Larry Sultan at the Bolinas Museum

06/18/2015

The Bolinas Museum is opening three new exhibitions and a history exhibit this Saturday, June 20, with two of the museum’s galleries focusing on an internationally recognized Marin artist, Larry Sultan, who died in 2009. Though Sultan settled in Greenbrae and often summered in Bolinas, his best-known photographs capture seemingly mundane scenes of the suburban Southern California world of his childhood. He used an almost documentary style, yet his photographs suggest complex layers of human relationship beneath the surface. His works are in the collections of prestigious museums across the nation, from the Whitney Museum in New York to San Francisco’s Modern Art Museum.

Given Sultan’s love for Bolinas, the museum is pleased to share his seldom-seen 1995 series, “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace,” in the main gallery. Inspired by photographs found at a Sausalito flea market, he used humor with found or constructed imagery to create a visual narrative of a wayward sailor. Complete with a self-portrait of the artist as sailor, the series explores the gray areas between reality and fiction—a concept with which Sultan worked throughout his creative life. 

During his teaching career at the San Francisco Art Institute and as distinguished professor of photography at California College of the Arts, Sultan influenced three decades of students, many of whom went on to become successful artists. The museum’s photography gallery exhibition, “Self Made,” presents works by Sultan’s former students and friends. The show, organized by guest curator Jessica Ingram, an associate professor of photography at the California College of Art and an accomplished artist herself, includes pieces by Tammy Rae Carland, Liz Cohen, Dru Donovan, Jim Goldberg, Doug Hall, Gregory Halpern, Michael Light, Abner Nolan, Nigel Poor, Mike Mandel and Lindsey White. Their handmade or ephemeral objects are creative acts exploring forms that reflect informality or looseness—and the pleasure and fun of their making.

The Coastal Marin Artists gallery presents “Songs From The Wood,” new work by Inverness artist Rick Yoshimoto, curated by Charles De Lisle. Thirty-seven years in West Marin has inspired Yoshimoto as a sculptor and ceramicist. He makes plates of hand-foraged clays, stools carved out of ancient redwood stumps and burls, found stones shaped into tools and rubbings on paper, all with a deeply felt sense of the natural world around us.

The new exhibit in the history room, “Getting Here From There,” co-curated by Elia Haworth and Dewey Livingston, traces the story of getting to Bolinas by trails, schooners, horses, wagons, stages, ferries, trains and early automobiles, and how the roads we drive on today were made by hand in the 1800s. 

Everyone is invited to the preview talks by the artists and curators, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, followed by an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Receptions and museum admission are always free. For more information, visit bolinasmuseum.org.

 

Elia Haworth is a longtime Bolinas resident and the Bolinas Museum’s Curator of Coastal Marin Art and History.