The Breakfast Group – A Second Cup of Coffee in Carmel

Online Events

A Virtual Artists Reception with The Breakfast Group was held Friday, November 6, 2020 – watch the video here

A Virtual Breakfast with The Breakfast Group was held Saturday, November 14, 2020 watch the video here.

Curator’s Statement

When a group of artists first gathered in Berkeley in the 1960s, they came together to talk about studios, exhibitions, teaching, politics, and sports. The conversations started early in the morning, and coffee fueled breakfast and the following hours in the studio.

It might have surprised that small circle of friends – Elmer Bischoff, Erle Loran, and Sidney Gordin – but just as they invited others to join in, to share news and debate process, this long reaching chain of camaraderie would stretch over half a century.

The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts has just such a deep history also, and when the Breakfast Group first came to exhibit seven years ago, it was pure pleasure to sit down to breakfast with a Carmel cohort. The opportunity to bring visions to the wall and interests to the table is an energizing course.

As the Breakfast Group returns today, it is in a drastically shifted landscape. In the midst of a global pandemic, the distance between is no longer measured in miles but in feet. Nonetheless, artists still get to the real work of the studio: painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and sculpture –  vividly developed, even if realized under compromised circumstances.

The weekly breakfasts of the Group have been suspended. That measure of the week, that marker that has punctuated lives for years, some even decades, has vanished. Sheltering in place during a global pandemic has altered time. It has lengthened. It has dissolved. It has suddenly rushed by. It has evaporated. Throughout this bending time, the artists have sought the possible: congregating via video conference, recording studio visits, publishing catalogues.

Stepping into a hybrid experience, some work can be viewed quietly in near-solitude in the gallery. And then, all work can be considered slowly, online, as the luminous pixels are pondered.

What remains unshakable is the dedication to art, support of fellowship, and open exchange. The Breakfast Group may only sit down together in spirit at the table in Carmel, but it is virtually a place to savor a second cup of coffee.

Jan Wurm, The Breakfast Group

Executive Director’s Statement

The Breakfast Group, a Second Cup of Coffee is meant to remind audiences of — or introduce them to — new works by fourteen stellar artists who, at one point in their careers, have taken as their focus a decidedly personal view of the world. Tracing the engagement of the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts with California’s vigorous art community, the exhibit marks seventy-one years of the center’s interest in an ever-widening circle of art, photography and sculpture. The Cherry’s mission for programing and exhibits is to cast light on contemporary issues, both aesthetic and social. At the same time, art can be challenging–generally and thematically–and is acceptable if audiences are required to work a bit while viewing, because the rewards can be that much greater when one’s mind has been exercised and thought expanded.

The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts has long supported the work of California artists and is pleased to present the Breakfast Group as representatives of the third wave of Northern California artists exhibited at the center. The current exhibit is a result of that pairing. This union extends the view across a visual horizon that spans space and time to reveal the texture of decades of California culture.

The artwork in the Breakfast Group is not so much a history of the East Bay or a depiction of the geography of the Bay Area, as it is the West Coast of the imagination: funny, evocative, gritty, personal, layered, searing, tragic, complex. The morning meal of breakfast, then, is not the principal common denominator among the artists exhibiting. For that matter, the landscape of San Francisco’s East Bay has little bearing on the work included in the exhibit. Rather, the art can be seen as mini-perspectives, dramas and lookouts that provide expression into the vexing themes of these challenging times. Arranged thematically rather than unfolding chronologically, the exhibit reflects on loose clusters of works, identifying kinships among the artists and through-lines over the last five decades of the of art in the San Francisco Bay Area.

– Robert Reese