Rosana Castrillo Díaz
Sze Tsung Leong
An Te Liu
Charline von Heyl
The More Things Change samples from SFMOMA's always evolving collection and showcases recent acquisitions to present a selective survey of art made since 2000. The exhibition reflects on some of the broad ideas and sentiments that have characterized the last decade, gathering works in a wide range of media by such artists as Tomma Abts, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Tacita Dean, Omer Fast, Paul Graham, Tino Sehgal, Shahzia Sikander, Amy Sillman, Peter Wegner, and Pae White, among many others. SFMOMA debuts a new site-specific sound sculpture by San Francisco-based artist Bill Fontana. Entitled Sonic Shadows, the work transforms the museum's dramatic circular skylight and fifth-floor steel truss pedestrian bridge into musical instruments. Exploring both visible and invisible architectural features of the museum, the work creates an acoustic translation of the physical space. 'How Wine Became Modern. Design + Wine 1976 to Now' looks at the world of wine and the role that architecture, design, and media have played in its stunning transformation over the past three decades.
SFMOMA PRESENTS THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
Works Made in the Last 10 Years Offer Thematic and Psychological Portrait of the Decade
The More Things Change samples from SFMOMA's always evolving collection and showcases recent acquisitions—some on view here for the first time—to present a selective survey of art made since 2000. A collaboration among ten curators from all five of the museum's curatorial departments, the exhibition reflects on some of the broad ideas and sentiments that have characterized the last decade, gathering works in a wide range of media by such artists as Tomma Abts, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Tacita Dean, Omer Fast, Paul Graham, Tino Sehgal, Shahzia Sikander, Amy Sillman, Peter Wegner, and Pae White, among many others. The More Things Change will be on view in the museum's fifth-floor galleries from November 20, 2010 through October 16, 2011.
From this varied selection of diverse forms and voices, common themes emerge: fragmentation, systemic collapse, sudden shifts, fragility, entropy, metamorphosis, mutation, and reconfiguration. Revealing the museum's collection as a seismograph of shifts in contemporary culture, The More Things Change considers how art engages with the world at large and how the past persists in the present. The exhibition features approximately 50 works in its initial presentation and will periodically change with new works being added throughout the run.
The exhibition's title is inspired by the widely familiar epigram from the nineteenth century, and is meant to prompt questions. What really changes? What changes matter? What stays the same? How is possible to be new? Based on this proposition, the exhibition seeks to explore prevalent themes of the 21st century via a diverse range of artwork in SFMOMA's collection.
In many ways the first decade of the 21st century has witnessed cataclysmic shifts in defining attributes of the American and the international landscape. Major events such as 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Bush Doctrine, rising waters in Sri Lanka and New Orleans, the election of the first African American president of the United States, and the first global economic recession have radically altered and continue to shape the world around us in ways that we are still in the process of understanding, on both global and local scales. Though not necessarily about any one event in particular, The More Things Change sketches the mood of the last ten years, in effect creating a thematic and psychological portrait of the decade.
On view for the first time will be Pae White's large-scale tapestry titled Smoke Knows (2009), based on close-up photographic images of drifting smoke plumes. Contrasting smoke's immaterial nature with the tangible physicality of woven fabric, the work captures and freezes the ephemeral, turning something entirely transitory and fugitive into a fixed, tactile object. Also on view for the first time from the Painting and Sculpture department, Matthew Buckingham's single 35mm slide projection Image of Absalon to Be Projected Until It Vanishes (2001) depicts at the bottom of the frame a statue built to memorialize the 12th-century Viking knight, who was a nationalistic hero known for his crucial role in the creation of Denmark's written history. Each time the work is shown, the slide is projected until the heat from the projector lamp eventually fades the image, causing the monument to dissolve into a white background—a testimony to the erosion of historical memory and the provisional nature of social and national values. Other first-time presentations from this area of the collection include works by Aaron Curry, Wade Guyton, Sergej Jensen, Mary Heilman, Kristen Morgin, and Shahzia Sikander.
From the photography department, Paul Graham's recently acquired photograph Pittsburg (Man Cutting Grass) (2004) will be presented for the first time. The picture is part of the series Shimmer of Possibility, which led the artist on a journey throughout the United States to make photographs of ordinary Americans doing everyday things. While the subject of the image—a man mowing his lawn—is inarguably prosaic, Graham's photographs are anything but. Composed of nine individual prints arranged to depict the event unfolding over time, the piece calls attention to the beauty of simple things that might easily be overlooked. Photographs by Barbara Bosworth, Doug Hall, Pieter Hugo, Richard Learoyd, and Alessandra Sanguinetti will also be on view for the first time with this exhibition.
The Architecture and Design collection will debut, among other recent acquisitions, two of Tom Price's Meltdown chairs from 2008. In the series, Price heats and presses a metal seat former—similar in shape to the Eames molded plastic armchair shell—into a ball of plastic material. As the substance comes into contact with heat, it begins to liquefy and, as it cools in a mold, sets in the shape of a seat. Despite appearing brittle and charred, the seat maintains the resilience and flexibility of the material in its original form. Melding the iconic midcentury shape to common household plastics revitalizes the controversial discussion of plastic as a prevalent material. Other highlights include Roy McMakin's Untitled (Vases about Language and Redemption) (2004) and Tauba Auerbach's Alphabetized Bible (2006), which reorganizes the entire text of the Bible based on the artist's own system of logic.
From the Media Arts department, a rich selection of video and film installations by such key figures as Eija-Liisa Ahtila and Jeremy Blake will rotate over the course of the exhibition, offering narratives of psychological fragility and meditations on the slippages between memory and cinematic representation. Other newly acquired performance-based videos by artists such as Patty Chang and Ryan Trecartin will be presented for the first time. Additional highlights include two dialogue-centered pieces that exemplify SFMOMA's recent forays into collecting more intangible media such as online art and live performance: Tino Sehgal's performance piece This Is New (2003) will be interpreted by SFMOMA staff members in the museum's Haas Atrium through February 2011, and Bay Area artist Stephanie Syjuco debuts the results of her collaboration on the presentation format of Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July's online project Learning to Love You More (2002–2009).
The Education department will also work with Stephanie Syjuco on an interactive commission titled Shadowshop (2010). Shadowshop will be a fully functioning retail space located in the gallery overlooking the Rooftop Garden, offering merchandise created by nearly 100 Bay Area artists—objects, texts, and images that circulate in the shadow economies of contemporary art. This space will also serve as the hub for various live public programs hosted in conjunction with the exhibition. In addition, SFMOMA's blog Open Space (http://blog.sfmoma.org/) will feature writings by the curators and others, published throughout the run of the show.
Complete List of Artists
Tomma Abts; Eija-Liisa Ahtila; Tauba Auerbach; Maarten Baas; Laura Belém; Jeremy Blake; Barbara Bosworth; Mark Bradford; Matthew Buckingham; Rosana Castrillo Díaz; Patty Chang; Aaron Curry; Tacita Dean; Thomas Eggerer; Mitch Epstein; Kota Ezawa; Omer Fast; Vincent Fecteau; Tony Feher; Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July; Kate Gilmore; Jim Goldberg; David Goldblatt; Paul Graham; Mark Grotjahn; Cao Guimarães; Beate Gütschow; Wade Guyton; Doug Hall; Rachel Harrison; Mary Heilmann; Pieter Hugo; Elliott Hundley; Sergei Jensen; Shai Kremer; Andrew Kudless; Liz Larner; An-My Lê; Richard Learoyd; Sze Tsung Leong; Michael Light; An Te Liu; Laura McPhee; Roy McMakin; Julie Mehretu; Abelardo Morell; Kristen Morgin; Mitzi Pederson; Lari Pittman; Tom Price; Will Rogan; Victoria Sambunaris; Alessandra Sanguinetti; Matt Saunders; Felix Schramm; Alex Schweder; Judith Scott; Tino Sehgal; Paul Shambroom; Alyson Shotz; Shahzia Sikander; Amy Sillman; Paul Sietsema; Alex Soth; Larry Sultan; Stephanie Syjuco; Ryan Trecartin; Charline von Heyl; Peter Wegner; Pae White; and Tokujin Yoshioka.
BILL FONTANA’S SONIC SHADOWS
New Sound Sculpture Transforms Museum Space into Acoustic Experience
On November 20, 2010, SFMOMA debuts a new site-specific sound sculpture by San Francisco–based artist Bill Fontana.
Entitled Sonic Shadows, the work transforms the museum's dramatic circular skylight and fifth-floor steel truss pedestrian bridge into musical instruments. Exploring both visible and invisible architectural features of the museum, the work creates an acoustic translation of the physical space.
Commissioned as part of SFMOMA's 75th anniversary celebration, Sonic Shadows is Fontana's first truly kinetic and interactive sound sculpture. While Fontana's past works typically relocated environmental sounds to a remote location such as a museum, he is now exploring ambient and live sounds generated by specific spaces in response to the energy of weather, visitors, or a building's infrastructure. The artist's concept for Sonic Shadows grew out of these recent investigations into how architectural structures resonate. Sonic Shadows is organized by Rudolf Frieling, SFMOMA curator of media arts, and will run through October 16, 2011.
This new work utilizes moving hypersonic speakers—a visually as well as acoustically engaging technology—built into a simple flat white surface, along with vibration sensors called accelerometers that respond to visitors' footsteps and integrate ambient sounds recorded in real time inside and outdoors. Narrowly focused ultrasound beams from the four speakers reflect off the turret walls and are audible on the bridge and encircling staircases, producing a captivating multisensory environment.
"What Bill Fontana has achieved is a truly hybrid and reactive sculpture of sound in time. We can listen to the three dimensions of a spatial arrangement inside the architectural setting of our museum based on a new technology of hypersonic speakers. Crossing the bridge on the fifth floor activates a complex work in which the invisible structures of the architecture play as large a role as the random movements of visitors. It is a unique SFMOMA sound," says Frieling.
BILL FONTANA AND SFMOMA
Bill Fontana has a long exhibition and performance history with SFMOMA, contributing to its longstanding interest in artists' intervention into space, notably with his Sound Sculptures through the Golden Gate in 1987, the founding year of the Department of Media Arts. Commissioned by the museum in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, the work captured a live sonic duet between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Farallon Islands. Fontana placed microphones along the bridge, underwater, and on land to record environmental sounds in real time, simultaneously transmitting these recordings to loudspeakers on the facade of SFMOMA's former Van Ness Avenue building. For the opening weekend of the 75th anniversary celebrations last January, SFMOMA revisited this piece by presenting a 30-minute excerpt of the multichannel composition.
In 1997 SFMOMA acquired Fontana's Sound Sculpture with a Sequence of Level Crossings, an acoustic portrait of the Amtrak and Southern Pacific rail lines in Berkeley and Emeryville. To create this work, Fontana made recordings using eight microphones positioned along the tracks. The resulting train sounds were transmitted stereophonically using a white beam and white speakers in a white museum gallery, allowing visitors to experience the auditory environment of the actual site. This sound sculpture was the first Bill Fontana work acquired by an American museum.
In 2009 SFMOMA's Modern Art Council honored Bill Fontana with the Bay Area Treasure Award for lifetime achievement.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Fontana has been a pioneer of sound art for the past forty years. Using sound as a sculptural medium, he reveals hidden acoustic worlds and transforms the way we perceive the visual and architectural spaces around us. Fontana's works have been installed across the globe, from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and New York's Brooklyn Bridge to London's Millennium Bridge and Big Ben.
Born in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, Fontana studied philosophy and music at The New School for Social Research in New York and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the DAAD residency program in Berlin, and the Arts Council England. Fontana's work has been exhibited at SFMOMA; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Vienna Art History and Natural History Museums; the Tate Modern; the National Gallery of Victoria; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; the Kolumba Museum, Cologne; and the 48th Venice Biennale. Fontana has created radio sound art projects for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, NPR, KQED, the BBC, West German Broadcasting (WDR), Radio Sweden, Radio France, and Austrian State Radio. He has most recently exhibited sound sculptures at London's Somerset House and New York's Haunch of Venison gallery. Fontana lives and works in San Francisco.
Support for Bill Fontana: Sonic Shadows is provided by Arup and Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc.
How Wine Became Modern
Design + Wine 1976 to Now
Wine is a potent force in contemporary life, perhaps the only comestible to produce its own visual culture. How Wine Became Modern, the first exhibition of its kind, looks at the world of wine and the role that architecture, design, and media have played in its stunning transformation over the past three decades. Developed in collaboration with the New York architecture studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the exhibition features historical artifacts, architectural models, multimedia installations, newly commissioned artworks, and even a "smell wall" to provide a richly textured experience in the galleries. Come discover how important cultural preoccupations of our day, such as the meaning of "place" and "authenticity" in our increasingly global and virtual world, play out at this uniquely fertile intersection of nature and culture. At once a nuanced investigation and a vivid sensory and aesthetic experience, this exhibition presents wine as you've never seen it before.
Image: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Lahja (The Present), 2001; five-channel video installation with sound; Collection SFMOMA; © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / KUVASTO, Helsinki
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Opening 20 November 2010
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Museum hours: Open daily (except Wednesdays): 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; open late Thursdays, until 8:45 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day): Open at 10 a.m. Closed Wednesdays and the following public holidays: New Year's Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas. The Museum is open the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Koret Visitor Education Center: Open daily (except Wednesdays): 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; open late Thursdays, until 8:30 p.m. Summer hours: Open at 10 a.m.
Admission prices: adults: $18; seniors and students: $9; SFMOMA members and children 12 and under: free. Admission is free the first Tuesday of each month and half-price on Thursdays after 6 p.m.