This exhibition is scheduled March 22-July 7, 2024.

I must confess that although I have spent my life fascinated and inspired by all of the arts, I have never been a huge fan of Contemporary or Pop Art.

I truly didn’t know how to interpret or appreciate the latest exhibition of Adam Parker Smith’s work, “For the Time Being,” at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. I was first distracted by the amount of open space in the Gray Wing with only a handful of art pieces displayed. A pool float as art? Hmmm.

Reading the well written narrative on the wall as you enter the room does help somewhat with understanding Parker Smith’s pieces, but doesn’t really do the artist or his art justice. Thankfully, I also attended a presentation given by Parker Smith which included slides. I quickly found that he has a unique, quirky, and intoxicating sense of humor that inspires the vision for his pieces. Parker Smith clearly sees the ironic and absurd things that in our busy lives many of us would miss.

Parker Smith has combined the ordinary with the cerebral. He is a conceptual artist, meaning it takes a tribe to bring these ideas to fruition. Parker Smith went into extensive story-telling mode to describe his vision, the trial and error of actually producing the vision, finding the talent to assist him in it, and bringing the piece to completion. Understanding his concept and then learning about his process in actualizing the piece gave me a much greater appreciation of his art.

Sadly, I fear many people visiting this exhibit will miss much of its meaning, which would be a shame. An art museum has a responsibility not to just exhibit the art, but also to describe the inspiration and processes of the artist as well as any pertinent biographical, historical, and geographical information that may have had an impact on the artist and the resulting art. The museum has posted a video of Parker Smith’s presentation online, but a video on one of the walls in the gallery might be beneficial showing the artist and his team working from start to finish.

Check out Parker Smith’s presentation. I’m sure you will walk away with a feeling of enrichment, which is exactly why we go to museums.

:: Toni Pruett Bouman