The Salton Sea History Museum

17 Feb

by Deborah Martin

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO
This week your friends at Catalysis Projects introduce the second in our series of new columns – brief notes  from the “lost and found” desks of our Core and Resident Artists. In these posts, our artists offer a glimpse into one of their interdisciplinary, collaborative projects, including artifacts from the flotsam and jetsum that litter their creative spaces
This week features our Core Artist Deborah Martin, who works in photography and painting.

I’m immersed in producing an inaugural exhibition for the Salton Sea History Museum. The Museum is located inside the newly renovated Historical North Shore Beach & Yacht Club. If your first reaction is whut? That was my initial reaction too. The last time I visited there were a whole lot of pigeons held up inside there. Here’s an image of the North Shore Yacht Club back in the day.

The building was designed by famed mid-century architect Albert Frey.

Jennie Kelly, Director of the Salton Sea History Museum and Commissioner with the Riverside County Historical Commission, began her journey into ‘history’ with a heroic effort to save the threatened Rancho Dos Palmas in North Shore. During that intense two-year effort, Kelly requested and received cooperation from then Riverside County Supervisor, Roy Wilson.

Through this collaboration, space for a museum was offered to Kelly in the renovated Albert Frey-designed North Shore Beach & Yacht Club. Although Kelly received small grants from Supervisors Benoit & Ashley and the Imperial Irrigation District to get the museum open, it remains otherwise self-funded through memberships and sales.

The inaugural exhibition: Valley of the Ancient Lake: Works Inspired by the Salton Sea is curated by Deborah Martin with Historical works and Memorabilia by Jennie Kelly.

The Exhibit runs April 1-30, 2011 with a reception on April 3, 3-7pm. For those of you who are open for an adventure and a drive out to the Salton Sea, I hope you will Join us!

The Museum is open daily 10-4pm Closed Wednesdays & Thursdays.

Catalysis Projects is publishing a catalog for the exhibition with text by Ann Japenga. Ann is a Palm Springs writer specializing in stories about the California deserts and the West. As a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, she developed a love for tales tied to the Western landscape. After moving to Palm Springs more than a decade ago, she zeroed in on “deserata”–the natural and human history of the California deserts from the San Gorgonio Pass to the Colorado River.

Here is the list of Artist’s with a preview of  some of the work I have chosen for the exhibition and catalog.

BILL LEIGH BREWER
CRISTOPHER CICHOCKI
ANDREW DICKSON
JOE FORKAN
MARY – AUSTIN KLEIN
CHRISTOPHER LANDIS
DEBORAH MARTIN
ERIC MERRELL
JOAN MYERS
KIM STRINGFELLOW

Joan Myers’ photographs span the last quarter of the twentieth century and several locales. She is known for her platinum-palladium prints, a hand-coating process where the image becomes part of the drawing paper on which it is printed. Myers’ work is in the Museum of Modern Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the George Eastman House, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Myers is the photographer of Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California, written by William deBuys Winner of the 1999 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and the William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America.

Above Image: Joan Myers Salton Sea Building,  19″x15″, platinum-palladium print with watercolor. Edition of 12 with 3 artist’s proofs

A photographer and historian, Christopher Landis combines art and historic documentation in his visual record of the Salton Sea, begun in 1990. Landis’ dramatic Iris prints focus not on the human presence at the Sea but on the human relics in this desert landscape. The marks left by humans bear testimony to their dreams, enterprise, folly, greed, and that perennial battle for control of the environment. Christopher is the author and photographer of In Search for Eldorado: The Salton Sea published by the Palm Springs Desert Museum in 2007.

Image Left: Christopher Landis, Salton Bay Yacht Club, 1990.

Kim Stringfellow’s projects have been commissioned and funded by leading organizations including the California Council for the Humanities, Creative Work Fund, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Seattle Arts Commission. Her work has been exhibited at the International Center for Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions among others.

Her photographs are included in the permanent collection at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Miami. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, SF Camerawork Quarterly, Sculpture, Photo Metro, Leonardo, and Artweek.

Her first book, Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905–2005 was published by the Center for American Places in 2005. The website for Greetings from the Salton Sea was featured in Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video in New York City in 2006/07.

Above Image: Kim Stringfellow, Abandoned Trailer, Bombay Beach, CA, 2000, 38″ x 30.5″ Lightjet digital c-print, edition of 10 prints.

I shot a Polaroid in 2006 of the Yacht Club when it had Aces & Spades painted on the outside of it from a previous film shoot. At the time I had no idea this was once a popular Yacht Club. I thought perhaps it had been a bar. Here is an image of the painting I created to document this building. Above Image: Deborah Martin Aces & Spades, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 36″ (2009) The North Shore beach & Yacht Club as it appeared in 2006.

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