Make Things (Happen), News

Make Things (Happen) Coming to Oakland, CA!

Make Things (Happen)
Interface Gallery
Oakland, CA

Over the past few months, I’ve been expanding Make Things (Happen) for its exhibition at Interface Gallery in Oakland! Now with 45 artist-created activity sheets, the project will include interactive work stations, offsite locations (pick up a postcard in the gallery for details), and public programming led by artists!

February 6–March 1
Interface Gallery

486 49th Street (in Temescal Alley, off Telegraph), Oakland, CA

Friday, February 6
6–9pm: Opening reception (Oakland First Fridays)
7pm: Probe the twin histories of astronomy and astrology with Lauren Marie Taylor. Make a star chart, create new constellations, then officially name and dedicate your very own star.

Saturday, February 7 
1pm: Meal Ticket with Lexa Walsh brings together different individuals for a home-cooked meal and recipe exchange to facilitate conversation and community. The recipes are complied into a community cookbook, creating a unique group identity, while the meals propose a temporary utopia to encourage a hospitable democracy. RSVP at interfaceartgallery@gmail.comat capacity.

Gallery Hours: Wed–Sun, 11–4


map of offsite locations

Go out and find four sheets at our neighbors:
Book/Shop, 482D 49th St, Tue–Fri 12–6, Sat 10–6
Lanesplitter Pizza, 4799 Telegraph @ 48th St, daily 11am-12am
La Commune Bookstore at Omni Oakland Commons, Shattuck @ 48th St, Tue–Sun 12–6
Royal Nonesuch Gallery, 4231 Telegraph @ 43rd St, Sat–Sun 1–4

Artists: Lauren F. Adams, Oliver Braid, Maurice Carlin, Kevin B. Chen, Torreya Cummings, Helen de Main, double zero, Bean Gilsdorf, Galeria Rusz, Sarrita Hunn, Maria Hupfield, Ariana Jacob, Hannah Jickling & Helen Reed, Nick Lally, Justin Langlois, Justin Limoges, Jessica Longmore, Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., Kari Marboe & Erik Scollon, Betty Marín, Mark Anthony Martinez, Meta Local Collaborative, Melissa Miller, Roy Meuwissen, Laura Napier, Susan O’Malley, Dionis Ortiz, Kristina Paabus, Piero Passacantando, Julie Perini, Ryan Pierce, Pavel Romaniko, Risa Puno, Genevieve Quick, Mary Rothlisberger, Pallavi Sen, Elisabeth Smolarz, Tattfoo Tan, Lauren Marie Taylor, sharita towne, Emilio Vavarella, David Gregory Wallace, Lexa Walsh, Alex Wilde & Emily Chappell, Brian Zegeer, Lu Zhang

The results ran the gamut from celebratory, such as making commemorative plates of one’s own life, to darkly hilarious, such as the reproduction and delivery of an ominous note written by Stanley Kubrick to Tom Cruise. … While some of the artists’ instructables can be executed solo, Yap is a great fan of the Venn diagram: Overlapping with others is the real payoff.

—Silke Tudor “DIY Gallery,” SF Weekly (February 4, 2015).




Ellen Sebastian Chang’s and Maya Gurantz’ live video feed public art project, A Hole in Space (Oakland Redux), was inspired by Kit Galloway’s and Sherry Rabinowitz’ 1980 Hole in Space. But instead of inviting the public on opposite coasts to interact as in the original version, Chang and Gurantz sited the project for residents of North and East Oakland. See Sarah Burke’s “Artists Create Two-Way Video Portal for Oaklanders to Meet Their Neighbors” in the East Bay Express (January 28, 2015).


Impressions: Bay Area

Some art shows I saw in San Francisco and Oakland.

When I visit California during holidays, I recall the familiar, discover what’s changed, and encounter weird schedules. It’s catch as catch can.

Baby (Medium for Intercultural Navigation): An installation by Michael Arcega @ SFAC Grove Street. Kids dream of floating down a river, and MA has made a real outrigger sailing canoe. It works. Hope you got to ogle it, suspended in flight.

The Point: Kirk Crippens in Collaboration with the Bayview-Hunters Point Community @ SF City Hall The SF Arts Commission’s humanizing portrait series continues, and currently ties in to The Last Black Man in San Francisco moment.

Here’s an interesting line-up of spaces to visit back-to-back: Kiria Koula (nice fluorescent white cube with cool, linear, geometric interventions), the expanded Ratio 3 (terrifyingly perfect and high-ceilinged white cube with hard edged, linear, oft black-and-white interior design and architectural installations) and CULT/Aimee Friberg (b/w architectural interventions/wall paintings/geometric sculptures).

Stephanie Syjuco @ Workshop Residence. A combination of things difficult not to like: a residency, workshop, and artist’s multiple store, with very desirable objects. Even shopping-agnostic-I couldn’t resist a tote bag to support the artist and program. The price points were mostly out of my range, but nobody said that manufacturing things in SF would be cheap.

Dud: Oakland Black Friday. I tried not to spend money, out of respect for Ferguson, and lingering memories of Adbusters’ Buy Nothing Day. I had some help—parking meters were free thanks to “Plaid Friday” (Is the Oakland Chamber of Commerce targeting lumber-sexuals?) and Arizmendi was closed (in an almost-throwback against the creep of retail hours into the holidays). But I was only able to visit three of four galleries on my list. Admittedly, I failed to look closely enough at their websites to see if they were, indeed, actually open. So Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Random Parts, and City Limits Gallery, I guess I’ll have to check you out another time. Thanks, Johannson Projects, for opening your doors.


oakland: my fair city

I have a lot of love for Oakland, California, where I lived from 1994 to 2010. Here are a few new reasons to love Oakland:

General Strike poster

Love this General Strike poster. The illustrations, typography, and colors are pitch-perfect. Hard to make out the artist's name: R. Black? Source:

John Robb, from Fairfax, California, managed almost singlehandedly to shut down a Chase bank branch.

"John Robb, from Fairfax, California, managed almost singlehandedly to shut down a Chase bank branch" reported Adam Gabbatt, blogger for the Guardian (UK). Photograph: Adam Gabbatt/

“I got here at 10.30am, one my own,” Robb told the Guardian from his position seated in front of the entrance.

“Security kept pushing me away, but I stayed by myself for another 30 minutes. Then someone else arrived, they still pushed us away. Then the big march came past and we called everyone over, they came and the bank locked the doors.”

…Some protesters voiced their desire to smash the bank’s windows; other protesters stood in front of the bank and prevented them from doing so.

(As told to Adam Gabbatt for the Guardian, Nov. 2, 2011)

Skeptics demanding OWS’ demands ought consider this:

Occupy Oakland shuts down a Chase bank during today's General Strike.

Occupy Oakland shuts down a Chase bank during today's General Strike. (Source: Facebook, photographer unconfirmed.)

I think the message is pretty clear. If this doesn’t do it, how about this: We’re fed up with Big Banks, Wall Street, and rising inequity that grossly rewards the top 1%.

Not in Oakland, but it's a solidarity movement. This Brooklyn Bridge occupier's irresistible optimism is positively winsome. Source:

Not in Oakland, but it's a solidarity movement. This Brooklyn Bridge occupier's irresistible optimism is positively winsome. Source:

This photo is from a movingly penned post which proclaims:

And in our own backyard, in thousands of backyards, from Augusta and Jackson, Springfield and Sioux Falls, Vegas and Santa Rosa* and Green Bay: Americans celebrated the occupation in its infancy. Jobs with dignity. Housing fit for families. Education. Health care. Pensions. The very air we breathe. What can those who want democracy demand from the king, except his crown? Regime change is in the air. America is looking at itself, it’s place in the world and who we are to be.

This is not a demonstration. It’s participation.

(—Jed Brandt and Michael Levitin, originally printed in the Occupied Wall Street Journal, and reposted on

(*My first hometown!)


OWS artwork by the illustrious JL. Source: @justinlimoges.

Hallow's Eve papercut by the illustrious JL. Source: @justinlimoges.

While 10,000+ occupiers were reported to peacefully protest all day yesterday, an unruly few have marred the nonviolence with acts of vandalism, early the following morning. Once again Adam Gabbatt from the Guardian reports:

Adam Gabbat for the Guardian: "10.33am GMT: Some of the Occupy protesters have been repairing the damage done by a small group of people who did employ violence." Posted about 30 minutes after another posting about the "third use of tear gas," presumably the haze in the photo? (Photo: Adam Gabbatt; source:

Adam Gabbat for the Guardian: "10.33am GMT: Some of the Occupy protesters have been repairing the damage done by a small group of people who did employ violence." Posted about 30 minutes after another posting about the "third use of tear gas," presumably the haze in the photo? (Photo: Adam Gabbatt; source:

I suppose the saying about spilt milk could be updated in regards to broken glass. Still, the intention to make amends—however futile—for those who don’t understand the reasoning behind a nonviolent strike, is heartening. Cynics may lump all of Oakland and her protestors together, but they act independently, and many, as we see above, act with good intentions.

Community, News

Through April 16: IMPRESSIONS: From the CCA(C) Print Shop

Thanks to AR for pointing this out to me: An old woodcut print of mine, originally exhibited in my BFA senior show in 1998 at the California College of the Arts, is in a current exhibition in Oakland, CA.

Curated by CCA(C) printmaking instructors Tim Sharman and Jack Y. Ford, I’d wager that the exhibition includes lots of oldies-but-goodies, with etchings, lithographs (from actual limestones!), woodcuts and letterpress prints on view.

I haven’t made prints in a while, but I’ve hung two etchings in my kitchen here in NY. They were acquired in one of the department’s end-of-semester print exchanges.

March 4 – April 16
IMPRESSIONS: From the CCA(C) Print Shop

Studio Quercus
385 26th Street, b/Broadway & Telegraph, downtown Oakland, CA

Curated by Tim Sharman and Jack Ford

An exhibition of prints spanning 60 years of printmaking from the print shop at the California College of the Arts—formerly known as the California College of Arts and Crafts. Examples of lithography, intaglio, relief and screen printing will be on display. Over the years, the CCA(C) print shop has seen many students and teachers using the presses to create images to remember. This survey is a celebration of that long history of creativity.

Curated by CCA(C) alumni and instructor Tim Sharman and CCA(C) alumni and professor Jack Ford, this exhibition honors the traditional craft of printmaking.

Art & Development, Community, Travelogue

Late Summer, Cross-Country Points of Reference

I’ve just crossed the country from San Francisco to New York by car. That’s three thousand, eight hundred miles in 14 days: camping, sightseeing, a few gallery visits and more than a few BBQ meals. The experience increased my appreciation for friendliness, waving at strangers, America, the grandeur of the West, the rich musical history of Tennessee, the quaint main streets of the lush Eastern seaboard—and most of all, the astounding diversity. I love that so many people can epitomize being American, while freely espousing indigenous, foreign, and home-spun cultures without a sense of paradox. From West to East, a few of my strongest visual impressions:

Dockside with Friends
Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

A gathering of friends on a beautiful July evening at sunset. Celebrating friendships and the blessed life I’ve enjoyed since moving to Oakland in 1994.

landscape with road, arizona
The West
I’m California-born and raised, but I haven’t really seen the “West until now. It’s stunning. My fears that the world is crisscrossed with interstates and civilized with Walmarts are not completely warranted. The drive from Las Vegas, N.V. to Santa Fe, N.M. showed me that much of the West is still wild; the dramatic red bluffs are nothing short of breathtaking. I snapped some pics, but they fall terribly short; you have to be there to experience sense of scale and grandeur.

Santa Fe paper mache
Santa Fe, New Mexico, America
M and I played tourist in Santa Fe, seeing sites in the historic downtown (and crashing a church festival for some G.O.A.T. carne asada tacos). Santa Fe is gorgeous, scenic, historic, and bursting with culture. Tons of visual art, Native American art (so many images from art history classes come to life: black-on-black pots by Maria Martinez, squash blossom turquoise-and-silver-necklaces), Spanish colonial architecture, and fun stuff like Native American papercuts, paper machê crafts, and—yes, ya’ll—Southwestern regional woodcut artists (and why not?). Our brief visit was far too short; I was struck with the feeling that I could easily spend more time there. So I’m putting it out there, Universe: Have Me Back To Santa Fe.

The Dissolve: SITE Santa Fe’s 2010 biennial
Santa Fe, NM

A strong show of videos made and manipulated by 30 contemporary international artists, including biennial-circuit usual suspects (Kara Walker, Paul Chan, William Kentridge) and more. Thomas Demand’s video of raindrops hitting a glossy concrete floor is another impressive feat of stop-motion paper animation, very sweet in its mundanity. Robin Rhode’s short video in black and white, largely about inversions, race and light, is another favorite of mine. I just didn’t have time to see the whole show (which would have taken days), but many of my impressions were influenced by the forceful exhibition design, for better and worse. The first room successfully featured scrims dividing roughly equal-sized screening rooms.* But the exhibition design of later rooms overpowered the ther works. The light and audio seepage in the cyclorama-like oval were missteps, as was the integration of solo viewing booths into a bench in theater with one dominant screen. The experience was unpleasantly akin to screen-in-screen browsing; I could focus on neither screen in front of me. I think this kind of overwhelming media experience is fine for solo shows, but in a group show, it shafts the artists who’ve drawn short straws. It’s a strong curatorial statement to feature 30 videos, and it would be a challenge to any institution, but you have to wonder what the architects were thinking. SITE Santa Fe had some flaws but it was energetic, now, and smart.

Who Shot Rock & Roll?: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present
Brooks Museum, Memphis, TN
Organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland

Who Shot Rock & Roll is a large, highly enjoyable exhibition of photographs of rock and pop musicians from the last half-century. The celebrity, glamor, pop culture, and sensationalism appeals. Those who dig deeper will find insightful captions about the technique, ingenuity and chance that went into the making of the famous photographs. Having spent my fair share of adolescence studying trippy album covers, I also appreciated the didactic texts and displays about the surreal, pre-Photoshop images by artist-designer Storm Thorgersen and Jean-Paul Goude (of superhuman Grace Jones, natch).

Hatch Show Print

Photo: Michael Yap

Hatch Show Print
Broadway, Nashville, TN

In our improvised gander at Nashville, we stumbled into a beautiful, huge, working letterpress shop and storefront. Downtown Nashville is anchored by a shiny new country music museum, the usual Hard Rock Cafe and BB King blues club, so I wasn’t expecting to see such historic, indie culture. But there it was on touristy Broadway, with its fittingly nostalgic relief prints, cheeky and upbeat typography, and endearingly worn sign type. While we were browsing the wares, I overheard the proprietor mentioning CCA and the SF Center for the Book!

Roanoke, VA
That the two most interesting contemporary art exhibits on my eastern migration (the SITE Santa Fe biennial and Rock & Roll) were curated by New York curators/institutions was not a good sign for the idea of a de-centralized contemporary art world. So it was a pleasant surprise to come across SF Bay Area artists Binh Danh and Primitivo Suarez in, of all places, Roanoke, VA. Danh (whose solo show opens at Mills College Art Museum August 21) mentioned that he was doing a residency, but I forgot until I saw his artist’s talk advertised in the local paper. Suarez has a large installation on view at the Taubman Museum of Art, a swooping steel-and-glass trifle that contrasts sharply with the colonial railroad town.

roadside America
roadside America
Roadside America
Shartlesville, PA

Perhaps M was right—this is a tourist trap. Or maybe I’m right—a miniature village hand-crafted by two brothers at mid-century, which sprawls over several thousand square feet, loaded with electric trains, lights, fountains and a waterfall is art. Or at least it is artistic production worth a visit, because it says something about tinkerers, hobbyists, miniature culture, maker culture, and the urge to create and reflect the world you see. In either case it is odd and wonderfully preserved, though you get the sense that it is anachronistic enough that its future is in jeopardy, and you feel lucky to have seen it.

Brushy Lake State Park, Oklahoma

National Forests and State Parks
Despite serious weather (lots of thunderstorms, and threats of flash floods, hail, tornadoes and severe heat), our car-camping trip was safe, fun, and scenic. Here’s a brief round-up of our stays made possible by the U. S. of A.’s government-run, social programs:
·Coconino National Forest, A.Z.: Friendly park hosts, beautiful pine grove at elevation that brought the oven-like southwestern heat to nice cool temps. Absolutely pristine and sparsely populated in a way that you’d never see in California.
·Ute Lake State Park, N.M.: Your basic horseshoe campground in a great plain. Curious and friendly park hosts and RV campers. Apparently we visited during monsoon season; hot, humid, windy.
·Foss Lake State Park, western O.K., and Brushy Lake State Park, eastern O.K. Oklahoman reservoirs tricked out for RV camping and water sports, a study in contrasts. The former filled with empties-throwing, nappies-leaving, jet-skiing yahoos and not a ranger in sight; the latter, alcohol prohibited, but quiet, scenic, clean and staffed by a generous host.
·Edgar Evins State Park, T.N.: A unique campground situated on a steep hillside. Sites were wood-plank and I-beam pads jutting out from the road. The reservoir was clean and calm, great for swimming. Fireflies abounded.
·Hungry Mother State Park, V.A.: Hands down the best park: natural lake with diving boards, lots of swimming, lots to explore, cute discovery center. The only downside was that the sites were too close together, but the neighbors in our RV subdivision were nice enough.
·Fort Frederick, M.D. Self-pay, no water, no bathrooms, lots of rules, and a train passing nearby. The fort itself had a neat history (at one time owned by a formed slave) but the campsites weren’t nothing special.

A pleasant greeting
Queens, NY

My new neighbors shouting from the patios of their tidy brick townhouses:
“Welcome to Astoria!”

[*In a previous version I got my German filmmakers with the initials L.R. mixed up, committing a cardinal sin of be-smirching an innocent leftist with Nazi support. It was a mistake. Apologies.]

Art & Development

Press Junket #2: 5/28 Adobe Books, 6/5 Camron-Stanford House

lending library

5/28: Lending Library opens at Adobe Books, SF

Tomorrow night, you’re invited to shimmy your way into Adobe Books’ Backroom Gallery, where I, along with 6 other artists, are exhibiting our research materials and studio relics at the behest of curator Dena Beard.

This is part two Dena’s Lending Library project, and it features

tools, materials, and resources from artists Amy Franceschini, Colter Jacobsen, Kevin Killian, Tom Marioni, Emily Prince, Stephanie Syjuco, and Christine Wong Yap.

It’s a fantastic honor to be included with such a dynamic group of artists. Congrats to Amy Franceshini, who was recently awarded a Guggenhein Fellowship, and Colter Jacobsen, who was just short-listed for the SECA Award!

Lending Library
May 28–July 2, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, May 28, 2010, 7-9 pm
Adobe Books Backroom Gallery
3166 – 16th Street (b/Valencia and Guerrero), San Francisco, CA 94103


June 5: The Great Balloon Giveaway, at Camon-Stanford House, Lake Merritt (Oakland)

The Great Balloon Giveaway, artist's rendering

Next Saturday afternoon, you’re invited to The Great Balloon Giveaway, a social sculpture and public project presented by Invisible Venue and the Mills College Art Museum.

This work is inspired by imagery from the recent Oscar-winning animated film “Up” and re-contextualizes the political histories of the house through the free distribution of 1,000 helium balloons to passersby, with volunteer youth assistance from Chinatown community organization City of Oakland’s Lincoln Square Recreation Center. The Great Balloon Giveaway is made possible with the support of and Trader Joe’s.

Saturday, June 5, 12-3 pm
The Great Balloon Giveaway
Camron-Stanford House, Lake Merritt, 1418 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA

The Great Balloon Giveaway is one of three projects that comprise Here and Now, a series of installations in three historic buildings dating from the early inception of the State of California that also includes site-specific projects by Elaine Buckholtz and Floor Vahn.

Get the details on Here and Now, curated by Christian L. Frock in various locations around Oakland, CA. And join us at the closing reception: Saturday, June 26, 8-10 pm at Mills Hall!