Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - May 23, 2014

Worth A Look

Art

Pop-up gallery: otherworldly forms

Local pop-up art gallery Pace Menlo Park recently opened the doors to its latest exhibition, "Tara Donovan: Untitled," located in the former Tesla dealership at 300 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. The collection, which includes Donovan's pieces from 2000 to present, showcases a number of the artist's large-scale creations made from mass-produced materials.

"For artwork, it's the perfect place," said Elizabeth Sullivan, director of Pace Menlo Park, of the old dealership.

As the exhibit is part of a pop-up gallery, it will be dismantled as quickly as it was erected — at the end of June, staff will cart its pieces back to New York and the building will embrace an as-yet unknown fate.

Until then, Silicon Valley can appreciate the airy building in a new way — as a backdrop for Donovan's striking single-material structures, all fabricated from repetitive applications of commonplace objects like clear plastic buttons, toothpicks and metal straight pins.

"It's very organic and really works with the light so beautifully," Sullivan said of Donovan's work. Sullivan added that she'll often roll up the gallery's garage doors just so the pieces can play with the sunlight.

Donovan's pieces often recall organic forms and can be likened to coral reefs, delicate stalagmites or billowy cloud cover. Donovan also plays with perception and scale, creating towering works of shimmering Mylar and full-wall installations that span hundreds of square feet.

Visitors are also welcome to peek around the gallery's curtained wall to see works from other Pace artists, like two of Paul Graham's photographs of Penn Station.

"Tara Donovan: Untitled" will show at 300 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, from May 22 to June 30. The gallery is open to visitors, free of charge, Monday through Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m.

—Lena Pressesky

Stage

Foothill stages ancient Greek satire

Foothill College's Theater Arts program is preparing to debut its performance of Aristophanes' Ancient Greek comedy "The Assembly-Women," a play that director and Department Chair Tom Gough appreciates for both its humor and relevance.

"Issues may have changed, but behaviors are 2,400 years old," said Gough, referring to the play, which debuts May 23.

The production follows Athens' concerned female citizens and the drastic measures they take to right their government's wrongs. Unsatisfied with the all-male citizen assembly that continually thrusts their society into war, the play's heroines cross-dress as their husbands to take down the irrational laws put in place by their male counterparts.

The result?

"A whirlpool of satire," Gough said, adding that the play "flatters and denigrates both genders."

For theatergoers looking for a laugh, bawdy jokes counter the play's insightful and thought-provoking elements. Gough admitted that part of the reason he liked the play was that it appealed to his juvenile side — that which appreciates cross-dressing as a never-fail comedy staple.

Comedy aside, Gough remarked on the play's reflexive qualities that illuminate the similarities between our ancestors and ourselves.

The show's ensemble — all Foothill College students, most of whom are full-time — includes local players from East Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos and Portola Valley, among others.

The play is scheduled to run from May 23 through June 8. Thursday shows begin at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for general admission, and $14 for students and seniors. (There is no show May 25.) For information or to purchase tickets, call 650-949-7360, or visit foothill.edu/theatre/tickets. Please note: This play contains adult language, coarse language and sexual situations.

—Lena Pressesky

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