My weekly ramble
San Jose Downtown
Part I: Museum of Art and San Pedro Square on Palm Sunday
I just made a new German friend who is a docent at the San Jose Museum of Art. Yesterday she invited a bunch of friends for a private tour in German. I’ve been to this museum before and it is a really beautiful building that actually consists out of two structures, one is the original building which used to be an old library and the new adjacent building from 1991. The transition is really cool.
My friend Nathalie led us through two exhibitions. The first one is called “Border Cantos” and is by Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo. It displays photographs and instruments that document the unseen, human reality of the US-Mexico borderlands. Every instrument can actually be played and in one of the galleries you hear the sounds of the different instruments. Galindo used only things he found along the border to create his instruments. It’s an old belief of the Aztecs that something that belonged to a human being contains his soul. He wanted to show the souls of all the refugees that passed this border.
Misrach photographs show small details and all his pictures are taken from the American side of the fence. The pictures below show the tire tools that the border patrol uses to even out the sand at night in order to notice new footprints of the migrants. I didn’t know much about the fence along the Mexican-American border and this exhibit left a big impression on me. The San Jose Art Museum is the first museum that displays it and it runs through July 31st. After that it will be displayed in many more museums across the country.
“By bringing the border down to human scale, and by putting politics in the context of individual human lives, Border Cantos offers a provocative response to the polarizing discussions around immigration reform that have dominated local and national politics, both today and throughout the history of this country.” (quote from the museum website).
The second exhibit we saw was TABAIMO: HER ROOM. Her video installations and drawings reflect her insights “into the challenges faced by Japan’s so-called “lost” generation, caught in the struggle to negotiate its place between tradition and modernity, isolationism and globalism”. One part of the exhibition are drawings inspired by Shuichi Yoshida’s novel Akunin (Villain).
After the museum visit we went to get lunch. We passed the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph at the corner West San Fernando and South Market Street and saw a small Palm Sunday procession. St. Joseph is a large Roman Catholic church which was completed in 1885.
We walked over to San Pedro Square Market. The market includes over 20 unique vendors selling everything from sushi to beer to home goods. You can either sit inside or outside in the square, right next to the Peralta Adobe. The adobe was built in 1797 by Manuel Gonzalez, an Apache Indian — also the first resident, and second mayor, of San Jose. The square is a cool little place to get a bite and there is even the Ice Cream “Treatbot” truck of the future. They serve dessert from local and sustainable sources. Their flavors rotate nightly.
It’s time to explore more of San Jose, I think I’m gonna bring my family here soon.