Contemporary Collectors celebrate 25th anniversary

Three new exhibits at the La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) showcase collection highlights to mark the silver anniversary of the museum’s Contemporary Collectors donors. With collectors’ support, MCASD has added 85 works to its group — works that were collectively bought for approximately $2.7 million and that are valued at more than $12.4 million today.

Many of these acquisitions are on view through May 16 in the exhibition

“Pleasure Point: Celebrating 25 Years of Contemporary Collectors.”

The exhibition’s title takes its name from one of the most ambitious works ever acquired by the museum, Nancy Rubins’ exuberant site-specific installation “Pleasure Point” (2006).

The show features more than 36 works in all media by emerging and prominent artists. Photographs by Cindy Sherman, Ana Mendieta and Yasumasa Morimura push the traditional boundaries of portraiture; videos by Bill Viola, Alan Rath and Gary Hill explore limits of the body and imagination; paintings by Fred Tomaselli, John Currin and Robert Colescott are by turns lyrical, provocative and pointedly political; and installations by Sol LeWitt and Petah Coyne directly engage the museum’s architecture.

Also on view is

“Classic Contemporary: Lichtenstein, Warhol and Friends,”

which features Pop, Minimalist and Color Field works in MCASD’s collection of American Art dating from the 1960s and 1970s. This show runs through March 21 with iconic examples from the Pop Art pantheon, such as Ed Ruscha’s lush, droll painting “Ace” (1962) and Warhol’s silkscreen “Flowers” painting (1967). These are juxtaposed with one of Ellsworth Kelly’s greatest early canvases, “Red Blue Green” (1963).

Sculptural works include Claes Oldenburg’s whimsical “Alphabet/Good Humor” (1975) and an open-grid sculpture by the seminal conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, “Floor Piece #4" (1976).

One other exhibit, on view through March 21, features the work of Erik Levine. His installation “Grip” (2005) is a two-channel, large-scale video projection that reveals a compelling and complex emotional tug-of-war as boys struggle with anxiety through the prism of athletic competition.

— Claire Caraska, MCASD

Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Where: 700 Prospect, La Jolla
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays-Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. third Thursdays; closed Wednesdays
  • Tickets: $5-$10. Ages 25 and younger free with ID. Free admission, 5 to 7 p.m. third Thursdays.
  • Contact: (858) 454-3541,