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Visual Art and Museums

What's New in San Diego


Fleet Science Center

Arts and Museums

Admired in the world of children’s museums for its practice of commissioning contemporary artists, The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego presents its newest art commission Whammock! by internationally renowned textile artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam. This one-of-a-kind, interactive three-dimensional textile environment resembles a giant hammock of colorful crocheted circles, open pockets and dangling pendulums. MacAdam’s first large-scale work at a U.S. museum, Whammock!welcomes children and adults alike to climb, swing, crawl or simply lay in the cradle of its handwoven embrace. Guests are sure to be transfixed by how the movements and vibrations caused by play activate this soaring three-dimensional installation.

On display through November 2019, the 78-year old San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) in Balboa Park, hosts Forging Territories: Queer Afro and Latinx Contemporary Art. Focusing on cultural equity and thought-provoking programming, SDAI’s newest exhibit explores and highlights conversations around talented but underrepresented African American and Latinx artists who identify as LGBTQ. The exhibit showcases rarely told stories of personal and cultural awakening and reflects the artists’ responses to a sense of identity and place, the influence of the current political moment and the comfort of shared background, language and history. The exhibit brings together 20 established, mid-career and emerging contemporary artists who live within the region and work in such varied media as painting, drawing, photography, film and performance. Forging Territories is curated by Ruben Esparza, founder and director of Queer Biennial, an international art fair.

The Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park recently announced the newest addition to its permanent exhibit collection: Sun, Earth, Universe. Opened on July 20, 2019, this interactive exhibition explores the fascinating world of space science and astronomy and examines the big questions NASA is trying to answer. How is Earth changing? What is it like on other planets? Does life exist beyond Earth? Packed with engaging, hands-on exhibits and dazzling imagery, this 600-square-foot exhibition connects visitors with current NASA science research and includes fun and compelling exhibits for visitors of all ages. Guests can design, build and test a model spacecraft, play the Your Mission to Space board game, or help younger visitors pilot rovers across a Mars landscape play table. The fun experiences in Sun, Earth, Universe introduce visitors to ongoing NASA research in the fields of heliophysics, Earth science, planetary science and astrophysics, as well as encouraging them to imagine what the future of Earth and space science might hold.

In June 2019, the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park opened a new exhibit, Vision vs Reality: From the Fires of Imagination to the Forge of Production. On display until October 12, 2019, the exhibit shows the automobile design process and what results between vision and reality, taking guests through the many steps it takes to create what finally rolls off the production line. Cars in the exhibit include a 1963 Pininfarina Corvaire prototype and 2001 Aerodyne among other unique vehicles, displaying the original vision side-by-side with its ultimate reality.

The San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is opening two new exhibitions this November: Living Lab focuses on live animals—all things creepy, crawly and slithery—and Insects Face to Face features gorgeous macro photography. Both exhibits will be on view through 2020. Living Lab invites visitors to meet more than 30 not-so-cuddly creatures, from stinging scorpions to elusive nocturnal lizards. Staffed by a keeper-interpreter and museum volunteers who will invite visitors to watch feedings and interact with the animals on select days, the lab will feature the behaviors the animals need to survive in San Diego’s biodiverse region. Guests can observe lizards, insects and other invertebrates, venomous and non-venomous snakes, frogs, and a colony of harvester ants. They can also get a peek at the inner workings of a beehive. Insects Face to Face features oversized photos taken by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory Monitoring Lab. This program conducts surveys of native bees, including identification tools and the plants and insects they interact with. Visitors will see more than 30 large-scale photographs of animals ranging from common honeybees to “cute” cockroaches to regal lace bugs. Fluorescent, menacing, and even cute, the images reveal an intricate world of color, pattern and texture.

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