The Whole of All the Parts as Well as the Parts of All the Parts

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Spotlight Girl, 2011 Video Still
The Whole of All the Parts as Well as the Parts of All the Parts
Curated by: Sandra Percival

5000 MacArthur Blvd.
94613 Oakland
September 15th, 2011 - December 11th, 2011
Opening: September 15th, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
Tue-Sun 11am-4pm; Wed 11am-7:30pm
Mills College
mixed-media, digital, installation, video-art, performance, conceptual, modern
Free and open to the public


The whole of all the parts as well as the parts of all the parts features multiple video works in a performative installation by Los Angeles-based artist Frances Stark. Stark’s exhibition explores the space between text, drawing, PowerPoint, musical score, film, random video chats, animation, installation, and live performance in an eight-part video installation that unfolds one part at a time.

Duration: 1 hour. The work begins on the hour.

Early in her career, Stark starred as Yoko Ono in the film The Holes You Feel directed by LA artist Raymond Pettibon. The writings of Emily Dickinson, Samuel Beckett and Daniel Buren can be found in Stark’s work and she has performed her texts in readings and designed books of words and books as works. 

For the Whitney Biennial she produced a powerpoint (Structures That Fit My Opening and Other Parts Considered to the Whole). Seated at a table in the black box theatre space at Langton with a box of her writings, Stark expounded upon the economic peril of an artist’s debt from art school; she organized On the Future of Art School for the Roski School of Fine Arts at University of Southern California where she teaches.

Stark’s work Torment of Follies (2008) for the Secession, Vienna, presented large-scale free-standing works that divided and interrupted the space—on one side were Stark’s vaudeville-like dance figures; and, on the other side were texts drawn from Ferdydurke, the 1937 novel by the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz. The figure depicted within these texts is Stark herself. In the process of reading and re-reading, the artist and the viewer become characters—actors amidst the pages of an un-sequenced script. Martin Prinzhorn says in the catalogue essay, “In a way that is comparable to the musical interpretation of a libretto in opera, Stark translates Gombrowicz’s text into the synaesthetic unity of her pictorial language.”

Taking The Inchoate Incarnate: After a Drawing, Toward an Opera, but before a Libretto Even Exists (a work in Torment of the Follies) off the wall, into sculptural form and finally on to the stage, Stark scripted, produced and enacted her first live performance I’ve Had It! And I’ve Also Had It! in the Aspen Opera House (July, 2010)… part regional history, part personal monologue and dialogue, accompanied by two string trios simultaneously playing Haydn’s divertimento Das Echo and played backwards, Lady Gaga’s hit-parade song Telephone. As a work in parts, a work in progress, I’ve Had It and a Half was performed at the Hammer Museum (April 2011)—bringing in to play, the evolving and manifold ways in which Stark’s work explores the different spaces of language, writing and working. In Stark’s images space is constructed with writing, the letters accumulate and move to the tempo of a conversation in space and time.

Stark’s show at MCAM will explore the recent performative impulse in the work of Frances Stark by bringing together for the first time a body of work that has developed since Torment of the Follies. Still in conception and production, the multi-part work the whole of all the parts as well as the parts of all the parts explores the space between text, drawing, PowerPoint, musical score, film, random video chats, animation, installation and live performance.

Frances Stark was born in Newport Beach, California. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Frances Stark has had numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions throughout the US and Europe. Solo exhibitions have been presented at Portikus, Frankfurt; Secession, Vienna; Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Kunstverein, Munich. Her work has also been shown in the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham; Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; Tate Modern, London; De Appel, Amsterdam; New Langton Arts, San Francisco; Kunsthalle, Basel; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Institute for Contemporary Art, London; among others. She is represented by Marc Foxx, Los Angeles; greengrassi, London; Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; Galerie Paule Anglim, San Francisco; and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York. Stark received her BFA from San Francisco State University, San Francisco (1991) and her MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena (1993).

Stark’s show at MCAM comes at a prescient moment: she was in the recent show All of This and Nothing at the Hammer Museum; and Stark’s exhibition at MCAM coincides with her participation in the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, and, in New York, Performa 11.

Curator, Sandra Percival, is the director of YU, a new contemporary art center in Portland, OR. In 2009, she curated Pae White’s two-part show, In Between the Inside-Out at MCAM and In Between the Outside-In at New Langton Arts.

For more information visit