|James Joyce, author of Dubliners|
February 2 marks the 130th Anniversary of Joyce’s Birth.
The 130th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce on February 2 is an opportune moment for reflection upon the convoluted themes of Irish Diaspora identity. Also a good time to brush up on some history before our highly anticipated March show Amid A Space Between, Irish Artists in America.
Joyce, probably the most well-known Irish writer, travelled to Paris after university and only made five return visits, the last in 1912, after which he never returned. He lived over 30 years out of the country that would be the main subject of his many writings for the rest of his life, including the seminal work, Ulysses. Other artists many might identify as Irish like Samuel Beckett, also lived in Ireland during his formative years, but by age 30 he had moved to France and lived on the continent and wrote nearly all his major works in French.
Many Irish artists have made significant contributions to the arts within other countries. Art historian, painter, and sculptor Brian O'Doherty, who moved to America in 1957, was an influential member of the National Endowment for the Arts, where he was responsible for the creation of such programs as American Masters and Great Performances. Closer to home, William Coulter, considered the most important West Coast maritime artist of the 19th century moved to San Francisco and began his career in 1869. His most famous work is San Francisco Fire, 1906, and his works are in the Oakland Museum of California’s permanent collection.
As our world grows smaller due to the ease of communication, travel, and global collaboration, it has become increasingly difficult to assign artists representative to any nationality. Today, there are 40 million people in the United States alone who identify themselves having Irish ancestry, with the island of origin having a population of just 4 million people. Artists like Katie Holten, Richard Mosse, Alen MacWeeney, Helen O’Leary, Helen O’Toole, and Nuala Clarke in SFMOMA Artists Gallery’s upcoming show, Amid a Space Between: Irish Artists in America highlight in their artworks the significant traits of Irish art's Diaspora. They have been both a significant part of the history of modern and contemporary art here in the United States and Ireland. The artists’ ambiguous and multifaceted Irish identities also illustrates a larger idea that many artists of various nationalities and groups form communities and create opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences.
Amid A Space Between, Irish Artists in America opens at SFMOMA Artists Gallery March 8. Please join us for the opening on March 10.
Here are a few ways to commemorate the birth of one of the 20th Century’s greatest writers.
Attend a Lecture
Sunday, January 29th, 4 pm
United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco
Professor David Vela (Diablo Valley College)
“The Influence of Joyce’s Works on Latin American Writers”
A reception will follow the presentation. Join the ILHS at the event and attend this event for free, $5 suggested donation for visitors.
Have Irish Breakfast & Read Dubliners
The Copper Kettle
2240 Taraval St. (between 32nd Ave & 33rd Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94116
The Copper Kettle serves a traditional Irish Breakfast with eggs, bacon, black pudding, white pudding, potatoes, beans, grilled tomato and slices of freshly baked Irish bread. Order a pot of tea to go with it.
Listen to Reels and Jigs
Fiddler Martin Hayes can trace his roots directly back to the Tulla Ceili Band, in which he played along with his father P.J. Hayes. Guitarist Dennis Cahill was born in Chicago and studied at the city’s prestigious Music College. Both share a love for this traditional music that Martin says, “contains the longing and essence that moves you at the level of your soul.”
Save the Date for an Art Opening
Saturday, March 10, from 1 to 3 p.m.
SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Bldg. A, Fort Mason Center
Amid a Space Between: Irish Artists in America
On view March 8 thru April 19, 2012