 5. $5 to $8. Tilted Kilt, 72191 Highway 111, Palm Desert. 760-773-5458; www.showclix.com/event/3855645.

Palm Springs Tattoo Convention

More than 75 top artists are tattooing all weekend. Live music and DJs plus drink specials are included, as are tattoo contests. Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 13. $20 weekend pass. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9676; palmtreesandtattoos.com.

Seventh Annual Mid-Summer Dance Party

To celebrate the Desert AIDS Project’s 30th birthday, they’re throwing a party. The event features DJ sets by All Night Shoes and Femme A, and a special performance by Cameron Neilson from The X Factor. 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 25. $20 to $75. The Commune at Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-992-0440; www.desertaidsproject.org.

Summer School: Poolside Art Workshops and Music

The Ace hosts its annual weekend of artist workshops, plus DJs and bands curated by School Night Los Angeles (KCRW’s Chris Douridas and MFG’s Matt Goldman). Friday, July 18, through Sunday, July 20. Prices vary. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/calendar/palmsprings.

Visual Arts

Backstreet Art District Art Walk

Galleries and studios featuring modern and contemporary fine art are open the first Wednesday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Experience the thrill of interacting with working artists. Find paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography and more, in one location. Free. Backstreet Art District, Cherokee Way and Matthew Drive, Palm Springs. 760-202-1208; www.backstreetartdistrict.com.

California Dreamin’: Thirty Years of Collecting

The exhibit includes art works purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council and other contributors since 1984. The acquisitions were created by contemporary artists who worked in California or were influenced by spending some time in California during their artistic careers. This is the first time these artworks have been on exhibition together. The exhibit is a celebration of the commitment of the Contemporary Art Council to growing the museum’s collection of significant contemporary artists, and is a survey of art in California since the 1980s. On display through Thursday, July 31. Included with museum admission (free to $12.50). Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4800; www.psmuseum.org.

Submit your free arts listings at calendar.artsoasis.org. The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun

When I first walked into Peggy Vermeer’s home in Palm Springs, I was immediately impressed: At 89 years old, she’s still sharp as a knife—and the artwork on the walls is simply mesmerizing.

Vermeer has quite a history as a local artist. She’s well-known for her assemblage art, although she has also done some abstract painting and papercraft. However, she’s best known for what she has given to others: She was the very first teacher at the Palm Springs Art Museum and was the founder of the children’s art program. In fact, she’s still a docent at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Peggy said she’s often recognized around town due to her time as the children’s art teacher at the museum.

“I had a man who came up to me and said, ‘Oh, Peggy. I was in your art class, and I’m 41 now.’ I said, ‘Thank you very much!’” Vermeer said with a laugh.

Vermeer’s interest in art developed as she grew up. Her mother served as an inspiration.

“It started with designing paper dolls, and when I went to high school, I discovered I could be an artist. My mother was an artist, but she didn’t practice it,” she said. “I just started doing it, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Vermeer credits Robert Rauschenberg as the artist who inspired her the most. However, she was inspired to start working in assemblage after she met assemblage artist Michael deMeng in Idyllwild.

“It’s found pieces of ordinary objects put together to form an art piece,” she said. “We used to go to the illegal dump to get shot-up old things. Assemblage is putting junk together, really. It can be anything at all. It’s not following any rules; no rules or regulations.”

Sure enough, when you look at the works in Vermeer’s home, there are no rules or regulations. One of Vermeer’s pieces that caught my attention was a piece that featured a raven in a bird cage—positioned on top of a vintage Corona typewriter (below). Another interesting piece is a bust with a Walkman embedded in the chest; it also includes a door with a mirror, an image of the Mona Lisa, and … a broken crack pipe?

“My friend, Brother Andy, he found (the crack pipe) in the street. He was taking a walk, picked it up, and brought it over.”

Vermeer said she doesn’t have any problem finding objects.

“People bring you things,” she said. “Sometimes, you look around your own home, and there it is. You never know, and that’s why you can’t throw anything away.”

When I brought up a work that was in her kitchen, she told me it was assembled from a mannequin she purchased off eBay, a broken shower glass door, gesso paint, acrylic paint, plumbing sealant and some lighting. Vermeer definitely has an advanced knowledge of tools and various skills that would make the average handyman quite envious.

“When I go down to True Value, they run and hide,” she said, laughing. “I’m always asking them for impossible things. I’ve learned how to solder, and I’ve learned how to burn things with a blow torch. I learned a lot of it from Michael deMeng. I took a lot of his online classes.”

She discussed how one of her pieces made it into the Palm Springs Art Museum—and in the process, she reportedly became the first local artist to have her a piece in the renowned museum.

“Last year, I entered one of my pieces into the artists’ council shows. It didn’t win anything,” she said. “Donna MacMillan, the patron of the arts in the valley, bought it and donated it to the museum. (The judge in the contest) said, ‘It isn’t really art.’ … It had lights, a head, and he decided it wasn’t real art because it wasn’t a painting. But the museum was very pleased about accepting it.”

Vermeer is most definitely an original—and she’s not in the mindset of trying to impress typical upscale art patrons. She said she is always out to learn new things and discover how things work. She supports Debra Ann Mumm’s murals project in Palm Springs; she speaks highly of the art scenes coming out of Slab City and the Joshua Tree areas. She also has a high opinion about many artists in the Palm Springs area.

“We have some really interesting artists here in the desert,” she said. “They’re striving and struggling to get shown.”

She also said that she’s been fortunate in her life.

“I was very lucky that I inherited some money. I had a good brother, and I thank him daily,” she said. “What I earned at the museum was nothing.”

She shared some advice for those who want to take up art.

“You can’t make a living as an artist alone; you have to look at it as a hobby,” she said. “… It’s nice to sell, but it’s a struggle. When you commission something, you’ll have a wife who loves it and a husband who doesn’t like it. So you learn if you do a commission that you get paid a certain amount of money that’s non-refundable.”

When she looks back on her life so far as an artist, she said she has no regrets.

“I’m very happy I was an artist,” she said. “I’m glad I got the opportunity to work at the museum, and I had freedom they don’t have now. I couldn’t function there now, because it’s too structured.”

Published in Visual Arts

Comedy

Kathy Griffin

The famous, profane and controversial comedian brings her comedy and D-list fame to the desert for two shows. 9 p.m., Friday, June 6; and 8 p.m., Saturday, June 7. The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Wayans Brothers Live!

In 1990, the world of comedy welcomed an irreverent sketch comedy that changed the playing field. In Living Color debuted to critical acclaim and adoration by millions of American fans. Leading the charge was trailblazing creator, writer, director, producer and actor Keenen Ivory Wayans. He and his brothers take the stage together. 8 p.m., Saturday, June 21. $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway. 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Film

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is the only science-fiction film produced by Walt Disney himself and remains one of the most highly regarded live action films of Walt Disney Productions. Infusing fresh life and color into the Jules Verne classic, the film doesn’t shy away from the challenges of its ocean setting, featuring outstanding underwater sequences, a legendary special-effects battle with a giant squid, and a regrettably “true to the text” depiction of “cannibal island.” 5:30 p.m., Friday, June 13. Free. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, 72567 Highway 111, Palm Desert. 760-322-4800; www.psmuseum.org/palm-desert.

Movies in the Park: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Bring chairs, kick back and enjoy the start of summer! The movie will begin the second the sun goes behind our mountains. 5 p.m., Friday, June 13. Free. Thousand Palms Community Park, 31189 Robert Road, Thousand Palms. 760-343-3595; apm.activecommunities.com/desertrecdistrict.

Palm Springs International Shortfest and Film Market

Palm Springs International ShortFest is renowned worldwide for the extraordinary community of filmmakers it attracts, and for the quality and scope of its programming. ShortFest 2014 will present more than 300 short films from more than 50 countries. Tuesday, June 17, through Monday, June 23; times, prices and venues vary. General public sales begin June 10; www.psfilmfest.org.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a mystical, surreal and challenging film exploring questions of memory, reincarnation and the afterlife. On the edge of the florid jungle lies a man on the edge of death, who begins to recall his past lives in the company of his deceased wife and son who have returned in non-human form to usher him into the afterlife. 5:30 p.m., Friday, June 6. Free. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, 72567 Highway 111, Palm Desert. 760-322-4800; www.psmuseum.org/palm-desert.

Music

America

America created a sound of their own with their flawless blend of contrasting genres, consisting of pop rock, folk-jazz and even Latin-leaning rhythms. Since the 1970s, America band members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell have been producing inspiring music that has brought them chart-topping success. 8 p.m., Saturday, June 7. $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Art Laboe Summer of Love Jam III

The show features El Chicano, Rose Royce, MC Magic, Amanda Perez and Club Noveau. 7 p.m., Saturday, June 14. $35 to $65. The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Christina Bianco

Drama Desk and MAC Award-nominated actress, singer and impressionist Christina Bianco has become a worldwide YouTube sensation thanks to her diva impression videos going viral. Christina also just sold out a critically acclaimed extended run headlining at London’s famed Hippodrome. 8 p.m., Saturday, June 21. $20 to $40 with a two-drink minimum. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-3554; www.coparoomtickets.com.

Hot as Hell Pool Party With Zulluu

Zulluu is an Anglo-African fusion band/theater group, pioneering a new trend of blending world beats and sounds into a mix of theater, music and dance. They are highly vocal, singing lyrics in both English and the African language of Zulu. Bring your swimsuit! 7 p.m., Monday, June 2. Free. Sidebar Patio and Circa 59 at Riviera Palm Springs, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-8311; www.psriviera.com.

Special Events

Desert Chiefs Football Presents Desert Bowl

Battle for the ball, 7-on-7 football tournament. All sponsorship proceeds go the DHS JAA Football and Cheer. 10 a.m., Saturday, June 14. Free. Desert Hot Springs High School, 65850 Pierson Blvd., Desert Hot Springs. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Juneteenth in the Coachella Valley

The event promises good food, exciting entertainment and an atmosphere that inspires community unity and support. All proceeds will directly benefit the Family Health and Support Network foster-care program. The evening will include a performance by special guest artist and renowned vocalist Ms. Alfreda James. 6 p.m., Saturday, June 14. $65; $85 VIP. La Quinta Resort and Club and PGA West, 49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta. 760-340-2442; www.juneteenthcv.com.

Visual Arts

California Dreamin': Thirty Years of Collecting

The exhibit includes art works purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council and other contributors since 1984. The acquisitions were created by contemporary artists who worked in California or were influenced by spending some time in California during their artistic careers. This is the first time these artworks have been on exhibition together. The exhibit is a celebration of the commitment of the Contemporary Art Council to growing the museum’s collection of significant contemporary artists, and is a survey of art in California since the 1980s. On display through Thursday, July 31. Included with museum admission (free to $12.50). Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4800; www.psmuseum.org.

Submit your free arts listings at calendar.artsoasis.org. The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun

“California Dreamin’,” the iconic song of the 1960s, conjures up images of the peace and love movement for many. Today, however, the Palm Springs Art Museum is offering its own take on the phrase.

The exhibit California Dreamin’: Thirty Years of Collecting shows off the works of artists who worked in or were influenced by California over the last three decades.

California Dreamin’ marks the first time these pieces, all museum-owned, have been exhibited at the same time. Movements represented include Bay Area Figurative Art; Funk Art; Assemblage; Light and Space; Hard Edge and Geometric Abstraction; and Latino.

Christopher Brown’s painting “800 Hours” (bottom) evokes the same sense of loneliness and isolation created by Edward Hopper a century before. In contrast to Hopper and his recognizable figures, Brown paints forms that are concurrently figurative and abstract; he enhances the sense of anomie by creating humanoid forms devoid of facial features. The artist’s figures appear in a shadowy black, with the exception of one painted in a yellowish green, and another painted in both yellow-green and black.

The entire top third of the canvas is in shades of deep aqua. Angled across the middle section of the wide image, Brown paints a bright, broad swath of yellowish-green, which serves as a harsh counterpoint to the softer aqua. The dark left foreground is painted in deep aqua muddied by the yellow-green. In addition to being a path along which these ambiguous figures move, the wide yellow-green strip creates dimensionality and forces the viewer’s eyes to travel across the entire painting.

Brown’s choice of materials softens the harshness. By employing oil on silk, a soft sheen infuses a humanity into what could otherwise be an overly strident composition.

Rooted in commercial art, Ed Ruscha grew his portfolio thanks to his interest in words and typography. His work bridges the pop and conceptual art movements. The artist deftly creates paintings that have an intellectual element and provoke an emotional response, as can be seen in “Exploded Crystal Chandelier Headache.”

In a soft white, Ruscha paints each word vertically from the top to the bottom of the large canvas. The background begins in a dark charcoal black and transitions first to mauve and then finally to a light yellow-white. “Exploded” appears sits stark against the dark charcoal.  Paired with mauve, “Crystal” seems relaxed. With a backdrop of yellow, the word “Chandelier” comes across like a soft light.

Ruscha’s presentation of the word “Headache” is contradictory: The word representing a painful condition becomes peaceful, calm and nearly invisible juxtaposed against the faint yellow-white backdrop.

A recognized leader of the Light and Space movement, Helen Pashgian produced “Untitled (Acrylic, Copper, Epoxy).” The artist’s positioning of these three complementary materials creates a powerful piece that plays with the viewer’s visual experience and center of gravity. Behind what seems like a scrim, the artist fabricates what looks like a vertical sheet of metal leading to the first of three horizontal bands. Below the third band hangs a dark circular disk. The translucent scrim blurs all objects; they appear to float in space.

Copper strips appear laminated into each horizontal band. She creates the appearance of a concave half of a thick, blurred white tube. However, upon blinking, there is a change: What was the interior becomes the exterior—the copper stripe appears laminated to the outer shell.

Positioned behind the blurred dark circular object, a strategically placed copper disk reinforces the sense of dimensionality, and produces the illusion of movement. While none exists, Pashgian fabricates the illusion of a floodlight shining on the entire piece.

Robert Therrien’s “No Title (stacked plates, butter)” (right) can be summarized in two words: whimsical and fun! The cream-colored plates are reminiscent of Melmac, the kitschy dinnerware popular between the 1940s and 1960s. The plates are positioned so that they appear to be teetering, creating what is experienced as an unstable, tottering 10-to-12-foot tower.

“The Big 4,” painted by Robert Motherwell, is wide and expansive; it consumes the exhibit’s entranceway. Using his signature colors, the artist produced a powerful, inspiring work that deserves to be exhibited as frequently as possible. However, including “The Big 4” in a show titled California Dreamin’ at first blush seems problematic. Motherwell’s ties to the California art scene seem dubious; he is the youngest member of the globally recognized New York Abstract Expressionist Movement.

However, his ties to the Golden State are there. Motherwell lived in both the north and south parts of the state, and he graduated from Stanford University.

The exhibit contains many excellent examples of California schools, including Nathan Oliveira’s oil and vine charcoal on campus “Untitled Standing Figure 1,” William Allan’s oil on canvas “Wyoming Pond,” and An-My Le’s gelatin silver print “29 Palms: Night Operations IV.” However, one of the works in particular does not fit.

Rupert Garcia’s pastel “Un Ramo de Flores para Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (A Bouquet of Flowers for Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz)” seems more like three independent illustrations; it is not a cohesive triptych.

The artist demonstrates his expertise as a fine draughtsman. In addition to creating an attractive, mysterious Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz, he skillfully draws flowers. However, no bouquets exist: To the right and left of the sister, Garcia draws stems with either a single flower or two flowers and buds. Even symbolically, these straggly, unappealing flowers do not constitute a “bouquet.”

California Dreamin’: Thirty Years of Collecting is on display through Thursday, July 31, at the Annenberg Wing of the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. Regular museum admission fees apply. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit www.psmuseum.org.

Expanded credits: Christopher Brown, "800 Hours," 1992, oil on linen, museum purchase with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council, 1993; Robert Therrien, "No Title (stacked plates, butter)," 2007, plastic, museum purchase with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council, Donna and Cargill MacMillan, Jr., and funds derived from a previous gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel H. Maslon. Photograph by Sherrill and Associates, Inc.

Editor's Note: This version of the story has been corrected with proper information on Robert Motherwell's California ties.

Published in Visual Arts

Film

MOVIES IN THE PARK: THE CROODS

Bring chairs, kick back and enjoy the start of summer! The movie will begin the second the sun goes behind our mountains. 6 p.m., Friday, May 9. Free. Mecca Community Park, 65250 Coahuila St., Mecca; apm.activecommunities.com/desertrecdistrict.

SHORTFEST ‘SHOOTING STARS’

In preparation for June’s ShortFest 2014, the Camelot will host a program of the best of the “Shooting Stars” programming, featuring major Hollywood names appearing on screen or behind the camera. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 15. Free. Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-2930; www.psfilmfest.org.

Music

BEST OF COACHELLA VALLEY SYMPHONY

In Coachella Valley Symphony’s season finale, local physician and soprano Dr. Lisa Lindley headlines this gala event with selections from both the opera and pop worlds. This special evening will include a grand VIP reception and auction following the concert for those patrons who purchase a $125 ticket. All proceeds from the auction will go toward youth education programs. 7 p.m., Friday, May 9. $25 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

MARIACHI EXTRAVAGANZA

Don't miss the dynamic sounds, the rich colorful costumes and the cultural celebration of the Mariachi Extravaganza. Embajadores Del Mariachi, Mariachi Sol De Mexico, led by Jose Hernandez, is a Grammy-nominated and platinum-selling group that has performed to sold-out audiences around the world for more than 30 years. Las Primeras Damas De Mariachi Reyna De Los Angeles is the first female mariachi ensemble in the United States. 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 24. $20 to $40. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 800-585-3737; startickets.com/venues/item/spotlight-29-casino.

MARIACHI VARGAS DE TECALITLAN

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan has been in existence for 100 years and has been credited with revolutionizing the style of music. They've recorded albums, starred in more than 200 movies, and performed all over the world. 4 p.m., Sunday, May 11. $40 to $100. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

PEPE AGUILAR

Five-time-Grammy winning artist Pepe Aguilar is an impressive master of fusion with an undisputed capacity to inspire audiences. 8 p.m., Friday, May 2. $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

ROCK YARD AT FANTASY SPRINGS

The Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs brings music fans free, live rock shows. At 7:30 p.m., the full-throttle rock music fires up with cover band Rok of Ages and gets audience members out of their seats. At 9 p.m., the tribute band takes over and plays audience favorites. At 10:30 p.m., the cover band comes back out and continues the live music until midnight. Friday, May 2: Pat Benatar. Saturday, May 3: Tribute to U2. More shows to be announced; check the website for more information. Free; 18 and older. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

STAYIN’ ALIVE: A CELEBRATION OF THE BEE GEES

Stayin' Alive offers the songs and sights of a full Bee Gees concert, singing blockbusters such as “Night Fever,” “Jive Talkin,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “You Should Be Dancing,” “Nights on Broadway” and “Stayin’ Alive,” along with video clips, photos and dazzling imagery. 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10. $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 800-585-3737; startickets.com/venues/item/spotlight-29-casino.

Performing Arts

THE FABULOUS PALM SPRINGS FOLLIES’ FINAL SEASON

The Follies’ final edition, entitled “The Last Hurrah,” will conclude on Sunday, May 18. The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies has been seen by nearly 3 million patrons, and celebrates the music and dance of mid-century America with a cast ranging in age from 55 to 83 years young. Various dates and times through Sunday, May 18. $29 to $95. Palm Springs Follies at the Historic Plaza Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-0225; www.psfollies.com.

Special Events

BIRDS OF JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

The deceptively barren Mojave Desert landscape is home to and resting grounds for numerous endemic and migratory bird species; more than 240 species of birds have been recorded in Joshua Tree National Park. Kurt Leuschner, professor at College of the Desert, will guide this three-day field class through the Mojave and Colorado deserts to identify common and rare birds. Leuschner’s focus will be on identifying individual species and separating summer and winter residents from true migrants. 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, May 2; 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 3; 7 a.m. to noon, Sunday, May 4. $125 to $135. Black Rock Visitor Center, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Road, Yucca Valley. 760-367-5525; www.joshuatree.org/desert-institute/field-classes/birds-of-joshua-tree-national-park.

BREW AT THE ZOO

“Save wildlife one beer at a time.” Enjoy a sampling of handcrafted beers, food and live entertainment, with participation by more than 50 local breweries and restaurants. Proceeds help The Living Desert. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3. $35 to $125. The Living Desert, 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert. 760-346-5694; www.livingdesert.org.

AN EVENING AT THE PUEBLO

Join Cabot’s Pueblo Museum for a fabulous cocktail and dinner celebrating the placement on the National Register of Historic Places and the preservation of the integrity of Cabot Yerxa’s history, pueblo and collection of artifacts. 6 p.m., Saturday, May 17. $150. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, 67616 E. Desert View Ave., Desert Hot Springs. 760-329-7610; www.cabotsmuseum.org.

EVENING UNDER THE STARS’ 2014 GALA: FIRST LADIES OF DISCO

The 21st annual Evening Under the Stars gala to benefit the AIDS Assistance Program (AAP) will feature a star-studded performance by fabulous female pioneers of the ’70s disco scene. Scheduled to appear are Linda Clifford, France Joli, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Maxine Nightingale, Pamala Stanley, Anita Ward, Martha Wash and the ladies formerly of Chic: Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin and Norma Jean. The event includes cocktails, dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions, one-of-a-kind collectibles, marvelous merchandise and more. 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 3. $395 and up. O'Donnell Golf Club, 301 N. Belardo Road, Palm Springs. 760-325-8481; aidsassistance.org.

Visual Arts

ART AT SUNNYLANDS

Sculpture Taking Place: Cast, Carve, Combine allows families to wander Sunnylands Gardens and view local sculptors at work in this thematic family day; from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, May 18. Plein Air in the Gardens admits artists for extended hours to paint, sketch or sculpt in the gardens. Pre-registration is required; from 7:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 21. Free. Sunnylands Center and Gardens, 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. 760-202-2222; sunnylands.org.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': THIRTY YEARS OF COLLECTING

The exhibit includes art works purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council and other contributors since 1984. The acquisitions were created by contemporary artists who worked in California or were influenced by spending some time in California during their artistic careers. This is the first time these artworks have been on exhibition together. The exhibit is a celebration of the commitment of the Contemporary Art Council to growing the museum's collection of significant contemporary artists, and is a survey of art in California since the 1980s. On display through Thursday, July 31. Included with museum admission (free to $12.50). Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4800; www.psmuseum.org.

PALM SPRINGS PHOTO FESTIVAL

Connect 2014 offers the opportunity for professional, emerging professional and serious advanced amateur photographers to study with legendary photographers, show portfolios in the celebrated Portfolio Review Program, and attend cutting-edge seminars. The program is intended to inspire, educate and instill or reignite passion for the art and commerce of photography. Various times Monday, April 28, through Friday; May 2. Prices vary. Hyatt Palm Springs, 285 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 310-289-5030; 2014.palmspringsphotofestival.com.

Published in Local Fun

Comic books may be meant for kids, but they’re not child’s play. So says Jon Proudstar, creator of Tribal Force—the first comic book to feature an all-Native American superhero team.

Time spent counseling child-abuse victims and violent youth offenders—often from the Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham reservations near his Tucson, Ariz., home—taught Proudstar the value of cultural awareness. He didn’t learn about his own Yaqui heritage until his maternal grandmother told him when he was 5.

Tribal Force, released in 1996, was critically well received—even making it into Comic Art Indigène, a pop-culture exhibition that stopped at locations including the Palm Springs Art Museum. Several large comic-book publishers sought to buy the rights, but Proudstar wanted to retain control of the storyline and the characters’ unhappy, all-too-real backstories. Unfortunately, he lacked funding, so the project went dark for more than a decade.

The new Tribal Force, from the small independent publisher Rising Sun Comics, continues the saga. An online preview is already available, with the print version expected in April.

The god Thunder Eagle, determined to create a Native superhero team from North America’s various First Nations, helps Nita, a Navajo child-molestation survivor, transform into the goddess Earth. Meanwhile, Gabriel Medicine Dog, a Hunkpapa Sioux left mute by fetal alcohol syndrome, metamorphoses into the fearsome Little Big Horn following a fatal bar fight. Together, Nita and Gabriel seek out other Native supernaturals, fighting high-tech government entities and supervillains along the way.

A onetime Hollywood chauffeur and bodyguard, Proudstar, 46, currently works as a screenwriter and independent-film actor. In 2012, he co-starred with Booboo Stewart of the Twilight franchise in the award-winning coming-of-age film Running Deer. He formed Proudstar Productions to represent and finance deserving projects, including the forthcoming Wastelander, an apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Angelo Lopes.

Bryn Bailer caught up with Proudstar recently in a Tucson coffee shop.

Why did you create Tribal Force?

I think Native children need to know who they are. They forget why we fought so hard in the beginning, and why we continue to fight: to fulfill the promise we made with our God to protect this land and take care of it. When you have that strength of knowing where you come from, and the greatness your people once had, it’s like you’re Superman. You feel the power.

Where did the idea come from?

The superhero comic books that I was so into (as a kid) taught me the whole thing about good and evil. I saw the bad things that were going on, that gangs were doing, and … I know it sounds silly, man, but I was like: “Spider-Man wouldn’t do that,” or “Batman wouldn’t do that.”

Traditionalism vs. modern life is a big theme, isn’t it?

That’s definitely entrenched in Tribal Force. They’re all traditional heroes—meaning that their powers come from Native tradition—but their enemies are all high-tech: guns, lasers, cannons, invisible ships. That’s what they’re up against. It’s hard to keep values and traditions when you’re amalgamating with such an advanced society. You walk two roads: Failure in one world is success in the other, and vice versa. … My dream is to give Native American kids heroes. I didn’t have that.

The members of Tribal Force aren’t your typical superhero team.

The characters are very young and flawed, and not into their culture. They’re the last people you’d pick to have super powers in your community. They’re the jerkoffs who are in jail every frickin’ weekend. Nita’s a punk … and the gods won’t take it from her any more. Spiderwoman—the Navajo goddess who taught her people how to weave—takes Nita to the past, and shows her what the Navajo have been through. When she sees the sacrifices that her people made, she starts to become more serious about learning. If she learns how to weave, she’ll get more powers. If she goes through her Kinaaldá (a Navajo coming-of-age ceremony), she’ll increase her powers.

If the members of Tribal Force were here today, what would they be most upset with?

Tribal Force looks at the same issues that rez kids have to deal with. When I was younger, I remember thinking, “We’ll always be poor, struggling, seeing relatives being arrested.” That was kind of crushing. But I educated myself by reading a lot, and in broadening my horizons, I realized that things will change—and that you can change them. The first issue I’m dealing with in the book is the epidemic of child molestation on Indian reservations. Seven out of 10 girls—it’s a huge cancer. Gabe has fetal alcohol syndrome … and he’s into weed and drinking, and struggles with learning what it truly is to be a warrior. A lot of kids misinterpret what a warrior is. It has nothing to do with war. A warrior takes care of his village, makes sure the old ones are taken care of, and that the children are safe. But for the most part, it’s a comic book. There’s action and aliens, and weird stuff.

Given all the injustices Native Americans have experienced, what keeps you fighting the good fight?

To know I have that blood running through me definitely gives me strength. That’s what I’m hoping when kids pick up my book—that somewhere in there, they will find a window that opens up to them, too. We give kids the information in a non-threatening way. It’s not like a textbook.

Is it intended to be controversial?

The books that influenced me, like X-Men, were very controversial at the time, because they talked about homosexuality, racism, suicide—topics that were taboo in comic books. If an educator reads (Tribal Force), they definitely would be worried. (It has) a lot of violence and controversial subject matter. But I’m not writing it for adults. I’m writing it for young people, in a medium they’re used to. It’s the art of “fighting without fighting.” The last thing I want is teachers or organizations saying, “Children, you should read this.” If anything, I want them to say, “Stay away from this book.”

This article originally appeared in High Country News.

Published in Features

Dance for Life Palm Springs, a benefit for the AIDS Assistance Program, should be a spectacular show at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater on Friday, Jan. 17—but on Tuesday night (Jan. 14), one of the participating dance companies stopped by the Dance Dimensions studio in Palm Desert to offer local ballet students a workshop.

The workshop, put on by Las Vegas’ Nevada Ballet Theatre, was part of Dance for Life’s community outreach program, which offers students at local schools and dance studios a chance to work with professionals in the industry. Dance for Life is also holding free performances around the community—and even has planned a flash-mob performance at an undisclosed location.

“This is sort of an extension of Dance for Life,” said James Canfield, artistic director of the Nevada Ballet Theatre. “Any outreach and awareness that you can bring into a community enriches that community. It gives these kids an opportunity to work with professionals who are in this profession. It’s really about awareness, because funding in schools is stretched and limited—and the arts is one of the first things they drop, yet it’s been proven arts can increase self-esteem, discipline and focus. It can do things to help kids in a different way of learning.”

Olivia Frary, a 14-year-old from Palm Desert who is a ballet student at Dance Dimensions, was excited about the opportunity to take part in the workshop.

“I think it’s really awesome that we have the opportunity to work with them,” Frary said. “It’s a really great experience and something I’ll always remember—when the Nevada Ballet Theatre came to our dance studio in Palm Desert, California. It’s really important for dancers to see other dancers all the time, so you always have something to look up to, and someone to have as a role model.”

As the students of Dance Dimensions warmed up on balance bars on one side of the room, the Nevada Ballet Theatre warmed up on the other. Students showed signs of nervousness or intimidation—until one of the staff members encouraged them to mix it up with the pros.

To start the workshop, Canfield walked around and sized up all of the students as he introduced himself. He immediately asked, “What are the requirements to be a good dancer?”

Turns out he had already given the answers to them during a short warm-up exercise—and some of the students had already forgotten. “Coordination and balance,” he said.

Canfield’s calm teaching method reminded of a Zen master. He adjusted students’ posture positions, had them work on dance steps and cracked the occasional ballet-related joke.

“What’s your favorite children’s book?” he asked some of the students. “Snow White,” one of them answered.

“Without the dwarves? I see how it is,” Canfield joked.

When one student said The Giving Tree, Canfield acted elated, and said it was the answer he was seeking, explaining that the 1964 Shel Silverstein book offers a lesson that applies to ballet: You give your body to the art until your body cannot physically give any more.

Canfield stressed to the students that ballet goes beyond dancing; it also takes personality and emotion. Oliva Frary said that fact makes her love the art of ballet.

“It’s a really great way to express emotions, feelings, unique qualities and different ideas through movement without having to say any words,” Frary said.

By the end of the workshop, most of the students were tired; many of the students were not used to performing as long and as hard as they had. But despite the fatigue, they seemed happy: It was surely an experience that many of them will long remember.

Dance for Life, a benefit for the AIDS Assistance Program, takes place at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater, 101 Museum Drive, in Palm Springs, at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17. Tickets are $95. Performers are scheduled to include Giordano Dance Chicago, ENTITY Dance Company, Tap Sounds Underground and Los Angeles Ballet, in addition to the Nevada Ballet Theatre. For more information, call 760-325-8481, or visit aidsassistance.org.

Published in Theater and Dance

“Any work that is going to be a classic,” to paraphrase a quote attributed to Picasso, “must be different from the classics before.”

Well, the late Richard Diebenkorn was a 20th-century artist who created many classic works.

A show at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966, focuses upon Diebenkorn’s years in the San Francisco Bay Area, when the artist integrated abstract expressionism with representational art to produce a new visual vocabulary.

Diebenkorn (1922-1993) once transitioned from a unique abstract-expressionist style to become a member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement. Upon his move to Southern California in the mid-1960s, though, Diebenkorn returned to abstraction, building upon his successes both as an abstract artist and a representational artist.

One of the first things you notice about Diebenkorn’s works: His large canvases demand attention. He uses striations, aka bands, for multiple purposes. He almost always uses striations to create a horizon line across the top of a canvas. Other striations create space for Diebenkorn’s approaches.

“Cityscape I” (1963), according to Steven Nash, the museum’s executive director (and a Diebenkorn expert), “defines Diebenkorn’s first real merger of abstract painting and the cityscape.” After using one band to articulate his sky, Diebenkorn employs other striations to create horizontal sectors below. Planes of green on the right side of the canvas suggest parks or lawns, while patches of grays and whites on the left suggest houses and other manmade structures. Left of center, the artist creates a well-defined wide road that ambles from the foreground to the blue sky. Deep gray shadows further define various spaces and make the eye move across the entire painting. 

Diebenkorn’s second trademark, after striations, is his use of vigorous brush strokes and a palette knife, carryovers from his abstract-expressionist canvases. With this technique, Diebenkorn produces the experience of three dimensions on his two-dimensional canvases. Diebenkorn’s painting style is not unlike the style of the New York City-based abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning (1904-1997). In fact, de Kooning and Diebenkorn were concurrently exploring the tension between figuration and abstract expressionism.

Diebenkorn’s consistent approach to creating figures is his third trademark. The artist often eliminates parts of arms, legs and heads, making his figures appear both closer and larger. Enhancing the effect, he often paints his figures toward the bottom of the canvas, as well as to the left or right of center. This forces the viewer to take in the entire canvas.

Up close, Diebenkorn’s figures are not attractive. The paint is thick, and heads are devoid of recognizable features (noses, eyes, mouths, etc.). When viewed from a distance, however, there is a major shift: Faces show subtle and not-so-subtle shading. Diebenkorn’s figures project a pensive mood; they seem isolated, and that mood often permeates the entire canvas.

His large canvas “Woman on a Porch” (1958) is a perfect example of Diebenkorn putting all the pieces together: striations, highly textured canvases, and truncated, faceless figures.

Diebenkorn, like many abstract expressionists, never abandoned his exploration of the human form. Irrespective of medium (e.g., gouache, pencil, charcoal, pen and ink), these images—frequently of nude women, and frequently smaller—are quite accessible.

The artist’s figurative drawings frequently contain elements of his larger canvases (e.g., faceless people; off-center focuses, etc). To create depth and perspective, Diebenkorn employs ghosting (drawing softer lines around parts of the figure) and shading. These impressive works are frequently given non-descript names, like “Untitled” or “Woman Seated.”

With his 1966 “Untitled (Yellow Collage),” Diebenkorn hints at his imminent return to abstraction. Using gouache, he paints a faceless female figure dressed in a rich-blue dress. She is atop a collage of different shades of yellow that both define the horizon line and delineate space.

Given this impressive show’s depth (approximately 110 works), it is well worth one long visit—or maybe two, After all, a second visit offers opportunities to revisit the pieces you enjoy most, and discover works you may have missed during the first visit.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966, continues at the Palm Springs Art Museum through Feb. 16, 2014. A free audio tour is accessible via cell phone. The museum is located at 101 Museum Drive in Palm Springs. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday though Sunday; and noon to 8 p.m., Thursday. Admission is 12.50 for adults; $10.50 for seniors; $5 for children; and free to members, youths 12 and younger, military members and their families, and everyone from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and every second Sunday. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit www.psmuseum.org.

Below: Richard Diebenkorn, "Woman on a Porch," 1958, oil on canvas. New Orleans Museum of Art, museum purchase through the National Endowments for the Arts Matching Grant © 2013 The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. All rights reserved.

Published in Visual Arts

The Palm Springs Art Museum’s current show at their Palm Desert Campus looks at the relationship between around 15 artists’ sculptures and their works on paper.

Across Dimensions: Graphics and Sculpture From the Permanent Collection includes artists both well-known—Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly and Jim Dine, for example—and lesser-known, including Dan Namingha, John Buck and Robert Hudson.

On one level, the show asks the question: Does this artist, by working in two media, create synergies or a sense of continuity that furthers that artist’s vision? The show answers with a resounding yes in some ways—although the exhibit does show some weaknesses.

Using only artwork only from the museum’s permanent collection offers both good and bad news. The positive? The curators have a defined body of work from which to choose, and their knowledge of the collection produced some well-thought-out and synergistic pairings.

But other pairings seemed contrived and/or forced. It is unclear if the less-than-successful pairings stem from limitations in the museum’s collection, or questionable choices by the organizers. Also, the exhibition includes no women artists.

The works of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), Henry Moore (1898-1986), Donald Judd (1928-1994), and Dan Namingha (1950-) show the clearest relationship between works on paper and sculpture. These striking cross-medium synergies provide that “ah-ha!” moment.

Giacometti’s portraits (including a 1949 lithograph of Tristan Tzara; a 1962 etching of Rimbaud; and a 1949 sculpture, “Diego on a Cubist Base”) demonstrate a clear alignment between print and bronze. He answers the question, “What is my aesthetic?”

A lyrical quality presents itself in Henry Moore’s lithograph “Six Reclining Figures” (1963), his bronze “Mother and Child” (1959) and his maquette (a small-scale model) “Reclining Figure #2” (1950). Moore’s way of highlighting figures in his prints gives insights into how he thinks about light hitting his sculptures.

Donald Judd’s “Untitled” woodcuts (1988) and his concrete sculpture, also “Untitled” (1998-2001) are rather massive and imposing. Despite being printed on a soft, cream-colored paper, these woodcuts—printed with ultramarine ink—demand attention. Similarly, the concrete does not merely exist in the outdoor sculpture garden; it takes over its space. Despite being situated in two different areas, these works are pure Judd.

A member of the Hopi-Teva nation, Dan Namingha creates imagery that celebrates the kachina, a symbolic representation of anything in the real world. Namingha effectively straddles figurative and non-representational imagery in three works: a 1985 lithograph, “Kachina Mana”; a 1997 chine-collé, “Hemis Kachina”; and a 1997 bronze, “Kachina Montage.” Namingha clearly shows how connected he is to his Native American roots—and his sculpture is as insightful as any other piece in the exhibition.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was, of course, one of the most prolific 20th century artists—which makes the apparent disconnect between his print “Fetes des Faunes” (1957) and ceramic sculptures, “Male” and “Female,” all the more puzzling. The print is powerful, energetic and complex. The sculptures, in contrast, appear minimal and simplistic.

Despite some clear limitations, the exhibition is worth the trip to the Art Museum’s Palm Desert Campus.

Across Dimensions: Graphics and Sculpture From the Permanent Collection continues through Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, 72567 Highway 111. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday; and noon to 8 p.m., Thursday. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for seniors and students; and free to members, active military, kids 12 and younger, and everyone after 4 p.m. on Thursdays, as well as the second Sunday of every month. For more information, call 760-346-5600, or visit www.psmuseum.org/palm-desert.

Victor Barocas is a photographer, author and educator. You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Visual Arts

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