The New Situationists
March 3 – April 28, 2017
Opening Reception: March 3, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m
The New Situationists is an art exhibition and event series focused on Bay Area art and countercultural activities influenced by the ideas and techniques of the Situationist International movement which broke in 1968. 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 semicentennial 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.
Participating Artists: Art Strikes Back, Craig Baldwin, Billboard Liberation Front, Evan Bissell, L.M. Bogad, Packard Jennings, Negativland, Stephanie Rothenberg, Kal Spelletich, and others
Archival prints & footage: Point Blank, Processed World, Cacophony Society, Plagiarism Festival 1988, The Washington Hillbillaries: The A Teams 1993, and much more
Performances & Actions: Shelley Harrison, Alexander Brown, Guillermo Galindo, ReadyMaids (Anna Muselmann and Rachael Cleveland), Chris Treggiari & Peter Foucault, Finishing School, WIGband, Archimedia, L.M. Bogad, Krista DeNio & Stephanie DeMott, being_sound, and more
Talks: Howard Besser, Dore Bowen, Chris Carlsson, Ken Knabb, Stephen Perkins, Konrad Steiner, and V. Vale
Special Screenings: Guy Debord, Keith J. Sanborn, and Craig Baldwin/Canyon Cinema
Reading Room: Archival materials, rare books, pamphlets, flyers and print-outs
Digital Work Curation: Extremely Good Shit (LA)
Workshops & Tours: Derive App & Action, Soundcloud Tour, and more
curators/provocateurs: Natalia Ivanova Mount & Sarah Lockhart
The New Situationists exhibition and related program of events are made possible with a generous grant from The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
Everyone is Hypnotized: Artists Dérive the Bay Area
May 5 – May 26, 2017
Curated by Gipe + Tell
Opening Reception: Friday, May 5, 6:00 – 9:00pm
“The sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contour of the ground); the appealing or repelling character of certain places – all this seems to be neglected.”
– Guy Debord (Introduction to A Critique of Urban Geography)
Everyone is Hypnotized began with a call to Bay Area artists to create a work based on the spirit of the dérive. Organized by curators-in-residence Gipe + Tell, the collaborative pair invited 11 artists to participate in the dérive process resulting in a group exhibition, exhibition catalog, and an online “dérive map” that interprets the participant’s wandering and crisscrossing through topographies over the course of many weeks. Participating artists include Sebastian Alvarez, Brian Dean, Joanne Easton, Marshall Elliott, Jon Gourley, Jon Kuzmich, Leora Lutz, Andréanne Michon, Maria Porges, Michal Wisniowski and Minoosh Zomorodinia.
Gipe+Tell placed no restrictions on the artists’ outcome and production. They emphasized that participant results could include photography, video, performance, painting and/or objects – anything created as a result of the dérive. By design, the independent conclusions of any given contributor was impossible to predict. In this way, the dérive might be thought of as an autonomous, solitary pursuit. The accumulated evidence of these movements revealed an abstract community, a poetic step towards realizing a “unified urbanism” defined by free exploring and drift.
The only requirement Gipe+Tell requested of each participant (artist) was to manifest evidence of their dérive in some visual form for the exhibition. Each participant was also asked to “check-in” on a designated social media platform at their discretion. The ultimate goal of their curatorial exercise is to create a psychogeographic map, which interprets the routes of the participating artists.
RELATED PUBLIC PROGRAM:
Opening Reception: Friday, May 5, 6:00 – 9:00pm
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Gipe+Tell maintain an interdisciplinary practice based in the Bay Area, exhibiting as an art team and curating group exhibitions. Since 2013, they have curated three exhibitions, including “The Known Universe” (March 2015), which was the recipient of the Curatorial Proposal Grant at Root Division, San Francisco, CA. They have also exhibited their own work, an installation called “Is This Normal?” at InSpace Curatorial in the Felt Factory (curated by Hanna Regev); and in “Some Men”, a collaborative installation at t moro projects, Santa Clara, CA.
Exhibition supported in part by a grant from the NEA.
June 2 – June 29, 2017
Curated by Rochelle Spencer
Opening Reception: Friday, June 2, 6:00 – 9:00pm
Let’s Play celebrates fun as a revolutionary event. Curated by Rochelle Spencer, this group exhibition pairs the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop with local artists and Oakland residents to examine how play intersects with urban life.
The aim of this exhibition is to demonstrate how play can disrupt conventional ways of thinking and serve as a form of rebellion. Let’s Play will include, but is not limited to, a Monopoly-style game with Park Place or Boardwalk replaced with Oakland streets, a miniature golf game featuring Oakland landmarks, and poems and stories from writers incorporating the idea of play into their work. The exhibition will also include projections of recorded videos of Oakland residents at play.
Leading up to the exhibition, Rochelle Spencer will be curator-in-residence at Pro Arts in March and April. During this time, she will be holding office hours on Thursdays from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. Office hours will include informal chats and discussions on Surrealism, Ethno-Surrealism, and the Bureau of AfroSurrealist Research, based on the Bureau of Surrealist Research. In addition, Rochelle will use this residency to work closely with the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop to develop an Eco-Arts Reading Festival. This one-day event is scheduled for Earth Day on Saturday, April 22nd.
Exhibiting artists for Let’s Play will be announced shortly.
Opening Reception: Friday, June 2, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00pm
ABOUT THE CURATORS:
Rochelle Spencer is founder of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop and co-editor of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women Writers of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014), which has been named a “must-read” feminist book of 2014 by Ms.Magazine. Rochelle has received fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and her work appears in a variety of publications, including the African American Review, Poets and Writers, Eleven Eleven, the East Bay Review, Callaloo, the Carbon Culture Review, the LA Review, and Mosaic. Rochelle is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a former board member of the Hurston Wright Foundation.
AfroSurreal Writers Workshop supports writers of color creating weird, surreal, or absurdist art. The AfroSurreal Writers Workshop fights for the rights of all marginalized people, including senior citizens, religious and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, the LGBITQ communities, members of poor and working class neighborhoods, and of course, PoC. The group holds an annual conference on AfroSurrealism at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland where we celebrate local writers and artists who create unusual art. An Eco-Arts Festival and Conference is taking the place of this year’s conference.