“The response to our program launch has been fierce and we will continue to broaden the discourse with multifaceted projects conceived for the de Young and Legion of Honor in the coming year,” said Max Hollein, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “A new series of outdoor paintings by Julian Schnabel that will transform the Legion of Honor’s courtyard into a temporary gallery, a major film production by DIS commissioned for the de Young’s atrium and a new media installation by Lynn Hershman Leeson that reflects the particular history of the museums, put us at the center of artistic production and institutional reflection.”
Highlights of the contemporary art program in 2017-2018 also include two recent acquisitions. Currently on view at the de Young is The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music (2014), a video work by Vietnamese American artist collective The Propeller Group that resonates powerfully with the Museums’ Southeast Asian holdings. The site-specific, panoramic diptych San Francisco Wall Painting (1970/2017) by artist Richard Jackson, which adds to FAMSF’s holdings of works by California artists and constitutes a significant addition to FAMSF’s renowned collection of American Art will be presented at the de Young in January 2018.
Opening in December are newly commissioned media works by DIS and Lynn Hershman Leeson:
“Two new commissions by Lynn Hershman Leeson and DIS will provide ample material for an intergenerational conversation about the artistic and social impact of our ever-increasing technological determinacy. For decades, Hershman Leeson has probed the potential of new technologies and her work has laid the groundwork for generations of artists driven by similar concerns and issues. With The DIS Edutainment Network, the pioneering young collective has created an expansive multi-media platform that aims to decipher meaning from a constant flux of information and unmask the hidden structures of power and information that shape our lives,” says Claudia Schmuckli, Curator-in-Charge, Contemporary Art and Programming.
Genre-Nonconforming: The DIS Edutainment Network
December 2, 2017–April 29, 2018 \ de Young
Presented by the New York-based collective DIS, Genre-Nonconforming: The DIS Edutainment Network, will reveal a “DIS-topian” take on the future of education—decentralized and open-access, yet communal and physically connected. The DIS Edutainment Network will be played on a continuous loop on 36 large LED screens in the de Young’s atrium, Wilsey Court, inviting visitors to experience a twisted hybrid of entertainment and education. The result of a collaboration with an international group of artists, it will include a cooking show by Will Benedict, a nature show by Korakrit Arunanondchai, a video by Mckenzie Wark, a visual essay by Aria Dean, a talk show by Hannah Black, a docu-short on “seasteading” in Tahiti by Daniel Keller, a report on “reparation hardware” by Ilana Harris Babou, a cartoon by Amalia Ulman, a docu-short on “economic utopias” by Christopher Kulendran Thomas, a Nollywood fictional drama exploring the influence of technology and digital culture in South Africa by the artist collective CUSS Group, and a contribution by the Women’s History Museum. The different “programs” will be connected and disrupted by interstitials conceived by Darren Bader and DIS.
“The DIS Edutainment Network proposes a counter strategy to our incomprehensible moment of post-truth, a clickbait cultural landscape that has generated misinformation and overexposure as a general condition,” states DIS.
Lynn Hershman Leeson: VertiGhost
December 16, 2017–March 25, 2018 \ de Young & Legion of Honor
Lynn Hershman Leeson, an artist with strong connections to the Bay Area, is recognized for her pioneering contributions to media, performance, photography and film. She will premiere VertiGhost, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), key scenes of which were filmed at the Legion of Honor. The multidimensional installation will draw the viewer into an online and offline narrative about the construction of identity and ideas of authenticity. At the core of the project will be a film weaving together stories of two paintings associated with FAMSF: Amedeo Modigliani’s Pierre-Edouard Baranowski (ca. 1918), a painting in FAMSF’s collection once haunted by questions of authenticity (now resolved) and the other; the “Portrait of Carlotta”, a fictional construct and prop in Vertigo, which nonetheless is often believed to be in FAMSF’s collection. Featuring interviews with a conservator, art historian, and a psychologist about the construction of truths in both art and life, Hershman Leeson creates a meditative foil to a reality riddled with fake news. The film will be accompanied by an installation that includes Hershman Leeson’s own (blurred) version of the Carlotta portrait, which, through a Go Pro Camera peeking out from the canvas, will capture the viewer’s movements and edit them in real time into a 3D installation that includes scenes of the film. A live feed of the installation will be broadcasted on the VertiGhost webpage, raising questions around how our digital lives impact and obscure notions of the self.
“It has been a unique and uncanny pleasure to recreate an iconic film concerned with authenticity in the very location of Vertigo, and to learn about the ‘ghosts’ haunting both museums, providing ample material for a project questioning identity and representation, in this era where fiction and reality have become increasingly blurred”, states Lynn Hershman Leeson.
April 21–August 5, 2018 \ Legion of Honor
A site-specific project by Julian Schnabel, one of the most important painters of our time, will open at the Legion of Honor in April. His artistic attitude is embodied in audaciously scaled and shaped paintings, incorporating classical pictorial elements, oscillating between figuration and abstraction. Mining a vast array of sources and materials, composed and distributed across surface and support in defiance of notions of moderation, rationality, and order, his approach to the use of materials is highly experimental. Julian Schnabel will feature a body of significantly sized, sculptural paintings in the iconic Court of Honor, plus three other distinct bodies of new work in the galleries dedicated to Auguste Rodin’s sculptures; the artist’s response to the physical space of the Legion of Honor and eternal themes in its collection.
“These paintings might be the culmination of my entire painterly practice since 1977, as they epitomize so much of what had been the essential characteristics of the smallest and most nascent proposals of how imagery drawing and material could be called a painting,” says Julian Schnabel. “It seems to me this is as far as I could go and as far as I can currently take painting – this week.”
About the FAMSF Contemporary Art Program
Overseen by Claudia Schmuckli, FAMSF’s contemporary art program was launched in 2016. In its first year it featured German multimedia artist Carsten Nicolai, who performs and writes music under the name Alva Noto, along with British media artist Hilary Lloyd and American artist Leonardo Drew; each of whose installations transformed the de Young’s Wilsey Court. At the Legion of Honor, Swiss artist Urs Fischer and British artist Sarah Lucas each presented work in dialogue with Auguste Rodin: The Centenary Installation.
Visiting \ de Young & Legion of Honor
de Young, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco
Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco.
Open 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m. Tuesdays–Sundays. Open select holidays; closed most Mondays.
Entrance to contemporary installations is included in general admission. For adults, tickets start at $15; discounts are available for seniors and students. Members and children 17 and under are free. Prices are subject to change. More information can be found at deyoungmuseum.org and legionofhonor.org.
The contemporary art program is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Major support is provided by Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, The Paul L. Wattis Foundation, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman and Frances F. Bowes. Additional support is provided by Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Kate Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Katie Schwab Paige and Matt Paige, Shaari Ergas, Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger, and Gwynned Vitello. Support is provided by the Contemporary Support Council of the Fine Arts Museums.
About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, oversee the de Young, located in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park. It is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco, and one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States.
The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in October 2005. It holds the institution’s significant collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.
The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and, like that structure, was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Its holdings span 4,000 years and include European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.
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