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Arts & Culture

Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair's Art Labs: A Guide

Guests engage in artful discussion at the 2010 Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair.
Art San Diego
Guests engage in artful discussion at the 2010 Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair.

Do you hear that buzz and hum? That's the sound of San Diego artists all over the city getting ready for this weekend's Art Labs. No doubt there are some late nights these days, with multiple trips to Home Depot and beer runs.

Over 150 local artists will exhibit their work in 18 different Art Labs over the next three days. The Art Labs are satellite events sponsored by The Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair, which makes its third attempt to grow the collecting community in San Diego this weekend.

The Fair takes place downtown at the Hilton Bayfront, but the Art Labs are spread throughout the city. (Check out our photos from last year's inaugural Art Labs to the left) Here's a guide to help you spend your weekend scoping out the Art Labs.


Also, check back over the next 24 hours. We'll explore a couple of the Art Labs and the artists who created them on radio and television.

Where Are They?

Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair has created an interactive map that pinpoints where the Art Labs are located throughout the city.

Free Art Labs!

Everyone, except for those charmed few, is on a budget these days. But fear not art-goers! Luckily for you, 13 of the 18 Art Labs are free and open to the public:


Self titled--Bayfront Hilton (Hilton Lawn): Artists Nina Preisendorfer and Brian Zimmerman will write on the lawn of the Hilton in the hopes of sparking some self-reflection as art fair visitors emerge from browsing and buying.

Space For 2 Artists--Bayfront Hilton (Hilton Lawn): Kim Garcia and Kevin Kao have built a small art studio on the lawn of the Hilton. Artists will be sketching and working in it throughout the Fair.

With These Hands--Virtual Project (Apple/Android/Symbian app): Artist Xavier Leonard's technological-based work explores the historical achievements of San Diego's laborers through an app! Yes, there's an app for that (sorry, it was too easy).

The Traveler--San Diego International Airport, Terminal 2 (Near the International Arrival Gates): In a public multimedia performance piece, artist Silfredo La O will journey into a live painting and dance experience in front of a crowd of art lovers along with unsuspecting travelers. Friday September 2. 12:25-1:45 p.m.

Motifs, Marks & Margins--Thumbprint Gallery (2637 University Avenue): The work of two local artists, Andrew Alcasid and Enosh, will be featured during an evening of collaborative art-making with mural painting, screen printing, and a zine/sticker art workshop. Friday September 2. 5-11 p.m.

Building: San Diego--Woodbury University School of Architecture (2212 Main Street): A night of sculpture, interactive board games, architectural exhibitions, a film screening and an experimental music performance by Ghost Magnet Roach Motel. Friday September 2. 6-10 p.m.

Art(ist) in Context II--Agitprop Space (2837 University Avenue): This collaborative performance and installation explores five different artistic practices and their engagement with various issues, groups and environments. Friday September 2. 7-10 p.m.

FreeWaves--Art Produce Gallery (3139 University Avenue): The San Diego freeway-inspired charcoal drawings on plaster by local artist Todd Partridge will be showcased alongside interactive sound and video performances. Friday September 2. 7-10 p.m.

Adaptable Sites--East Village, The Periscope Project (300 Block of 15th Street): Seeing the work of photographer/filmmaker Bill Daniel is one of the best reasons to go to Periscope this weekend, in addition to the cool space and, well, there is that predator drone transport case the crew bought off of Craigslist recently. Seriously. But back to Daniel, his film on the history of the rail worker and Hobo Graffiti, "Who is Bozo Texino?" (2005), has screened in hundreds of venues and is in the collection of MOMA. He was in LA MoCA’s “Art in the Streets” show and he spent a good part of the 80s photographing punk bands. (Also, you know you want to see that drone box!) Saturday September 3. 5-10 p.m.

And Forth (or until one falls)--East Village (300 Block of 15th Street): Not sure what this project will look like, but it's by Claire Zitzow, who we've actually interviewed on our talk show. We've been a fan of her past work, so this temporary installation has us intrigued.Saturday September 3. 5-10 p.m.

Space 4 Art Cubed--East Village, Space 4 Art (325 15th Street): Serving as the hub for this year’s Art Labs series, Space 4 Art features inside, outside, and onstage happenings—from indoor gallery exhibitions to imaginative wooden cube spaces to a multimedia, multi-stage performances filled with dancing, music, and shadow puppetry. Saturday September 3. 5-10 p.m.

Twins In Twain: Agreed Invisible Tethers Between Strangers--San Ysidro/Tijuana (The Front Gallery at Casa Familiar and La Casa del Túnel, Tijuana): A cross-border work that links strangers through videoconferencing, music, a live auction, and ultimately through exclusive, artist-designed t-shirts auctioned off on both sides of the border. Saturday September 3. 5-10 p.m.

Picnic--Embarcadero (Hilton Lawn and Embarcadero Park South): Artists and siblings Alexander and Savannah Jarman have created an oversized picnic blanket using 1000 feet of found fabric from the streets of San Diego. Bring some food, friends, and an open mind to take part in this interactive performance piece on San Diego's largest picnic blanket. Sunday September 4. 12-3 p.m.

Spanning four days of art, music, and open studio tours, The 2nd Annual Barrio Block Party, in Barrio Logan, is worth checking out and is also free!
Thursday September 1-Sunday September 4. 12 p.m.-evening (times vary).

A one day pass to Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair costs between $15 and $20, and those not on a budget can attend the VIP opening, $75.

Art Labs run September 1 through September 4 from 5-10 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Seeing it all

What is an eager art enthusiast to do when there is so much to see, spread out all over the city, in a matter of three days? Arts Labs curator Susan Myrland suggests trying to see everything, but has offered six other pieces of advice to help make that possible. Here is a list of her seven tips:

  1. Try to see everything. These are one-time events that won't be repeated.
  2. Check the schedule at Several Art Labs have performances that start at specific times.
  3. Leave the stilettos at home. Some Art Labs take place outside, or in repurposed warehouses and alternative spaces with uneven floors.
  4. Take the trolley or pedicabs to the East Village events on Saturday night. Parking will be limited due to a ballgame.
  5. Bring a lawn chair and your lunch to Sunday's Picnic on the Hilton Bayfront Lawn.
  6. In between Art Labs, check out the East Village Random Acts of Art (Saturday 1-6pm) and drop by the Barrio Logan Arts District (various times, September 1-4). These events coincide with the Art Fair.
  7. Keep an open mind and be ready to participate. You may find yourself painting a mural, writing a poem, joining a parade, contributing ideas, or gaining a twin across the border. Have fun!