What the evening lacked in visceral, it more than made up for it in the visual.
More than a dozen Pasadena arts groups took their work to the couch and the small screen for thousands of viewers as ongoing COVID restrictions once again made gallery gatherings impossible for this year’s Pasadena Virtual ArtNight 2021.
Small studies, living rooms and busy kitchens took the place of busting streets this year.
While numerous artists offered videotaped presentations of their work, a number of other arts groups offered live workshops and performances.
A cursory view of the evening provided a wide range of highlights.
From NASA/JPL and ArtCenter, along with a team of ArtCenter filmmakers, astrophysicists offered their views on their work and the universe they explore every day, as part of SKY Stories: Cosmologists Occupy an Art Space.
Alina Kiessling described her childhood vacation discovery of an ancient dinosaur bone in her homeland of Australia, which launched her own career as an explorer of outer space.
Agnes Ferté, in her video, said she had an interest in being a famous scientist one day, and as a teenager, waited eagerly for the days that aliens would land on Earth and claim her as a true believer.
Dida Markovic discussed the constant measurement of the visible sky around Earth, as scientists worked to construct enormous sky maps, and the consideration of the universe as something so big it could barely be fathomed.
At the California Art Club, Christopher Cook painted small landscapes live, as he discussed his own formation as an artist, both as a young person and as an adult.
Makoto Taiko, a drum troupe representing the Oakland Asian Culture Center, and Shumei Arts Council, performed two driving, pounding pieces—Revelation, by Koji Nakamura, which, as described, illustrated “the divine revelation to humanity for a movement towards harmony between East and West, as well as between the different races, cultures, and religions of the world” and Rapids, composed by Hunter Lloyd, a musical journey down a twisting, churning river.
The Center also offered lessons in creating origami cranes, a Japanese symbol of peace, as well as Japanese dessert cooking.
ARC presented the Pennington Dance Group, who performed “Everness,” a dance work by the Nancy Evans Dance Group, along with a number of various dance performances from local and international choreographers.
The always unique and innovative Muse/Ique featured four women percussionists—Maria Tavakoli, Dani Markham, Jaquelene Acevedo,and Kassandra Kokochis—performing Chaka Kahn’s ‘I Feel for You,” using only percussion instruments. The result was melodic and persuasive as well as melodic. Their evening also featured New Orleans’ Mojo Combo, and Anthony Parnther and Alan Steinberger, who performed a stirring “Go Down Moses.”
Speaking of music, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music put technology on display with the Jackfruit Quartet—Megan Shung, Dorothy Kwon, Natalie Brejcha, and Trina Hodgson. The group took its moniker from its use of “JackTrip” technology, which allowed them to perform simultaneously, in different locations, all in perfect time, an effect that Zoom, as we all have learned, is demonstrably unable to achieve.
Taking a break from performances, participants viewers could also stroll virtually through the Fenyes Mansion, these days known as the Pasadena Museum of History.
While next year may provide up close and personal performances and art, the 2022 ArtNight will likely see crowded streets, sidewalks, galleries, solutions and clubs once again.
Artists and their supporters still do what they do.