Sept. 29 2014 07:05 PM

Balboa Park institution's new leader aims to connect artists across countries

“The Post-Apocalyptic Coffee House” by Debby and Larry Kline

In a banner year for border-themed art shows, the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park (SDAI) is thinking worldwide.

Beyond Limits: Postglobal Mediations opens Friday, Oct. 3, after almost two years in the making. Co-curated by SDAI Executive Director Ginger Shulick Porcella and collaborator Denise Carvalho, it's the Southern California site for the Mediations Biennale, an art-and-scholarly-discourse event happening in nearly a dozen countries: Poland, Germany, Peru, Uruguay, Mozambique, Israel, Japan, Turkey, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Beyond Limits kicks off with a preview and community dialogue with all 31 artists from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4. The six-week run includes performances around Balboa Park, a talk at the Centro Cultural Tijuana and video screenings at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center's IMAX Dome Theater.

The show was originally planned for Louisville, Kentucky, but Porcella retooled it when she moved to San Diego in February. It now features a mix of international and U.S. artists, with local representation spanning from Los Angeles to Tijuana. The show's saying is "no boundaries," and the scope integrates conceptual art and video—fresh genres in a venue known for traditional sculpture and painting. Porcella believes that a more dynamic experience will expand the organization's appeal, engaging regional audiences as well as tourists visiting the park.

"[We're] preparing local artists for a global market," she says. "How do you do that better than networking? By introducing artists to artists all over the world and forming those relationships, because that's how artists' careers develop, [through] their peers and their network. We need to broaden that network outside of just San Diego."

Porcella is bringing in artists like Jamaican Marlon Griffith, whose video recently premiered at London's Tate Britain, Peruvian-Brit-American Cesar Cornejo and the Toyko / Oslo team of Miho Shimizu and Øyvind Renberg, who call themselves Danger Museum.

The local contingent has some well-known names: Debby and Larry Kline, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Jose Hugo Sanchez and Margaret Noble. Noble's installation "Dorian's Gray" inaugurates SDAI's new media gallery, housed in what was a little-used administrative space.

Noble uses glittering surfaces and ornate picture frames splashed with light to convey how we present ourselves online and where that diverges from reality. She's enthusiastic about where Porcella is taking SDAI and about the opportunity to work alongside artists from around the world.

"This is new!" she says cheerfully. "The Art Institute is really getting interesting."

Write to


See all events on Monday, Oct 24