Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium

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Isola Bella Video © Courtesy of the Artist and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Applause 1: Installed at The Project Room for New Media, Chelsea Art Museum, NY, 2009 © Courtesy of the Artist and Chelsea Art Museum, NY
Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium
Curated by: Betti-Sue Hertz

701 Mission St.
94103 San Francisco

October 30th, 2010 - February 6th, 2011
Opening: October 29th, 2010 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
Thu-Sat: noon-8pm; Sun: noon-6pm; First Tuesdays of the month (FREE) 12-8; Summer Hours (May 28 – Aug 31) include Wed 12-6 PM
Audience, live-art, installation


Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium

October 30, 2010 - February 6, 2011

Visual Arts - Gallery 1


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is pleased to present Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium opening on Saturday, October 30, as part of its 10_11 season of Big Ideas.

Organized by Betti-Sue Hertz, Director of Visual Arts, Audience as Subject is a two-part exhibition that considers the audience of a live event as a single living organism.  The exhibition zooms in on the collective bodies, expressions, attitudes, and gestures of an audience in an effort to explore its dramatic and narrative potential.


Featured artists include collaborative team caraballo-farman, Stefan Constantinescu, Danica Dakic, Adrian Paci, Shizu Saldamando,and Gabriel Acevedo Velarde.


Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium
Organized by Betti-Sue Hertz, Director of Visual Arts, Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium is the first of a two-part group exhibition that considers audiences of live events as single living organisms as well as the individuals in attendance. The focus here is on the subject of the audience in a range of representations from collective mass to individual expressions, attitudes, and gestures, when considering new roles for spectatorship as constructed, conceived or imagined by contemporary artists. The exhibition is inspired by artworks that take into account the shift from a gazing audience to a producing audience, as an example of larger changes in perceptions about participation in civic life.

Part 1: Medium features works that focus on audiences in medium-sized venues such as a theater, a TV studio, and a city bus. Part 2: Extra Large focuses on audiences at stadium scale concerts, sports events and expansive political gatherings. It will take place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2012.

Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium - Participating artists
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde is interested in the collective processes of leftist politics in dialogue with the agency of individuals especially when confronted with violence perpetrated by the militarist arm of government.  In his animation Escenario (2004) the audience is a populace that may declare its strength in numbers and the stage is a site for exposing the vulnerability of individuals.

caraballo-farman presents Venerations (Applause 3), 2010, an installation of multiple videos set up to surround the viewer, comprised of over 1500 clips of audiences applauding in TV studios for live talk shows shown on continuous loops.

Stefan Constantinescu's film, Troleibuzul 92 (2009) is constructed as a serial narrative.  A man on a trolley bus makes several phone calls to his wife or girlfriend, often threatening her in an abusive manner.  The other passengers on the bus meanwhile become an unwilling audience to the abuse.

For the video installation titled Isola Bella (2007-2008), Danica Dakić works within the framing device of a theatrical setting, instructing non-actors from the audience to rehearse their life stories within classical forms of storytelling.  Staged in front of a 19th-century wallpaper design, the actors, all residents of the Home for the Protection of Children and Youth near Sarajevo, relate incidents from their own lives, often referencing the trauma of war, behind fanciful masks.

For Adrian Paci, the main factor that binds groups is cultural identity, which is symbolized by participation in common actions, and is also a mechanism for the socialization of individuals.  Turn On (2004) is shot in the artist's birth city of Shkoder, Albania, and features middle-aged Albanian out-of-work laborers sitting on the steps of the town square.

Shizu Saldamando's portraits focus on individual style, identity and group dynamics at arts events, especially those featuring alternative culture. YBCA commissioned the artist to create new work based on recent live events at YBCA and other venues in San Francisco.

Ulla von Brandenburg draws on different cultural and historical references, as well as older conventions of representation to create layered, symbolic, and codified narratives that explore patterns of behavior and enigmatic ritual. For her wall painting, Publikum (Audience) (2008), von Brandenburg's depiction of a theater audience staring at the stage represents a mirror effect between the image and the viewer.

Audience Roundtable

Sat, Oct 30, 2-4 pm

FREE w/ gallery admission

Artists from the exhibitions Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium and Yoshua Okón: 2007-2010 discuss the role of the audience in their work. The relationship between the artists and the collective viewing body they imagine is considered, as well as questions around group dynamics, individuated vs. group identity, and what is revealed by portraying audience reactions separated from the object of attention or implicated by the performance on view.


Participants: Leonor Caraballo, Danica Dakic, Abou Farman, Yoshua Okón, Adrian Paci, and Shizu Saldamando


Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium & Yoshua Okón: 2007-2010 701 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103 – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Gallery 1