Friday, September 26, 2014

Gamble House Reinvents Itself for Pasadena's 2014 A x S Festival

You may have been driving along North Orange Grove Blvd in Pasadena over the last several weeks and wondered what was up with the large flying saucer (or enormous satellite dish) tilted up against the Ultimate Bungalow.  For the first time ever, the Gamble House in Pasadena is showcasing contemporary art within the confines of the historic Greene and Greene house that was once owned by the Gamble family of Procter and Gamble fame.  This static art along with performance art and various workshops are part of the 2014 A x S Festival in Pasadena that attempts to link up science and art at various locations in Pasadena.  Getting the Gamble House commission was the Los Angeles based Machine Project, and they selected the various artists to display their art during this run from September 19 - October 5, 2014.  Local artist Patrick Michael Ballard in addition to the artistic creativity of the saucer covered with the roses emblematic of the Tournament of Roses had to design a display structure that would not use the structural support off  this most historic house.  Then for someone like me who does own a California Bungalow, this playful Ultimate Bungalow sign from Jessica Cowley is much appreciated,and will live beyond the festival as a postcard available from the Gamble House museum store.

Paid guided tours of the Gamble House and the Machine Project installation can be booked online. What is also unique about this installation is that there will opportunities for self-guided tours of the Gamble House for free on the following dates  while also having a chance to watch the performance art:

Saturday, September 27: 12 pm - 10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)
Thursday, October 2nd 8 pm - 10 pm (last entry (9;30 pm)
Sunday, October 5th 12 pm - 4 pm.  Paid Guided tours with kids under 17 free (Family Day)

In addition, the Gamble House will be encouraging visitors to take photographs (for sharing on social media), as normally no pictures are allowed on the regularly scheduled tours.  I had an opportunity to see the installation right before it opened, and the following slide show hosted on flickr are my photographs.

For the above dates there will be many workshops led by the artists, including letter writing and embroidery and an opportunity to make soap as a homage to the iconic Ivory Soap of Procter and Gamble.  Details of the various workshops and performance art, including poetry readings, along with iced tea in the garden can be found on the Machine Project Field Guide website.  Several of the workshops have special fees that can be purchased online from the Machine Project website. For those who make it to the first special day on September 17, you will discover a Special Restaurant creating Swiss-Japanese fusion cuisine delivering small bites on a conveyor belt from the basement. Tickets for the guided Gamble House tours can be purchased online here.  For the first time visitor or a repeat visitor to the Gamble House, this is a unique opportunity to better understand the context of the house in the 21st century and to see how much of the special installation uses Greene and Greene architectural elements in their work.  The Machine Project intends to video the performance art and workshops so that those who missed it can vicariously enjoy the efforts of all involved.  But of course it is best viewed in person.

The A x S Festival is a project of the Pasadena Arts Council with a theme of Curiosity for 2014.  Lots to see and do during this 17 day Pasadena festival that promotes the intersection of art and science.

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