Yutaka Sone & Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart

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Yutaka Sone & Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart
Nov 21, 2013–Apr 5, 2014





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Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman, Untitled, 2007 - 2009, Acrylic on paper, 38 x 75 inches, Courtesy of the artists
Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman, Grandma's Closet, 2007, Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the artists
Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman, Cat Skier, 2013, Mixed media, 27 x 20 x 30 inches, Courtesy of the artists
Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman, Tuck with Loose Straps, 2007, Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, Courtesy of the artists
Installation view, poem excerpt by Benjamin Weissman
Installation view
Installation view

Yutaka Sone, known for his masterful sculptures of architectural and natural landscapes, and Benjamin Weissman, a prolific writer and visual artist, initially met atop Mammoth Mountain at the suggestion of their colleague, Paul McCarthy. Since that first meeting, they have crafted a shared mythology based on their mutual passion for snow and related subjects—skiing, forests and mountains, athletics, alter-egos, and mischief. For What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart, Sone and Weissman have built a monumental, animatronic ski mountain, complete with roving chair lifts and whimsical skiing characters. Their mountain, installed in the Museum’s Main Gallery, is complemented by a series of jointly-produced paintings and sculptures, as well as videos and performances. SMMoA boldly debuts the fruits of this long-term partnership and transports a fantastic winterscape to seasonless Los Angeles.

What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart is about skiing, but its central themes apply to surfing and all other sports defined by a kinetic relationship to natural forms. Such experiences are at once exhilarating and terrifying, and Sone and Weissman’s artistic collaboration is no different. Like skiing, their work together is a form of personal and professional thrill-seeking, which requires that they relinquish individual control in favor of a conjoined creative effort. For this installation, Sone and Weissman have embarked on a particularly risky and rewarding endeavor: to build a mountain in the Museum. Together they bring the rush of outdoor adventures and instinctual creative production to SMMoA, giving visitors a rare opportunity to reflect on otherwise fleeting experiences.

Yutaka Sone & Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart is organized by Elsa Longhauser, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Museum of Art. 

Support the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s exhibitions and programs. A selection of artwork from What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart is now available on Artsy at artsy.net/SMMoA.

Benjamin Weissman is complementing the exhibition’s visual elements with the written word via his blog at benjaminweissman-snowflakeheart.blogspot.com. Weissman will share exhibition-related insights; snow reports; and insider information about spontaneous ski trips, other adventures at Mammoth Mountain, and writing workshops at the Museum.

About the artists:

Yutaka Sone was born in 1965 in Shizuoka, Japan and lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied fine art and architecture at Tokyo Geijutsu University. Recent exhibitions of his work include Glasstress 2011, which was organized as part of the 54th Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti (2011) and BadLands: New Horizons in Landscape at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2008). His work has been shown in many other solo and group exhibitions at institutions in the United States and abroad, including Pasadena City College; Guadalajara City Hall; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; the Aspen Museum of Art, Colorado; Hiroshima City Contemporary Art Museum; and the Japanese Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale. Sone is represented by David Zwirner Gallery, New York.

Benjamin Weissman is a Los Angeles-based writer, visual artist, and teacher. He studied post studio art at California Institute of the Arts. He has lectured on and written extensively about art, books, music, skiing, and pornography for a variety of institutions and publications. Weissman’s publications include two books of short fiction, Headless (2004, Akashic) and Dear Dead Person (1994, Serpent’s Tail), as well as an artist book entitled Paul McCarthy and Benjamin Weissman: Quilting Sessions 1997 – 2008 (Silvana Editoriale). He has written for McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Artforum, Bookforum, Modern Painters, Amokkoma, Parkett, The Believer, L.A. Times Book Review, Frieze, Freeze, Powder, Snow, Salon, Spin, Surfing, and L.A. Weekly. Weissman’s artwork has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Sweeney Art Gallery, UC Riverside; Galleria Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Warszawa; Christopher Grimes Gallery; and Essor Gallery, London.

This exhibition has been made possible by the LLWW Foundation and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by SMMoA’s Ambassador Circle, Brenda R. Potter, and David Teiger. Support has also been provided by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.