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SFMOMA Artists Gallery to Open Two New Shows in February
Kirk Crippens, "End", 2009. Archival pigment photograph; 24 x 36 inches. Photo; Courtesy: The Artist.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The SFMOMA Artists Gallery announced two new shows opening on February 4, 2010. In Main Gallery, “Infix: The Grammar of Insertion” will be on view through March 12. Upstairs in the gallery’s loft space photographer Kirk Crippen’s new series, “Foreclosure, USA: The Great Recession” will be shown for the first time in San Francisco. Both shows are celebrated with a reception for the artists on Thursday, February 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Infix: The Grammar of Insertion revolves around the linguistic concept of the infix, and looks at the works of six Bay Area artists as infixes inserted within the language of the global art market. The show explores how these works and artists are changing the way we talk and think about art.

Organized by guest curator, Rico J. Reyes the show features the works of artists Renée Billingslea, E.G. Crichton, Lisa R. Gould, Willie Little, Lewis Watts and the artist collaboration, BARRIONICS (Lily Anne Perez, Johanna Poethig, and Rico Reyes). Including photography, installation, sculpture, prints, video, and performance, Infix assembles some of the Bay Area’s most dynamic artists working in these media and engaging in themes such as identity and gender, perception and humor, place and spectres, packaging and the grotesque, residue and culture.

Reyes challenges the beholders to spend time to think about how the arts in the Bay Area are articulated. Most often, Bay Area art is narrowly defined by its historical contributions to Abstract Expressionism, figurative painting, ceramics, and photography, or hyped by its surfacing underground scene; but mostly Bay Area art is confined to its perceived eccentric nature. From Thomas Albright’s, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-1980, to Johnstone and Holzman’s, Epicenter: San Francisco Bay Area Art Now, to Sidra Stich’s, art-SITES San Francisco, the grand narratives that describe the San Francisco Bay Area art hinge on the intersection of eccentricity and its sporadic contributions to past art movements, creating a set language, a fixed notion, that affects the continual development of Bay Area art and its articulation.

By using the concept of infix, an affix inserted within a word, Reyes creates a parallel between the linguistic function of an infix in changing the tense, subject/object relationship of a word, with the function of the art object or practice being inserted in the panorama of the global art scene in asserting its contemporaneity, shifting the subject/object relationship of the work of art, and pondering the function and processes of artists. Reyes writes, “The boundaries have been set, there is nothing to do but insert.” Bay Area art has a way of inserting itself within the language of contemporary art, expanding the current vocabulary. If the Bay Area art scene acts like an infix, inserting itself within the word, then New York and Europe acts like a prefix, seeing itself before the word, and unlike Los Angeles, Chicago or Berlin, a suffix, an addition after the word.

The works presented in this exhibition are infixes within the language of Bay Area art. Renée Billingslea’s work continues to address the artist’s relationship to issues of race. Working from archival images of lynching, Billingslea turns her attention to the lynch mob and questions the mentality of the witnesses of these witnesses. Lewis Watts also has worked with archival photographs. This experience alludes to the way he photographs the landscape: as an archive of cultural imprints. Whether it is the gentrification of Harlem, or the washing away of New Orleans, Watts registers these disappearances and recovers them in the facades of buildings or in the faces of its inhabitants. The collaboration, BARRIONICS, redefines the archive by sourcing data from everyday experience. As sound archeologists, BARRIONICS undergoes a journey to excavate from different landscapes the sounds of the past. Wood-carved walking sticks are tools of sojourning that have been imprinted in Willie Little’s imagination. His walking stick series uses this form but they are adorned with cockleburs, beads, glass, and glitter transforming a tool for storytelling into a storyteller. Indeed, stories may be extracted from various objects like walking sticks to household chemicals. E.G. Crichton places samples of household chemicals onto a glass plate and digitally scans them. The results are views of fantastical worlds, a solution to mundane domesticity. Domesticity is repackaged in Lisa R. Gould’s photographs as she documents the detritus of daily domestic consumption. Emerging from her observations of consumption and consumerism, Gould captures the instances before consumption, the instances before they disappear; either discarded as refuse or consumed as commodity.

The SFMOMA Artists Gallery | Infix | Rico J. Reyes | Kirk Crippen |

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