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Posts by Aaron Harbour

Interview with Jessica Silverman (of Silverman Gallery, SF)

by Aaron Harbour on August 1st, 2012

Installation view of Hugh Scott-Douglas "A cashed cheque, a canceled stamp"

Jessica Silverman is the owner and director of Jessica Silverman Gallery, located at 804 Sutter Street (between Jones and Leavenworth) in San Francisco. Currently installed is Dashiell Manley’s exhibition of double-sided objects and animated videos whose unique aesthetics and conceptual complexity echoes the entirety of Silverman’s roster.

AH: Do you consider yourself as a gallerist, curator or a dealer?

JS: When I first opened the gallery, I saw myself as a dealer and as a curator. But as the gallery has grown, my role has evolved and I have had to readjust my position. At the moment when people ask me for a title I say, owner and director.

That being said, I curated our recent group show Erogenous Zones.  During installation of this and other shows I am committed to resolving curatorial aspects of the exhibition. I see my role as continuously shifting from working with the artist but also taking care of the collectors, the museums and the institutions.  They are in the end equally as responsible for our growth as are the artists. Continue Reading More »

documentO @ Krowswork–Oakland, CA

by Aaron Harbour on June 30th, 2012

Entrance to Krowswork, with Carrie Hott's 'Blackout Means Black'

all photos courtesy Krowswork Gallery 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012 saw the opening of DocumentO, an extremely ambitious project at Krowswork Gallery in Oakland, California.  It was organized by its Director, Jasmine Moorhead. Operating under the guise of an unofficial satellite show to dOCUMENTA (13), the massive, 100-day exhibition held every five years in Kassel, Germany, the show at Krowswork is a brief (July 1 close) overview of the art scene in Oakland. It has been noted that ‘no one likes these things when they happen’, but judging by early reviews, dOCUMENTA’s main curator, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, has put together a stellar show. Continue Reading More »

Interview with Claudia Altman-Siegel (of Altman Siegel Gallery, SF)

by Aaron Harbour on June 15th, 2012

For the first in a random series of interviews with galleries in the Bay Area, Aaron Harbour interviewed Claudia Altman-Siegel of  Altman Siegel in San Francisco. They show a wide ranging roster of artists, including Matt Keegan, Emily Wardill, Trevor Paglen and Will Rogan. Their current exhibition of Nate Boyce, ‘Knockdown Texture’, closes this week.  Their next show features guest curator David Berezin with work by Nicolas Ceccaldi, Kate Owens, Jonathan Horowitz, Eric Sidner and Kirsten Pieroth. It opens June 28th. The conversation began with a particular exhibition and then expanded to examine her practice, both as an aesthetic/conceptual enterprise and as business.
AH: Curating has been something that I stumbled into within the last couple of years. I curate with my partner – who was in the Curatorial Practice program at CCA.  We don’t really see ourselves as dealers,  [so] I don’t really know much about that end of the profession. I see this interview as helping me learn something but also to create a sort of dialogue and shed some light on what gallerists do.
I have been coming here for a while now and I’ve liked a lot of the exhibitions here. A while back I wrote a review on the Fran Herndon show
CAS: Yeah, I saw that. Thank you.
AH: I was curious as to how that show came about.
CAS: I was approached to do that exhibition by Lee Plested and Kevin Killian. Kevin and Fran have been friends for many, many years. He’s a poet and she’s been involved in the poetry scene in the Bay Area for a long time – they had gotten to know each other through a Jack Spicer biography that Kevin had written, which Fran had a big part in. Both Lee and Kevin know that Fran has a huge archive of works from the ‘60s all the way to now and were looking for a place to exhibit them. They had put together a proposal and asked me if I was interested in her work. Continue Reading More »

IN PROTEST at Berkeley Art Museum

by Aaron Harbour on May 8th, 2012

I am excited about the potential of In Protest, an event organized in tandem by the Kadist Art Foundation and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, to be held Wednesday, May 9th at 7pm.

Artists have been asked to design posters with a specific or abstract political message to be given away at this one night event. The list of artists includes many whom I instantly associate with politically charged practices such as Rigo 23, Martha Rosler, and Natasha Wheat and many whose posters may help recast their interests in a more political light.

The artists are Zarouhie Abdalian, John Baldessari, Amy Balkin, Dodie Bellamy, Charlie Dubbe, Amy Franceschini, Doug Hall, Kevin Killian, Paul Kos, Tony Labat, Shaun O’Dell, Rigo 23, Piero Golia, Jordan Kantor, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Mungo Thomson and Natasha Wheat.

Questions of art praxes’ political potentials and limitations are constantly swirling, all the more so in these highly charged times of active protest movements. The world has yet to come to terms with the revolutions recently transpired or those still afoot. And the future is less than settled in nations whose ‘completed’ revolts in the Arab Spring have left them in a terrible and dangerous state of flux. A military government is still in control of Egypt and in advance of elections, vying political factions are falling victim to massacres such as the one in Cairo on May 2nd.  Closer to home (and much tamer despite the press’ over emphasis on its outlying criminal element) we have our local Occupy, revitalized in its May Day general strike. In each of these protests and in the more everyday ones (usually in the grand tradition of labor struggles, but also against abortion and pro or against various political personalities and parties) the arts play a major role, both as means of message production (signs, banners, et al.) and as a foothold for giving the myriad people some cohesiveness (ex. the various strains of music performed and DJed).

During a March 31st talk at the Kadist curator Nato Thompson, whose excellent exhibition Living as Form is about to finish its satellite run in SF, discussed various ways in which art could engage with a wider audience, purpose and potential, noting (I’m paraphrasing) the worst thing we could do is commission a bunch of posters. But is such a curatorial proposal so untenable? In the introduction to Dorathea von Hantlemann’s excellent How to Do Things With Art (2010), she describes her theme as, “How does art become politically or socially significant and what preconditions must be fulfilled in order to enable artworks to attain such significance?”

In Protest will raise these questions anew, confronting Thompson’s challenge and interrogating Hantlemann’s question. Each artist will address both the specific audience in attendance and the vitality of their medium (the poster and art as a whole) in the context of the museum and the wider political conversation. And we,  the viewers,  will walk away with works of art.

Fran Herndon at Altman Siegel Gallery

by Aaron Harbour on October 27th, 2011

Fran Herndon, Opening Day, 1961

Catch Me If You Can: A cluster of greyhounds surging into the foreground, muzzled, wearing numbers, chasing a hastily rendered pair of rabbits through roughly sketched grass. On a muted grocery bag or faded newspaper backdrop  are other creatures and, in the center, obscured by washes of pale blue, an indistinct crowd. Powerfully narrative, but hazed by the manner of its construction, this image is fugitive. The characters resist any simple one-to-one relation with the viewer who’s personage spreads out piecemeal across the image. There is a spectacle here, echoed in the other collages on display. Continue Reading More »

Set for an Altered State

by Aaron Harbour on August 30th, 2011

My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.’- Kodos, Treehouse of Horror VII

‘…truth   and…wonder   in   this   country.   For…energy   and…inaction…love to move forward to…the exact same spot.   In the end…time…needs all of you to deliver…the future.’- Excerpt from text edited from a presidential speech, part of Lauren Marsden’s Set for an Altered State, 2011

A tying off of sorts for her (productive) time spent in California, Set for an Altered State at Sight School in Oakland is Lauren Marsden’s first solo installation. The installation is a well conceived set of objects comprising a single, complete, immersive work. A cast off swim suit and sash of Miss Department of Energy (one of Marsden’s characters)  sit in a pile of sand with a souvenir postcard of a de-ribbon cutting at a nuclear site decommissioning sits off to the side. There is a lectern with a remixed presidential speech (mashing power/energy, patriotism, and unity), a glitchy projection of idyllic wind turbines before a super blue sky, a pair of stage lights on the floor, and a , loud industrial fan activating a large, impossibly beautiful golden flag which emphatically flutters-  all situated in the flat black gallery. Continue Reading More »