Hot days are perfect for retreating to the cool interior of a movie theater. But feature films aren’t the only way to beat the heat while taking in visually stimulating material. Silicon Valley has plenty of air-conditioned museums, perfect for chilling out and putting on one’s thinking cap. Here are just a handful of upcoming exhibits to feed your brain this summer.
CANTOR ARTS CENTER
Stanford University | museum.stanford.edu
Ink Worlds: Contemporary Chinese Painting
May 23-Sep 3
“Ink Worlds” only dates back to the 1960s, but the history of Chinese calligraphy and painting from the collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang bleeds across every canvas. Three of the artists in the showÑQin Feng, Zheng Chongbin and Li HuayiÑwill participate in lectures this summer to discuss their inky techniques.
Alphabété: The World Through the Eyes of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
Jun 20-Feb 25
The late Ivorian artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (1923-2014) had a mystical vision in 1948. Afterward, he changed his name to Cheik Nadro and developed a visual alphabet to preserve his native language. But everything he drew with colored pencils and ballpoint pens was a vibrant, unruly pictogram.
Do Ho Suh: The Spaces in Between
May 10-Feb 25
The Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh once covered his entire apartment in white paper and then rubbed colored pencils against every surface. That impressive project won’t be in the gallery, but the equally memorable Screen will be. It’s composed of hundreds of doll-size, plastic human figures. His chandelier Cause and Effect, comprised of 42,000 figures, will also be hanging from the ceiling.
SAN JOSE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART
San Jose | sjica.org
On Your Left
Jun 23-Sep 16
That notorious hybridizer Shawn HibmaCronan returns to the SJICA with one of his mechanical inventions, a four-wheel bicycle with a miner’s night light. He and many other artists will be contemplating the bicycle as a work of art in sculpture, video, painting and drawings. Depending on your nature, you’ll either be encouraged to start biking more or to sit down to sketch more bikes when you get back home.
Kathy Aoki: #wishyouwerehere
Jun 23-Sep 9
Is the artist Kathy Aoki Hello Kitty’s biggest fan or that cat’s most subversive critic? Find out at the Hello Kitty Monument Diorama and Visitor Center. There you’ll explore the disappearance of a fictional Mount Rushmore-like tribute to the famously whiskered feline and maybe take a selfie or two.
NEW MUSEUM LOS GATOS(NUMU)
Los Gatos | numulosgatos.org
Thinking Outside the Frame
May 18-Sep 30
Large-scale installations in this printmaking exhibit are meant to inspire visitors to make their own creations. On three Saturdays this summer, NUMU has engaged three artists to demonstrate printmaking techniques featured in the show. Susan Leone Howe on woodcuts (June 30), Jami Taback on monoprinting (July 14) and Martha Castillo on clay printing (Aug. 18).
SAN JOSE MUSEUM OF ART
San Jose | sjmusart.org
Won Ju Lim: California Dreamin’
June 22-Sep 30
With boards of foam core, digital video projections and a plexiglass lamp, Won Ju Lim built a futuristic Los Angeles in California Dreamin’. Inspired by the 15th century author Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo and science fiction films, she conceived of the 2002 installation when she was living abroad. Lim missed being at home in Southern California so she recreated her memories in artificially accurate, ocean-adjacent sunlight.
Rise Up! Social Justice in Art
Jun 8-Sep 30
If you’re looking for work that prefigures many of today’s cultural movements, like Black Lives Matter, look no further than I’m looking for you, Whitey. It’s a 6-foot-high painting from Robert Arneson, the father of “funk art.” Arneson’s famous tribute to Harvey Milk, Five Times for Harvey (1982), is also on display. This collection will satisfy your need to engage with the arts and political in/justice at the same time.
TRITON MUSEUM OF ART
Santa Clara | tritonmuseum.org
May 12-Aug 5
Kolb’s painterly obsession is the human figure. Though not a portrait painter per se, she’s more interested in the complex essence of the people she meets. In two of her latest series, the artist successfully experiments with rust and manages to make white a menacing color.
May 19-Aug 5
Riggs shares a pop art sensibility with his contemporary the L.A.-based artist Eric White. Both he and White bend contemporary imagery into painted collages that subvert linear narratives. Riggs draws polar bears belching out rainbows and putti battling reptiles. His work can be summed up as baroque in extremis.
San Jose, Various Neighborhoods | phantomgalleries.com
May 4 – Jul 31
The San Jose photographer Josh Marcotte takes pictures of his hometown the way a fourth-generation native sees it. He notices the tech-less side of Silicon Valley, local places that get overlooked. Curated by another local artist, VIV G, these images focus on classic cars and their environs. He resurrects them so that the past won’t be forgotten in this era of infinite change and forward motion. His images will be shown in the main lobby of The Pierce Apartments in San Jose.
PACE GALLERY PALO ALTO
Palo Alto | pacegalleries.com
May 31-Jul 15
Hai Bo photographs vast landscapes under the influence of weatherÑfog, mist, rain. Individual human features are engulfed by the moody settings and dwarfed by the scale of buildings, trees and endless horizons. This exhibit features images from The Southern series that the Beijing-based artist took across Southern China.