Citizenship, Meta-Practice

Intersection for the Arts as We Knew It

San Francisco’s relentless economics cuts close to the bone, dismantling Intersection for the Arts.

I had the honor of exhibiting at San Francisco non-profit art organization Intersection for the Arts in 2004 and 2012.

Backlit curator Kevin Chen speaks at the opening of "In Other Words," 2012. my Positive Signs drawings are on the wall behind him.

Backlit curator Kevin Chen speaks at the opening of “In Other Words,” 2012. My Positive Signs drawings are on the wall behind him.

 

In particular, curator Kevin Chen has been a major ally to me (he’s the “k” that kicks off this sequence of artistic advancements on Works Make Work). Moreover, he’s been a thoughtful, dedicated contributor towards keeping SF’s art programming current, diverse, and critical. (Here’s a great 2008 SFGate profile that captures his essence, i.e., “Placid, soft-spoken, with a low, late-night-radio kind of voice, Chen brings to his work a combination of sangfroid and compulsive work ethic.”) He’s worked countless late nights personally installing exhibitions; his work as a curator has really been curator/exhibitions manager/installer/art handler/framer. He could also be found delivering erudite introductions to Intersection’s jazz performances, and donating his time and expertise to classes and likeminded arts nonprofits. He’s a practicing artist, drawing detailed graphite drawings inspired by San Francisco’s skyline.

I came away from my first exhibition at Intersection’s Valencia Street location impressed with the staff’s commitment to excellence and inquiry despite a shoestring budget.

They’ve stayed afloat amidst recessions and busts, but they won’t survive San Francisco’s current climate intact. They’ve laid off curators including Kevin, and will suspend programming. See Christian L. Frock’s “San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts Suspends Programs, Lays Off Curators” on KQED Arts (May 22, 2014) for more info. For many artists, this is another painful, irrevocable loss in the art community, as documented in Frock’s “Priced Out” series.

Since I moved away in 2010, people ask if I’ll return to the Bay Area. Its clearly hostile conditions, and the tolls they’re taking on the arts community, do not beckon.

What is to be done? Perhaps, as MA implored,

Everyone, go to galleries, museums, performances, and any and all cultural events!!! Invest in your local cultural institutions before they are gone…. please!

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Sights

This Saturday in San Francisco

Positive Signs, 2011, glitter pen, fluorescent pen, foil print, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm.

Positive Signs, 2011, glitter pen, fluorescent pen, foil print, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm.

Artists’ Talk
In Other Words
Sat, March 24, 2pm
Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street (at Fifth), San Francisco CA 94103
Exhibition extended through 3/31
Gallery hours: Tue–Sat, 12–6pm

In Other Words is a group exhibition that looks at language and its capacity to clarify and confuse, convene and separate, inspire and discourage. By exploring a range of areas concering the influence and evolution of language in our lives—the impact of technology, the obscurity of industry-specific terminology, the psychological internalization of language, and the recontextualization of language—the artists in this exhibition demonstrate through a diversity of media the many ways in which we strive to communicate to each other.

Katie Gilmartin, Julia Goodman, Emanuela Harris-Sintamarian, Susan O’Malley, Meryl Pataky, Alex Potts, Cassie Thorton, Annie Vought, Christine Wong Yap

Read reviews on SFGate, Zero1 blog, and the East Bay Monthly.
View opening photos on ArtBusiness.com.

hope for good, allow for even better, 2012, ribbon, thread, pins, 51.5 × 47 in / 1.3 × 1.2 m

hope for good, allow for even better, 2012, ribbon, thread, pins, 51.5 × 47 in / 1.3 × 1.2 m

 

Opening reception: Sat, March 24, 3–5
Winter Art Walk 2012: Sat, March 24, 12–5
Voices of Home
Jenkins Johnson Gallery
464 Sutter Street (between Powell & Stockton), San Francisco, CA
Gallery hours: Tue–Fri 10–6; Sat 10–5
Exhibition: March 24–April 28, 2012

Each of these artists visually articulates works inspired by their diverse and rich cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Artists: Noel Anderson, Kajahl Benes, Elaine Bradford, Elizabeth Colomba, Jamal Cyrus, Nathaniel Donnett, Zak Ové, Leslie Smith III, Devin Troy Strother, Felandus Thames, and Christine Wong Yap.

 

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Community, Travelogue, News

In Other Words, in a few pictures

Grateful for few days of art, sunshine, and friendly faces in California.

Thanks to everyone who came out to check out In Other Words at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. I really appreciate the interest and support! I think the show looks fantastic—all respect due to Kevin Chen, gallery director; Intersection staff, and the other artists for their thoughtful contributions.

The show continues through March 24, with many public events—most are free or sliding scale.

Here are a few snapshots, with better photos to follow on my site….

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs greets viewers at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Closer view of Positive Signs. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another set of Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

More photos, including the infamous pinkie cam treatment, on Alan Bamberger’s ArtBusiness.com site.

Snapshots of other exhibitions I enjoyed…

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010, SFMOMA.

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010 exhibition, SFMOMA.

See also Ancalmo’s show at Eli Ridgeway Gallery; don’t miss the lower level installations.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

No photos, but worth checking out: Gina Osterloh’s solo show of studio photos and a documentary about blind massuers, connected by her interest in dysfunctions of the body of  and Richard T. Walker’s video at ybca.

…as well as inspiring studio visits…

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Spool holders, hooray!

Spool holders, hooray!

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius!

Plus, (aerial) Geometry vs Abstraction.

Geometry

Geometry.

Geometry detail.

Geometry detail.

Abstraction.

Abstraction.

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News

Opening Wed., Feb. 1: In Other Words @ Intersection for the Arts

I’m very excited to be part of this exhibition at Intersection for the Arts. I’ll have over 40 Positive Signs drawings—including several new ones not yet posted on SFMOMA’s Open Space—on view. I am familiar with the work of some of the other artists, and I think it’s a very promising line-up.

Positive Sign #59, 2011, glitter pen, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm

Positive Sign #59, 2011, glitter pen, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm

February 1–March 24, 2012
In Other Words
Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94103

Members VIP Reception: Wed, February 1, 6-7pm
Opening Reception: Wed, February 1, 7-9pm
Gallery hours: Tue–Sat, 12–6pm
Free admission

In Other Words is a group exhibition that looks at language and its capacity to clarify and confuse, convene and separate, inspire and discourage. Language can excite our spirit, comfort our feelings, and inform our intellect; it can also extinguish desire, destroy confidence, and cloud perception. By exploring a range of areas concerning the influence and evolution of language in our lives — the impact of technology, the obscurity of industry-specific terminology, the psychological internalization of language, and the recontexutalization of language — the artists in this exhibition demonstrate through a diversity of media the many ways in which we strive to communicate to each other.

In Other Words features work by Katie Gilmartin, Julia Goodman, Emanuela Harris-Sintamarian, Susan O’Malley, Meryl Pataky, Alex Potts, Cassie Thornton, Annie Vought and Christine Wong Yap.

Related programs:

IN OTHER WORDS: SF LIBRARY READING LIST
February 1 | Free
In celebration of our new exhibit, the San Francisco Public Library will share a suggested reading list that reflects the power and diversity of language.

(By coincidence, James Geary’s I is an Other—a book on metaphors that inspired Positive Signs—is on the reading list!)

IN OTHER WORDS: BLOG CONTEST
February 1-March 24 | Free
Every couple weeks, we’ll have a new call out for fun images and stories! Participants email us their content. Top submissions will appear on our website and a handful of lucky contributors are chosen to receive special prizes!

IN OTHER WORDS: BALDERDASH
March 21 | 7PM | $10-$15
Do you like word games and team activities? Familiar and foreign terms from the arts, business, finance, and social service worlds set the stage for a game where YOU are the expert. Join us for an uncensored friendly competition where fictitious and honest definitions abound. Sign up as a team for a round of Balderdash hosted by author Michelle Tea to show off your smarts and win prizes!

IN OTHER WORDS: ARTISTS TALK
March 24 | 2PM | Free
The “In Other Words” exhibit comes to a close. Please join us in this candid talk to hear directly from the creative minds that graced our gallery with such fun and thought-provoking art.

theintersection.org

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Citizenship, Community, Research

Things are grim, but I can’t stop thinking about happiness.

Where my mind’s been at:

Positive psychology — a relatively new field of evidence-based self-help for being happier. Think of it like the shift in medicine from treating illness to increasing wellness. As Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, writes in Happier, pretty much everything we want in life ultimately leads back to happiness.

The idea is to increase happiness in daily life, rather than dealing with unhappiness only during moments of crisis.

[See also Dr. Martin Seligman, Prof. Philip Zimbardo and Dr. Walter Mischel (whose research was the subject of a great article by Jonah Lehrer recently in the New Yorker Magazine).]

Practicing gratitude is one of the oft-cited methods of increasing happiness.

I’m tremendously grateful for friends helping friends. I know, I know, everyone’s hurting now financially. But a lot of artists are freelancers, and while freelancing is typically like riding a roller coaster, it seems like a lot of my peers are feeling lost in a free fall. These are bright, hardworking people doing everything from graphic design, to interactive art direction, to preparator/installation to cooking.

The financial safety nets are being strained, but it seems like social bonds are staying strong… Artists helping artists. Freelancers helping freelancers. I’m so grateful to be in an art community, in which, even in lean times, can exhibit generosity instead of competition.

If you can support the arts in these times, for goodness’ sake, here’s how (and where and when!):

travis meinholf art
Formerly San Francisco-based, now Berlin-based artist Travis Meinolf is in the unenviable position of raising funds for a matching grant (good luck!) for his kind of hilarious but also strangely innovative practice of action-weaving. Like his healthy ‘stache, Travis’ participatory weaving seems impossibly sincere (his last project resulted in 12 volunteer-made blankets being donated to a women’s shelter). He’s a good guy and a hard worker and I wish him the best of luck in sowing his weaving projects ’round the world… Contact Jennifer McCabe, director of the Museum of Craft and Folk Art at jmccabe@mocfa.org to make a contribution towards Meinolf’s exhibition. (Image source: actionweaver.com)

(In case you missed it, I mentioned Scott Oliver’s totally fund-able project about my beloved Lake Merritt in a previous post.)

This Saturday night is Pop Noir, an auction to benefit Southern Exposure, an alternative art space that’s consistently invested in local artists, community engagement, and excellence in contemporary art. This female-led organization has always pushed the envelope, and I’m very proud to donate a pair of text-based drawings to support their work. Over a hundred and fifty other local artists have donated work too. Countless volunteers are contributing time. But it’s all for naught without buyers. So come on down—with auction prices starting at a fraction of the retail price, the price is right. Look for some really nice pieces by Weston Teruya, The Thing Quarterly by Allora and Callzadia, Michael Hall, Laurie Reid, Jeff Canham, Jamie Vasta, Edgar Arcenaux, Dustin Fosnot, and yours truly (pictured as follows).
weston teruya artThe Thing Quarterlymichael hall artlaurie reid artjeff canham artjamie vasta artedgar arcenaux artdustin fosnot artchristine wong yap art
(Image sources: Southern Exposure’s Pop Noir Auction Artists

Pop Noir will be held at the gorgeous galleries at Electric Works at 8th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. Tix, more info, pics of the auction lots, and absentee bidding details here. Hope to see you there.

Stephani Martinez, Daily Cakes - Extra Fancy, 2009, Variable, Doilies, Plaster, Gold Leaf
(Image: Stephani Martinez, Daily Cakes – Extra Fancy, 2009, Variable, Doilies, Plaster, Gold Leaf. Image source: Intersection for the Arts’ 2009 Benefit Art Auction.)
Of course the other amazing alternative art space in San Francisco is Intersection for the Arts, who is well-respected for the rigor of their programming, and renown for making miracles on a shoestring. Like many non-profits, the downturn is hitting their typically lean infrastructure hard. Intersection’s auction comes up next weekend, on the following Saturday, June 13.

Daniel Tierny, Double Jump, 2009, Tape on lambda print, 23 x 33 in., Courtesy of the Artist and Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco.
(Image: Daniel Tierny, Double Jump, 2009, Tape on lambda print, 23 x 33 in., Courtesy of the Artist and Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco. Image source: Headlands 2009 Benefit Auction, Artists, Daniel Tierney.)
Wednesday, June 10, the Headlands Center for the Arts holds their auction at the Herbst International Exhibition Hall in the Presidio. I’ve been an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands for a year and a half. The Headlands is an amazing locus for an international and local art community. When I think about relocating, few places compare with the quality of the Bay Area arts scene, partly because of the Headlands’ role in drawing international artists in residence to the area.

So there you go. Support an artist directly, or support the organizations who support the artists. And take home some artwork!

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