By Chris Clemens

Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, The Galen and the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden introduces the exhibition Still Life: Capturing the Moment, on view from August 7 through February 21, 2016. With a creative mix of art works from the museum’s holdings and on loan from private collections, this exhibition looks beyond the classical definition of a “still life” to explore why this esteemed genre continues to compel artists today.

Throughout time, visual artists have delighted in the excitement of transforming commonplace objects into symbolic encounters with the world and self. Bringing together paintings, sculptures, photographs, and a surprising variety of other media, this exhibition studies the powerful psychological and associational value of altering time, place, and imagery into an artistic still life.

In the early twentieth-century, photographers such as Cy DeCosse, Baron Adolf De Meyer, and Paul Strand focused on capturing the sensual elements of light, texture, and form in everyday life. Today, contemporary photographers including Tom Baril, Michael Childers, and John Dugdale reveal the passion to document, describe, and celebrate material pleasures and possessions.

Many still lifes require meticulous renderings and pure technical virtuosity. In seductive paintings by Bruce Cohen, Helen Lundeberg, and Paul Wonner, these masterful skills are employed to transform the commonplace into visual illusions of imaginative and complex beauty. New media installations by artists such as Jennifer Steinkamp and Catherine Chalmers expand beyond the genre’s conventions to produce alluring contemporary innovations, while artist Ori Gersht creates a mesmerizing film that literally explodes the idea of still life. Taken together, this exhibition offers a refreshing, pleasurable, and often surprising look at the art of still life.

This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum and funded by Erik E. and Edith H. Bergstrom Foundation. Additional support is provided by Contemporary Art Council Silver Sponsors Naomi and Jeffrey Caspe, and Tom Minder.

For more information, please visit, or call (760) 346-5600. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert is located at 72567 Highway 111, Palm Desert, CA 92260. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert is open year-round.

PS Art Still Life

Bruce Cohen, Untitled (Interior with Violin and Anemones), 2001, oil on canvas, Museum purchase with funds from the Mr. and Mrs. Will Richeson Jr. Acquisition Fund, the Lucia Anderson Halsey Acquisition Fund and the Dr. Farel Rosenberg Acquisition Fund, (c) Bruce Cohen