Blow Up Inflatable Contemporary Art

February 23 through April 23, 2017

L. C. and Margaret Walker Galleries A & B

Inflatable structures connote fun and whimsy, and challenge our everyday, feet-on-the-ground perspective. Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art explores the imaginative ways that artists use air as a tool for creating large-scale sculpture and includes imagery that is figurative, conceptual, and abstract. Accessible, yet rich with meaning, these pieces use perception of space and unexpected materials to open a dialogue about pop culture and social norms.

Visitors to the gallery will encounter a life-size inflatable Trans Am, 14 foot tall pink bunnies, and a 25 foot long reclining Buddha-inspired figure, to name just a few of the dynamic and wildly engaging inflatable sculptures installed in the gallery.

Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibition, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA.

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Presenting Underwriter

Media Sponsor

Momoyo Torimitsu, Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable, 2000, inflatable nylon balloons, 6.5 x 6.5 x 15.8 feet each, photo by Kioku Keizo, Courtesy of Misa Shin Gallery, Tokyo, Japan


Lewis deSoto, Paranirvana (Self-Portrait), 2012, painted nylon, fan, 6 x 26 x 7 feet, courtesy of Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland, CA

Billie Grace Lynn, White Elephant 1, 2007, ripstop nylon, chiffon, electric fan, 10 x 6 x 8 feet

Guy Overfelt, Untitled (1977 Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am replica), 1999, inflatable nylon and electric blower, 4.5 x 17 x 7 feet, Courtesy of Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Thursday, February 23, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Opening Reception
Celebrate the opening of this fun new exhibition featuring giant blow-ups, including giant bunnies, a massive Buddha, huge Trans Am, gigantic elephant, and more! Refreshments and balloon animals by “the Balloon Guy” Jim Perry will be provided. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 11, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Balloons Super Saturday
This Super Saturday will take you up, up and away! We will explore and create with the wonders of blow up art. Save up your hot air; you will need it for this floating adventure.
10:00 am & 1:00 pm Film: Up!
(96 mins.) Join the unlikely pair of Carl, an elderly homebody, and 8-year old Russell, a wilderness explorer, as they trek on a worldly adventure marked with a villain, a rare bird, and LOTS of balloons.
11:00 am – 1:00 pm Guided Tours
Enjoy a guided trek through Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art with a Museum docent.
11:00 am – 2:00 pm Make & Take
Learn how to make balloon animals with Jim “the balloon guy.”

Super Saturday free admission and activities are underwritten by MMA Education Partner