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Santa Monica Museum of Art opens Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart

The Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart, an exhibition on view from November 21, 2013 to April 5, 2014.

Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman, Untitled, 2007 - 2009, Acrylic on paper,
Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman, Untitled, 2007 – 2009, Acrylic on paper,

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 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.

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.