Athenaeum Library Book Arts Lecture

Special Lectures

The Mythology of California: Scene Makers and Cultural Renegades at the Edge of “The West”

Presented by Charissa Noble

 

Thursdays, September 19, 26 & October 3, 2019

All lectures begin at 7:30 PM.

 

Bringing cutting-edge research, fresh perspective, and dynamic challenges to the historical status quo, Charissa Noble, PhD, presents her original work in the field of musicology and art history to the Athenaeum this fall. Her lectures at the Athenaeum are the stories not yet told: people, ideas, and events retrieved from the margins of our prevailing historical narratives, connected to each other in new, creative ways. In this series, Dr. Noble discusses the mythology and cultural legacy of radical art scenes in California over the course of three lectures.

 

September 19 » Cults, Wild Parties, and Radical Art Circles from San Luis Obispo to Marin County

 

This lecture traces the history of California's progressive culture and arts scene through the lens of Coastal California identity and mythology. The land along Highway 1ragged shorelines, serrated mountains, sprawling ranches, wide open spacescultivated a sense of living on the edge of “the West,” beckoning outsiders, innovators, and mavericks to go their own way. Two case studies epitomize this epic collision between landscape, myth, and art on the California coast in the first half of the 20th century: composer Henry Cowell’s establishment of an “ultra-modern” scene within California’s unique environment of mystical spirituality and high modernity, and composer/artist John Cages’ early formation as the quintessential “art rebel” through his encounters with different radical artistic communities lining the road from Carmel to San Francisco.

 

Part I: Theosophy, Henry Cowell, and the “Ultra-Moderns”

Part II: “Travels with John”—Cage’s Encounters with the Westons, Lou Harrison, and Anna Halprin


September 26 » The Myth of the “Cultural Wasteland”—Starting Art Scenes in Los Angeles

 

Los Angeles: the land of cars, Hollywood, hedonists, and cultural plebians, superficial and artificial to its core … so the story goes. Yet, LA’s expansive geography, co-mingling of pop and high culture, and lack of an established art infrastructure until the late 20th century proved to be unique advantages for this purported “cultural wasteland,” particularly for art visionaries and scene-makers such as Betty Freeman and Walter Hopps. This lecture examines the incredible and under-reported soirees of Betty Freeman and the launch of the Ferus Gallery by art industry disruptor Walter Hopps, both of whom brought together vibrant artistic communities and invented new models of patronage and support. 

 

Part I: Betty Freeman 

Part II: Walter Hops


October 3 » Hip-Hop and “Outsider” Art in Los Angeles

 

Historians frequently attribute vernacular art traditions such as hip-hop to New York City. However, new and revolutionary modes of cultural expression emerged independently of NYC’s influence within LA’s east neighborhoods of Compton and Watts. More than just a musical style, hip-hop involves fashion, public art, and identity, negotiated within tightly woven communities yet it exercises remarkable cultural reach through recording technologies. This lecture examines the resourcefulness and cultural triumphs of these traditionally underrepresented communities in art and music history, exploring landmark public works (such as the Watts Towers) and the specifically LA-based hip-hop culture that emerged in the midst of limited resources and racial oppression.

 

About Charissa Noble:

A musicologist, local arts advocate, and fashion blogger, Dr. Noble traverses a wide range of aesthetic interests, exploring the different ways that people participate in cultural discourses. She completed her PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and previously earned an MA in music history at San Diego State University with a secondary emphasis in 20th century American art. Dr. Noble specializes in 20th and 21st century avant-garde art and consistently produces new research that engages recent discoveries and current thought in her field. Her work centers the experiences of those traditionally considered “outsiders” in art: women, communities of color, the West Coast (versus the dominant culture centers of Paris and New York), and controversial art. She frequently speaks in academic contexts, such as the national meeting of the American Musicological Society, the International Society for Minimalist Music, and at Cornell University in 2018. Additionally, her work has been featured in journals published by UCLA, USC, SUNY Buffalo, the Society for American Music, and Sound American magazine. Dr. Noble is deeply committed to the advancement of the local arts scene in San Diego, serving the San Diego Art Institute as an exhibition scholar for Roberto Romero-Molina’s The Language of Things and the local chamber music organization Art of Élan in an educational outreach role (both in 2018), and serving San Diego New Music as a board member.

 

Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

1008 Wall Street

La Jolla, CA 92037

Click here for directions

 

Individual tickets: $12 member / $17 nonmember

Series tickets: $30 member / $45 nonmember

 

 

 

Online tickets are subject to ticketing fees.

 

 

Athenaeum Library Book Arts Lecture

Special Lectures

The Salk Institute and Multiplicity in Architecture

Presented by Jeffry Kieffer

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

All lectures begin at 7:30 PM

 

Join us for a lecture on the Salk Institute seen from a different perspective—an exploration of the Salk Institute’s master plan, including the built Laboratory building along with the unbuilt Meeting House and Visiting Fellows residences. The “crossover” spatial and formal relationships between these three components of the complex intrigue lecturer Jeffry Kieffer, who will offer attendees a chance to view the archival drawings for the development of the Institute. These plans will present the audience with a totally new understanding of the scientific complex. With this background in place, Kieffer will discuss other Louis Kahn projects as well. Buildings designed just prior to and ongoing with the execution of the Salk commission will be explored in order to shed light on aspects of the Institute’s Laboratory building. His architecture will be further illuminated by aspects of Kahn’s personal history. 

 

About Jeffry Kieffer:

After having written widely on Louis I. Kahn, Jeffry Kieffer (who retired from a 35-year career as a New York City architect in 2014), began research in 2009 for a book about the Salk Institute. In March 2019, his book The Evolution of a Building Complex: Louis I. Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies was published by Artifice Press. Kieffer has lectured on Kahn since 1979 and in 1986 received a special commendation from the Architectural League of New York for his early independent research on Kahn’s architecture. His other written works about Kahn include an essay published in Architecture and Urbanism magazine in 1993 and an article on the reopening of Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery in Blueprint magazine in 2007.

 

Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

1008 Wall Street

La Jolla, CA 92037

Click here for directions

 

This is a FREE event. Reservations are not necessary.