Lowbrow Disney Art Exhibit plus a Trip to Silverado Winery with Diane Disney Miller

Written by Rick Wright. Posted in Features, Weekend Update

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Lowbrow-Art

Published on May 26, 2013 at 4:00 am with 9 Comments

Scarlett Stahl recently took a trip to the Bay Area to visit her friend Maggie Richardson, the niece of Mary Blair. As usual, Scarlett’s trip had a wonderful Disney flair. She visited an exhibit of “lowbrow” Disney artwork by Camille Rose Garcia at the Walt Disney Family Museum. As Scarlett explains, the term “lowbrow” is by no means derogatory. In fact, the genre is enjoying quite a lot of interest in the art world, as evidenced by this exhibit at the Museum. Scarlett and Maggie also visited Silverado Winery in the Napa Valley, where they were treated to an intimate tour of the facility by Diane Disney Miller. ~~Rick

THE WALT DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM
PRESENTS
CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA: DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
By
Scarlett Stahl

The outside of the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in San Francisco.

The outside of the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in San Francisco.

Tuesday evening, May 9, 2013, was the pre opening reception of the new art exhibit, Camille Rose Garcia’s Down the Rabbit Hole at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presideo of San Francisco, Ca. The exhibit will run through November 3, 2013. My friend, Maggie Richardson, the niece of Mary Blair, had invited me to come from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a visit and to attend the Art Premiere with her, which I was delighted to do. There we met her sister, Jeanne Chamberlain and Kevin Allinson, Jeanne’s son.

Kevin and Jeanne Chamberlain, and Maggie Richardson with the ARt of CAmille Rose Garcia covering the wall.

Kevin Allinson, son of Jeanne Chamberlain, with his mother and Maggie Richardson at Camille Rose Garcia’s art wall.

Mary Blair's work bench donated by her nieces, Maggie Richardson and Jeanne Chamberlain to the WDF Museum.

Mary Blair’s original Disney Paint Stand donated by her nieces, Maggie Richardson and Jeanne Chamberlain to the WDF Museum.

Mary Blair's Small World Art.

Mary Blair’s Photo reproduction of Mary Blair’s tile mural for the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. (This mural still remains in the waiting room of the Children’s Clinic.)

Mary Blair's Alice at the Tea Party.

Mary Blair’s Alice at the Tea Party.

Camille Rose Garcia's Alice and the Bottle.

Camille Rose Garcia’s Alice and the Bottle.

For the opening, invited guests mingled on the main level of the museum near the gift shop, while enjoying both alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages along with the Wolfgang Puck’s hors d’oeuvres. There they waited their turn to meet the artist of the exhibit, Camille Rose Garcia, who is a likeable and attractive woman, and who was dressed in the camp pop Gothic style of her art. Her Goth art blends the nostalgic pop culture of the 60’s, with a satirical slant on our world today. Walter E. D. Miller is a fan of all the LA low brow work that reinterprets pop culture and of Ms. Garcia’s art, which has led to her exhibit at the WDFM.

Camille Rose Garcia's Alice at the Tea Party.

Camille Rose Garcia’s Alice at the Tea Party.

Walter’s quote below is reprinted from the WDFM member’s magazine:

I became aware of the artist Camille Rose Garcia serendipitously, out of a growing interest I had in rock posters. I had been collecting the posters for years, and many of the graphic designers who were creating them began designing urban vinyl toys. What on Earth was an urban vinyl toy? My curiosity about this medium (limited-edition, collectible designer toys) eventually led me to the magazine Juxtapoz, and from there I was introduced to the mind-blowing world of Garcia and the other artists of so-called “lowbrow art,” or “pop surrealism.

Kevin and Jeanne Chamberlain, Camille Rose Garcia, and Gabriella Calicchio, (CEO of the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Kevin Allinson and Jeanne Chamberlain, Camille Rose Garcia, Maggie Richardson, Gabriella Calicchio (CEO of the Walt Disney Family Museum)

What was this lowbrow art? Besides the obvious cartoon influence and humor instilled in the art, I couldn’t help but notice the many references to pop culture as social commentary. The frequent use of iconic Disney images especially caught my eye. This led me to wonder if perhaps Walt Disney was a creative influence for Garcia and other lowbrow artists whose work I was becoming familiar with.

I conducted an Internet search for “lowbrow artists influenced by Walt Disney”, and sure enough, Camille Rose Garcia, Mark Ryden, Todd Schorr, and others appeared on my results page. I was intrigued to learn that Garcia grew up near Disneyland, and that visits to the park had helped inspire her creative vision.

Maggie Richardson, Camille Rose Garcia, and Scarlett Stahl.

Maggie Richardson, Camille Rose Garcia, and Scarlett Stahl.

We contacted Garcia and asked her to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum and join us for lunch. During lunch, she talked about how her art—and that of many other lowbrow artists—was originally dismissed by art professors, galleries, and the art world in general for having too much humor and a cartoon-like quality. I couldn’t help but think of the similarities to my grandfather’s story and how he pursued his vision despite the resistance and challenges he faced.

Camille Rose Garcia's Alice merchandise at the Walt Disney Family Museum Gift Shop.

Camille Rose Garcia’s Alice merchandise at the Walt Disney Family Museum Gift Shop.

Jeanne Chamberlain and Maggie Richardson in front of the Mary Blair merchandise at the Walt Disney Family Museum Gift Shop.

Jeanne Chamberlain and Maggie Richardson in front of the Mary Blair merchandise at the Walt Disney Family Museum Gift Shop.

 

Walt’s imagination and creative vision positively influenced many of these artists, such as Garcia, while the corporate commercial success of Walt’s work influenced others creatively in less than positive ways. But in the end many were influenced and inspired, one way or another by Walt’s legacy, urban living and pop culture, which contributed something to the Low Brow Art movement.
–Walter E.D. Miller, grandson of Walt Disney

 

I just saw the Camille Rose Exhibit and was surprised at how much I LOVED IT!
Joanna Miller, granddaughter of Walt Disney

I thought the color of the purple paint on the walls was electric. At first I thought “What!” and then I said “oh yeah I get it”, as it was an almost perfect compliment to the Garcia Art…. And the Green on the opposing two walls at the theater entrance, with Mary Blair’s contrasting yet complimentary and beautiful Alice was perfect. I could not have been more… I need to use the word “Happy”. This I would say right now is a “happy place” for me and I really don’t find myself using that word lightly. The art is very entertaining, even with the downward glance of Garcia’s Alice with her long dangerous, evocative eyelashes and contemplative, perhaps concerned or serious glance? Or is it a dismiss glance… very very provocative.

There were a couple of pieces that I really, really loved and would love in my home…the one with the birds, including a wonderful swan, and Alice’s back facing towards us. I wish I had been able to hear her talk about her art. Hopefully she will be back to do more programs.”

Maggie Richardson with a Mary Blair tile.

Maggie Richardson with a Mary Blair tile (the tile is a prototype piece for the Jules Stein Mural).

Ms. Garcia’s work has been displayed internationally and featured in numerous magazines including Juxtapoz, Rolling Stone, and Modern Painters. It is included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum as well as the San Jose Museum of Art.

Downstairs at the WDFM are the contrasting versions of Alice by Camille Rose Garcia and Disney Legend Mary Blair, shown side by side. There are 40 works by Ms. Garcia, while there are 10 concept paintings by Ms. Blair, who is said to have been Walt Disney’s favorite artist by Disney Legend Marc Davis. Ms. Blair’s art was far ahead of its time and is a uniquely lovely form of modern art with her imaginative brilliant gouache and watercolor art. It appears that Ms. Garcia used the same color palette as Ms. Blair but instead of the happy innocence of Ms. Blair’s beautiful childlike Alice, we see a very different version done by Ms. Garcia. There are elements of John Tenniel’s dark and sinister illustrations for the original Lewis Carroll Alice books that have been reinterpreted by Ms Garcia in her own style.

Maggie Richardson with a picture of her aunt, Mary Blair.

Maggie Richardson with a picture of her aunt, Mary Blair.

Juxtapoz, which was given at the Art premiere and was autographed by Camille Rose Garcia.

Juxtapoz, which was given at the Art premiere and was autographed by Camille Rose Garcia.

There are different strokes for different folks. I would love to own the great piece of art, the Mona Lisa, as I would sell it and use the money to buy Impressionist paintings and Animation Art, which is considered to be the American art form. Sacrilege, some might say!!! But I have to be true to myself. I can recognize genius but not want to live with it. I love Van Gogh’s Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, as it is colorful and makes me feel happy. I do recognize his incredible talent in his other works but would not want to live with the paintings done in his depressed period. I personally covet paintings that make me smile and are beautiful, like the ones of Mary Blair and I am not saying this because of my friendship with Maggie Richardson, Mary Blair’s niece.

However Ms. Garcia’s work is powerful with its disturbing depiction of a beloved iconic figure like Alice portrayed as an emaciated figure with tears coming out of eyes shadowed by giant spidery eyelashes. And it has a power that would appeal to a younger generation today. I think that viewers need to decide for themselves by going to view her exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

More artwork from the exhibit catalog follows at the end of this article.

http://www.waltdisney.org/
ADDRESS:
The Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street
The Presidio, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94129
415.345.6800
:
[email protected]
MUSEUM HOURS:
Wednesday-Monday: 10am-6pm
Last ticket sale and entry is 4:45pm
Closed on every Tuesday, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Located in the Presidio of San Francisco, The Walt Disney Family Museum is one of the Bay Area’s newest event and meeting venues, with the Golden Gate Bridge to the west, Crissy Field to the north, and the City to the east.

SILVERADO WINERY

Maggie Richardson in front of Silverado Winery.

Maggie Richardson in front of Silverado Winery.

The day after the Camille Rose Garcia preview reception at the Walt Disney Family Museum, my friend, Maggie Richardson, whom I was visiting, took me to the Silverado Winery, which is owned by Ron Miller and Diane Disney Miller in Napa. High up on a hill is the winery, a beautiful structure, which looks like a restored original home, but was actually built fairly recently. After enjoying a delicious glass of wine on the terrace, the hostess pointed out the building below, which was almost hidden by trees, and announced that used to be the home of Lillian Disney. Of course, this was a photo op moment for a true Disney fan. Shortly thereafter the magic escalated with the appearance of Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney’s daughter. As Maggie is a friend of Diane’s, Diane drove over from her home for a visit with her. And as I had never met her before, I admit that I took great pleasure in being introduced to her.

The tile emblem of Silverado Winery in the courtyard.

The tile emblem of Silverado Winery in the courtyard.

When Diane learned that we had attended the reception the evening before at the Walt Disney Family Museum and I was writing about it, she inquired how I liked the exhibit. She explained that she had been unable to attend as she had spent yesterday in Los Angeles arranging an event. When I hesitantly told her my opinion, which I have expressed earlier in this article, she told me to tell the truth from my point of view.

Maggie in front of the poster of Ratatouille.

Maggie in front of the poster of Ratatouille.

The view from the windows inside the winery.

The view from the windows inside the winery.

Lillian Disney former home.

After a nice visit where I accepted a second glass of their unique wine, she asked if we would like a private tour, which was the icing on the cake for me. She showed us the different rooms upstairs with all the incredibly beautiful paintings, as in a museum. She explained that she had wanted one painting but didn’t know where to put it. When she realized that she could hang it over some doors, she bought it and brought it home with delight and of course I took a picture of it for this article.

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The kitchen.

The kitchen.

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Maggie and Diane in dining area.

Maggie and Diane in dining area.

The painting that Dian wanted but didn't know where to put it.

The painting that Diane wanted but didn’t know where to put it.

Another view of the dining area.

Another view of the dining area.

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When I requested a picture of the three of us together and asked where she would prefer it be taken, she immediately chose the terrace with the beautiful view. As our visit ended, we left with warm goodbyes and I could only marvel at how down to earth and gracious this charming lady was. And autograph hound that I am, I also couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to ask for an autograph!!!

Maggie Richardson, Diane Disney Miller, and Scarlett Stahl.Maggie Richardson, Diane Disney Miller, and Scarlett Stahl.

Please note that Diane and Ron Miller bought their first vineyard in the 1970’s and sold their grapes to some of the best vintners in Napa, who won awards for their wines year after year. Eventually Diane and Ron began making their own wines from their own grapes and the rest is history. Their name of Silverado came from the abandoned mining town at the top of the Napa Valley. You can visit their winery and arrange for wine tasting yourself, which I recommend highly.

Silverado magnet made of tumbled marble, avaiable from the gift shop.

Silverado magnet made of tumbled marble, avaiable from the gift shop.

http://www.silveradovineyards.com/
Silverado Vineyards, 6121 Silverado Trail, Napa, Ca. 94558
707-257-1770
The beginning of vine planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the winegrower also ‘prospects’.
- Robert Louis Stevenson 

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About Rick Wright

Rick has been a long term MiceChat author and co-founder of the Weekend Update. You will often find Rick in the position of "Greeter" at official events due to his warm and welcoming spirit. If you've got photos, news or trip reports to share, Rick would love to hear from you: [email protected]

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  • jcruise86

    THANK YOU, Scarlett! (And Rick!)

    That was one of my favorite Micechat articles of 2013!

    Scarlett, you’re the one I’d like to write an article about a tour of Pixar.

  • eicarr

    Thanks for the great report!!

  • Skimbob

    This was a great article. I would love to meet Dianne to tell her how much her father has meant to me and influenced me to always be a dreamer. I have also shared Walt’s importance with a little boy I run for who has leukemia. When i presented him with his set of 1/2 marathon medals I told him the Coast to Coast medal was the most important because on it is a great man who never gave up on his dreams. I told my little friend who is also a dreamer to never quite dreaming. As long as we dream anything is possible.

    Mary Blair’s work is awesome. I am a huge fan of Small World and could sit and look at it all day long.

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Absolutely fabulous Scarlett. I was already enjoying the artwork at the Walt Disney Family Museum at the top of the article, then came the amazing Silverado Winery with Diane Disney Miller. What a wonderful trip!

    The MiceChatters took a trip to Silverado led by Diane’s daughter last year. We were amazed by how beautiful it was and by the wonderful artwork upstairs. Aside from the Disney connection, they make fantastic wine! I highly recommend a visit to Silverado for anyone vacationing to the Bay Area.

    Thank you so much for sharing all your amazing adventures with us!

  • Gullywhumper

    Thanks Scarlett, I missed the Camile Rose Garcia opening last week, I was in Southern California. I was delighted to see that you were able to write about it on MiceChat. Plus you were able to visit Silverado and get a personal tour from Dianne! I love her poster collection on the second floor of the winery.

    If any MiceChatters are able to stop by tomorrow, May 27th, I’ll be speaking at The Walt Disney Family Museum, in theTheater Gallery, talking about the Camile Rose Garcia and Mary Blair art, at 11:00 AM; 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

  • soletrain

    great read! thanks a bunch!

  • scarletts

    Thank you all for your kind comments!!!!! I would love to visit Pixar and write about it for you.

  • JediPrincess

    Loved this article!

  • Mandrini

    Thanks for this charming adventure…

    Warmly and Magically,

    M.I. Mandrini