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San Diego Museum Of Art Wants You To Spend The Night

Above: The Yes Men (Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum) are the keynote speakers at the San Diego Museum of Art's event "36 Hours of the Summer Salon Series."

Aired 7/26/12 on KPBS News.

What happens at 2 am inside a museum? This is your weekend to find out.

A scene from the play
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Above: A scene from the play "American Realism," directed by Katherine Brook, from a 2011 performance at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn.

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night in a museum gallery, this is your chance.

Beginning at 10 am Friday, the San Diego Museum of Art will open its doors for 36 hours straight, for a special extended edition of its ongoing Summer Salon Series, presenting a wide array of activities for visitors to feast on, from live art-making, music and performance art to theater, films, gallery tours and art talks.

Highlights of the 36-hour event include a keynote lecture by international culture-jammers The Yes Men on Friday at 7 pm. Led by Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum, the Yes Men describe themselves as "a genderless, loose-knit association of some 300 impostors worldwide who argue their way into the fortified compounds of commerce, ask questions and then smuggle out the stories of their hijinks to provide a public glimpse at the behind-the-scenes world of business. In other words, the Yes Men are team players… but they play for the opposing team."

The duo has made headlines with its various political pranks, from posing as spokesmen for Dow Chemical at fake press conferences to disseminating fake copies of the New York Times in 2008 declaring that the "Iraq War Ends." (Check out the video below of when they "fixed" the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.) The museum also will be screening their 2009 film "The Yes Men Fix the World" prior to the talk.

Another highlight is Katherine Brook's play "American Realism," an eight-hour work that will be performed in two parts Friday night and Saturday morning. The play reflects on contemporary labor in the U.S. — from immigrant maintenance workers to web start-up entrepreneurs — and features archive audio text from the Depression-era “Voices from the Dust Bowl.”

And there are plenty of opportunities — at all hours — for visitors to experience the museum in non-traditional ways. It's not every day you can catch a free performance in the museum's sculpture gardens by San Diego rockers The Nervous Wreckords (they play at 12:30 am). Alexander Jarman, public programs manager at the San Diego Museum of Art, will lead a tour of "Insomnia in Art" at 3 am Saturday. And Saturday at 6 am, you can make your own mimosas. The waffles and croissant sandwiches will be served from 7-10 am. Of course, there will be plenty of food and drink options throughout to keep you going all day and all night long.

Endurance junkies may be able to take 36 hours of art. For those of us who need a break, SDMA is generously, and most unusually, providing a napping station.

"36 Hours of the Summer Salon Series" happens Friday through Saturday at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. For a complete schedule of all events, visit


The Yes Men Fix the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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