X MARKS THE SPOT
STAR-BULLETIN / 2002
In addition to housing modern art, the Contemporary Museum in Makiki is a venue for performance art. Shown, performer Dan Hermon emerged from the pool at the museum next to Steve Novak, both part of the Tangentz Performance Group, during a piece titled, "An Unexpected Occurrence," at the annual Art Spree festival.
Modern art museum was a former home
"Contemporary" is a frame of mind -- the scope of collection at the modern art museum begins about 1940. The Makiki Heights building itself dates back to 1925, a former residence of Mrs. Charles Montague Cooke.
She had moved out of her residence across from Thomas Square in order to make room for the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Designed by Hart Wood and expanded by the firm of Bertram Goodhue and Associates, the Academy of Arts later acquired the home as a bequest from Alice Spalding, Mrs. Cooke's daughter, and used it as an annex until 1978.
"Mnemonic Reconstruction" by Wim Botha was part of a South African art exhibit at Contemporary Museum last month.
Having a long-standing interest in contemporary art, at 705 Kapiolani Blvd., the Twigg-Smith family acquired the property. The Honolulu Advertiser publishers had outgrown their gallery in the News Building, and in 1986 the Spalding House was designated the site for a new Contemporary Museum. It was renovated by CJS Group Architects, a Milton Cades Pavilion added on, and the museum opened in 1988.
(After the Twigg-Smiths sold out to the Gannett newspaper chain in the early '90s, any interest in art at the News Building evaporated.)
The museum features art galleries, a shop, a cafe, administrative offices, archival storage and work areas, plus a live-in for the director. A branch gallery operates downtown at First Hawaiian Center.
An upcoming fundraising event called "ConTempo 2006" is planned for April 22. For information, call 526-1322.
"X Marks the Spot"
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