Oakland Airport Ukulele Exhibit

A few years ago a well known local guitar maker Ervin Somogyi was presented the opportunity to curate a show in a downtown Berkely exhibit space and he bamboozled a handful of us other builders into creating a display on hand built guitars and ukuleles. (There’s pictures of it on the Pohaku website in “my other stuff’ section.)

It was such a nice show we shopped it around to other venues.  I  approached the Oakland Museum of California about it with the Oakland International Airport in mind as the museum tends to their exhibits. The person in charge of these outside exhibits  said yes, it is a fine exhibit  and we’d love to have it in the Airport, in the future.

Three years later the museum gets back to me and says, ‘”we’re ready”.  So I bamboozled some help and we hustled and have put a beautiful show together which opened today (December the 18th, 2009) in the Oakland Airport. The show will be up until April the 6th, 2010 and is divided into three sections.

The section which I curated is located in the first terminal before the security check-point and in these display cases I have presented the four members of the ukulele family,  depicted an overview of the ukulele building process, and  have created a historical ukulele time line with an emphasis on the instruments exposure on the mainland. There are instruments, sheet music and ephemera  reinforcing the ukulele’s story.

In the second section of the display fellow curators and builders Ervin Somogyi and Louis Santer have re-created (and re-invented) the previous guitar exhibit. The premise of this section is that guitars aren’t just built in factories but they are also built by people like us. The show overviews the process of hand building guitars.

In the final section are a pair of museum quality exhibit cases housing ten gorgeous hand made guitars we were able to borrow from some of California’s finest builders. We were able to offer an alarmed display case, armed guards and insurance which made it relatively easy to convince builders to loan us instruments. There are also some mighty fine ukuleles in the case as you could well imagine!

The museum promises good photography of the exhibition and I’ll post that as soon as I get it. Cherie Newell and Kaoru Kitagawa (and crew) are the museum people who worked on and did such a fine job with this display.

Helping me with the ukulele display was Stephen Becker, Sandor Nagyszalanczy, Gittings Duncan and Tony Graziano.

Larry Robinson, Addam Stark, Luthiers Mercantile and Allied Luthiere contributed to the guitar display curated by Ervin Somogyi and Louis Santer.

And thanks for instrument loans from Monica Esparza, Kathy Wingert, Michihero Matsuda, Fred Carlson, Harry Fleishman, Michael Hemken, Howard Klepper, John Mello, Chris Morimoto & Dimitri Tenev.

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Published in: on December 19, 2009 at 8:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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