Artist Richard Deacon with "Fish Out of Water," created 1986-87. Photo by Chris Jenenwein
Artist Richard Deacon with “Fish Out of Water,” created 1986-87. Photo by Chris Jenenwein

The San Diego Museum of Art‘s largest exhibit of contemporary art in a decade opens Saturday with a retrospective of the work of acclaimed British sculptor Richard Deacon.

Deacon, a winner of Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize, was in the San Diego for the opening, and spoke to museum patrons at a reception Thursday night.

A patron examines one of Richard Deacon’s creations.

He praised the museum staff and donors for enabling the first major American show of his work, calling the exhibition “a fantastic honor.”

“You’re lucky you have a museum of this quality here,” he said to widespread applause.

The exhibition “Richard Deacon: What You See Is What You Get” examines his use of different materials and techniques to create free-standing sculptures, wall-mounted art, glazed ceramics and works on paper. He describes himself as a “fabricator” rather than sculptor.

Museum Executive Director Roxana Velásquez said an exhibition of this magnitude helps establish the museum as “the epicenter of inspiring the mind.”

Some 40 works covering more than three decades are on display. The exhibition begins with a talk by Deacon at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs though July 25 at the museum in Balboa Park.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.