Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

DISD NEWS, “The Klines Awarded Prestigious San Diego Art Prize,” by Mae Case, May 14, 2013
The Klines Awarded Prestigious SD Art Prize

The Klines Awarded Prestigious SD Art Prize


DISD NEWS -5.14.2013, The Klines Awarded Prestigious San Diego Art Prize

Sitting down to interview Design Institute of San Diego instructors and husband/wife artistic duo Larry and Debby Kline is like taking a sneak peek into a brainstorming session of their next art project. It’s a fascinating process, watching them finish each other’s sentences without skipping a beat, bouncing ideas off each other left and right. “What you’ve seen is how we work,” explains Debby with a grin.

The artistic talent of the Klines has always been obvious to everyone at DISD and this year, the art community of San Diego decided to declare their love for the pair as well. Awarded the prestigious 2013 San Diego Art Prize, Larry and Debby join the ranks of many great established artists recognized for years of excellence in visual arts. Every year, a winner is chosen by a panel of curators and collectors. This honor, as fitting as it may seem for everyone around them, came as a surprise to both Larry and Debby, especially since they nabbed the prize in the Established category. “A lot of our shows happen outside of San Diego so we personally don’t think we have that high of a presence here. We never had a chance to emerge,” explains Larry. “And so there we were – established,” chimes in Debby. “But that’s good. That puts us on a different level. And we’ve already had interest from a lot of people.”

A ceremony was held in their honor at the Athenaeum on April 5th. While the ceremony was quite informal, the pair loved the chance to be in a space surrounded by so many of their peers who came out to congratulate them and celebrate their artistic achievements. Debby and Larry also had the opportunity to meet and chat with Mayor Bob Filner at the ceremony, a supporter of the arts in San Diego.

One exciting aspect of receiving the San Diego Art Prize Established Artist award is the opportunity to select the winner for the Emerging Artist category and mentor that artist for a year. In addition, the Klines will have a booth at the Art San Diego: Contemporary Art Fair, to be held November 7th through 10th in the Balboa Park Activity Center. Coincidentally, even before they knew they had won the San Diego Art Prize, they were in communication with the art fair director about showcasing some of their ideas for performing their process – actually making art in public, possibly with audience participation. The director surprised the team by saying that she loved all their ideas and wanted them to perform a different piece for each day of the fair. “Originally we thought she’d pick one,” admits Debby. “It’s going to be great fun, but a lot to do,” says Larry. “The performance will probably be somewhere else in the space, in maybe a more public area rather than one of the booths.”

The fun doesn’t end there. On top of selecting and mentoring the Emerging Artist and being showcased at the Art Fair, there is the honor of having renowned artist, poet and critic David Antin write about Larry and Debby’s work. “A very brilliant, creative, mind here in San Diego and we feel really fortunate,” reflects Larry. “It’s a real honor that he accepted,” adds Debby.

Married for 22 years, working alongside each other at DISD as instructors and at home as artists… many often wonder how the two can stand to do it. But that’s what truly makes the Klines a unique force – they never tire of each other’s presence. They need each other: “The honest answer is, I feel a great loss when we aren’t together,” admits Debby. “And sometimes, if I have an idea, I’ll sit there and look at it, going, ‘well, there’s no one telling me yes or no.’ We work together. We validate each other.” They are a team in the truest sense of the word. They haven’t created an art piece that was strictly Larry’s or Debby’s since they began collaborating in 2000. “Sometimes one of us takes the lead a little bit more than the other on some projects, but I think there’s always crossover,” says Larry. “And even if we did – and I can’t even think of any time that’s happened- we generally say, ‘before I submit this to the public, put something on here. Do something on this,” adds Debby. “Still, a product of the Klines,” Larry proudly states.

- Mae Case


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