San Diego Art Stories Part 2: Thursday Night Thing Event Review

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Those who attended Thursday Night Thing (TNT) at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown, Thursday, Aug. 4, will agree that the quarterly event designed to celebrate the opening of exhibitions at the MCASD Downtown will make a progressive model for a utopia of the arts.

Standing outside in line waiting for the museum doors to open, the excitement was nearly palpable.  It was obvious through the infectious energy emitting from the TNT crowd last week that this wasn’t the stuffy art connoisseurs you’d expect them to be.  TNT is renowned for unveiling inspiring exhibits at MCASD to a younger and hip crowd, reports DiscoverSD.  With activities that range across the spectrum, including live music, interactive art, and titillating cocktails that will surely awaken the palate and delicious food from the MHO Gastrotruck, there is a lot to do for the art-thirsty crowd.

The catch phrases of that night had to be: emerge and breakthrough, which is appropriate since the event, titled, “TNT: Emerge,” focused on emerging design, music, and taste.  The premiere of Product Porch, a unique six-month retail experience project will occupy a portion of the Museum’s building at 1001 Kettner Blvd. Product Porch will remain there throughout the duration of the exhibition Phenomenal, which will be on view through January 22, 2012. This will provide a good reason for people to continue returning to the Museum, says the MCASD press release.

But it wasn’t just the grand opening of Product Porch alone, a brilliant scheme in itself between MCASD and successful design retailers Brooks Hudson Thomas and Blaire Dessent, that set the scene for last week’s event.  It was this sort of hushed anticipatory excitement churning within the TNT participants that was the predominant vibe of that night’s event.

As the tastemakers of a burgeoning local art scene walked through the museum doors, the line that separates real life from art diminishes.  Most of the pieces on display at the MCASD downtown were installations that required guests to become subject to being immersed by entire works of art.  The best example would have to be Jennifer Steinkamp’s Madame Curie exhibit located in the Farrell Gallery.

Stepping into the gallery, one is initially overwhelmed by the moving pixels on the walls and the loud music plunging you deeper into the psychedelic atmosphere.  As my vision focuses, I start to notice features that I hadn’t noticed before.  Laid out across the center of the gallery are construction paper cut-outs that past guests had strewn across the floor for incoming visitors to the museum to follow their dance moves.  In the background, you can hear DJ Skyler Mic and DJ 88.88 spinning beats throughout the night in response to Jennifer Steinkamp’s installation, and just by being in the room I noticed that there is plenty to be inspired from the Madame Curie exhibit.

Steinkamp’s panoramic display of fields of moving flowers and trees is a delight to all the senses.  Though at times the pictorial delights can be overwhelming, there is something about the sensory overload that art appraisers can appreciate.  The swaying floral depictions on the walls of the museum send ghostly signals from a more primal time in us.  Thursday Night Thing’s second event this year leaves us ample room to explore and discover what it is that these exhibits are trying to say.

Upstairs in the Berglund and Betlach Rooms was Emerging ‘Dos, an interactive piece that asks participants to have their hair styled in a span of five minutes by emerging hairdressers of The Bellus Beauty Academy throughout the night.  Afterwards, participants’ photos were taken and then contributed to the hairstyles collage.

Towards the Jacobs and 1001 Kettner buildings you can find works by Larry Bell, Mary Corse, James Turrell, Robert Irwin, and Craig Kauffman.  Called, Phenomenal: California Light, Surface and Space, the TNT event was the exhibition’s premiere.  Although September 25 marks the official opening of Phenomenal, the Museum will continue to install and open certain galleries throughout the months to allow visitors partial viewing of the exhibition, which includes this year’s second Thursday Night Thing event.

The night ended with bands like Republic of Letters and The Nervous Wrecklords serenading the crowd to the close of the event.  Both bands had, had past nominations at the San Diego Music Awards, the most recent ceremony had taken place  Aug. 8.

Check out the Museum’s web page or ‘Like’ their Facebook page in order to get updates on upcoming exhibitions or events.  TNT is a quarterly event.  Be sure you make it out to the next art uprising.

Photo Courtesy of Smart Destinations via Flickr

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