San Jose Museum of Art and Returning to Normal

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well.

One of the things that my partner and I love doing is going to museums. In fact, our second date was at a museum in London. Museums are fantastic and fascinating institutions – particularly for those who love to learn or be stimulated. Whether by the collection, exhibition, or even the architecture, museums are fun on the visual senses. I’ve tried a couple of online exhibitions and have donated to a couple of museums out of respect for their struggles during COVID. But, in all honesty, nothing compares to physically going. So I was thrilled when we made a date and went to the San Jose Museum of Art in Downtown San Jose.

Sitting right off Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park in the heart of the city, the San Jose Museum of Art is a relatively young museum. It was founded in 1969 by a couple who wound up not only starting SJMA, but saving the historic building located on the site. A more modern wing was added to the building in the early 1990s. San Jose – and the surrounding Santa Clara Valley went through wave after wave of urban sprawl in the mid to late twentieth century and a lot of historic aspects to life before the post-war migration have been lost. So it’s nice to see a surviving example of architecture from the time before.

Guess which side the original museum started on!

The museum is comprised of three floors – the ground floor houses two galleries – one of which was closed for an upcoming installation, the museum shop and the museum cafe. The upper floor contains two more galleries – again, one of which was closed for installation. And bottom floor contains a small gallery and some interactive exhibits geared towards children. The interactive exhibits are currently unaccessible as of this post due to COVID.

I am more of a science and history buff when it comes to museums. My partner is much more into art museums. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking at art. But I find it so subjective that at times I feel like I am missing something. There were some fantastic pieces which I will call out below that caught my eye.

Finally, there was a great sculpture in the small sculpture garden that is located directly across from the main entrance to the museum. The piece that was on display is titled Karma by Do Ho Suh. It’s made from bronze and copper plated steel. It was fabulous for two reasons. 1. It gives me some H.R. Giger vibes and I love me some surrealist art a la Alien. 2. I see the very top of the sculpture from the road when I do my daily walks through downtown. I thought that it was a sculpture of dinosaur tail or something!

The museum can be done in anywhere between an hour or two so it’s quite manageable. And, if you get membership at SJMA you also get free access to SFMOMA up in San Francisco so it’s a great bargain!

San Jose Museum of Art
110 S Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113

Museum Hours
Fri–Sun: 11am–5pm*
First Fridays of the month:
11am–8pm or later**

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