The New Situationists
Exhibition Dates: March 3 – April 28, 2017
Opening Reception: March 3, 2017, 6pm – 9pm
The New Situationists is the first major survey of Bay Area avant-garde art and countercultural activities, influenced by the ideas, theory and techniques of the Situationist International movement (1957 – 1972). The Situationists aimed for integration of art and life, and worked to critique consumer capitalism and mediated experience. At their core, they challenged the idea of ‘art.’ It would be traditional to present this work in 2018, a tidy 50th Anniversary celebration, as one does for institutions like monarchs, museums, fast food chains, and your grandparents’ marriage. The New Situationists is literally avant-garde in that it is occurring in 2017, a year prior to the semi-centennial of Situationism’s acme.
Situationist Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle predicted the Trump Age. Many of the works in the show critique authoritarian and capitalist politics. Others demonstrate the Situationist technique of détournement, in print, sound, media, and performance. The New Situationists also include artists whose work challenge the primacy of the art object, and will engage in social projects, creating “new situations” in the public sphere of Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, also known as Oscar Grant Plaza, site of much civic protest as well the operations of the City of Oakland’s government. The exhibition features work from the 1970s to the present.
Our hope is that a brief history of past Bay Area provocations, actions and interventions will incite a new generation of artists, who will look into the past in attempt to dismantle, fight, and subvert the present. Looking back is looking forward.
Today, the tradition of the Situationists marches on.
In the Gallery: Art Strike’s Back, Craig Baldwin, Billboard Liberation Front, Evan Bissell, L.M. Bogad, Packard Jennings, Negativland, Stephanie Rothenberg, Kal Spelletich, and Winston Smith.
From the Archives: Council for the Eruption of the Marvelous, Point Blank, Processed World, Cacophony Society, Suicide Club, Plagiarism Festival 1988, The Washington Hillbillaries: The A Teams 1993, Council for the Eruption of the Marvelous, Call It Sleep, The Urban Rats, Ken Knabb/Bureau of Public Secrets, La société du spectacle (1st edition, 3rd printing,) Internationale Situationniste (revue, issue #9,) Pour le Pouvoir des Conseils Ouvriers, Original poster from May ’68 French student protests, and more…
Performances & Actions: Shelley Harrison, Alexander Brown, Guillermo Galindo, ReadyMaids (Anna Muselmann and Rachael Cleveland), Chris Treggiari & Peter Foucault, Finishing School, WIGband, L.M. Bogad, Si-si Dance & Performance Art Project, Krista DeNio & Stephanie DeMott, and being_sound.
Talks: Howard Besser, Chris Carlsson, Ken Knabb, Stephen Perkins, Konrad Steiner, Kal Spelletich, Eddie Yuen, and V. Vale
The New Situationists Podcast: Isaac Cronin on The Brilliant. The Brilliant podcast is a way to have a deeper conversations than allowed in the text boxes of websites.
Special Screenings: Guy Debord, Keith J. Sanborn, and Craig Baldwin (co-presented in partnership with Black Hole Cinematheque and Canyon Cinema.)
Pro Arts YouTube Channel: Spetsai, Tu, sempre 1 and Tu, sempre 2 by Yann Beauvais; FOX News TV with Kal Spelletich; Call It Sleep by Isaac Cronin and Terrel Seltzer; Free Space by Les LeVeque, and more.
Reading Room: Videos, archival materials, books, pamphlets, flyers and print-outs. Special selection of books and pamphlets for sale by Little Black Cart.
Special Events: We Know You are There by bivoulab (Archimedia) and Derive App & Action by Eduardo Cachucho & Babak Fakhamzadeh.
Curators/Provocateurs: Natalia Ivanova Mount & Sarah Lockhart
Major Contributors of Archival Materials/Exhibition Collaborators: Chris Carlsson, Isaac Cronin, Ken Knabb, John Law, Scott MacLeod, and Mehdi El Hajoui. THANK YOU!