Current Exhibitions

Jai Tanju, Untitled, 2012, digital print, 8 x 10 inches, courtesy of the artist

I’ll Show You Mine
examines the unique ways that artists portray family through drawings, paintings, textiles, digital art, and photographs. Presenting traditional and surprising approaches to family portraiture, this exhibition features works by twelve artists exploring the often deeply personal nature of their own sibling, partner, parent-child, multigenerational, and chosen family relationships. These honest portraits invite all of us to reflect on our own familial ties, dynamics,
and structures.

However you characterize and define family, and for the joy, pain, and laughter it may bring, we welcome you to view the exhibition with your own family!


I'll Show You Mine: Contemporary Artists Explore Family Portraiture
September 27 - December 14, 2014


Friday, September 26, 7 - 10 p.m.
Palo Alto Art Center
Celebrate with the exhibiting artists! See and make art. Treat yourself to food truck fare and a curated cocktail!

with Makeda Best, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Visual Studies, California College of the Arts

Thursday, November 6, 6 p.m.
Palo Alto Art Center
Why do contemporary artists continue to explore family portraiture? Join Makeda Best as she sheds light on portraits of family from throughout history.



Sunday, October 19, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Saturdays, October 18 and 25, 1 – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 16, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sign up with your family for either workshop to create artwork inpired by the exhibition.

For more information, email: or call: 650.329.2366.

Double Take by Patrick Dougherty:
A site-specific installation

January 2011 -

Patrick Dougherty and detail of Ruaille Buaille (Hijinx)
2008, Parklands in County Offaly, Ireland.
Photo: James Fraher

The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present a monumental, site-specific installation by Patrick Dougherty, one of the nation’s most prominent environmental sculptors. The public may view the artist’s creative process during his three week artist residency, January 11- 28, 2011, on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center.

Identified as the Jackson Pollock of saplings by art critic John Perreault, Patrick Dougherty is a process-oriented artist whose lyrical, organic works are created specifically for each site. Made from local and renewable willow saplings, his works embody natural life cycles, changing over time as the sticks settle and decay, eventually returning to the earth from which they grew. Dougherty has created over 200 monumental site-specific installations on the grounds of major museums, universities, botanical gardens, and private residences worldwide. The resulting works evoke a wide array of natural forms, ranging from nests to objects with a transparent architecture, like woodland dwellings, or basketry.

Environmental sensitivity is a major concern for the artist. Saplings are gathered from maintained sources so that the branches grow back to make new sticks for future uses. Dougherty does not use any artificial supports in his constructions because the inherent properties of saplings cause them to snag and entangle easily.

While there is a signature quality to his work, each of his compelling sculptures relates specifically to the physical site in a unique way. Dougherty believes that ideas percolate at the actual venue and that “the success of a piece lies in capturing the essence of a place and then playing with what you make of that essence.” Unlike other sculptors, he initially conceives of his work by making a series of word associations on both the physical and social qualities of a site. He is conscious of drawing in space, as he weaves sticks with lighter and darker colors and varying widths and lengths.

This project is commissioned by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Public Art Commission. It is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Documentary film of the Patrick Dougherty installation at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Patrick Dougherty Lecture at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Public Reactions to Double Take by Patrick Dougerhty (You Tube)
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2014