Bloom Projects Exchange Series: Midori Hirose, Of The Unicorn (and the Sundowner Kids)

In collaboration with Portland Museum of Modern Art (PMOMA), Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) presents Midori Hirose’s first solo museum exhibition, Midori Hirose: Of The Unicorn (and the Sundowner Kids). The room-sized installation of newly-commissioned sculptures traces her explorations into the mythologies, historical accounts, ecologies, and communities of Santa Barbara, CA which unfolded from a series of conversations and excursions with Santa Barbara residents over the course of Hirose’s multiple visits to the area. Meetings with an anthropologist and ethnobiologist at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, a botanist, a fireman, a Chumash elder, a motel manager, and several artists, combined with Hirose’s more abstract sensory impressions of the landscape, inform her conceptualization of various objects in the exhibition. Together the work offers timely narratives about this city, touching on issues including immigration, indigenous reality, and climate change.

Hirose, a multidisciplinary artist based in Portland, OR, often creates projects that engage lesser-known personal and collective stories as points of departure for addressing broader social topics. Her simultaneously focused and open-ended inquiries into certain topics of interest are born out of a diverse range of encounters that reveal fundamentally significant yet often overlooked or misconstrued aspects of a place or situation. Hirose refers to these as the “never not heres.” For this exhibition she asks, “What exists in Santa Barbara that holds it up—makes it unique—but also is somehow camouflaged by the everyday? What are the magic qualities of this city that are never not here?”

Midori Hirose (b. 1973, Hood River, OR) has participated in exhibitions including The Portland 2016 Biennial, Portland, OR; PICA TBA Festival, Portland, OR; Fylkingen – New Music and Intermedia Art, Stockholm, SE; and Samson Projects, Boston, MA; and her work has been featured in publications including Three Artist Books, Publication Studio, Portland, OR; Studio Journal Knock, Book Series Issue 3, Fukuoka, JP; and Zehn Sense Forever, Nova Contemporary Culture & Outscapes, Rojo Magazine, Rio de Janeiro, BR. Hirose lives and works in Portland, OR.

Of The Unicorn (and the Sundowner Kids) is co-organized by curator Brooke Kellaway, and Libby Werbel, director of PMOMA.

This exhibition is part of MCASB’s Bloom Projects Exchange Series, conceptualized by curator Brooke Kellaway. The exhibition series takes place in the museum’s Bloom Gallery, a space that for more than a decade has featured new commissions and experimental projects by regional, national, and international emerging or under-recognized artists. The series presents solo exhibitions focused on programmatic collaborations with small-to mid-sized “off-centered” art organizations in cities across the globe. While bringing increased visibility to vibrant yet less broadly known artistic contexts, the exhibitions generate dialogue on innovative and localized approaches to display, communication, publishing, and audience development. A focal part of the series is public programming that involves critical discussion amongst Santa Barbara artists and arts professionals on the necessity of new or expanded arts initiatives and considering various factors that influence how these initiatives emerge and endure, notably in regions outside of major artistic centers, as in Santa Barbara.
The winter-spring 2018 Bloom Projects Exchange Series exhibition features a collaboration with Portland Museum of Modern Art (PMOMA), an alternative art space in Portland, OR, located within the stairwell and basement of Mississippi Records. PMOMA was founded by Libby Werbel in response to the lack of major contemporary and modern art institutions within a growing metropolis.
Support for the exhibition is generously provided by Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center, The Andy Warhol Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Nordstrom; Ann Jackson Family Foundation; Towbes Foundation; Festivals Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission; Mosher Foundation in honor of Barry Berkus, recommended by Dr. Bruce McFadden, and contributions from our Board of Trustees and many generous individuals. Additional support and funding by FORM Foundry, Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Mixed Needs, Portland, OR

[Press Release]

[Exhibition Brochure]

  • January 28, 2018 - June 3, 2018


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