Art Labs

Art Labs feature specially curated projects by leading galleries, art institutions, and art collectives within the show. Check back in August for information on the Art Labs for Art San Diego 2020.

2019 Art Labs

Art Lab 1: San Diego Art Prize

Location: Booth 122

The four San Diego Art Prize finalists are on display! See the amazing artwork from this diverse group of artists: Alanna Airitam, Kaori Fukuyama, Griselda Rosas, and Melissa Walter. The exhibition is curated by Vallo Riberto, former gallery director at Southwestern College and current president of the Contemporary Art Committee of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Now in its 13th year, the San Diego Art Prize is presented by the San Diego Visual Arts Network and dedicated to the idea that the visual arts are a necessary and rewarding ingredient of any world-class city and a building block of the lifestyle of its residents. Conceived to promote and encourage dialogue, reflection and social interaction about San Diego’s artistic and cultural life, this annual award honors artistic expression.

Until now, the San Diego Art Prize has been awarded to a matching of an established artist with an emerging artists. Beginning in 2019, taking its inspiration from UK’s Turner Prize, the Art Prize will mature into a prize with an emphasis on  local artists of excellence, with a cash and exhibition award for each finalist, culminating in a larger award for the winner.

The Art Prize Committee and an independent panel of judges selected from the arts community of museum directors, journalists, curators, educators, and more, submitted nominations for artists who have exhibited outstanding creativity in the last three years. Four finalists were chosen from the nomination list for an exhibit at Art San Diego in October 2019 and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in May of 2020. In May, the winner will be announced.

Art Lab 2: Oslo Sardine Bar

Location: Booth 628

Being one of two 2018 San Diego Art Prize’s winning recipients, Max Daily’s most recent creation, the Oslo Sardine Bar, debuted at Art San Diego 2018 and then went on a cross-country tour. It’s back for a reprise—step inside, the proprietor is charming, amusing, and quite talented. It’s an experience to be remembered!

Max Robert Daily is a San Diego artist who works in performance and visual arts, using any medium that best expresses the story he is telling. He attended the Cotsen Center for Puppetry at Calarts and performs extensively in puppetry, mime, and clowning, as well as being a published author in children’s illustration books. Being one of two 2018 San Diego Art Prize winning recipients, Daily’s most recent creation the Oslo Sardine Bar debuts at Art San Diego on the first leg of a national tour with Redwood Media Group’s shows.

Daily describes the origins of the Oslo Sardine Bar concept for us:
“The famed sardine bar being called Oslo goes back to the short time I spent traveling the world working on freighters as a sort of merchant marine.  At one point in my trip, I took up work on a Danish flagged freighter, the name of which I cannot pronounce, that later to our dismay broke down at sea. It wasn’t an emergency but a definite few days of boredom with nothing to do. I managed to gather together some of the the emergency supply foods, along with a few non-perishables. And added a few bottles of Czech rum I was hoping to get back to the States.

“Anyway with these items, a portable record player, some Belafonte albums I had brought along, and a backgammon board, I opened up a makeshift bar in a supply closet and opened a port hole to provide a cool breeze. Although I was not at all a very good sailor, the men appreciated my ability to temporarily take their minds away from where they were by simply suggesting that rations presented properly could provide a comfortable meal—alongside the offering of a reimagined space made for a great place to pass the time stranded at sea.

“One of the men remarked that it reminded him of his favorite bar back home in Oslo which served nothing but sardine and herring dishes. The rest of the men made fun of him and then continued on referring to the broom closet we were in as Oslo.

“When we were first building the Oslo installation in the This is Not an Exit Gallery, founded by Bob Methaney in San Diego’s Bread and Salt Building, it was brought to my attention by my father that his uncle Oswald worked in that very building when it was the Weber Bread factory. He also told me that his mother, my grandmother, worked in a nearby tuna cannery during WWII and would bring dented and unlabeled cans of tuna, along with a cooler of beer, to the bread factory to sell to her brother and his friends on payday. They ate copious amounts of white bread smothered in mayo and canned fish. My father also says that because of the heavily diverse immigrant population in the neighborhood at the time, many of the men lacking English or having heavy accents could only get out part of my great uncle’s name. It ended up sounding like Oslo. However, my mother jokes that it was actually because they were saying Oh So sLOw—a knock at Uncle Oswald for the speed at which he worked.”

And so the Oslo Sardine Bar debuted at Art San Diego 2018 and then went on a tour to each of Redwood Media Group’s fairs. It’s back at Art San Diego 2019 for a reprise. It’s an experience we won’t forget!


Location: Booth FILM USA

worthless studios’ FREE FILM: USA is a public art project trekking across the United States with its final west coast stop at Art San Diego. Rolling out of Brooklyn NY in August, they’ve been distributing rolls of 35mm black and white film to participating photographers for free and processing in the project’s 1973 Airstream trailer—converted into a professional darkroom.

Here’s the story:

worthless studios was founded in 2016 by native New York artist, Neil Hamamoto. worthless studios was founded on one idea – to enable people to begin their careers as artists. Whether that is providing tangible or intangible assistance, the studio has begun to showcase work from new artists in a number of different mediums including sculpture, painting, photography and performance. Located off Canal street in Manhattan, worthless studios offers its artists studio space, exhibition space, a wide selection of tools and materials, a full darkroom, and technical assistance.

Departing New York City at the beginning of August and returning at the end of September, the FREE FILM team will travel by road in a Ford passenger van and converted Airstream trailer to 12-15 cities across the country to distribute and process rolls of 35mm black and white film for free to anyone interested in participating in the project. Given a due date and the prompt phrase ‘red white and blue,’ participating photographers will have the opportunity to shoot their roll as an expression of what that means to them — the words, the phrase, the place, the dream, the reality.

Whether the photographer takes this opportunity to focus on their unique personal experiences that shape their life in America, or chooses to interpret the prompt more broadly by focusing on the tone, concept and connotations of the phrase ‘red, white and blue’, the end product will be an incredibly sincere amalgamation of different viewpoints, forever saving these two short months of the USA in black and white film.

Check out the photographic chronicle of their journey—from Clarion PA to Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Denver, followed by stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, culminating at Art San Diego. Take a tour of the Airstream and see what the students at Monarch School captured.


Art Labs Archive

Dive into the Art San Diego Art Labs archive. View past projects featuring some of the most amazing talent from our past shows. See what you missed!

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