October 8, 2018 - Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) - Bay Area Now 8
October 8, 2018

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)

(1) David Bayus, Psyman’s Acres, 2018. (2) Marcela Pardo Ariza, installation view. (3) Hyphae Design Laboratory, PProphet, 2018. (4) Josh Faught, installation view. (5) Sadie Barnette, From Here, 2018. All images courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photos: Charlie Villyard.

Bay Area Now 8
September 7, 2018–March 24, 2019

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)
701 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
United States
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm,
Thursday 11am–8pm

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents the eighth edition of the organization’s signature triennial exhibition, Bay Area Now, as part of its 25th anniversary season. Bay Area Now 8 presents existing and newly commissioned works by 19 Bay Area contemporary artists and six architects and designers—the latter are included in the triennial for the first time. Today, YBCA’s mandate is to be a citizen institution taking an inquiry-based approach to issues of public concern, with a focus on the city as a nexus of social change. The inclusion of architects and designers responds to this, but also to a need to present a broader view of practices around the Bay Area that draw out the potentials of in-between thinking—which is more necessary than ever in the face of gentrification, growing inequities and xenophobia, global climate change, and other dire conditions.

Selected through a process of studio visits, with no overarching thematic agenda other than the quality and persistence of their work, BAN8 participants represent a broad range of practices. Despite our troubled national political times, they offer a picture of a buoyant and resilient Bay Area. Pointing to a hybrid space that rejects rigid dichotomies, the work suggests a delicate optimism in a period marked by extremism, fearmongering, opposition(alism), and loss of institutional trust. Unpredictable and ephemeral, the in-between is a site of mediation, of intersubjective encounter, of resistance and adaptation.

In the liminal spaces between menace and protection, survival and precarity, visibility and invisibility, public and private, the visual artists, architects, and designers of Bay Area Now 8 look for ways to navigate a murky “now,” using past and future to articulate the present. Many are asking what survives after disaster or various forms of institutional violence—slavery, colonialism, forced migration, detention camps, queer-phobia, unchecked urban displacement, environmental degradation. What curative processes can be constructed, and through them, how might current systems of power begin to be—if not dismantled, at least critically questioned? Many start from the most personal place, the body. The body is a shell, a form to be constructed, nurtured, and cared for, even when exploited and divested of its humanity. In the work, the body becomes a stand-in for labor, or for cultural or familial memory. It also becomes a contested site of power. Who wields the body, and in what ways?

As an extension of YBCA’s mandate, the premise of Bay Area Now has always been to give space to the many voices of the local community—it is a platform for Bay Area artists to express, through their practices, their diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences. Each edition of Bay Area Now has reflected its particular context—whether global fears of Y2K, national issues of gun violence, local conflicts over housing, or institutional shifts in community engagement—and the artworks, performances, and films presented in each edition were a multi-voice, ethnographic view of a moment in time. The exhibition has evolved through shifts both subtle and radical. But over the last twenty years it has maintained its vital premise: to support the role of art and its capacity to sustain and empower a community through any social, political, or environmental climate.

Bay Area Now 8 features: Sadie Barnette, David Bayus, Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Sofía Córdova, Caleb Duarte, Josh Faught, Darell W. Fields, Nicki Green, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Jamil Hellu, Constance Hockaday, Rhonda Holberton, Carrie Hott, Hyphae Design Laboratory, Sahar Khoury, Charlie Leese, modem, Nemestudio, Woody De Othello, Marcela Pardo Ariza, Stamen Design, Taravat Talepasand, Urban Works Agency, Cate White, and Andrew Wilson.

Bay Area Now 8 is organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and curated by Lucía Sanromán, YBCA Curator at Large, and Susie Kantor, Associate Curator of Visual Arts, with the architecture and design portion curated by Martin Strickland, Associate Director of Public Programs.

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