Emboldened, Embodied

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Shanna Strauss, When she rises, mixed media on found wood, 2018

Nov. 21, 2019 to Feb. 16, 2020

Presented by USF’s MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class, Emboldened, Embodied features seven Bay Area artists whose work reveals the power and challenges of intersectional experiences.

Through portraits, artists Kim Anno, Lenore Chinn, Jessica Sabogal, and Shanna Strauss offer empowered representations of individuals whose identities are often excluded from the larger narrative. Installations by Yolanda López and Na Omi Judy Shintani demonstrate women’s roles and the ways dress is used as a social and cultural signifier. Angela Hennessy’s new installation expands her use of African and Victorian hair weaving traditions to illuminate the Black body. An invitation to reflect on the systemic political and societal inequities at play in our world today, Emboldened, Embodied creates space for reflection, celebration, and community building.

Read more about the exhibition


Emboldened, Embodied Exhibition Catalog

For a printable version of the Emboldened, Embodied exhibition catalog, email thachergallery@usfca.edu.

Introduction

Presented by the MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class led by Professor Paula Birnbaum.

Emboldened, Embodied explores themes of the body, representation and community through the work of Bay Area artists Kim Anno, Lenore Chinn, Angela Hennessy, Yolanda López, Jessica Sabogal, Na Omi Judy Shintani and Shanna Strauss.

Spanning four decades, the works exhibited here reveal the complexities of intersectional identity and enhance the visibility of those often unseen and unheard. Artists Kim Anno, Lenore Chinn, Jessica Sabogal and Shanna Strauss use portraiture to honor the lived experiences of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Installations by Yolanda López and Na Omi Judy Shintani use dress as a way to deconstruct cultural stereotypes, power and historical trauma, commanding space for women’s narratives. Angela Hennessy’s installation uses African and Victorian hair weaving traditions to honor her ancestors and illuminate the resilience and beauty of the Black body. From alternative forms of storytelling to calls to action, the artists in Emboldened, Embodied challenge the systemic inequities still at play in our world today, while celebrating their subjects and communities.

The Origins of the term Intersectionality

Coined in 1989 by legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, the term intersectionality addresses the erasure of Black women’s lived experiences in the United States. In her writings she shares how the “interaction of race and gender” previously was unaccounted for in feminist theory and antiracist policies and laws. More generally, intersectionality was defined as the interaction between characteristics of gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and other personal identifiers. Crenshaw’s theory is a starting point for the spirit of Emboldened, Embodied.

Today, intersectionality has evolved into a way of thinking which fosters equitable community and removes assumptions around identity.

How do you see intersectionality within yourself? Your loved ones? Your community?

For Further Reading

Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum (1989).

Jennifer C. Nash, “Rethinking Intersectionality” (2008), Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives, Eds. Carole R. McCann and Seyung Keyung Kim, 194-203.

Jennifer C. Nash, Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019).

Jane Coaston, “The Intersectionality Wars,” Vox (May 28, 2019).

Artists and Featured Works

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    Kim Anno

    A painter, photographer and videographer raised by civil rights activists, Kim Anno blends fantastical narratives and aesthetics with the reality of the climate crisis and its impact on society.

    The photographs in this exhibition are from one of her recent video series, Men and Women in Water Cities. Here, she explores the effects of rising sea levels on marginalized communities, and how youth adapt and thrive through change. By exposing the tension between the perils of climate change and the celebratory power of the individuals portrayed, the work inspires viewers to advocate for their communities and futures.

    Anno received a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the California College of the Arts.

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    Charlie (from 90 miles from Paradise)

    Charlie (from 90 Miles from Paradise)

    Photograph accompanied by sound loop
    2015

    Courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery

    In this photograph, Charlie Clark, a seventeen-year-old transgender woman wades in the waters of the Miami coastline. Part of Anno’s 90 Miles from Paradise video project, this image is accompanied by the voice of Charlie singing “Amazing Grace,” a spiritual hymn that reflects her journey and her own homecoming.

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    Oedipus At The Tea House (from Water City, Berkeley)

    Oedipus at the Tea House (from Water City, Berkeley)

    Photograph
    2014

    Part of her series that combines film and photography, Men and Women in Water Cities, Anno imagines life after rising sea levels for young and queer people in different port cities that include Berkeley, showing how they adjust to their new reality with resilience.

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    Gimme Shelter (from Water City, Berkeley)

    Gimme Shelter (from Water City, Berkeley)

    Photograph
    2013

    From Anno’s Men and Women in Water Cities, Gimme Shelter explores what life may look like for queer youth in the Bay Area as they are forced to find new meaning in a future wrought with climate change and rising sea levels.

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    Gaze (from Water City, Durban)

    Gaze (from Water City, Urban)

    Photograph
    2012

    This photograph is from Water City, Durban, part of Anno’s series titled Men and Women in Water Cities. Photographed and filmed in KwaZulu-Natal townships, South Africa, the project includes images of young people who appear to have just finished their white collar jobs playing soccer in the ocean, trying to adapt to a post sea level rise society.

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    Our Calling (from Water City, Durban)

    Our Calling (from Water City, Durban)

    Photograph
    2011

    This photograph, along with Gaze, from Water City, Durban, part of Anno’s series titled Men and Women in Water Cities. This project features images of young people dressed in white collar work clothing playing soccer at the beach, as if the sea and city have merged and they must attempt to make meaning in a new watery world.

  • Angela Hennessy

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    Angela Hennessy

    Angela Hennessy is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who explores the delicate balance between life and death. After being shot in 2015 while attempting to stop an assault occurring outside of her home, Hennessy revisited her artistic practice, finding ways to use her art to ask questions about mortality, grief and the responsibility of the living to carry the dead. Using Black hair as her primary medium, Hennessy’s installations and sculptures are intended as offerings to her ancestors, and as a way to share mourning practices with those experiencing grief. Through various weaving techniques, she employs the use of hair to recognize the resilience and beauty of the Black body.

    Based in Oakland, Hennessy received her BFA and MFA from the California College of the Arts, where she studied under Kim Anno and currently teaches courses on contemporary art, textile theory, and cultural narratives of death. Hennessy is certified in Grief Recovery Methods.

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    Body for a Black Moon

    Body for a Black Moon

    Synthetic and human hair, artist’s hair, wood, plumbing parts, foam, athletic tape, wire, hand-carved Ivory soap beads, gold leaf, copper sheet, glitter, black lava sea salt and paint
    2019

    Angela Hennessy’s work is an offering to her ancestors. Created for this exhibition, Body for a Black Moon is a funerary monument with life being represented vertically, and death horizontally. By taking inspiration from her lineage and identity, Hennessy encourages us to think differently about death and how hair is a tangible symbol of life and the hereafter.

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    Yolanda López

    Yolanda López is a painter and installation artist recognized for her profound influence on Chicana feminism. Informed by her childhood growing up in a family of master craftsmen, López depicts the intellectual and physical labor of working-class women in a misogynistic and racist society. Her work challenges the media’s depictions of Mexican American and Latina women to reveal a narrative of resilience and courage. Recognized as images of empowerment, Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim? (1981) and The Guadalupe Triptych (1978), are iconic works of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. She has been a mentor to many artists, including Jessica Sabogal, whose work is also on included in the exhibition.

    Born and raised in San Diego, López’s training as a conceptual artist at UC San Diego provided a framework to engage art and political activism in an intellectual construct. Having called San Francisco’s Mission District home for decades, she continues to organize for justice and equality.

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    The Nanny, from Women’s Work is Never Done series

    The Nanny, from Women’s Work is Never Done series

    Mixed media installation
    1994

    Yolanda López places a nanny’s uniform between two advertisements that exoticize Latin American culture while depicting women of color in subservient positions. In this many layered installation, the artist reminds viewers of the ways that Indigenous and Latina women have been exploited for their labor in the United States. Look closely at the American Airlines and Vogue advertisements for signs of the asymmetric power relations promoted by tourism. As you study the elements in this installation, consider the ways they also reveal the intersections of race, gender and class.

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    Jessica Sabogal

    Jessica Sabogal is a first-generation Colombian American muralist. Throughout the years, Sabogal has consistently reinvented what it means to be a female muralist in a male-dominated medium. She has continuously pushed the boundaries as an artist by utilizing her medium for social change, action and empowerment. Her murals have been commissioned by Facebook, Google, 20th Century Fox, University of Southern California, UCSF, California State University, San Marcos, University of Arizona, and University of Utah among many others. In 2016, Sabogal received KQED’s Women to Watch Award and the following year was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation for the 2017 Women’s March, after which her Women Are Perfect campaign gained international acclaim. Sabogal’s work has since been featured in national and international news and media sources including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and the New York Times.

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    Este Barrio No Se Vende

    Este Barrio No Se Vende

    Acrylic on wood panel
    2018

    Pictured here is Mariella Mendoza, a non-binary undocumented artist and writer, born and raised in Lima, Peru, currently living on occupied Shoshone territory: Salt Lake City, Utah. This piece is a smaller rendition of Sabogal’s 37’x19’ mural along the entrance of the Rose Park neighborhood in Salt Lake City. The title, Este Barrio No Se Vende (This Neighborhood Is Not For Sale), highlights local resistance against ongoing gentrification in the area. Sabogal invites her subjects to hold objects that have personal resonance, such as the maraca from Mendoza’s Peruvian homeland and the feather that was a gift from Standing Rock activists.

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    Walls Can't Keep Out Greatness

    Walls Can’t Keep Out Greatness

    Acrylic on wood panel
    2018

    Originally designed for the 2018 Democratic National Convention, Sabogal’s mural reframes the narrative of those targeted by recent anti-immigration tactics. Instead, she celebrates immigrant joy. Standing proud, this Latinx elder gracefully stomps on the word “greatness,” a term fraught with complicated connotations in light of President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign.

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    It Runs in Her Marrow

    It Runs in Her Marrow

    Photo transfer and acrylic on wood panel
    2019

    Sabogal’s self portrait places the first-generation Colombian-American marica boldly front and center, holding a traditional Colombian sobrero vueltiao close to her heart. By collaging historical photographs and letters of her family, friends and mentors--including artist Yolanda López--Sabogal offers a complex, layered narrative of her journey of embodying all of her identities at once.

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    Shanna Strauss

    Using photo transfer, painting and traditional burning techniques on found wood, Shanna Strauss explores themes of diaspora and belonging. Her early projects address the question of how women with multiple identities navigate the world. The works in this exhibition build on this idea by proposing that home is not only a place, but also the people and communities with whom we connect. Strauss emphasizes the importance of looking outside of her own experience to reveal the stories of Black women who are commonly left out of the dominant narrative.

    Strauss is a Tanzanian-American artist currently splitting her time between Montreal and Oakland. After completing a BA from California College of the Arts, she earned a MA in Social Work from McGill University. She has exhibited around the world, including Tanzania, Canada, the US and Senegal.

    When She Rises

    Mixed media on found wood
    2018

    When she rises represents the boundlessness of the women of the African Diaspora. This work is part of a series in progress titled In Flight that celebrates their resilience, resistance, creativity and magic.

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    The World in Her Hands

    The World in Her Hands

    Photo transfer and acrylic on found wood
    2015

    This portrait is of a young girl named Desta, whom the artist met while working with Desta Black Youth Network in Montreal. Desta, which means “Joy” in Amharic, was born and named the same year the organization was founded by her mother. The work is a celebration of the youth who came to the center and a tribute to the Black women organizers who made the space home for everyone.

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    Bibi

    Bibi

    Mixed media on found wood
    2015

    Bibi, the artist’s grandmother, is a memory keeper in her community in Tanzania. She sings in Kinyaturu, her native tongue, and recounts elders’ stories of strong, courageous women. Strauss’ focus on storytelling and oral tradition are her way of honoring how ancestral knowledge is passed from generation to generation.

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    Ave//Blessed Art Thou Among Women

    Ave//Blessed Art Thou Among Women

    Jessica Sabogal & Shanna Strauss
    Photo transfer, acrylic, and spray paint on found wood
    2019

    This collaboration between artists Sabogal and Strauss is the first of their newest series entitled This Woman’s Work. This project seeks to visually illustrate the labor that queer women of color undertake to maintain the well-being of their families, communities, and society at large, that too often goes unnoticed, underappreciated, or underacknowledged. These include but are not limited to: peacekeeping, caretaking, mediation, teaching others how to communicate, holding the emotions of others, having to uphold the sacredness of other women and performing unrecognized work in movement building.

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    Na Omi Judy Shintani

    Na Omi Judy Shintani uses assemblages, installations and performances to explore themes of remembrance and storytelling. Responding to her family’s incarceration in the U.S. concentration camps during World War II, Shintani’s art deals with the loss of culture and what it means to be Japanese-American. Through her work, she links personal memories and the impact of historical trauma to the imprisonment and separation of immigrant families at our borders today.

    Active in her community of Half Moon Bay, Shintani founded the Kitsune Community Art Studio, an organization dedicated to the exploration of identity through creativity. She is also a member of the Asian American Women Artists Association and the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art. After completing a BS in Graphic Design at San Jose State University, Shintani obtained a MA in Transformative Art at JFK University, Berkeley.

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    Deconstructed Kimono (Black)

    Deconstructed Kimono (Black)

    Vintage altered kimono, ceramic, wood, and bamboo
    2012

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    Deconstructed Kimono (White)

    Deconstructed Kimono (White)

    Vintage altered kimono, ceramic, wood, and bamboo
    2011

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    Close-up image of desconstruction process

    Deconstructed Kimono Series

    The kimono, long associated with Japanese cultural traditions and the “exotic,” also connotes restriction and discomfort. Here, through Shintani’s slow and purposeful deconstruction, the kimono suggests a ghostly presence of past ancestors. At the same time, the offering bowls hold the cut pieces reverently, honoring what has been lost to create space for experiences and new life.

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    Deconstructed Kimono (Multicolored)

    Deconstructed Kimono (Multicolored)

    Vintage altered kimono, ceramic, wood, and bamboo
    2019 (work in progress)

    This kimono is a work in progress. Shintani started to deconstruct it at the opening of this exhibition and will continue the process over the span of this exhibition.

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    Lenore Chinn

    Using photography and painting, Lenore Chinn documents the lives of San Francisco’s artists, activists and the LGBTQ+ community. Chinn’s most recognized body of work is her Family Portrait series, which utilizes traditional portraiture and photorealism to present her subjects with a commanding presence that demands social legitimacy.

    A second-generation Chinese-American born and raised in San Francisco, Chinn received her BA in Sociology from San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University). She is a co-founder of the Queer Cultural Center and has been active in the Asian American Women Artists Association since the group was founded.

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    Before the Wedding

    Before the Wedding

    Acrylic on Canvas
    2000

    Depicted here are two of Lenore Chinn’s close friends, Ellen Meyers (standing) and artist Kim Anno (seated) whose work is also included in Emboldened, Embodied. The painting celebrates their relationship before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, despite the fact that the law at the time prohibited them from being legally wed. The composition is reminiscent of Chinese wedding portraiture and inspired by the domestic spaces of Dutch genre painting. Kim Anno’s paintings can be seen in the background.

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    Butler's View (Self-Portrait)

    Butler's View (Self-Portrait)

    Acrylic on Canvas
    1993

    This self-portrait is painted after a photograph of Chinn taken by Erik Butler for an article honoring women involved in documenting the lives of those affected during the AIDS epidemic. A throwback to countless compositions of passive nudes lounging on a chaise, here the artist sits squarely on a red velvet chair, leaning forward, ready to dive into conversation.

    Image
    Son Cuates

    Son Cuates

    Acrylic on Canvas
    1981

    Here we see Chinn’s friends, twin brothers Tommy and Doug. Both gay Latinx artists-- one a dancer, the other a visual artist--she painted them after a photograph taken at the portal of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. The brothers introduced Chinn to many gay cultural sites and were the first of her close friends to die of AIDS.

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    The Family

    The Family

    Acrylic on Canvas
    1991

    Chinn’s friend and accomplished San Francisco-based artist, John Arbuckle, commissioned this work to commemorate his relationship with his partner, writer Gary Pike. At the time of this painting, Pike was in the late stages of his battle with AIDS.

  • Kim Anno

    Anno, Kim, Artists Website

    Zarobell, John, From the Archives – "Kim Anno: Water City Berkeley at Kala Art Institute, Shotgun Reviews," Daily Serving. December 2013

    Lenore Chinn

    Chinn, Lenore. Artists Website

    Latimer, T., Roth, M., & Soe, V. (2011). “Cultural Confluences: The Art of Lenore Chinn. Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center.” SFMOMA Open Space

    Angela Hennessy

    Hennessy, Angela. Artists Website

    Yohannes, Neyat. “Angela Hennessy’s Solo Show Offers Up Hair As Eulogy.” KQED, 26 Oct. 2017

    Yolanda López

    Davalos, K. M., López, Y. M., & Noriega, C. A. (2008). Yolanda M. López. UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press.

    Laduke, Betty. 1994. “Yolanda López: Breaking Chicana Stereotypes.” Feminist Studies 20 (1):117. doi:10.2307/3178436.

    Jessica Sabogal

    Sabogal, Jessica. Artists Website

    GoPro. (2015, January 15). “Graffiti Street Art: We Are The Ones” [Video file]

    Na Omi Judy Shintani

    Shintani, Na Omi Judy. Artists Website

    “Interview: Judy Shintani, by Anna Vaughan.” Abrams Claghorn Gallery, March 10, 2016.

    Shanna Strauss

    Strauss, Shanna. Artists Website

    Khumalo, Noncedo. “’We are the Changemakers’: Celebrating Montreal’s Black Women Leaders by Immortalizing Them in Wood.” CBC Arts, February 1, 2017. Video 3:30.

  • This exhibition was co-curated by the MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class led by Professor Paula Birnbaum in collaboration with the Thacher Gallery.

    Student curators include Iyari Arteaga, Hannah Baldwin, Nikki Christensen, Virginia Daley, Dana Klein, Laura Macias, Taylor Mordy, Laure Rigaud-Soares, Samantha Sanders, Taarini Savara, Gabrielle Silva, Imani Triplett, and Sarah Wehlage.

    We would like to offer our gratitude to all of the artists exhibited in this show for being so generous with your time and trust throughout this collaborative process.

    • Kim Anno
    • Lenore Chinn
    • Angela Hennessy
    • Yolanda López
    • Jessica Sabogal
    • Na Omi Judy Shintani
    • Shanna Strauss

    In addition, we would like to give special thanks to the following individuals and organizations whose invaluable guidance, creativity, time and patience have taught us so much throughout the project.

    • Paula Birnbaum, Professor, Curatorial Practicum
    • Sharon Bliss, Director, SFSU Fine Arts Gallery
    • Kevin B. Chen, SFSU Art Exhibitions Lecturer as well as his curatorial class
    • Catherine Lusheck, Professor of Art History and Museum Studies
    • Sean Olson, Department of Art + Architecture
    • Lawrence Rinder, Director, BAMPFA
    • Steve Rhyne, Department of Art + Architecture
    • Astria Suparak, Independent Curator

    Thacher Gallery Staff:

    • Nell Herbert, Gallery Manager
    • Glori Simmons, Director
    • Lily Basting
    • Delaney Gibbons
    • Mackenzie Miller
    • Somer Taylor
    • Angela Ting

Anja Ulfeldt: Selectively Informed

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Anja Ulfeldt, Selectively Informed (detail), mixed media sound installation, 2019

Sept. 19-Dec. 15, 2019

Featuring new, site-specific works by Bay Area artist Anja Ulfeldt, Selectively Informed is an investigation into current trends towards selective “truth” in media, with a focus on radio broadcasting. From a large sculptural dwelling to interactive sound installations, Ulfeldt’s works explore themes of infrastructure and communication.

Selectively Informed, the piece from which the exhibition draws its name, creates an intimate listening space where visitors can orchestrate a customizable chorus of radio voices and opinions. The work offers direct interaction with the physics of radio frequencies by blocking or allowing particular signals. The resulting soundscape combines transmissions on the public airwaves with content transmitted by the artist and her collaborators. Additional featured artworks explore issues such as our impact on our surroundings.

About the Artist

Anja Ulfeldt is a Bay Area installation artist working primarily in sculpture and time based media. Imbued with a sense of mortality that is both an examination and a celebration of contemporary life, Ulfeldt’s work addresses psychological relationships to human infrastructure through visual art, sound, and durational experience. Ulfeldt is a full-time lecturer at Stanford University in the areas of Sculpture and Emerging Technology. Currently an artist in residence at Stochastic Labs in Berkeley, CA, she has exhibited in the Bay Area at institutions including Pro Arts Gallery, Kala Art Institute, SOMArts, The Museum of Craft & Design, and in venues in New York, London, Salzburg and Berlin.

View the Selectively Informed Object Checklist

Studio Misión: The Artist Studio as Medium by René Yañez

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René Yañez, Untitled, marker, gel pen, and ink on paper, 2017

Aug. 19 to Nov. 4, 2019

Studio Misión offers a look into the world and creative process of San Francisco artist and curator René Yañez, focusing on his final years from 2016 to 2018. Bringing together Yañez’s most recent projects and sketchbooks—seldomly seen outside of his close circle of friends—the works presented reveal his state of mind, his medically-induced visions, the faces of the Mission District that meant so much to him, and the politics that he fought for to the end. Curated by Rio Yañez.

About the Artist

Best known as a curator, René Yañez (1942-2018) was a conductor of art and culture in the Mission District beginning in 1970. He dedicated his life to fostering cultural milestones in San Francisco, co-founding Galería de la Raza, co-presenting one of the first West Coast exhibitions of Frida Kahlo’s art, helping to root Carnaval in the Mission, and establishing Día de los Muertos as an art practice. While he worked tirelessly to earn his nickname of Padrino of the Mission, he constructed a secret body of work that few people outside of his closest friends saw.

About the curator

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René Yañez, photo by Rio Yañez

The son of René Yañez, Rio Yañez is a curator, photographer, and graphic artist who has exhibited in cities ranging from San Francisco to Tokyo. He often curates for South of Market Cultural Center (SOMArts). Yañez is a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective.

 

 

 

 

Co-presented by Latin American Studies and the Center for Latinx Studies in the Americas (CELASA).

Designed by students in the Department of Art + Architecture and MA in Museum Studies program’s Spring 2019 Exhibition Design course.

View the Studio Misión Object Checklist

Feeding a Thousand Souls: Kōlam by Bay Area Makers

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Woman painting the ground — Image credit: Pichammal Nagarajan kōlam, TedX GoldenGate, Crane Pavillion, Richmond, CA 2011. Photo: Lee Swenson

March 6–April 7, 2019

Curated by Vijaya Nagarajan
Kalmanovitz Hall Sculpture Terrace and Campus Thresholds

Feeding a Thousand Souls presents kōlam by Bay Area makers. Created with rice flour on the thresholds of homes, businesses and temples, these ephemeral designs are offered as a morning ritual of gratitude and generosity by Tamil women throughout southern India and beyond. This thousand-year-old folk ritual welcomes and honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and alertness, and Bhudevi, the goddess of the earth. Formed by hand with great skill, artistry, and mathematical precision, the kōlam disappears in a few hours, borne away by passersby, insects and birds.

In the Tamil language, the word kōlam means beauty, form play, disguise, and ritual design. This exhibition will introduce several kinds of kōlam, including the dot (pulli), square (katta), and figurative, among others.

Curated by Vijaya Nagarajan, Associate Professor, Theology/Religious Studies and Environmental Studies, University of San Francisco and author of Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual, and Ecology in India -- An Exploration of the Kōlam.

Co-presented by the University of San Francisco’s Thacher Gallery, Department of Theology/Religious Studies, and the Global Women’s Rights Forum.

I Contain Multitudes: The 20th Thacher Art + Architecture Annual

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Peter Dinius, A View from My Balcony At Dusk, woodblock print, 2018

May 3–June 30, 2019

Drawing its name from Walt Whitman’s poem Song of Myself, the 20th Thacher Annual I Contain Multitudes celebrates the diverse points of view and artistic approaches of the exhibition’s 29 featured artists.

Themes including mental health, identity, and sustainability reflect the unique experiences, backgrounds and interests of USF students. Presenting 54 works by junior and senior majors and minors from the University of San Francisco’s Department of Art + Architecture, the exhibition invites visitors to contemplate their own multitudes.

Among the featured works are Arantza Aramburu’s When It Was Okay and Kendall McCarthy’s Imprinted, both of which explore identity and self-reflection. Joshua Oakley’s interactive website Lipstick On A Pig questions the ways that we impact and alter the environment, while Lena Heller’s Quilt uses unconventional materials to make a statement about the feminine condition. Mackenzie Miller’s Mug applies mathematical concepts to transform an everyday object into an intricate ceramic sculpture. This exhibition is presented by Thacher Gallery and USF’s Art History/Arts Management’s undergraduate Thacher Practicum class, led by Nell Herbert.

Jenifer K Wofford: Limning the Liminal

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Wedged Nurse, Ink on paper, 2006

February 25–April 14, 2019

This work by interdisciplinary artist Jenifer K Wofford returns to notions of the liminal—the threshold between worlds or ideas—to express her intercultural, creative logic. With no fixed points in her background, Wofford’s visually crisp artwork exudes imagination, humor, and a healthy appreciation for the absurd.

Spanning over a decade, the artworks include her iconic studies of nurses and Filipina comfort women as well as recent paintings examining the aftermath of seismic disruptions. In the Nurse (2006-07) drawings, Wofford presents images of Filipina nurses enveloped in an abstract, institutional green goo, reminding us of the ways in which these essential caregivers are often made invisible. Lolas (prints, 2016) presents portraits of some of the longest-living “Lolas” (Filipina grandmothers) and WWII comfort women. In contrast to these figurative works, Wofford will also present recent acrylic paintings rendering the aftermath of seismic ruptures. Begun in 2016, these paintings depict ghostly landscapes from earthquakes around the Pacific Rim. The paintings function as a metaphor for broader contemporary conditions of cognitive and cultural collapse. Seen together, the works in Limning the Liminal remind viewers of the tenuous nature of our times.

About the Artist

Jenifer K Wofford is a San Francisco-based artist and educator whose work has been exhibited at the Berkeley Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, YBCA, San Jose Museum of Art, Southern Exposure, and Kearny Street Workshop as well as at New Image Art (Los Angeles), Wing Luke Museum (Seattle), DePaul Museum (Chicago), Silverlens Galleries (Philippines), VWFA (Malaysia), and Osage Gallery (Hong Kong). She is a 2017 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant among many other awards. She teaches in Fine Arts and Philippine Studies at the University of San Francisco, and holds degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA) and UC Berkeley (MFA).

View the Limning the Liminal Object Checklist