There is a critical mass of contemporary art in Honolulu right now—ready for you to soak up like an inspiration-seeking sponge. From the works by Hawai‘i artists visualizing the islands in 3017 in the latest Contact Hawai‘i exhibition to internationally known names in the debut Honolulu Biennial, it is an exciting time to experience contemporary art on O‘ahu.
Set aside this Sunday to go on an art holoholo across the city. It’s a great way not only to see new art, but also to reacquaint yourself with Honolulu. When was the last time you explored Foster Botanical Garden or entered the IBM Building?
Here’s a guide for you to follow:
- Shahzia Sikander: Parallax: We start the tour at the Honolulu Museum of Art, of course. Sure, we’re biased, but we bet you’ll agree once you spend a half hour immersed in this mesmerizing, multisensory video installation that it is the best show in town at the moment (pictured above). Inspired by a road trip through the United Arab Emirates, Parallax takes you on a visual journey to new frontiers. Known for her contemporary take on the tradition of miniature paintings, Sikander got started on her new digital path right here in Hawai‘i, when she was an artist in residence at Shangri La in 2008. Learn more about the installation in this Q+A with the New York–based artist. On view through July 30.
- Artists of Hawai‘i 2017: Right next door to Parallax is the latest edition of Artists of Hawai‘i, featuring installations by Kaori Ukaji, Kasey Lindley, and Kaili Chun and Hongtao Zhou working in tandem. The artists went beyond their comfort zones working with curator Healoha Johnston for this show. The result: All three works are snaring enraptured visitors—getting them to linger and physically experience the installations. The museum has decided to make Artists of Hawai‘i a triennial event, so you won’t get to experience the show again until 2020. On view through May 28.
- Honolulu Biennial at HoMA: Your first Honolulu Biennial stop is at the museum—Zhan Wang’s Artificial Rock #133, and the accompanying actual rock from which it was cast, are on the front lawn. Contemplate how our world has changed. On view through May 8.
- Contact 3017: Hawai‘i in a Thousand Years: Walk across the street to our Art School to see Pu‘uhonua Society’s annual exhibition of invited and juried work. This year, artists were asked to create art that reflected the islands in 3017. From French artist Kosta Kuludzic’s imagining of the shoreline crowd at Pipeline to Taiji Terasaki’s Edible Landscapes for the Trilennium—a shipping container in the school’s sketch garden that holds a magical mist-filled experience—the show offers a lot of food for thought about Hawai‘i. On view through April 16. The show is accompanied by a full slate of programming, including a talk by the jurors/curators—art collective Paradise Cove—on April 13.
- Honolulu Biennial at Foster Botanical Garden: Take a 15-minute walk from the museum to Foster Botanical Garden. It’s a nice urban stroll. Installations by Andrew Binkley, Sean Connelly, Charlton Kupa‘a Hee, Yayoi Kusama, Lynne Yamamoto are all great garden interventions. Binkley’s Stone Cloud, a giant mass hovering over a path, stopped my mom dead in her tracks, then made her laugh in delight. And Yamamoto’s mini re-creation of an old-school Honolulu bungalow will have kama‘āina aching with nostalgia and memories of obachan. And Yayoi Kusama’s giant polka dot amoebas never fail to lift the spirit. On view through May 8.
- Honolulu Biennial Hub: It’s not as far as it seems—back track to Ward Avenue and it’s a straight shot down to The Hub, the nucleus of the Honolulu Biennial. Give yourself at least an hour to really experience all the installations. You’ll want to spend a half hour just in TeamLab’s Graffiti Nature. You enter an Ali Baba’s cave type space, draw something, the attendant scans it for you, and it becomes one of the neon-colored images swirling around the space. Magical!
And don’t miss all the Biennial’s programs. Tomorrow, April 11, Dr. Nabil Ahmed, a researcher of architecture from Goldsmiths, University of London, talks with Ngahiraka Mason, Curator of Honolulu Biennial, about alternative commissions of inquiry for the promotion of environmental justice in the Pacific region.
- Honolulu Biennial at the IBM Building: Take the elevator to the third floor to experience Yayoi Kusama’s I’m Here, but Nothing, a room that makes everything seem like it has psychedelic measles. Then in the rear courtyard, you can see another Zhan Wang rock sculpture and the alluring Breathing Flower—a giant mechanical lotus the opens and closes—by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa. Finish up with a drink and snack at nearby Piggy Smalls.