Current Exhibitions

Michael Hall, I Hold You Tight To Keep You Safe, 2007, 6 x 5 ft., oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist

Since earliest recorded history, birds have inspired both awe and superstition. Their flapping, singing, tapping, and preening feed our imaginations, visiting not only the dreams of artists, but the collective consciousness of the entire human race. For this exhibition, we have created our very own exotic aviary, featuring the work of more than 40 artists from around the world.


Troy Abbott
Lauren Ari
Eiko Borcherding
Ria Brodell
Jasmina Cibic
Emilie Clark
Timothy Cummings
Sarah Louise Davey
Lauren DiCioccio
Jessica Joslin
Christina Empedocles
Mandy Greer
Michael Hall
Rita Harowitz
Nicole Jean Hill
Dennis Hlynsky
Isabella Kirkland
Walter Kitundu
Malia Landis
Hung Liu
Nathan Lynch
Kara Maria
Stephanie Metz
Susan Middleton
Robert Minervini
Vik Muniz
Jose Nuniz
Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor
Selene Perez
Robb Putnam
Alan Rath
Alexis Rockman
Alexander James Rohrig
Clare Rojas
Jane Rosen
Laurel Roth Hope
Anne Siems
Deborah Simon
Kiki Smith
Sarah Smith
Inez Storer
Kevin Earl Taylor
Esther Traugot
Tara Tucker
Carlos Villa
Gerald Wiggins
Gail Wight
Darren Waterston

Friday Night at the Art Center: Opening Celebration for
Bird in the Hand

Friday, January 22, 7 - 10 p.m.
Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road

Celebrate the opening of Bird in the Hand with hands-on artmaking, food trucks, a cash bar provided by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation, and photo opportunities with feathered friends from the Junior Museum & Zoo.

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 Dougrhty (You Tube)
Last Updated: Jan 30, 2016