By Sal Pizarro
If you've spent any time living in idea-driven Silicon Valley, you probably know it's never lacked for creativity or artists. A mural in East San Jose may not have the same audience as a light sculpture by Leo Villareal or a Tony May installation, but that diversity is part of what makes the valley a great place to live.
So I'm happy that the national art scene has "discovered" the valley with Silicon Valley Contemporary, a huge art fair at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center that opens Thursday evening with a VIP event and runs through Sunday. It'll feature 60 galleries from around the world -- including many from the Bay Area -- that'll exhibit fine art from the 1960s forward.
Of course, this being Silicon Valley, there'll be an emphasis on the relationship between art and technology -- something that one of Silicon Valley Contemporary's local partners, the ZERO1 Biennial, has been bringing to the forefront for nearly a decade. Los Angeles-based Paul Young is curating the Moving Image Experience, a presentation featuring artists who use tech as part of their studio work. The fair will include the U.S. premiere of the Marina Abramovic Institute's tech-centric installation, the Mutual Wave Machine, plus performance art, awards, silent auctions and even a panel on how to build a corporate collection.
Several people prominent in the Bay Area art scene have lent their names and expertise to the event's curators and consultants committee, including Cathy Kimball, executive director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art; Mónica RamÍrez-Montagut, associate director and senior curator at MACLA; artist Christopher Sicat; and Lindsey Kouvaris, curator of exhibits and collections at Santa Clara University's de Saisset Museum.
Tickets range from a $25 day pass to a $125 VIP pass that provides unlimited access for the whole weekend, as well as Thursday night's VIP event, which benefits the San Jose Museum of Art (a $250 "black card" pass includes a first-look tour Thursday morning). There's a separately ticketed tour of Modern architecture homes on Saturday.
The organization behind the show, the Hampton Expo Group, have staged similar art fairs in the Hamptons, Aspen, Palm Springs and Houston. Clearly, they sense an prime opportunity to turn Silicon Valley millionaires into art collectors, but the rest of us can just enjoy the show.
For more information or tickets, go to www.siliconvalleycontemporary.com.
JOURNALISTS NEEDED: There's still time to apply for the Mosaic Journalism Workshop, a free two-week journalism camp for high school students held during the summer at San Jose State University. It's aimed at students who have a strong desire to tell stories through print, digital media, video or broadcast. The tuition, housing and food is covered by sponsors -- including the Mercury News, San Jose State and the Knight Foundation -- and there are no income requirements or restrictions.
The deadline to apply is April 15. You can get more information at http://mosaicjournalism.org.
Contact Sal Pizarro at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.