Visual artwork: My 5 favorite issues from 2021

I’ll remember 2021 as a calendar year of reopenings and retrospection. On the former, not only did lots of museums and galleries reopen right after shuttering for months all through the pandemic, but a Balboa Park establishment unveiled its grand redesigned place. We also lost a area legend just just before the debut of her 1st-ever solo museum exhibition. Of course, 2021 experienced ups and downs, but, as is normally the scenario, artwork aided us get via.

“Yolanda López: Portrait of the Artist,” Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

It was one particular of the true honors of my job to write about this exhibition, the initial-ever solo exhibition devoted to the lifestyle and work of López. Ideal identified for the do the job she produced in the ’70s and ’80s though a graduate college student and activist at UC San Diego, López sadly handed away a few months ahead of the exhibition was scheduled to open. The curators at MCASD did an extraordinary occupation at displaying the legendary performs, which integrated paintings, posters, drawings, collage and photos. Viewing her “¿A Dónde Vas, Chicana? Obtaining via College” collection and in particular her “Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe” portray up near and in-individual was another job highlight and 1 that I’ll don’t forget for a long time to arrive. And excellent information if viewers still haven’t viewed the exhibition: It will be up by way of April 2022, and it’s no cost with reservations.

“Fantasia Ethical,” Centro Cultural Tijuana

Artist Shinpei Takeda

Artist Shinpei Takeda

(Courtesy photograph by Yumi Watanabe)

Neighborhood artist Shinpei Takeda went rogue for this immersive, otherworldly exhibition at CECUT, which opened in June. Performing as a thing of a mid-vocation retrospective, “Fantasia Moral” (“Moral Fantasy”) showcased everything from sound installations and experimental documentary, to silkscreen prints and enormous textile sculptures descending from the ceilings. Postponed from 2020 and operating with a restricted, submit-COVID spending budget, Takeda took a Diy tactic to the exhibition, literally knocking down partitions and setting up most of the do the job himself. The end result was one particular of the most partaking and, certainly, fantastical art encounters of the 12 months.

Mingei Global Museum reopening

Right after a few years and a $55 million redesign, the Mingei officially reopened in September to easy to understand fanfare. Jennifer Luce and the LUCE et studio crew definitely outdid themselves, making a welcoming commons area with an virtually open up-air truly feel to it and total with a cafe, bar and present store region. The unveiling was also accompanied by two superb new exhibitions, “Global Spirit – Folk Art from the Ted Cohen Collection” and “Humble Spirit / Priceless Art,” equally of which should really be viewed right before they are packed up in 2022.

“SD Practice,” Bread & Salt and Institute of Modern day Artwork San Diego

Bhavna Mehta: "Mabel Bell La Jolla Pioneer Woman," 2018, hand-cut archival paper, embroidery

Bhavna Mehta: “Mabel Bell La Jolla Pioneer Female,” 2018, hand-lower archival paper, embroidery

(Metropolis of San Diego Civic Art Collection, buy, as a result of a gift of Thomas O. Rasmussen. © Bhavna Mehta)

For people who missed this grand, two-site exhibition back in July, it pretty may well have been the closest factor we’ve experienced to a showcase of all of the ideal, brightest and boldest area artists. Held at the newly knighted ICA place in Balboa Park and Barrio Logan institution Bread & Salt, nearly 89 operates were being shown salon design and style from artists who had been hit really hard by the Covid-19 crisis and whose get the job done experienced been procured by the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture to include to the city’s Civic Artwork Collection. For individuals who did miss it, it is very likely they’ll see at least one of the items inside a governing administration developing or library shortly.

“Seven Passages to a Flight” by Faith Ringgold, San Diego Museum of Artwork

Very last month, I wrote about a restructuring of the galleries at the San Diego Museum of Artwork, which integrated reordering some of the is effective thematically, somewhat than chronologically, as properly the addition of some pieces that had not however been demonstrated inside of the Balboa Park institution. This involved pieces by artists with local connections these as surrealist painter Ethel Greene and fiber artist Religion Ringgold, who as soon as worked at UCSD. The latter artist’s piece, initially made in 1997, tells the tale of her life by means of an acrylic painting framed in a quilt. The result is some thing actually talismanic that everybody must see prior to it is packed up in February, not to be shown once again for an additional 5 years.

Combs is a freelance author.