A collaborative project between the de Young Museum, Intersection for the Arts, and Southern Exposure launched the first phase of the San Francisco Visual Arts Network Map (SFVAN) on March 23 at Southern Exposure gallery on Alabama and 17th Streets. SFVAN is a beautiful map highlighting over 40wonderful nonprofit and artist-centered, admission-free organizations and projects in San Francisco that was designed by Post Tool Design. This is the first phase in connecting our vibrant community and encouraging people to participate in and support the work of artists. Visitors were encouraged to take home a free map and help them grow the network.
Kristen Evangelista, the program and gallery manager at Southern Exposure, explained that this is the first step towards connecting artist organizations and as a resource to make people more aware of the arts in the Bay Area. Courtney Fink, executive director at Southern Exposure, said the map came into being with a year-and-a-half conversation between people from de Young Museum, Intersection for the Arts, and Southern Exposure. â€śWe really want to get the arts community together to start thinking about what this network would look like,â€ť she said. â€śWe donâ€™t have any agenda, but just want to continue the conversation.â€ť
She said she wanted input from artists and how to go on to phase two. â€śSpecial thanks to the de Young who showed incredible leadership in enabling this to happen.â€ť She introduced John Buchanan, community director at de Young, who said, â€śI claim no credit for this, as I have only been director for five weeks, and my predecessor Harry Parker was really the one behind this.â€ť He joked, â€śHeâ€™s sitting on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean right now, so donâ€™t feel too sorry for him.â€ť He added, â€śIt is tremendous to bring all this together and be able to share our artistic resources. We look forward to networking with artists and working with Courtney and others. I hope that we wonâ€™t be strangers.â€ť
Fink said, â€śThis project would not have been possible without the amazing design skills of Gigi Obrecht from Post Tool. Without her, I donâ€™t think this map would be nearly as beautiful as it is. She worked with us for over a year to make this happen.â€ť Fink introduced Deborah Cullinan, director of Intersection for the Arts, who said, â€śThis has always been about how we can be inclusive and build a stronger community and network for visual artists in this town.â€ť She added, â€śThis is just the beginning and is in no way fully inclusive yet, and does not represent in any way the full breadth of what goes on in this town; but the idea was to give it a shot, and hopefully we can all work together to really make this into something more than simply a map.â€ť She said, â€śThatâ€™s going to require really everybody.â€ť She concluded, â€śWe are asking you what would you want to do if you could network and what would that look like. We should all be a part of this.â€ť
Daniell Cornell, curator at the de Young, director of contemporary art projects, and frequent traveler on the Guerilla Queer Bar bus, told Bay Times, â€śItâ€™s really great to have a map, as long as you know how to leave the main path from time to time. I think itâ€™s wonderful that we have this way to begin to have conversations with each other. Hopefully we will be able to use this map to take us new places.â€ť He said he is currently curating the works of John Bankston, an African American gay man interested in issues of frustrated desire.
Organizers encourage visitors to drop into Southern Exposure, pick up a free map, and check out the amazing artwork. For instance, Susan Oâ€™Malley, an artist in residence in San Jose has a display reflecting her fascination with the strangeness and beauty of manicured yards, lawns, and hedges. Her video loop shows how she flyered her neighborhood asking neighbors for permission to change something in their front yards, using only what was there already and that would not be destructive. The photo display illustrates how she used random rocks and dead leaves to make patterns, wrapped a hose in concentric circles, and made individual temporary art pieces. Looking overhead you will spy various aircraft and flying machines moving continuously.
There is a series of whimsical ink drawings by Kora Junger. Jungerâ€™s â€śFeeling Younger Than Everâ€ť depicts two men with arms around each other, and you can see through their suits that theyâ€™re wearing bra and panties. â€śPain Relief Under Pressureâ€ť shows a man holding his crotch. A large woman shaking her booty is entitled â€śBest Offer.â€ť An elderly woman sits in a chair and blows a roll-up party noisemaker in â€śBlow Job.â€ť A person with back turned is bent over with pants to ankles and is â€śHopelessly Wishing to be Helped.â€ť Another artist, Dan Witz, has taken photos of various buildings with two windows for eyes, an attached red balloon for a nose, and either a wide window or garage door for the mouth of the houseâ€”giving these structures amusing faces.
There is an amazing display by Dustin Fosnot of several dozen tiny fans blowing in a circle, causing thousands of little white Styrofoam beads to whirl about and change constantly into different patterns. By the same artist we find a bubbling fountain of beads and also a snowfall of beads emerging from a large, foil-wrapped pipe about six feet into the air, cascading down into a catch-all with a hole, only to be sucked up again and repeat the process endlessly. A suspended globe of planet earth has chunks cut out where you can see workers mining for those little beads, and looking through the black hole vortex in the Pacific Ocean, you can see your own eye looking back at you. This show is not to be missed. For more information, check out soex.org.