CU Saturday: Free Music + Art + Nature at ICA North

If you haven’t been to one of ICA North’s CU Saturdays yet, now is the perfect time to put it on your calendar. These monthly events are free, fun and full of adventure for all ages, and November 18th promises to be extraordinary.

To begin with, there are currently three extraordinary artists represented in the six-acre, indoor-outdoor museum.

Inside the Education Pavilion at street level, Taylor Chapin’s Tell Me About Yourself exhibit is a definite eye-catcher. Her paintings—some quite large—contain hyper-colored figures and patterns that aim to convey an underlying message: what she calls the “addictive structure of overstimulation” and our “tendency to support superficial accumulation.”

In a small room behind the gallery, you’ll find more of the Encinitas native’s handiwork: a collection of whimsical stained plaster hands.

Leta Wilson with her new CaliforniaViewHolesSteel sculpture.

(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

Then head out into the garden, where you can’t miss CaliforniaViewHolesSteel, an impressive sculpture by New York artist Leta Wilson, which is the latest artwork at ICA North, installed a few weeks ago. It’s actually part of the Sculpture Trail, a series of outdoor installations inspired by the Encinitas landscape, and it’s made of Corten steel.

“They make ships out of it,” Wilson explained when we met in late October. “It will rust, but it’s very durable and will develop a nice patina over time.”

What makes the work unique are the textured images of rocks and greenery printed on the panels, images enlarged from photos she took on local nature walks, one of them on the nearby La Orilla Trail. She had to go to Los Angeles to do the printing; no one locally could handle heavy steel panels on their presses. The other unique feature is the holes, inviting the sun and visitors to peer through the artwork.

“I grew up in Colorado and we spent a lot of time outdoors,” Wilson said. “We were traveling in the Rockies and all the pictures we took were of rocks and mountains, not people. When we got home, my dad would pick the best picture, enlarge it, and hang it in the living room. Since then I wanted to work with landscape images, but to do something different. Screwing a hole in a photo is cool!”

Danielle Dean surrounded by household appliances, with video above.

Danielle Dean surrounded by household appliances, with video above.

(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

On Saturday at CU, just after 4 p.m., there will be a music and art event in the garden. Artist-in-Residence Daniel Dean will join composer Mason Burns and Art of Elan musicians to perform selections from a collaborative piece they’ve been working on for some time. It will be part of the upcoming California Festival, a celebration of the state’s most compelling contemporary music, and CU attendees will be the first to hear it.

Composer Mason Bynes, whose score for the Daniel Dean film will be performed for the first time at CU Saturday.

Composer Mason Bynes, whose score for the Daniel Dean film will be performed for the first time at CU Saturday.

(Mataoric Photography, courtesy of Art of Elan)

“Mason is actually creating an original score for a Daniel film, and we’re thrilled to present it at the inaugural California Festival this month,” said Kate Hatmaker, executive director of Art of Elan. “At ICA North, we will allow a glimpse into the creative process of a multimedia artist and multimedia composer who have created something that our musicians will bring to life for the first time, in front of a live audience. It should be a really special experience.” For more information on Art of Elan concerts at the festival and beyond, go to

Daniel Dean's French collaborators in the subway with a caricatured landscape below.
Daniel Dean’s French collaborators in the subway with a caricatured landscape below.

(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

For more outdoor installations, ignore the paved road up and follow the sculpture trail, interacting with nature and artwork, maybe pick up a stick and make your own Marimba music. You’ll soon find yourself in the Artist Pavilion, ready to enter Danielle Dean’s Bazar exhibition, featuring four-channel videos, animated scenes and electronic soundscapes.

Born to a Nigerian father and an English mother in Alabama and raised in suburban London, Dean discovered the subject of her current exhibition in over a century of catalogs from the Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville, a Parisian department store. She pulled out text and pictures showing what the store had tried to sell over the years and to whom. She then went to a suburb of Paris, where she found four willing collaborators, women with family roots in the French colonies who belonged to a community organization working to engage troubled young people—most of them dark-skinned children of immigrants—in creative activities.

Being neither white nor affluent, these women are not the target audience for the catalogs, and part of the Bazar project is “thinking about who we should be and how we should present ourselves.” Together with the artist, they created videos of their reactions to the environment and the catalogs, including an impromptu dance with a huge coffee machine. You will surely be engaged with the final results.

There will be plenty more going on at CU Saturday: an all-ages art activity where you can create your own Daniel Dean-style miniatures, music by a Latin-style DJ, food and drink available for purchase, and an opportunity to mix and mingle with artists, musicians and other visitors. All are welcome, but pre-registration is required:

CU Saturday

november 18, 4-8 p.m.

ICA North 1550 S. El Camino Real, Encinitas.

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