HONOLULU -- It had been ages since I'd visited the Contemporary
Museum in Honolulu, and when I did, I scolded myself for letting so
much time pass.
While it's not a commissionable activity, it's one of those
places your clients will thank you for recommending.
Only minutes outside of downtown, the museum is situated in a
residential area in Makiki Heights, with panoramic views of the
city, vast gardens, a shop packed with gift items and a cafe for
lunch. A former home built on 3.5 acres in 1925, the building
officially became the museum in 1988.
Portions of the gardens date to the 1930s. They are so extensive
that the museum provides a map of its narrow dirt trails, labeling
the many varieties of plants.
Sculptures also decorate the grounds; my favorite was a
stainless-steel structure called "Breaking Column." Run on ball
bearings, it moves and changes with the wind.
At the time of my visit, the exhibition, "Surf Culture: The Art
History of Surfing," examined the history of surfing through art
from the late 1700s to the present.
Photographs of surfers in action complemented drawings,
paintings and sculptures about the sport and the ocean.
One of the most breathtaking was a photograph of big wave legend
Laird Hamilton in the tube of what looks to be a 40-plus-foot wave.
Below it was the surfboard he used.
Surfboards were a large part of the exhibition. Some are works
of art, like the one crafted with inlaid abalone. Others brought
history to life, such as the 14.5-foot long, 150-pound koa board
used by Hawaiian royalty in the waves of Waikiki around 1830.
In the gardens, a permanent exhibit painted in 1983 by David
Hockney offers his interpretation of the Ravel opera "L'Enfant et
les Sortileges." It engages all of the senses and transformed the
entire pavilion -- now called the Hockney Pavilion.
The admission fee is $5 for adults and $3 for students and
seniors. Children under age 12 enter free.
The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Docent tours
are available daily at 1:30 p.m. For information, call (808)
526-1322 or visit www.tcmhi.org.
Looking ahead to what's coming at the Contemporary Museum:
• Recent works by Los Angeles artist Tony Berlant, who has
created metal collages since the early 1960s. Through June 15.
• Sixth Biennial of Hawaii Artists, a selection of the best
recent work by artists living and working in the Islands. June 27
to Aug. 31.
• ArtSpree, July 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include
musical and dance performances. Children can participate in art
projects under the guidance of artists. Shuttles to parking areas
are available all day. Admission is free.
• Crossings 2003: Korea/Hawaii, an international event that
commemorates the 100th anniversary of Korean immigration to the
U.S., Sept. 19 to Nov. 16.