East Meets West is a group exhibition of the 2009 Boston Artadia Awardees, curated by Mary Ellyn Johnson, Assistant Curator at the Walter and McBean Galleries, as part of the New Voices section of SFAI’s Exhibitions and Public Programs. The New Voices initiative and the nonprofit organization Artadia share the goal of encouraging young curators, artists, and activists by providing them with spaces and strategies to present their projects.
East Meets West features seven Boston-based artists: Claire Beckett, Ambreen Butt, Caleb Cole, Raul Gonzalez, Eric Gottesman, Amie Siegel, and Joe Zane. The show is part of the Artadia Exhibitions Exchange program, a groundbreaking initiative to foster dialogue and exchange between artists, peer organizations, and arts communities around the country.
Artadia Awardees 2009 Boston
Claire Beckett: In the series "In Training" and "Simulating Iraq," Beckett provokes people to think about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our responses as a society to these events. In Simulating Iraq, Beckett presents photographs made on military bases within the U.S., in fabricated spaces designed to mimic Iraq and Afghanistan. The simulations include the use of specific architecture, objects and costumes, and Americans (both civilians and soldiers) who role-play as Iraqis and Afghans.
Ambreen Butt: Working from the rich imagery of mass media and archival resources, Butt’s visual vocabulary references issues of war, violence, resistance, gender, and power struggle. Educated in the tradition of Persian and Indian miniaturist painting, her peripheral interest is in recontextualizing painting in contemporary practice, which she achieves through updating its technical and conceptual processes. In the works "Daughter of the East" and "Dirty Pretty," from two series of the same name, Butt uses evocative female figures to create a complex vision of traditional and contemporary cultures colliding.
Caleb Cole: Cole presents selected work from his "Other People’s Clothes" series. For this series, Cole creates stories for strangers based on narratives of isolation and desire, imagining their private life and how they construct their identity. Cole then reconstructs these private moments in photographs, beginning with an outfit or piece of clothing (either bought, found, or borrowed), then choosing a location, and finally embodying the character in a silent moment alone.
Raul Gonzalez: For this exhibition Gonzalez will create a site specific mural work titled "El Humo Limpia todo excepto…" (The Smoke Cleanses everything but…). Inspired by dusty border towns and visions of the Old West, the epic scroll-like mural depicts scenes from violent newspaper headlines, spaghetti westerns, cultural stereotypes, and the samurai prints of Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Decapitated heads, roosters wielding pistols and knives, and an assortment of undesirables litter the landscape that Gonzalez refers to as Tranquilandia.
Eric Gottesman: In a photographic series entitled "Studio Karmen" and the video "Another Beautiful," Gottesman documents his interaction with photographer Ahmad Taher al-Sefferini in Amman, Jordan, whom he first met in 2006. Ahmad’s photography studio was established in 1970, and he has made his own backdrops for the local residents to pose in front of, including a hand-sculpted recreation of Sefferin, Ahmad’s childhood village in Palestine.
Amie Siegel: The centerpiece of Siegel’s three-part work Black Moon is the video Black Moon, a partial remake of Louis Malle’s 1975 film of the same title. The second element is a series of photographs, Black Moon / Hole Punches, derived from the hole punches, or black moons, typically cut by the motion picture laboratory into the first frame of action in a film negative. A third element, the 2-channel video installation Black Moon / Mirrored Malle, places an original 1975 interview with Louis Malle about his film against a shot-for-shot version in which the artist herself plays Malle.
Joe Zane: In the works "Wish your way to the Whitney," "I’m so fortunate to get to make my art," and "Gold Star," Zane reflects upon the experience of receiving an award (Artadia), and takes advantage of the exhibition’s location at an art school to deliver a message to students. The audience is the most important part of Zane’s work, as he examines how one brings meanings to an art object and how an individual defines oneself in reflection of the experience.
San Francisco Art Institute, Lecture Hall
-Wednesday, August 3, 6 pm: Eric Gottesman
-Wednesday, September 7, 7:30 pm: Amie Siegel
Raul Gonzalez, July 12, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
2868 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
For more information about the Walter and McBean Galleries, please visit http://www.waltermcbean.com.