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3 Must-See Exhibits Opening in San Diego This Month

At galleries large and small, our picks for a visual feast


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Polixeni Papapetrou, Rhodora, 2016, archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the estate of Polixeni Papapetrou, Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney and Jarvis Dooney, Berlin.

Ready for some color after all the winter rain? Soak up one of the many visual art exhibitions opening this month in San Diego, at galleries large and small. We’ve picked three standouts worth your considered contemplation, from artists as close as Barrio Logan to as far away as the Land Down Under—like Melbourne’s Polixeni Papapetrou, the photographer of Rhodora.

 

Michael Cook, Beach Grubs, 2017, archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia at MoPA

Papapetrou, one of 13 artists featured in this exhibit, was best known for her highly staged arrangements. She often featured her own children in theatrical costumes, riffing on Lewis Carroll and Diane Arbus. Following her death last year, her husband eulogized, “The conceit goes that we make children, but Poli used to say that the children made her: They made her as a person and made her as an artist.”

Another highlight is Brisbane’s Michael Cook, whose work has been shown around the world, from the British Museum to Switzerland and Hong Kong, and even in the office of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Beach Grubs is one of eight composite works from his 2018 series Invasion, which calls on B-movie sci-fi and horror iconography to imagine Aboriginals as aliens invading mainland Britain—complete with laser-shooting kangaroos and lorikeets. It’s a more ironic, provocative continuation of his work driven by Australia’s conflicted history of European colonialism.

Through September 22; 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park 

 

Death’s Messenger

The Crow Show at The Studio Door

Beloved North Park space The Studio Door reopened in a new Hillcrest location last month with 18 open-air, work-only painters’ studios surrounding a central gallery. True to its philosophy that Southern Californians are talented enough to exhibit side-by-side with artists from around the world, it’s hitting the ground running with its fifth annual themed show, which invites artists to submit work depicting the real or mythological faces of crows, like Tina Dille’s Death’s Messenger. Past years have seen the clever Corvus represented in steel sculpture, alabaster, fiber art, bronze, linocut, acrylic and oil paint, and more, nearly all of them available for purchase. And there’s good reason to trust the selection—appropriately enough, the show is juried by Chris Redfern, executive director of the San Diego Audubon Society.

Through March 30; 3867 Fourth Avenue, Hillcrest

 

La Lucha Continua

Artivismo Loko at Mesa College Art Gallery

You may not know his name, but you’ve probably seen his murals around town. Originally from Peru, Mario Torero was a founding member of Chicano Park, Centro Cultural de la Raza, and the San Diego Commission of Arts and Culture. He led the 2012 restoration of the Chicano Park murals; his Eyes of Picasso watched over downtown for three decades (before being demolished to make way for Horton Plaza), and new versions have appeared in Barcelona, Lima, and most recently at SDSU. Torero teaches classes on “artivism” at Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan, and now Mesa College has chosen a collection of the local legend’s vibrant, politically resonant paintings, including La Lucha Continua, to showcase in their campus art gallery.

Through March 21; 7250 Mesa College Drive, Clairemont Mesa

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