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Fifteen leading Bay Area artists to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012
A video still from Doug Hall’s Chrysopylae, 2011. Courtesy the artist.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- In one of the signature events celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012, fifteen leading artists from the Bay Area and around the world will create on-site installations responding to the bridge as an icon, historic structure, and conceptual inspiration. Organized by the nonprofit FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service, International Orange will occupy selected areas of all three floors and the spacious courtyard of the historic Fort Point building, dating from 1861 and nestled at the southern base of the bridge.

International Orange will open on Memorial Day weekend, May 26–28, as part of the kickoff to the 75th anniversary and will remain on view to the public free of charge through October 2012. Featuring site-specific installations, live performance, interactive art experiences, and public programs, the exhibition will offer visitors new insights into the bridge, its history, and the unparalleled surrounding environment through the diverse work of fifteen leading contemporary artists. Selected participants are Anandamayi Arnold, Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood, Bill Fontana, Doug Hall, Courtney Lain, David Liittschwager, Abelardo Morell, Cornelia Parker, Kate Pocrass, Jeannene Przyblyski, Allison Smith, Stephanie Syjuco, Camille Utterback, and Pae White.

“The Golden Gate Bridge is synonymous with San Francisco and it makes an indelible impression, not only on the millions who flock to see it each year, but also on those of us who see it daily,” said Lawrence Rinder, director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and advisor to the FOR-SITE Foundation. “This is a great occasion to engage a diverse group of artists—all of whom create art that responds to place—to share their inspiration with the public, and, in turn, stimulate new appreciation for this emblematic structure.”

“Presenting International Orange inside a late-nineteenth-century fort within a military base-turned-national park, at the edge of a major urban center, adds layers of history and complexity that will inform the art and enrich the experience for tens of thousands of visitors” added FOR-SITE executive director, Cheryl Haines.

Works on view will include an immersive audio-visual piece by Bill Fontana capturing the intense vibrations and haunting sounds produced by the bridge; a split-screen video installation by Doug Hall showing the immense bridge span and tracking the progress of container ships passing underneath; a social sculpture in the form of a retail environment curated by Stephanie Syjuco and stocked solely with objects and artworks in the fantastic “international orange” color of the bridge; a monumental fog tapestry by Pae White; and a community-based initiative led by Allison Smith, who will collaborate with female veterans to create hundreds of feet of bunting out of military and surplus fabrics to adorn the interior courtyard of Fort Point.

Established in 2003 by San Francisco gallery owner and arts advocate Cheryl Haines, the FOR-SITE Foundation is dedicated to the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place through commissions, artist residencies, and educational programs. Since 2008, FOR-SITE has broken new ground and provided a model for engaging the public through artistic collaborations on national park land. FOR-SITE’s projects in the Presidio include Andy Goldsworthy’s monumental Spire and Wood Line, and the acclaimed Presidio Habitats exhibition, for which artists, designers, and architects including Mark Dion, Ai Weiwei, Don Chadwick, and Jensen Architects created animal habitats throughout the park.

International Orange Installations & Programs
Known for her vibrant signature creations made from paper, Anandamayi Arnold will create a series of five life-sized paper costumes in the style of the Fiesta Queens from the 1937 opening festivities for the bridge. Each dress will be themed to represent the Headlands, the city of San Francisco, the bridge itself, and more. Based in Berkeley, California Arnold (b. 1977, San Francisco) is regularly commissioned to create objects, costumes, and signs from crepe paper. Her background and training includes coursework in art history and costume history at Brown University, painting and drawing classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, and traditional Japanese doll-making classes with San Francisco master Yuri Nakamura.

Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood will co-curate an exhibition of objects fabricated to appear as though recovered from a deep sea wreck. The objects will be marvelously enhanced by their period under water, covered with mussels, oysters, seaweed, coral, and barnacles. These largely vernacular objects—coffee mug, teapot, spoon—will be made strange and wonderful as an armature for marine life. Dion (b. 1961, New Bedford, Massachusetts) is known for incorporating elements of biology, archaeology, ethnography, and the history of science into his work. Traveling the world and collaborating with scientists, artists, and museums, Dion has excavated artifacts from the banks of the Thames River in London, established a marine life laboratory using specimens from New York City’s Chinatown, and created a contemporary cabinet of curiosities exploring natural and philosophical hierarchies. His work has been presented internationally at major museums. Sherwood (b. 1977, New York) received her BFA from the University of Maine and a post-baccalaureate from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been included in exhibitions at the Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, Ohio; Dia Foundation at the Hispanic Society of America, New York; and Scaramouche Gallery, New York.

Pioneering sound artist Bill Fontana (b. 1947, Cleveland, Ohio) will develop a new work for International Orange exploring the visual and aural environment of the bridge. High-definition video cameras will be installed on the bridge to take live abstract views. Microphones in various zones will record the echo patterns created by the bridge’s two permanent fog horns, the musical percussive sounds of the expansion joints and cables as they vibrate, and the breaking waves beneath the southern shore. For the last forty years, Fontana has created site-specific aural installations around the globe using sound as a sculptural medium to transform visitors’ perceptions of space. His work has been exhibited internationally at leading museums and art fairs, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; SFMOMA; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Tate Modern, London; and the 48th Venice Biennale.

Acclaimed artist Doug Hall (b. 1944, San Francisco) will install a two-screen, high-definition video projection showing the Golden Gate Bridge from contrasting perspectives. Panoramic footage of the bridge will be interspersed with clips of immense container ships passing beneath it. The interplay of tranquil and familiar bridge scenes with the massive scale and power of these merchant ships will highlight the grandeur of the bridge’s physicality. Based in San Francisco, Hall’s diverse practice includes performance, installation, video, and photography. A longtime teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute, Hall is represented in the collections of major museums including SFMOMA, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Berlinische Galerie in Berlin, and Museum für Moderne Kunst in Vienna.

The exhibition will open with an original musical work composed by Courtney Lain (b. 1977, Big Spring, Texas) and accompanied by archival footage of the construction of the bridge. Lain and an eleven-piece band, playing as Lady Sea and the Golden Orchestra, will perform the work live at a private opening event, and the performance will be recorded and screened throughout the exhibition. A composer based in Oakland and New Orleans, Lain had a dry desert upbringing that brought on a fascination with ocean life—a theme that reoccurs in her musical endeavors. Among her recent works, Lain was commissioned by the Oakland Museum of California to compose an original score to accompany a silent film presentation. Her piece for International Orange will be composed around her favored instrument, the organ-accordion hybrid known as an Accorgan Syntara.

For International Orange, photographer David Liittschwager (b. 1961, Eugene, Oregon) will create a new installation in his One Cubic Foot series, surveying the organisms found within a twelve-inch square of soil or sea. Liittschwager will focus on the water and rocky shoreline directly beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, resulting in a new series of photographs capturing the stunning variety of organisms living in the San Francisco Bay. A contributing photographer to National Geographic and other magazines, Liittschwager lives in San Francisco and travels the globe photographing the elusive creatures that inhabit the land and water all around us.

Boston-based photographer Abelardo Morell (b. 1948, Havana, Cuba) will install a camera obscura within a small vaulted area on the second story of Fort Point to create a unique, dynamic perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge. He will also expand on a current series of photographs taken with a “tent camera,” a sort of portable camera obscura, and install these large-format prints in the fort. Morell has been making dreamy, large-format photographs using camera obscura techniques for over seventeen years. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and his work has been collected and shown internationally, including at The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and SFMOMA.

For the exhibition, London-based sculptor Cornelia Parker (b. 1956, Cheshire, England) will present a recent sculpture titled Reveille, French for “wake up.” Two small bugles—instruments historically used to rouse troops—are suspended in space. One has been flattened out, rendering it useless for its traditional purpose. This piece poignantly comments on the history of Fort Point, a site that was never called into action, thus never realizing its full potential. Recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize in 1997, Parker has earned an international reputation for sculptural installations proposing that matter is never destroyed, but merely transformed. Her work has been featured in England, Europe, and the United States, including exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London; ICA/Boston; Kunstverein, Stuttgart; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

San Francisco-based artist Kate Pocrass (b.1977, Reading, Pennsylvania) is known for lyrical works that encourage the public to consider and experience their environment in new ways. For International Orange, Pocrass will create a playful field guide exploring the bridge and its surroundings—with a focus not on its imposing history or architectural features but rather on the quiet details and stories that make it relatable on a human scale. Pocrass produces both independent and collaborative projects that revel in the commonality of daily life. Her work has been shown at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California, and she was selected as a 2011 artist in residence at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Artist, historian, urban strategist, and instructor Jeannene Przyblyski (b. 1959, Los Angeles) is a decisive voice in the conversation about art and place in the Bay Area. For International Orange, Przyblyski will develop a podcast of stories about the experience of crossing over, under, across and up the bridge. Przyblyski is vice president and dean of academic affairs as well as chair of the history and theory of contemporary art program in the School for Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, and a frequent lecturer at arts and cultural institutions in the Bay Area.

Oakland-based artist Allison Smith (b. 1972, Manassas, Virginia) is working with female veterans to create bunting for the railings in the interior courtyard of Fort Point for International Orange. Conceived as a large-scale textile artwork, the installation will include some seventy-five swags of festive bunting for each of the approximately twenty-five arches on three tiers of the fort. Opening up the traditional red, white and blue color scheme to a broader spectrum of colors and fabricating the bunting out of recycled military and surplus fabrics, the piece will hint at the diversity of cultural viewpoints that came together in the building of the bridge and of the international audiences it continues to attract today. Smith will also curate a small exhibit of her private collection of “trench art,” a type of folk art created from spent war materials or equipment and often kept by soldiers as personal war mementoes or sold to soldiers as souvenirs. Smith’s Fort Point Bunting will be the fourth in a series of large-scale installations for her ongoing project ARTS & SKILLS SERVICE, originally commissioned by SFMOMA. The project began as a re-staging of the World War II-era collaboration between SFMOMA and the American Red Cross, in which hundreds of Bay Area artists and craftspeople were enlisted to teach hands-on workshops to returning GIs. Fort Point Bunting and the accompanying trench art exhibit will be created in a series of ARTS & SKILLS SERVICE workshops to be held in the Presidio this spring. An accomplished art teacher and practitioner, Smith creates works on paper, sculpture, and collaborative events that depend on audience participation. She was a United States Artists Fellow in 2010. Smith’s work has been exhibited at institutions including SFMOMA; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and MOMA PS1, New York.

Following the success of her Shadowshop at SFMOMA in 2011, San Francisco artist Stephanie Syjuco (b. 1974, Manila, Philippines) will create an installation that both mimics and challenges the notion of a souvenir store. The project highlights the Golden Gate Bridge’s color, international orange, by featuring mass-produced and artisan-made objects solely in that iconic color, displayed on a series of shelves, racks, and tables. Syjuco's work explores themes of artwork-as-commodity, cultural souvenirs, counterfeits and bootlegs, and alternative distribution systems. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, Syjuco plays along the borders between art and commerce, inspiration and production, creation and distribution. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at MOMA PS1; Whitney Museum of American Art; SFMOMA; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; among others.

Pioneering interactive installation artist Camille Utterback (b. 1970, Bloomington, Indiana) will develop an interactive piece for International Orange tracking ways in which the San Francisco Bay has changed over time through a series of video-generated, historical flow patterns presented on LCD monitors. The piece will animate the shifting water flow, providing a digital window into the evolving nature of the bay. Utterback’s work uses display technologies and custom-designed software to investigate various systems and present them to viewers. Her work has been presented at the New Museum, New York; Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art, South Korea; Netherlands Media Art Institute; and the Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria; among other international venues. Utterback was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (“genius award”) in 2009.

Pae White (b. 1963, Pasadena, California) will build upon her recent series of digitally-woven tapestries created from photographic imagery to develop a new piece for the exhibition. Contrasting the immateriality of an image with the physicality of fabric, White will work with Belgian loom experts to create a monumental tapestry based on a photograph of fog—one of the most iconic conditions at the Golden Gate Bridge and one which reflects and responds to changes in temperature, wind, and light. Based in Southern California, White has had her work presented internationally, at venues and fairs including SITE Santa Fe; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Biennial; the 53rd Venice Biennale; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

International Orange will offer interpretive materials and resources for the general public and for schoolchildren, including a visitor guide and map, ADA-compliant video station, program-related activities and talks, and public tours. Funding for the exhibition, and for all of FOR-SITE’s projects, comes from individual donors to the foundation.

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