Meeting colleagues in San Francisco

4 Nov

My professional program in San Francisco consists of attending classes of the CCA faculty members, informal exchanges with student connected to different programs, excursions and museum visits and meetings that I set up with local art professionals. In this post I elaborate on the latter!

Before my arrival in San Francisco I had started to explore the local art scene and to contact people I was particularly interested in. Fortunately, I managed to meet almost all of them; here are some of the most interesting encounters:

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Jens Hoffmann has been the director of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, but as of  November 1st he is the Deputy Director of the  Jewish Museum in New York. We  already knew each other as Jens has participated in our Check-in Budapest curatorial visitor program and later ACAX became the official Hungarian partner of the Istanbul Biennial. Jens is leaving soon for New York to become the deputy director of the Jewish Museum, so these were his last days in the city. I attended his last class at the CCA – a historic moment!

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Jessica Silverman (on the left) had just returned from Paris when we met, where she participated at the FIAC for the third time. Although she opened her gallery only six years ago, she has already become one of the most significant galleries on the west coast. She represents mostly emerging and mid-career artists. More here: http://silverman-gallery.com/

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Rudolf Frieling is a curator of media arts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art http://www.sfmoma.org. Before that he was curator and researcher at ZKM, Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. I was particularly interested in his 40yearsvideoart.de project because it provided a good opportunity to discuss the video art of Europe and the US, and ACAX’sTransitland (video art from Central and Eastern Europe)  http://transitland.eu/ project as well.

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Tanya Zimbardo (on the right) is an assistant curator of media arts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Tanya graduated in the first year of the CCA Curatorial Practice MA Program (founded in 2003), and has worked for the SFMoMA for 6 years. She gave me a general introduction to the museum’s activity and her work as well.

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I met Marjorie Schwarzer (exploring an art work in the photo) at the Oakland Museum and spent 3 wonderful hours exploring the museum’s collection and talking about the history of the US and its museums. Her immense knowledge is very impressive; check out her book Riches, Rivals and Radicals: 100 Years of the Museum in America. Marjorie is  a visiting scholar in museum studies at the University of San Francisco  and she is also working with CCA Curatorial Practice program. As she worked a lot in the field of museum education – just like me – after the museum tour we mainly exchanged our experiences on this topic.

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Steven Wolf, owner of the Steven Wolf Fine Arts gallery http://www.stevenwolffinearts.com/ Steven told me a lot about the art world of the 70s and 80s in the Bay Area, he is very generous in sharing his knowledge. I particularly liked his enthusiasm for the punk scene and the music in general. Currently he shows paintings of Scott Williams whose studio is recreated inside his gallery.

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I met Kevin B. Chen at the Intersection for the Arts, an interdisciplinary art organization that dedicates itself to community building and facilitating social changes. http://theintersection.org/ It was founded in the early 1960’s and works in the performing, literary, visual and interdisciplinary arts. The organization is famous of being an inclusive collaborative place. I have also met one of the CCA students there, Patricia, who is primarily interested in the post-colonial theory and in working with arts, artists and narratives of the Filipino Diaspora. Consequently, being an intern at the Intersection seems to be the best choice for her at this stage.

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Betti-Sue Hertz is the director of Visual Arts at  Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) http://www.ybca.org, “an integrated site of creative endeavor” as they call themselves. Betti-Sue is currently working on exhibitions connected to issues of migration and identity and on another one about South Africa. Beside the institution there was another thing that impressed me a lot: its location, the Yerba Buena Gardens http://www.yerbabuenagardens.com/, check out the photos! (The Garden hosts a Marin Luther King memorial as well)

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