The Monterey Museum of Art is beginning an Artist-in-Residency program. The plan is to host international artists to bring different perspectives to the area. Spanish artist Paz de la Calzada is the first artist-in-residence.
Paz de la Calzada stapled pieces of astroturf, or fake grass, to the white walls of the main stairwell in the Monterey Museum of Art in downtown Monterey earlier this September. Then, she sculpted the astroturf into the shape of Monterey cypress trees. You’ve probably seen these trees before. They’re the irregular, flat-topped, bluish-green trees found in places like Carmel, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. They resemble the trees in the Dr. Suess book The Lorax.
“It’s such a beautiful, incredible tree,” de la Calzada said as she continued to put up her installation. “It actually goes with the wind. The wind informs how the tree is gonna look like. Sculpted by the wind.”
Her installation lines the walls of the museum’s stairwell, creating the feeling of walking through a forest. She calls it Bucolica Californica.
Paz de la Calzada (PC): I say Boo-col-i-ca. Yeah, I think that the title is a little bit like a joke, but obviously, you know, Bucolica Californica is an imitation of the Latin names for plants. So I just translated that into the Latin name, you know.
Dylan Music (DM): What is your hope that people here in Monterey, or people visiting this installation, will get out of this experience?
PC: Well, I mean, I think that it is a double message. The message is to be thoughtful about plastic in general. It can be very appealing and beautiful and nice. So, I basically encourage not using plastic. Or if you use it, don't throw it away. Do something creative and look at things from a more sustainable point of view. Like if you want something green in your garden, just try to do your best to create something that is natural.
DM: While de la Calzada is creating the installation in downtown Monterey, she’s living about five minutes away in a studio at the museum’s La Mirada cultural center.
PC: It’s an old, originally Spanish adobe house that has been growing over the years. I’m psyched, and I’m very grateful to be the first artist-in-residence...and I believe that what they want to bring is, like, international artists who can reactivate the scene in Monterey and do meaningful work with the community and actively participate in events.
Events like the one that’s happening tomorrow evening at The Monterey Museum of Art on Pacific Street. It’s called the “Ferment Event,” celebrating sustainability through probiotic hot sauce, beer, cider, interactive art, and live music. De la Calzada says that she may even serve up a Monterey Cypress-infused cocktail at the event in honor of her installation. Bucolica Californica will be on display at the museum through December. The Monterey Museum of Art is a supporter of KAZU.