Sone & Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart

Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA)
Feb 19, 2014 1:36AM

Artists Yutaka Sone and Benjamin Weissman 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 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA), Sone and Weissman have built a monumental, animatronic chair lift in the Museum’s Main Gallery, complemented by a series of their jointly-produced paintings and sculptures.

What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart coincides with the exploits of hundreds of renowned athletes, who are competing this month at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. You can get in on the action and support the Santa Monica Museum of Art: a selection of paintings by Sone and Weissman are now available on Artsy. Proceeds benefit the Museum, which offers free admission, exhibitions, and programming to more than 50,000 visitors each year. 

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. Together, they have captured the rush of outdoor adventures and instinctual creative production, giving viewers 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 entitledPaul McCarthy and Benjamin Weissman: Quilting Sessions 1997 – 2008 (Silvana Editoriale). He has written forMcSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Artforum, Bookforum, Modern Painters, Amokkoma, ParkettThe 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.

Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA)