Art & Development, Community

Art and Interaction

In a nice counterpoint to the typical gallery-going experience filled with ho-hum pretty, salable pictures, I had a great weekend that was filled with art as well as experiences, friends and community.

M and I skipped over to San Pablo Ave for Blankspace Gallery‘s annual Holidayland sale. The gallery is set up as an indie mart featuring affordable knickknackery and small works of art, which tends to be more cute and lifestyle-y than my tastes in art usually run, but perfectly appropriate for gift-giving. I thought Misako Inaoka‘s small guoache paintings on paper were extremely great values. M beamed–he’s always happy to support small businesses in Oakland. We really appreciated Blankspace’s reasonable prices and community-minded partnerships (such as the photo diorama, whose proceeds will be donated to art in Oakland schools).

After a gut-busting stop at Juan’s Place in West Berkeley, we wobbled up San Pablo to the Pacific Basin building to catch the end of Ice on the High, a series of feral experimental events organized by Kim Anno, Maggie Foster, and Aida Gamez. After watching video projections on empty storefront windows, the chilly air lent us the nerve to try the door to an darkened, empty storefront. To great relief, this led us to a sublime installation of mylar and sundry scraps of digital light in the back of the unfinished space, and on to open studios. Kim’s studio was thoroughly engaging, for her gorgeous paintings on aluminum (recently on view at Patricia Sweetow Gallery) as well as her newest work in a wholly different media. We were ushered back to the unfinished storefront for a live video and sound performance. M gamely looked and listened, and I found my brain responding to the Cagean sounds with the unselfconscious unfolding unique to attentive listening. I missed Joshua Churchill‘s performance, so I’ll have to make a point to stop in to his show at NOMA Gallery off SF’s Union Square.

The next day I popped in to David Cunningham Projects for Jigsawmentallama, a group exhibition featuring contemporary San Francisco artists as well as emerging and established international artists. I like DCP for its local/international blend and conceptual/installation/video/performance bent, so I was saddened to hear that the shop is closing and this will be the last exhibition. DCP’s going out with a bang-on show, however.

There’s a selection wall works — including San Francisco-based artist Keith Boadwee‘s beautifully produced, seemingly improvised, visceral photographs exploring the potential of fruit for torture — and some fantastic prismatic Polaroids (look for a witty one of Buckminster Fuller). The show includes an impressive number of videos for such a compact space; many of them trade in psychedelic imagery, but the space doesn’t feel overpowering. Skye Thorstenson‘s high-wattage overdose of color via found footage was installed precisely on a vintage television facing a corner; in effect, it is an exercise in tolerance under a barrage of sound and grotesque pop imagery. I also enjoyed Ireland-based artist Austin McQuinn‘s video in the far back viewing room. In it, a man donning a goofy primate mask mixes clay on a kitchen table, sculpting mountains and finally a ‘man’ in his own image. The kicker is the grandiose orchestral soundtrack, a stark contrast to the video’s poor production quality. I think most artists recognize the implicit egotism in our creative acts; McQuinn’s parody captures this feeling that the artistic act is both slightly supernatural and yet somewhat fraudulent. Don’t miss the installation hidden behind black felt by Swedish, Berlin-based artist Sonja Nilsson. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I will say that it’s got a pop song, hologram-like effects and a (literally) stunning surprise.

Finally, I also went to Exercises in Seeing, a exhibition to which I contributed a new work, curated by the Post Brothers at Queen’s Nails Project. The premise of the show was unusual — it was a one-night only exhibition held in the dark with 31 local and international artists. The event was spirited, experimental and experiential. I enjoyed watching visitors make their way into the dark, and explore the show as their eyes adjusted. The rules of standard operating procedure had been thrown out; many visitors were liberated to touch and smell the works, while others forged into the darkness with their cellphones held out aloft, both examining and determining worth of examination within milliseconds. Visitors were meant to explore the exhibition with the aid of an audio guide, written in characteristically speculative high style by David Buuck. The audio guide lent much desired in-“sight” to the works on display to me. It’s a pity that more viewers did not take advantage of it in the venue’s party atmosphere, but it’s not too late to download the audio guide and take an audio/visual(ized) journey.

The show seems to be a collection of experiments in art- and exhibition-making, with artists and viewers freed from their conventional roles and responsibilities. I appreciated artists and viewers who were able to run with it.

Though the experience of the artists’ works in the show was limited (due to visibility as well as the nature of group shows in general), I find the work of many of the international artists to be cool, conceptual and witty — here’s a list of the artists’ names with links to their sites or their galleries’ sites.

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This & That Mail Art Swap

shameless self-promotion (by proxies), updated

People are talking about This & That International Mail Art Swap, a project I organized that’s currently in Involved, Socially at Triple Base Gallery.

Hiya Swanhuyser valiantly connected This & That and astronomical phenomena in a write-up on SFWeekly.com (Cheers to Joshua Churchill, whose transit-specific project garnered Swanhuyer’s appreciation)

and

Stephanie Syjuco posted kind words about my curatorial efforts on her blog.

Involved, Socially is reviewed here:

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Ari Messer’s feature for the San Francisco Chronicle’s 96 Hours section.

and here:

Cheryl Meeker blogged about my project and Amanda Curreri’s work for Stretcher.org.

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Art & Development, This & That Mail Art Swap, News

Involved, Socially and This & That opens

Thanks to Dina and Joyce at Triple Base, Michelle Blade for having me in the show and compelling me to go one step beyond only exhibiting a work, M for love and support despite my week-long installation myopia, and the countless friends, supporters and mentors who attended, the opening reception for Involved, Socially seemed like a success.

It was well-attended, with a constant flow of people, and lots of time spent looking at art, reading texts and having good conversations.

I feel like both projects that I contributed, This & That International Mail Art Swap (a curatorial project in the back room featuring 32 artists) and Unlimited Promise (an installation in the basement) were strong, so I’m content.

Sandwich board typography by Mylinh Nguyen, via Michelle Blade. Window: project by David Horvitz. You know it's San Francisco's Mission District by the taqueria and bicycle.

Sandwich board typography by Mylinh Nguyen, via Michelle Blade. Window: project by David Horvitz. You know it's San Francisco's Mission District by the taqueria and bicycle.

The main (front) part of the storefront held several artist's projects; This & That was in the back room. Yuen Fong Ling's fluourescent posters, commanding JOIN US, are visible from the street.

The main (front) part of the storefront held several artist's projects; This & That was in the back room. Yuen Fong Ling's fluourescent posters, commanding JOIN US, are visible from the street.

Amanda Curreri's and Sally Elesby's project - a line of iridescent glitter is drawn across the gallery. amandacurreri.com

Amanda Curreri's and Sally Elesby's project - a line of iridescent glitter is drawn across the gallery.

Left, works by Mark McKnight. Right, t-shirts by Amanda Curreri.

Left, works by Mark McKnight. Right, t-shirts by Amanda Curreri.

Photographer Seth Lower (far left, sethlower.com) inspects This and That; Jeronimo Roldan and Marcella Faustini and friend inspect Amanda Curreri's/Sally Elesby's correspondence (center). Jessica William's art (right). Not pictured: David Horvitz' letters about the Indian Ocean.

Photographer Seth Lower (far left, sethlower.com) inspects This & That; Jeronimo Roldan and Marcella Faustini and friend inspect Amanda Curreri's/Sally Elesby's correspondence (center). Jessica William's art (right).

This and That, with works by Crowe and Rawlinson, Tan, Chavez-Dawson, Churchill, Hongisto, Blackmore, Chen, Staincliffe and Hall.

This & That, with works by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Tattfoo Tan, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Joshua Churchill, Eric Hongisto, Simon Blackmore, Susan Chen, Daniel Staincliffe and Antony Hall.

This and That, works by same artists as previous photo, plus Anading, Bell, Payot, Brumit and Wagner, the Bloors, and Carollo. Lower corner, a moment for our sponsor.

This & That, works by same artists as previous photo, plus Poklong Anading, Chris Bell, Laurence Payot, Jon Brumit and Sarah Wagner, Simon & Tom Bloor and Michelle Carollo. Lower corner, a moment for our sponsor.

Scott Oliver's Lake Merritt walking tour.

Scott Oliver's Lake Merritt Walking Tour.

Verity-Jane Keefe's project on a housing estate in Barking, East London.

Verity-Jane Keefe's project on the estate in Barking, East London.

Works by Oliver, Keefe, Hattori, Glover, Pest.

Works by Oliver, Keefe, Taro Hattori, N. Sean Glover, Pest.

Works by Ryan, Woff, Sherry, Griffiths, Ma, Kabot, Kaplan, Yu.

Works by Anthony Ryan, Jenifer K Wofford, David Sherry, Mary Griffiths, Ivy Ma, Sarah Kabot, Scot Kaplan, MM Yu.

Works by O'Malley and Ling. Below, the spread.

Works by Susan O'Malley and Yuen Fong Ling. Below, the spread.

This & That artist Anthony Ryan takes home court advantage to inspect potential swap selections.

This & That artist Anthony Ryan takes home court advantage to inspect potential swap selections.

Joshua Churchill, looking uncharacteristically dodgy, powers N. Sean Glover's cardboard record player.

This & That artist Joshua Churchill, looking uncharacteristically dodgy, powers N. Sean Glover's cardboard record player.

Churchill also tries out David Moises' Ego Shooter, but he's too fast for the camera.

Churchill also tries out David Moises' Ego Shooter, but he's too fast for the camera.

Mik Gaspay -- mikgaspay.com -- sports a This and That-like cardigan.

Painter/photographer Mik Gaspay -- mikgaspay.com -- rocks a This & That-like cardigan.

Taro Hattori and Scott Oliver discuss amongst themselves.

This & That artists Taro Hattori and Scott Oliver discuss amongst themselves.

Naomi Vanderkindren -- vanderkindren.com -- browses MM Yu's Book of Sleep.

Naomi Vanderkindren browses MM Yu's Book of Sleep. (Naomi's photographs can be viewed at vanderkindren.com.)

A visitor inspects Antony Hall's Hele shaw cell experiment.

A visitor inspects Antony Hall's Hele shaw cell experiment.

Yuen Fong Ling's posters in background.

Yuen Fong Ling's posters in background.

MJ-jacket sporting Vice leans in to hear Joshua Churchill's sound project.

MJ-jacket sporting Vice leans in to hear Joshua Churchill's sound project.

A viewer reads N. Sean Glover's instructions for the cardboard record player.

A viewer reads N. Sean Glover's instructions for the cardboard record player.

Back room. Painter Marci Washington and mixed media artist Justin Hurty, and others. marciwashington.com. justin.hurty.com

Back room. Painter Marci Washington and mixed media artist Justin Hurty, and others. marciwashington.com. justin.hurty.com

Main gallery.

Main gallery. This & That artist Chris Bell talks shop with Naomi.

Amanda Curreri's glitter line, a few hours later...

Amanda Curreri's glitter line, a few hours later...

My installation, Unlimited Promise, in the basement.

My installation, Unlimited Promise, in the basement. Produced during the Breathe Residency at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK.

Spillage.

Spillage.

Thanks to all the artists in This & That for being such interesting artists and exhibiting professionalism, generosity and flexibility. Big thanks to Chris Bell, Joshua Churchill, Taro Hattori, Ali Naschke-Messing, Anthony Ryan, and Scott Oliver (who helped tremendously by installing his multi-part work) for coming to the opening. Thanks also to Susan Chen, who dispatched patience and editorial advice.

Involved, Socially runs through September 6th. Gallery hours are Thurs-Sun 12-5pm. For more info visit basebasebase.com. To learn more about This & That International Mail Art Swap, visit mailartswap.christinewongyap.com.

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This & That Mail Art Swap

Welcome to This & That

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I’m pleased to announce a new curatorial project, This & That, an invitational mail art swap among international artists. Initiated in July 2009, This & That is a grassroots exchange by artists for artists.

32 artists/collaboratives are from 7 countries are participating:

Poklong Anading (Manila)
Chris Bell (Austrailia/San Francisco)
Simon Blackmore (Manchester)
Simon & Tom Bloor (Birmingham/London)
Jon Brumit (Chicago)
Michelle Carollo (NYC)
Mike Chavez-Dawson (Manchester)
Susan Chen (San Francisco)
Joshua Churchill (San Francisco)
Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson (Berlin/Manchester)
N. Sean Glover (Pittsburg, Penn., USA)
Mary Griffiths (Manchester)
Antony Hall (Manchester)
Taro Hattori (Oakland, Calif., USA)
Eric Hongisto (San Francisco)
Sarah Kabot (Ohio, USA)
Scot Kaplan (Ohio, USA)
Verity-Jane Keefe (London)
Yuen Fong Ling (Manchester)
Ivy Ma (Hong Kong)
David Moises (Vienna)
Ali Naschke-Messing (San Francisco)
Scott Oliver (Oakland, Calif., USA)
Susan O’Malley (San Francisco)
Laurence Payot (Liverpool)
Pest (Rebecca Chesney, Robina Llewellyn & Elaine Speight) (Preston, Lancs, UK)
Anthony Ryan (San Francisco)
David Sherry (Glasgow)
Daniel Staincliffe (Manchester)
Tattfoo Tan (NYC)
Jenifer K. Wofford (Oakland/Prague)
MM Yu (Manila)

Submissions will be exhibited in “Socially, Involved,” an exhibition at curated by Michelle Blade, at Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, California, USA from August 7–September 6, 2009.

See the entries at exhibition, or at the opening reception — Friday, August 7, 7-10 pm — or check mailartswap.christinewongyap.com.

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