• SAN JOSE, California
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  • March 08, 2011

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Kevin Appel in his studio.
Photo by Annie McElwain

The San Jose Museum of Art will launch a new exhibition series called "Beta Space" this March. Like the legendary Silicon Valley garage, Beta Space will serve as an experimental laboratory for artists, collaborative ventures, and catalytic ideas. The Museum has converted the north gallery on the second floor for this ongoing series of exhibitions, which will begin with new work by Kevin Appel and Ruben Ochoa on March 26.

Beta Space sprung from the Museum's 2010 strategic plan, which calls for the Museum to more closely connect its audiences with artists and with the artistic process; to showcase the cross-disciplinary interests of many contemporary artists; to foster timely community collaborations; to take advantage of community resources; and to reflect the diversity and innovative spirit of Silicon Valley.  Rotating every six to eight months, Beta Space will feature new work by a variety of artists commissioned by the Museum. The artists will be encouraged to experiment and venture into new areas.

The first installment, on view March 26-August 14, 2011, will feature new works by Appel and Ochoa, two Los Angeles-based artists known for rethinking the built environment. Appel focuses on domestic settings, while Ochoa explores urban landscapes. Beta Space will bring the two artists together for an artistic "conversation" to imagine alternative urban spaces and domestic habitats. The collaboration is enhanced by their history: Appel taught Ochoa at the University of California, Irvine.

Ruben Ochoa is fascinated by the built environment, particularly urban spaces that are punctuated by obtrusive cement walls, sidewalks, chain-link fences, and concrete footings. For "Beta Space," Ochoa plans a massive installation of metal fence posts and concrete forms, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier. Ochoa's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City, CA; Site Santa Fe, NM; and numerous galleries nationwide. His work is in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Armand Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Kevin Appel belongs to a generation of artists who mine Los Angeles's legacy of modernist residential architecture. In his most recent work, he creates hypothetical architectural interventions in the landscape by painting over images taken from nature magazines. For Beta Space, Appel is creating a large architectural scrim and several new paintings.  Appel has had one-person exhibitions at Acme, Los Angeles; The Suburban, Chicago; Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; Wilkinson Gallery, London; and other venues. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the New York Public Library; the Saatchi Collection, London; and other public and private collections.

"Beta Space: Kevin Appel and Ruben Ochoa" is organized by Kristen Evangelista, associate curator, and sponsored by the James Irvine Foundation and Technology Credit Union.


The San Jose Museum of Art is a distinguished museum of modern and contemporary art and a lively center of arts activity in Silicon Valley. Established in 1969, SJMA presents art ranging from modern masterpieces to recent works by young, emerging artists. SJMA's permanent collection of more than 2,000 twentieth- and twenty-first-century works of art, including paintings, sculpture, installation, new media, photography, drawings, prints, and artist books, has a special focus on West Coast art, seen in an national and international context.

The San Jose Museum of Art is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San Jose, California. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, and free to members and children under 6. For more information, call 408-271-6840 or visit


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Programs at the San Jose Museum of Art are generously supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, by operating support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the James Irvine Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; the Adobe Foundation; and the Koret Foundation; the MetLife Foundation; and a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose.


San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market St
San Jose, California
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