February 2, 2010

An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area at SF Camerawork

Photography Exhibition > California > San Francisco > SF Camerawork

An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area
Part 2: The Future Lasts Forever

SF Camerawork, San Francisco

January 7 - April 17, 2010

This is the second part of SF Camerawork’s 35th anniversary historical exhibition. Major newly commissioned works will be debuted by artists Anne Walsh & Chris Kubick, working under the name ARCHIVE, and by Cause Collective, an artists’ collaborative that includes Ryan Alexiev, Jessica Ingram, Bayeté Ross Smith, Jorge Sanchez, and Hank Willis Thomas.

Part II: The Future Lasts Forever

Exhibiting projects that were created or begun by artists while living in the Bay Area, The Future Lasts Forever features artists working at the intersection of art and history, and explores ways in which these artists document their lives and the lives of others, address specific events, and engage with the Bay Area landscape.

Featuring more than 30 artists, over 125 works, and organized in three sections, the works exhibited in The Future Lasts Forever all reflect the passage of time in various ways. Some works shine a light on important historical events that still have an impact on our current lives, and others highlight archival work that is being revitalized. The exhibition also features important ongoing projects that span the decades and continue on into the future, as well as newly commissioned projects by artists whose work involves a merging of histories. Cumulatively the galleries in The Future Lasts Forever form a portrait in motion—similar to work that is never quite finished, or historical issues that continue to be relevant. Additionally important to the exhibition’s tone are accompanying text panels—in each artist’s voice—that emphasize the autobiographical focus of the exhibition and offer audiences a more in-depth background on the images.

Gallery One: Legacies

Gallery One focuses on the physical landscape of the Bay Area, and includes a selection of work from Michael Light's 100 Suns project, San Diego-based artist Richard Hock’s series of photos called Nightscope, and Lukas Felzmann’s Farrallon Island seagull study. Contemporary artist Michael Light reaches back in time to work with archival material on a subject that still affects us today. His works offer visions of above ground nuclear testing conducted initially in Nevada, then in the Marshall Islands, and made possible by the Bay Area-based Livermore Labs, as well as the renowned Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab. Lukas Felzmann has been photographing the objects that seagulls swallow in the city (keys, buttons, etc) and then regurgitate into their nests on the Farallon Islands off the coast. Felzmann’s series works with an environmental archive, and broaches the issue of environmental destruction. Within Richard Hock’s Nightscope series, images of immigrants crossing the border, who were photographed at night t
hrough the heat-sensor night vision equipment of the border patrol (very green, military style), reflect an issue significant across our nation and with particular relevance to San Francisco, whose status as a 'safe haven' for underage illegal immigrants is currently being debated by the Board of Supervisors.

Gallery Two: Representation

Gallery Two focuses on portraiture on a personal level—that of family and friends. Among the artists’ works featured in this gallery are Anne Collier’s series of Aura photographs taken with a modified Polaroid camera, which its "creators" claim can record the sitter’s spiritual energy or "aura." Also featured is Tammy Rae Carland's On Becoming: Billy and Katie 1964, in which the artist recreated scrapbook pictures of her parents in the 60s, and Bay Area artist Binh Danh's Pulau Bidong project featuring black & white images from a 2002 trip with his mother to photograph the ruins of a Vietnam refugee camp in Malaysia, which served as a quasi-interim holding area that was his family’s home before they emigrated to the United States, and eventually the Bay Area.

Gallery Three: Future

In Gallery Three the focus is on four areas that often surround the exhibition model: publications, collections, institutions, and archives. Exhibitions are by their very nature an ephemeral platform, while institutions that hold archives and produce publications, and collectors who support art production exemplify both permanence and "care-taking" of work for future generations.

Publications - Features popular Bay Area sub-culture publications TBW, and RE/Search.

Collections - Features a selection of works from three avid photography collectors, all of which reflect the collector's specific collection focuses, such as the human condition or psychological portraiture.

Institutions - Features work by three photographers at three Bay Area museums – Richard Barnes's photographs of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, David Maisel’s take on the collection of the Asian Art Museum, and Mark Richard's photographs from the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Archives - Features artist Lynn Hershman Leeson's 24-Hour Roberta, a series of real-time events of Hershman's 1970s performance alter ego, "Roberta Breitmore," who now "exists" in Second Life.

As in Part I of this 35th Anniversary exhibition, the combination of the galleries in Part II, The Future Lasts Forever, continue to tell the stories of SF Camerawork’s history alongside that of the Bay Area’s.

SF Camerawork’s Executive Director, Sharon Tanenbaum, notes: “Through An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area we’re looking at events stemming from the Bay Area, as a means to explore pivotal issues from the past that continue to remain tremendously significant both today and in the lives of future generations. From a strictly photographic perspective, the exhibition reflects an entire range of artistic practices employed by artists working with an art medium that continues to undergo dramatic changes in the ways that it can be used. In the end, the exhibition highlights very different perspectives and different voices, and as a result each featured work captures something that is relevant, unique, and often times poetic in its reflection on contemporary life.”

Previous post about An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area. Part 1: San Francisco Plays Itself

SF Camerawork 
657 Mission St., 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

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