Through the work of artists who capture the spirit of “now,” YBCA’s signature triennial, Bay Area Now, brings to life current perspectives for both this art center and the regional art scene. In its seventh edition, BAN7 is experimenting with a new approach to curating that highlights collaborations with our region’s artists and arts organizations and pushes beyond presentation toward a multidisciplinary celebration of the diversity of artistic practices in the Bay Area.
BAN7’s core idea is to decentralize the curatorial process, and centralize the public presentation of some of the most exciting artistic voices in the region today.
As a common shared site for the presentation of works, BAN7 aims to create a lucid web of creative activity in the Bay Area. Our vision to create a platform for new work and experimentation is rooted in the belief that a decentralized curatorial process will open up an opportunity for a wider range of voices and create spaces for dialogue beyond the arts.
The visual arts component of Bay Area Now 7 has been reconceived through an open and rigorous selection process. By inviting noncommercial, small- to mid-size regional visual arts organizations to curate site-specific projects with Bay Area artists in YBCA’s galleries, we are making visible the rich complexity of our many arts communities. Using an art fair style format in which the selected participants curate projects for specific locations throughout an exhibition space, BAN7 celebrates visual arts organizations as vital players in the local arts ecology. The exhibition aims to foster increased appreciation for Bay Area art, artists, and organizers, and to promote a greater understanding of the vast range of practices and individual visions that make the Bay Area such a vibrant center for contemporary art.
The 15 partner organizations working with YBCA—featuring more than 70 artists throughout our galleries and campus—are [ 2nd floor projects ], San Francisco; Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, San Francisco; Bay Area Art Workers Alliance, Oakland; Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco; Creativity Explored, San Francisco; di Rosa, Napa; the Estria Foundation, Emeryville; FOR-SITE Foundation, San Francisco; Important Projects, Oakland; Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga; n/a, Oakland; Pied-à-terre, San Francisco; Publication Studio, Oakland; San Quentin Prison Arts Project, San Quentin; and Stairwell’s, San Francisco. These organizations were selected out of 50 proposals submitted to an open call conducted in fall 2013, and were reviewed by a distinguished panel of curators, scholars, and writers.
BAN7’s partners range from relatively new, small exhibition venues to art book publishers, from a site-specific public art initiative to an arts education program in a correctional facility—and much more. Working closely with their artists, each partner has curated an exhibition that expresses the spirit and purpose of their particular mission and vision.
What follows is a sampling of the many exciting site-specific projects in the exhibition. Apartment gallery n/a, founded in the past year with a focus on queer experience in contemporary art practice, is curating a rotation of exhibitions and events on a variable platform in an effort to examine the evolving relationships among queer theory, historiography, abstraction, and difference. With more than 30 years in operation, Creativity Explored, which works with developmentally disabled artists to assist them with the creation, exhibition, and distribution of their art, will showcase new installations by Christina Marie Fong, Tony Gomez, and Marilyn Wong that explore personal experience as influenced by external sources such as pop culture and nature. Some organizations will set up shop in the galleries, such as the local arm of the globally dispersed Publication Studio, whose installed print-on-demand workshop and store will give visitors a unique look inside their production and publishing processes. One of the Mission District’s cultural mainstays, Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, channels the cozy and intimate quality of its space through a group exhibition-installation that will include ambient sound, colorful geometric forms, and text.
Other organizations build off their ongoing programs, such as Montalvo Arts Center, which will host local, national, and international artists through a residency program built around thematic initiatives. For their project Finding the Center, Susan O’Malley and Leah Rosenberg—two artists and former residents of the program—collaborate on a distributed audio and sculpture project conceived in dialogue with Montalvo’s current multi-year theme about health and wellness, entitled Flourish: Artists Explore Wellbeing. The Estria Foundation, a catalyst for art in public spaces that works with artists, youth, educators, and activists to raise awareness and inspire action related to social and environmental issues, will exhibit winning murals produced during the 2013 edition of their acclaimed graffiti mural competition. In addition, Estria will also create a new, site-specific mural—commissioned specifically for BAN7—to be placed on the outside of YBCA’s theater building.
Exhibiting artists include: Agana (Vanessa Espinoza); Art preparators from Bay Area institutions; Teresa Baker; Jason Benson; Peter Bergne, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Aaron Bray; A.K. Burns; Esra Canogullari; Daniel Case; Nicolaus Chaffin; Khalifah Christensen, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Dennis Crookes, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Isiah Daniels, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Joel Dean; Matthew Endler; Justus Evans, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Kristin Farr; Christina Fong; Bruce Fowler, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Henry Frank; Roy Gilstrap, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Anthony Gomez; Ronnie Goodman; Lori Gordon; Thomas Grider, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Griffin; Gary Harrell, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Amy M. Ho; Johnny Ray Huston; Irot; David Johnson, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Joker; Marc Kate; Darryl Kennedy, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Kevin Killian; Rolf Kissmann; Kufu; Summer Mei Ling Lee; Joshua Locke, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Nathan Lynch; Felix Lucero; Curt McDowell; Scott McKinstry, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Jeff Meadows; Edgar Mojica; Omid Mokri, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; k. r. m. mooney; Brian Morello; Susan O’Malley; Brendan Murdoch; James Norton, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Erik Otto; Joel Parsons; Pemex; Miguel “Bounce” Perez; Lawrence Rinder; Leah Rosenberg; Mike Rothfeld; Floris Schönfeld; Steven Smith, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Oki Sogumi; Mark Stanley, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Paul Stauffer, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Lorna Sung; Nicholas Sung; Tina Takemoto; Brian Tester; Fred Tinsley, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Tan Tran, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Kurt Von Staden, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Wesley Washington, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Michael Williams, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Thomas Winfrey, San Quentin Prison Arts Project; Marilyn Wong; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts staff.