Modern Myth: South Asian Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper

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Painting of a lion by Badri Narayan — Untitled (detail), n.d., watercolor on paper.

December 4, 2017 – February 18, 2018

These works on paper use myth making as a means to cultivate dialogue, ranging from political and socioeconomic issues to the struggle of balancing tradition and modernity as artists shift to a global audience. Created between 1965 and 2008 by South Asian artists, the works in Modern Myth introduce viewers to artists responding to historical transformations from decolonization to online auction houses, demonstrating that mythology is not exclusive to ancient traditions, but a means to adapt to contemporary experiences.

Modern Myth includes works from 20 different artists from India and Pakistan, including internationally recognized artists Anita Dube, Jamini Roy, K. G. Subramanyan, Nilima Sheikh, and Muhammad Zeeshan. Using modern approaches to classic media, including photography, pen, ink, and pastel on paper, these artists showcase not only the diversity of cultures throughout South Asia, but how mythology and the practice of myth making are still essential tools of communication.

Modern Myth was curated and produced by graduate students in the University of San Francisco’s MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class led by John Zarobell, in collaboration with Bay Area collectors Dipti and Rakesh Mathur and Anita and Sridar Iyengar.

Featured artists

  • Manjit Bawa
  • Atul Bhalla
  • Nikhil Biswas
  • Sakti Burman
  • Allan deSouza
  • Rohini Devasher
  • Anju Dodiya
  • Atul Dodiya
  • Anita Dube
  • Zarina Hashmi
  • Krishen Khanna
  • Surendran Nair
  • Badri Narayan
  • Gogi Saroj Pal
  • Ganesh Pyne
  • Anandajit Ray
  • Jamini Roy
  • Nilima Sheikh
  • K. G. Subramanyan
  • Muhammad Zeeshan

View the object list

The Goal Is to Extend the Non-Mediocre Part of Life: New Work by Marshall Elliott (Sculpture Terrace)

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Marshall Elliott, Material Wandering (Taking Care of Yourself as A Revolutionary Act) (detail), 2017.

Kalmanovitz Hall Sculpture Terrace

The Goal Is to Extend the Non-Mediocre Part of Life: New Work by Marshall Elliott

September 18 – November 14, 2017

Taking its title from Guy Debord’s Report on the Construction of Situations and on the International Situationist Tendency’s Conditions of Organization and Action, this exhibition features new work by Bay Area artist Marshall Elliott, whose sculptures expand upon the Dérive, a technique of “transient passage through varied ambiances,” or, more literally, “drifting.”

Developed as a tool for revolutionary change in society, the Dérive was conceived as a bodily gesture, a physical ambulation through the “psycho-geography” of an urban landscape. Elliott’s sculptures propose a way in which a material itself might be taken for a similar drift, letting loose of a predetermined or conceptual route, while collecting the records of such wandering.

About the Artist

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Marshall Elliot

Marshall Elliott received his MFA in Sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute and BA degrees in Film Studies and English Literature at the University of Colorado. In addition to numerous San Francisco-area spaces such as The Headlands Center for the Arts, City Limits, Bass & Reiner, and the Jules Maeght Gallery, Elliott has shown work in Colorado, Oregon, Chicago, Nebraska, Puerto Rico, and is an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. He currently lives and works in Oakland.

Something from Nothing: Art and Handcrafted Objects from America’s Concentration Camps

August 21 – November 15, 2017

Something from Nothing features over 100 objects created by incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. Included are handmade objects, historical artifacts, and photographs from the collection of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) as well as two contemporary art installations by Barbara Horiuchi and Marlene Iyemura. Co-presented with the National Japanese American Historical Society.

This project is made possible with support from California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the NEH.

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National Japanese American Historical Society logo
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California Humanities logo

View the Educator Resources

View the Object List

Search the Digital Collection

Read the Exhibition Texts

Thinking FWD: the 18th Thacher Art + Architecture Annual

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Kristie Lang, "Anti-Trump Aerobics," 2017. Concept image for project by artists Liat Berdugo and Margaret McCarthy

May 5 – June 25, 2017

In its 18th year, the Thacher Annual features artwork by 39 juniors and seniors in USF’s Department of Art + Architecture. This year’s exhibition expresses an undeniable forward momentum, and the show’s title, Thinking FWD:, reflects the artists’ outlook and mission. Whether a graduating senior or a rising junior, the artists know that forward is the only way to go. They explore their identities in today’s difficult world as scholars, activists, friends, adults, and most of all, artists. While there is a tension in the air that signals the anxiety of moving towards the unknown, this exhibition is an opportunity for them to communicate their own worldviews. Thinking FWD: is to create despite uncertainty, and to speak despite fear.

Artists Include

  • Rawan Almobarak
  • Colleen Barrett
  • Nia Burres
  • Colette Cabaniss
  • George A. Coker
  • Grace Domecus
  • Margot Flynn
  • Sara Gibbs
  • Amanda Griffin
  • Danielle Groak
  • Rachel Handler
  • Miranda Hirujo
  • David Hu
  • Jackie Isbell
  • Elizabeth Kalt
  • Sarah Katz
  • Erin Keiffer
  • Winsor Kinkade
  • Kevin Kleine
  • Julia Kranzler
  • Kristie Lang
  • Nathan Mandreza
  • Celline Marge Mercado
  • Elizabeth Migueles
  • Drew Mortenson
  • Katrina Pahati
  • McKenna Pahl
  • Thomasine Leilani Peebles
  • Kaszandra Peña
  • Allie Prawdzik
  • Giovanni Presutti
  • Fei Rost
  • Ramy Shadid
  • Isabella Tunioli
  • Eiselle Ty
  • Julianne Vinh
  • Samantha Yu
  • Gengfu Zhao
  • Teddy Ziolkowski
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18th Thacher Gallery Annual logo

This exhibition was organized by the undergraduate Curatorial Practicum class, led by Nell Herbert, and a professional jury selected the exhibited works. The 18th Thacher Annual jurors include social architect Kelly Gregory, visual artist Jamil Hellu, multidisciplinary artist Erica Molesworth, and Jennie Yoon, Registrar at Catharine Clark Gallery.

Carry On: the Art + Architecture Faculty Triennial

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"Hurricane-Proof House" by Matthew Peek and Renata Ancona

March 6 – April 13, 2017

Carry On is a showcase of new work by 20 USF faculty members in the Department of Art + Architecture. Representing architecture, design, and fine arts, the works on view range from formal studies to commentaries on our times, from conceptual art to community projects.

Recognizing that the artists in Carry On are educators and practitioners, we invited them to reflect on the teachers, mentors, and influential artists whose words and ideas helped to inform their art practices and teaching. Museum Studies graduate students interviewed each of the exhibiting artists and then researched their mentors to create a “family tree” of two or three generations. In the process, they uncovered legacies in abstract expressionism, pattern language, Nadart, and the Beat movement. At the end of each interview, the artists in Carry On offered up their own advice to students. To hear these words of wisdom, click on the artist’s name below.

Artists Include

List of objects in Carry On exhibition

Superstruct: New Work by Eric Hongisto

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Eric Hongisto, Renderings for Superstruct, 2016.

March 6 – May 21, 2017

Superstruct, a new body of work by University of San Francisco Associate Professor Eric Hongisto, explores DIY sculptural forms inspired by the art of skateboarding. Incorporating mathematical patterns and curves and painted with repetitive stripes using minimal color theory, these sculptures are influenced by marks found in nature that may incite danger and risk, such as animal camouflage.

Built as furniture-like objects, Hongisto’s ramps are presented as non-functional, architectural abstractions. Some of the works are site specific, placed to allow viewers the mental image of skateboarding off of the Kalmanovitz Hall roof, and to emphasize the peril involved in the simple act of being on a terrace.

Titles of specific objects in this exhibition are taken from funerary and hunting practices — Sky Burial, Buffalo Jump, Pit of Bones — further identifying connections between aesthetics, action sports, hunter gatherer lifestyles, and the risk of death.

About the Artist

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Eric Hongisto

Eric Hongisto is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Fine Arts in the University of San Francisco’s Department of Art + Architecture, and has previously taught at the University of Delaware and Montana State University-Bozeman. He received his MFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Yale University School of Art, 1999, and his BFA in Painting from the Maine College of Art, 1997. Recent exhibitions of his work have been shown at the deCordova Museum, Museum of the Rockies, Queens Museum, Bates Museum of Art, Drawing Center, and the Boston Center of the Arts.