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Selection from SFMOMA media arts collection brings visions of 'The West' to Istanbul
Steina, The West (SFMOMA installation view), 1983; two­ channel multi monitor video installation with sound, 30 min., 72 x 144 x 144 in. (182.88 x 365.76 x 365.76 cm; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase: gift of Mimi and Peter Haas, Susan and Robert Green, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks Walker Jr., and Thomas Weisel; photo: Ben Blackwell; İ Steina.

ISTANBUL.- A selection of work by artists in The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) media arts collection is to travel to Borusan Contemporary, one of the leading privately held museums in Turkey, while SFMOMA’s building is temporarily closed for architectural expansion. The exhibition, titled West Coast Visions, is curated by Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts at SFMOMA, and addresses the American West both conceptually and geographically through a selection of works by 5 artists: Jeremy Blake, Bill Fontana, Doug Hall, Steina Vasulka and Bill Viola.

The artists chosen by Frieling are either living in California or have addressed the location of the real or imaginary West in their works. Early pioneers of media arts such as Steina or Bill Viola are joined by important Bay Area artists such as Doug Hall and Bill Fontana. A trilogy by the late Jeremy Blake highlights a younger generation that has fully embraced a palette of digital tools since the early 2000s and is now a significant forerunner to the digital-born generation of today.

Commenting on the importance of new technologies to the Istanbul exhibition, Frieling says: “Any reference to the “West” cannot be thought without the impact of the mythic West of the 19th century characterized by a relentless advancement of technologies… Today in the 21st century, more advanced technologies link the “West” of Silicon Valley to a global empire of Internet and social technology companies which would not have been possible without the spirit of groundbreaking artists working in the electronic domain.”

The selected works also resonate with Istanbul’s location, spanning an imaginary bridge between two regions that address their identity in relationship to a waterfront. “Ultimately, Istanbul and San Francisco are two cities on the waterfront that offer fascinating views on a fluid continuum of East and West, a fusion that creates conflicts as much as it offers visions of the future,” says Frieling.

Borusan Contemporary is considered the leading platform for media arts in Turkey, featuring an innovative ‘office museum’ display of the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection and hosting temporary group and solo exhibitions by Turkish and international artists, usually including site-specific new commissions.

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