Category Archives: San Francisco Public Art

POST-PONED! Join Artists of the 99% for ARTIST BLOC Day at Occupy San Francisco

Sunday, November 20, 2011
12 – 5PM
Occupy San Francisco / Justin Herman Plaza

We are artists and art workers of the 99%. We are struggling to survive and sustain our creative practice in an economy that does not value us as workers, that privatizes cultural institutions and that continuously defunds art programs–from public education to government grants. We are putting our creative efforts towards this movement and considering our role in the fight for economic and social justice.

Join us for the Artists Bloc day at Occupy San Francisco for hands-on workshops, participatory projects, discussions and the distribution of our zine. The day will include screen-printing, crocheting and banner-making workshops, a speaker’s booth and conversations facilitated by local artists about arts funding, education and the systems of oppression that affect artists economic sustainability and more.

We will hear from art historian, Julia Bryan-WilsonJeff Chang, who, along with local artist–Favianna Rodriguez, organized Culture Strike in opposition to Arizona’s SB 1070 law, and artist, print-maker and political organizer Melanie Cervantes of Dignidad Rebelde.

This is a family friendly event an will include art-making workshops for kids.


12:00: Welcome

12:15: Speaker’s Address, Julia Bryan-Wilson / Melanie Cervantes

1:00 – 5:00 : Ongoing Workshops : Crocheting, Banner-making, Screen-printing,Speaker’s Booth Video Interviews, Kid’s Zone

1:30 – 2:00 : Workshop : The Art State We’re In, Dialogues on Challenges of Living and Creating in the Bay Area and California. Facilitated by Paulina Nowicka

2:00 – 2:30 : Workshop : General Education about the Occupy Movement for Artists. What’s our place in this movement? What systems of oppression affect the 99%? Facilitated by Adrienne Skye Roberts

3:00 – 4:00 : Workshop : Pictures Make Change, Visual Brainstorming with the Beehive Design Collective. A collaborative drawing jam for artists to draw ourselves into the 99%. Facilitated by Zeph Fishlyn

4:15: Speaker’s Address, Jeff Chang

…and free give-aways of posters, zines, arm-bands and more!

Contact us:, and on Facebook.

Home is… at the Asian Art Museum

The artist’s workshop on home and neighborhoods at the Asian Art Museum was a success! Despite having to compete with the beautiful weekend weather and therefore, lower than usual museum attendance, folks of all ages were eager to participate in the two projects: button making and writing letters to their hometowns. Below is documentation from the button making project where I asked participants to describe their own definition of home by completing the sentence, “Home is…” I was reminded what I love most about this subject; I become a receptacle for people’s stories and memories about their homes, and often by association, their families and personal histories. You can watch a short video interview with me filmed by Saly Lee, Arts Program Coordinator at the museum here. Thank you to all my helpers and participants.

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Artist’s workshop at the Asian Art Museum, June 4th and 5th

In conjunction with my position as a teaching artist for the Asian Art Museum’s high school program, ArtSpeak, I will conduct a two-day public workshop at the museum on June 4th and June 5th.

This workshop is based on the curriculum that we developed for our students on the themes of identity and place. (More information here.) Specifically, it will draw upon themes of neighborhood identity and memory and will consist of participatory projects including writing letters to your hometown and collecting stories through short interviews. And there will be lots of take-aways: articles, catalogs, as well as postcards and buttons.

Friday, June 4th & Saturday, June 5th (Free on Saturday!)
North Court
1st Floor, Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco

BY VIRTUE OF THEIR IMAGINING: the creation of multiple publics through the work of four contemporary San Francisco artists

This essay was included in Images Nr. 3, a catalog published by San Francisco art collector, Steven Leiber and was written to accompany contributions by four local artists.

In recent contemporary art practices, the notion of the public is increasingly prominent. No longer solely the audience for the action and production of artists, the public is conceived of as participants, collaborators, as well as a space in which to frame one’s practice. The term “the public” holds political implications referring to the totality of the people or “the masses.” While it is true that working outside the gallery allows contemporary artists to more directly engage with current political issues, it perhaps does artists a disservice to assume that by working publicly they can bring about social change for the masses. Social theorist, Michael Warner draws a distinction between “the public” and “a public” in which social space is created through the circulation of a reflexive discourse that creates relationships among participants. If we dislodge the notion of the public from the level of the masses, there is the potential to create multiple publics through site-specific activities, thus effecting change and initiating dialogue at a local level. Within the recent work of San Francisco Bay Area based artists, Elisheva Biernoff, Travis Mienolf, Matthew David Rana and Amber Hasselbring publics are utilized as a space and a mode of production. The projects of these four artists create multiple publics through ongoing exchanges in which both ephemeral and longer-term relationships between the artists, participants, passersby and neighborhoods are developed.

Elisheva Biernoff's storefront installation "Living Room" in Bayview, SF

From September 2009 through February 2010, Elisheva Biernoff was selected to participate in San Francisco’s Art In Storefronts program, sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and the Office of the Mayor. Biernoff was assigned to create a project for an empty storefront in the Bayview district, a predominately African-American neighborhood on the southeastern side of San Francisco. Through her project, “Living Room,” Biernoff borrowed personal photographs from the neighborhood’s residents and recreated these photographs through small-scale paintings on plywood. These images were then re-presented to the neighborhood through a window installation that was organized as a kind of community photo album—a formal black and white studio portrait of a woman from the 1940s hangs beside another family’s informal portrait taken in color that hangs above an image of a man holding a toddler inside a corner store. At the end of the storefront exhibition, residents will receive both their original photograph and the painting by Biernoff.

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Documentation from Home is something I carry with me

Here are a few installation shots  from Home is something I carry with me. The openings, film screening and various events were wonderful. Many people came to view the houses turned galleries. Thank you to everyone involved: artists, collaborators, funders, my parents and visitors! For more check out the Home is something I carry with me on Flickr.

Wonderland: A world turned upside down on SFMOMA’s Open Space

Wonderland ReleaseWonderland, a public, collaborative project by Lance Fung is set to open in October 2009 in the Tenderloin of San Francisco and includes an impressive number of artists whose projects will respond, in some way, to the neighborhood. This article expresses my concern about this project and is best summarized through the following question borrowed from Izida Zorde:  what responsibilities do artists working in relation to communities have to engage not just with their surface but also with their underlying politics and realities? “Wonderland: A world turned upside down” asks that we consider the broader impacts of our artistic practices in geographical locations we have little connection to and questions the curator’s intention of reconceiving the Tenderloin, the poorest neighborhood in San Francisco, as a tourist destination. Full article published on Open Space.