5 Art Works to See in San Diego in November

Lisa Ross: “Elegy to a Uighur Homeland”

San Diego Museum of Art
One of three contemporary art exhibitions on display this fall at the San Diego Museum of Art, photographer Lisa Ross’ Elegy to the Uyghur Homeland exhibition features a series of works that document the former Silk Road in China’s Uyghur region against the dramatic backdrop of dunes of the Taklamakan Desert.

The Uyghurs (pronounced “we-ghur”) are a Muslim people in western China’s Xinjiang province, a group that has faced kidnappings, torture and other violent atrocities in camps at the hands of Chinese authorities in recent years. A recent report by NPR’s Beijing correspondent Emily Feng illustrates some of what the Uyghurs have experienced. The United Nations recently rated the treatment as a “serious violation of human rights.”

Ross, who spent more than a decade tracking and photographing the Uyghurs, has since lost contact with many of her subjects and collaborators.

Courtesy of Lisa Ross and Palo Gallery

“Unrevealed, Site 1 (Adorned)” is a 2006 photograph by artist Lisa Ross and will be on display at the San Diego Museum of Art from November 5, 2022 through March 5, 2023.

Ross is interested in the intersection of the Uyghur holy sites and monuments (“mazars”) found along the former pilgrimage route with the way locals move their beds outside in the summer. Her photography looks as stark and sculptural as her subjects: some are wooden monuments made of sticks and tattered cloth flags jutting out against the pale sky. Others show people – the Uyghurs and their outdoor beds, similarly set against the sky.

The exhibition at SDMA will be on view in Gallery 12, as well as in the free galleries near Panama 66 and the toilets. In addition to photographs, Ross will also show video works that document the Uyghur homeland and Ross’ work.

[Exhibition information] View until March 5. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; noon to 5pm Sunday. Closed on Wednesdays. San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. $8-$20.

Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio: “Bright Cones”

Athenaeum Library of Music and Arts
Mexican artist Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio will open a new charcoal and graphite exhibition featuring more of her ongoing cloud series. For this series, Ortiz-Rubio was inspired by the words of poet Jorge Luis Borges from his poem “Clouds I”:

“We are the ones who are moving away. The host
On evening clouds scattered to the west
That’s our image.”


“9:13pm” is a 2022 graphite and charcoal work on polypropylene paper by artist Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio.

The black and white murals and drawings are as amorphous and hazy as clouds – but the cloud-like object is, curiously, negative space, the absence of charcoal pigment. Ortiz-Rubio’s works range from smaller sketches to massive murals, and she is informed by a fleeting, momentary notion of time and how people mark the present moment.


Artist Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio is shown in an undated photo with her work in a previous installation.

[Exhibition information] On view November 11 through December 31, 2022. Artist preview at 11 a.m. December 3. Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla. Free of charge.

Francisco Emme: “Memory is a bird”

Best practices
Artist and musician Francisco Emme, who is also the gallery director at The Front Arte & Cultura in San Ysidro, has a fascinating new installation opening at Best Practice Gallery (in the Bread and Salt building).


Photo from the installation “La Memoria es un Pájaro / Memory is a Bird” by Francisco Emme, opening November 12, 2022 at Best Practice.

It’s a study of family, death, and birds—an exploration of how the cycles of grief, memory, and nature merge together in a blur.

Combining photography, projection, video and drawing with sound, Eme has created what he calls a “multimedia poem”.


Courtesy of Best Practices

Installation view of “Memory is a Bird” by Francisco Emme, Best Practice opening Nov. 12,

[Exhibition information]. On view Nov. 12 through Dec. 17, 2022. Opening reception Nov. 12, 5 to 8 p.m. Best Practice, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. Free of charge.

“The Piñata: The High Art of Celebration”

Mingei International Museum
Guest curated by Emily Seiden, director of the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles, this new exhibition at Mingei is a “reimagining” of one held at the Craft in America Gallery last fall. The piñata is festive, fun and accessible as an object – and as art they become complex, disruptive and innovative without compromising that accessibility, modesty or accessibility.


Courtesy of Mingei International Museum.

Diana Benavidez is featured with her 2022 work La Culpa Por Estar Eecha de Papel.

Courtesy of Mingei International Museum

Detail from Roberto Benavides’ Heart Tree, 2019 and 2022.

This exhibition of more than 80 piñata-inspired works by Latina/a/x artists includes many sculptures made as piñatas, but also works that take just one or two elements, materials, or stylistic cues from the piñata—including this one in performance . Political resistance is also a main thread in some of the works

Featured is work by local Diana Benavidez, who has constructed a series of remote control cars. There’s also a massive, eye-catching low rider from Justin Favela.

The exhibition also features an intricate work by Roberto Benavidez, a myriad of hanging butterflies by Isaiah Rodriguez, and a huge rendering of the boundary wall by Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik and Rodriguez.

Other artists include Marie Carson, Amoret Crespo, Justin Favela, Lisbeth Palacios, Francisco Palomares, Yesenia Prieto, Joshua Ramirez, Lorena Robleto, Ana Serrano, Giovanni Valderas, Piñata Design Studio and Piñata District.

[Exhibition details] On view through April 30, 2022. Mingei International Museum, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park.


San Diego State University Art Gallery

Script/Rescript is a group exhibition of works by ten artists who identify as people with disabilities, featuring art that aims to rewrite the medical narrative surrounding disability. The word “script” here performs a layered duty—prescribed drugs and treatments, as well as prescribed stories and narratives.

Four small x-rays showing a curved spine, some showing two metal rods.  X-rays have colored beads.

A series of four works by artist Bhavna Mehta are shown in this Oct. 12, 2022 file photo. The art features embroidery and beading on old X-rays of her taken before and after major surgery.

The exhibition features local residents Bhavna Mehta and Akiko Surai, as well as national artists Dominic Quagliozzi, Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi, Katherine Sherwood and others. Curated by local Amanda Caccia.

A hanging sculpture by Sandie Yi features many hanging vines of thick, grass-green felt cut to resemble seaweed.  The pieces are modeled after the shape of the artist's hands, with two fingers on each hand.  A bunch of kelp vines hangs on the wall separately for visitors with poor vision or blindness to feel and experience tactilely.

“Algae Help” is a large, hanging felt sculpture by Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi on display at the SDSU Art Gallery on October 12, 2022.

Each individual work is strong on its own, but combined, this carefully curated exhibition is striking – and a significant contribution to both the contemporary art world and the disability narrative.

[Exhibition information] On view until December 8, 2022. Panel discussion with Amanda Cachia, Ana Garcia Hakome and Bhavna Mehta at 2:00 pm on Thursday, November 10. San Diego State University Art Gallery, 5500 Campanile Dr., SDSU.

For more visual arts coverage from KPBS, go here. For more visual arts events visit KPBS/Arts Calendar.

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