“You Can’t Make Art By Making Art”
Artists Reflect on the Legacy of David Ireland
October 7 – November 19, 2011
Opening Reception October 7, 2011, 6 - 9 pm
Open during Oakland Art Murmur November 4, 2011
Special Event: DIY (David Ireland and You) November 12, 2011 2-3:30 PM
Exhibition artists and visitors are invited to share stories of their own encounters with David Ireland, the impressions he made on them and the difference he has made in their lives and/or work. Tea will be served. Attendees are requested to bring their own mugs. Seating is limited, so please bring a cushion or folding chair if you are unable to stand. Free and open to the public.
In 1980, David Ireland (1930-2009) had a solo show at Claremont Graduate School
called David Ireland: You Can’t Make Art By Making Art. The title’s koan-like phrase
gets to the enigmatic crux of David Ireland as an artist. Considered one of San
Francisco’s most important conceptual and installation artists, Ireland challenged notions
of what art can be, not through confrontation, but rather by embracing and expanding the
aesthetic and meaningful possibilities of the everyday. Incorporating Marcel Duchamp’s
use of found objects, John Cage’s openness to chance and process and an appreciation of
Eastern, and particularly Zen Buddhist, philosophy, Ireland, along with Bay Area
contemporaries Tom Marioni, Paul Kos and Mark Thompson, blurred the boundaries
between life and art.
As an involved member of the Bay Area art community—fellow artist, teacher or visiting
artist at SFAI, CCAC and Fiberworks, resident artist and contributing renovator at the
Headlands Center for the Arts and designer of the original Capp Street Project building
as well as an internationally exhibited and acclaimed artist —Ireland has had an
immeasurable impact, most significantly in California. This time in history, two and one
half years after his passing, may be a fitting moment to reflect on Ireland’s influence,
while his presence is still felt strongly by those who knew him.
Mari Andrews, Ray Beldner, Jordan Biren, Randy Colosky, Sheila Ghidini, Daniel
Nevers, Mie Preckler, Sabine Reckewell, Kerry Vander Meer and Stephen Whisler have
been invited to participate in this exhibition as a small step toward comprehending the
legacy of David Ireland. Among these California artists, many had personal contact with
Ireland; others did not know or work with him, but recognize his influence in their own
work or way of thinking about art. Exhibited works range from those created at the time
of artists’ encounters with Ireland to those made specifically for this occasion. All have
been contributed as the artists’ genuine and personal reflections, which are elucidated in
accompanying artwork statements.
I would like to sincerely thank the artists in this exhibition for sharing with me their
personal stories and memories. I know David Ireland held a profound place in some of
your lives, and I deeply appreciate your participation in this public tribute.
Thank you, David Ireland, for your work and point of view that inspired me to move
across country to further my studies in art. You have opened my eyes to new ways of
seeing. We still have a lot to learn from you.
~ Chandra Cerrito, Curator