San Jose Public Art eNews
  The Online Newsletter of the City of San Josť Public Art Program 
November 2010Volume 3, Issue 11
In This Issue
Giselle - Artwork's Tale Has Happy Ending
Public Art Committee: No Meeting in November
City Hall - Current Exhibits
Ending Soon: Art on San Fernando
Explore Public Art
San Jose Public Art - Online Archive
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Giselle - Artwork's Tale of Mystery, Adventure, Has Happy Ending


Above, Giselle, in new location in CPA; below right is Albrecht 



Since the 1990's Giselle, a 71" high bronze sculpture, has been a familiar site to Montgomery Theater-goers. The statue depicts a spirit from the acclaimed 19th-century French ballet of the same name. The well-known classic ballet tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle who dies of a broken heart, but whose ghost protects her nobleman lover, Albrecht, from tormenting evil spirits called "Wilis." Artist Julia Lord, then a student at San Jose State University, was commissioned in 1978 to create Giselle. In 1985, Lord created the companion artwork  Albrecht, modeled after ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov.


But the Giselle sculpture has a story all its own.


The Giselle and Albrecht sculptures were both originally installed on the site of what is now the Tech Museum of Innovation. In 1982, Giselle vanished, only to reappear two weeks later, a mystery that has never been solved.


Once construction on the then new Tech Museum began, Giselle and Albrecht were installed in the Montgomery Theater courtyard. But, due to technical issues with the sculpture's base, the Giselle figure fell over about a year ago, and the City felt it was time to rethink the location for both artworks. Giselle was placed in storage in the basement of the San Jose Civic Auditorium while alternative locations for the artworks were being considered and the Civic Auditorium facility was undergoing renovations.


During the summer, the nearby Center for Performing Arts (CPA) lobby was named as the new permanent home for both artworks. This site, home to season performances by Ballet San Jose and others seemed fitting. Ballet San Jose was especially excited that Giselle and Albrecht would be installed there in time for the company's celebration its 25th Anniversary season which was to feature a production of the "Giselle" ballet. But when a member of Team San Jose, the organization that manages the City's convention and theater facilities, went to retrieve Giselle from storage, for the second time in its existence the statue had vanished.


AlbrechtCPAGiselle's second mysterious disappearance soon involved the San Jose Police, local press and media coverage. And then, in a twist that no one could predict, the Police got a call from the attorney representing an unidentified person seeking to return Giselle, a move apparently sparked by the Mercury News' front-page story. And, as if from a scene in a suspense tale, Giselle was returned to the San Jose Police by the attorney middleman, draped beneath a brown plastic tarp on a hand cart in a leafy downtown alley.  



Giselle and Albrecht, with new bases designed to best display the works, are now both permanently installed in the lobby of the CPA. They were installed in time for the opening night of the Ballet's "Giselle". Although the San Jose Police continue to investigate Giselle's mysterious disappearance, it seems that Giselle's saga is over.  

Public Art Committee
The Public Art Committee's regular monthly meeting in November 2010 is cancelled.
The next meeting will be held December 14, 2010 at 5:30 P.M.; the location for this December meeting is not yet confirmed. (Please note that, due to the winter holidays, the December meeting will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month instead of the regular 3rd Tuesday meeting schedule.)
The Public Art Committee, a sub-committee of the Arts Commission, is advisory to the Commission and to San Jose City Council. The Public Art Committee monitors and provides oversight in the planning, artist selection, development and design review of public art projects throughout the City. 
City Hall - Current Exhibits

Current listings as of newsletter distribution   


The following exhibits are presented by the City Hall Exhibition Program, a project of the San Jose Public Art Program. All exhibits are free and open to the public. 






Lost Murals of Miguel Covarrubias

Location:  City Hall Wing Galleria 

San Jose City Hall

200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA   



Exhibit continues through February 2011


This blockbuster art exhibition will feature rarely seen murals by the Mexican painter Miguel Covarrubias created for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on San Francisco's Treasure Island. In partnership with History San Jose and Mexican Heritage Corporation, this historic exhibition presents the murals at San Jose City Hall along with rare examples of Covarrubias' artwork from the private collection of collector and Covarrubias expert Adriana Williams.





R.Dawson photograph of wastewater in motion. 



The Conscience of the City


Location:  City Windows Gallery in City Hall

200 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA   

In the storefront exhibit space along 4th Street



Exhibit continues through February, 2011



Robert Dawson has worked for six months with the City of San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs and the Environmental Services Department as the City's first Photographer-in-Residence at its Water Pollution Control Plant. Dawson's work is intended to generate awareness about this invisible part of our daily lives. His photographs depict a huge, complex but delicate machine and explore four key elements:  the People who work diligently to keep the Plant functioning efficiently and the South San Francisco Bay alive; the Place, consisting of a massive infrastructure that surprisingly includes areas of astonishing beauty; the Treatment, a highly complex, environmentally sensitive process that never ends; and the History showing changes over the Water Pollution Control Plant's fifty-year history since it was built in 1962.


Additional exhibits - ending soon:

Hidden Heritages: Six African American Families, San Jose 1860­-1920  


Location: City Hall Tower, Santa Clara St. Lobby

Exhibit will continue through November, 2010



Face2Face: Highlights from the Student Art Collection at the Santa Clara County Office of Education   

 Location: City Hall Tower, 18th Floor Mayor and Council Office Lobby Gallery 



Exhibit will continue through November, 2010

Art on San Fernando: Revisioning The Corridor - Some Projects To End Soon

A view of Robin Lasser/Marguerite Perret's A Floating World over the Guadalupe River



Polli/Varga's Paticle Falls visualizes air quality readings.

Art on San Fernando: Revisioning the Corridor, has been a key attraction in downtown since mid-August. Hundreds of people have made the San Fernando Street corridor between Diridon Station and Market Street at the San Jose Museum of Art a destination to view the six temporary public art projects installed there. Each of the public art projects use elements of technology to animate and enliven the streetscape.


The projects in Art on San Fernando: Revisioning the Corridor can be viewed through late November and then most of them will be removed. For more information and details about viewing the artworks, go to:   http://www.sanjoseculture.org/?pid=99224 

August's Public Art eNews feature article can be viewed in the Public Art eNews Archive at www.sanjoseculture.org and click on Public Art, then on Newsletter. 

Explore Public Art in Downtown San Jose 

Create your own walking tour!

Here are two ways you can enjoy public art in Downtown San Jose.
DOWNTOWN PUBLIC ART MAP - Updated 2009 Edition Now Available!
The San Jose Public Art Program's  colorful, informative map of public art projects in downtown San Jose has recently been updated. The 2009 Downtown Public Art Map is a fun and easy way to see public in downtown San Jose.
Use it to create your own walking tour and include opportunities to stop and enjoy other features in the district including museums, galleries and restaurants.  
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library includes an award-winning collection of more than 34 site-specific public artworks in locations throughout the library. Finding them is a process of exploration and discovery that is filled with surprises! A free colorful detailed brochure is available from the San Jose Public Art Program that will help you appreciate this extraordinary collection.  
To request a free copy of the 2009 Downtown Public Art Map or the Recolecciones - Library Art Collection brochure, please e-mail your request to  patricia.walsh@sanjoseca.gov, and include your mailing address.
A printable pdf version of the Downtown Public Art Map is also available on the Public Art webpage of the Office of Cultural Affairs website at
San Jose Downtown Public Art Map.
San Jose Public Art e-News Archive 
Visit the Online Archive to view past issues! 
Current and past issues of San Jose Public Art can be viewed on the Public Art pages of the Office of Cultural Affairs website.
Go to www.sanjoseculture.org
More to come in San Jose Public Art e-News!
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