Through June 21
Although large inflatables are typically confined to children’s birthday parties and used car lots, Bedford Gallery (1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek) is proving that the medium possesses artistic value beyond those realms. Its current show, Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art, features large-scale inflatable sculptures that use air to create 3D pop art statements. Those include a large white elephant by Billie G. Lynn, a 26-foot reclining Buddha by Lewis DeSoto, a life-sized Pontiac Firebird by car-obsessed conceptual artist Guy Overfelt, and Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds” — a room filled with super-reflective, silver-rectangular balloons that induce a feeling of weightlessness as they float around you. Some of the most eye-popping pieces are Claire Ashley’s non-figurative inflatables, which she spray paints with a rainbow palette, and Lee Boroson’s similarly whimsical plant-like abstractions. But Momoyo Torimitsu steals the show with her massive pink bunnies entitled “Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable.” At nearly sixteen feet tall, the shiny, grinning animals are squished under the gallery’s ceiling, necks bent toward the floor. The inclusion of that piece spins the entire show into a potential critique on pop culture aesthetics, or, perhaps, the inflated economy. However much thought you want to put into it, Blow Up will make for a fun visit.