Exhibition Games at Local Art Galleries

[Summer Guide] Exercise your mind at these art shows this summer

For those of us inclined toward intellectual pursuits because we want to get off our ass and actually do something—as opposed to being armchair quarterbacks—art is a refuge, and sports . . . well, sports are anathema.

This summer, even with the closing of some galleries (we love you Light Gallery!) and the limited hours of others, there’s plenty of solace to be found locally.

And as Martha Stewart used to say, “That’s a good thing.”

So screw the sunburns and volleyball on the beach, the ’roid rages at the gym, beer-swilling hooligans puking in the cheap nosebleeds at Angel Stadium, or the slo-mo play-by-plays on the flat-screen. Opt, instead, for the air-conditioned splendor of expanding your mind.

Through July 25, The Bowers Museum hosts “Secrets of the Silk Road: Mystery Mummies of China,” featuring 150 treasures, including an exceptionally well-preserved 3,800-year-old mummy discovered in the deserts of China. China has deserts? you ask. Yes, they do, my friend, and you’ll learn that at the Bowers. It’s not something they teach you on the golf course.

China is also represented in two other Bowers exhibitions: “Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy”(Neolithic to Qing dynasty objets d’art) and a plethora of textiles and jewelryin “Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China.” But starting July 3, the museum serves up something a bit more home-grown: “Quilts: Two Centuries of American Tradition and Technique.”

The Bowers also features several opportunities for you to get your hands dirty: a two-day class in Western Calligraphy, a two-day Personal Journal class, a three-day Telling Your Life Story Workshop and three jewelry classes! The advance-reservation form can be found at www.bowers.org/learn/events, or you can call the Bowers Education Department at (714) 567-3677 or (714) 567-3680. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org.

The Box Gallery is running the ocean-themed “Fathom,” featuring artists Amanda Chakravarty, Anna Judd, Michael Pukac, Tibor and Stephanie Han Windham; it runs through July2. Orange County artist Aaron Kraten gets a solo exhibition—“We Live in Public”—from July 17 through Sept. 3. 765 Saint Clair, Ste. B, Costa Mesa, (714) 724-4633; www.boxboxbox.com.

Grand Central Art Center has an exhibition featuring T-shirts—“Love Me, Tees Me”—starting June 5 and closing July 25. A Grand Central fund-raiser—“100 Artists See Satan”—featuring art for sale to the public,runs from June 26 to Aug. 15. Hugh Brown, the genius behind last year’s mindboggling “Allegedly,” will be designing Satan’s credit card in an apropos limited edition of 666. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 567-7233; www.grancentralartcenter.com.

Hibbleton Gallery’s theme for summer 2010 is “Art for the Masses,” with three group shows featuring high-quality, low-cost artwork for us poor art patrons, each coinciding with the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk. June 4 to 27 is“Hibbleton All Stars,” a massive print show celebrating the gallery’s two-year anniversary. The poorly dressed will want to attend “The T-Shirt Show” July 2 to Aug. 1, featuring limited-edition original art tees. “The Zine Show: Celebrating DIY Handmade Publishing” closes out the season, running Aug. 6 to 29. You are invited to participate and submit a T-shirt design or a zine by e-mailing curator Jesse La Tour at jesse@ hibbleton.com. 112 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 441-2857; www.hibbleton.com.

For readers and the people who love them, Irvine Fine Arts Center opens “Rock, Paper, Scissors” on June 18. It’s a juried exhibition of all things paper: bookmaking, lithography, etching, relief, serigraphy, experimental photo techniques, letterpress and book arts. Craig Clifford’s celebration of kitsch via ceramics gets a solo show the same day. 14321 Yale Ave., Irvine, (949) 724-6880; www.irvinefinearts.org.

“Art Shack” is a cooler-than-cool group exhibition at Laguna Art Museum, opening June 13. Artists as diverse as Don Ed Hardy, Shag, Paul Frank, George Herms, Marion Peck and Mark Ryden combine art and architecture, building surf shacks, tattoo huts and retro shanties, with patrons able to immerse themselves in 25 different worlds created by the artists. Forty lucky kids (kindergarten through eighth grade) can attend the “Build Your Own Art Shack” workshop with Hurley resident artist and “Art Shack” artist Jason Maloney on July 18. Also, through Oct. 3, in the museum’s Upstairs Galleries is “Artists In California, Early Twentieth Century: From the Permanent Collection,” featuring select works from Northern and Southern California artists. 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971; www.lagunaartmuseum.org.

Orange County Center for Contemporary Art presents sculptures and photographs arranged around the theme “Regeneration,” including examining biotechnological and biomedical innovations in stem-cell research, as well as signs of a resurrected Aztec-warrior society in today’s cholo counterculture. It runs through June 27. The entire month of July is devoted to artists from Slovakia in “After Hours: A Project by Dalibor Polivka, Rob Mintz and Victor Hulik.” 117 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana, (714) 667-1517; www.occca.org.

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