August 29, 2013 - ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND: Mission School
August 29, 2013


Margaret Kilgallen, Untitled, 2000. Acrylic on paper, 8.25 x 5.5 inches. Courtesy of the Margaret Kilgallen Estate and Ratio 3, San Francisco.

ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND: Mission School: Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen, Alicia McCarthy, Barry McGee, Ruby Neri
September 12–December 14, 2013

Opening: Thursday, September 12, 7–10pm 
Featuring live musical performances by Sun Foot (Chris Johanson, Ron Burns, Brian Mumford), Virgil Shaw (Dieselhed), and special guests

Walter and McBean Galleries
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Hours: Tuesday 11am–7pm,
Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm

Curated by Natasha Boas

ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND features early and formative work by five artists—Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen, Alicia McCarthy, Barry McGee, and Ruby Neri—who began their careers in the early 1990s in San Francisco’s Mission District and, by the early aughts, had been identified and celebrated as key members of the so-called Mission School.

The Mission School has garnered cult-like status over the last two decades and is known for its celebration of social art-making, community, folk art, nostalgia for the obsolete, low-production values, and “street” aesthetics. These attributes are manifest in the artists’ use of found and reclaimed materials, decorative patterning, cartoons, hand lettering, cluster paintings, and a crafty immediacy of materials. Mission School artists were strongly influenced by Bay Area Figuration, the Beat movement, Funk art, and punk.

The exhibition connects work and ephemera produced at the beginning of the artists’ careers—much of which has remained in their personal or peer collections—with vibrant new work created for this show.

ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND will travel to Grey Art Gallery, New York University, April 15–July 12, 2014.

SFAI Lecture Hall, 800 Chestnut Street

Film screening: Who Is Bozo Texino?
Tuesday, October 8: reception 6:30pm; screening 7:30pm

Who Is Bozo Texino? is the picaresque chronicle of a 16-year search for the source of a ubiquitous graffiti seen on railcars for over 80 years—a simple sketch of a blank-staring character with an infinity-shaped hat and the scrawled moniker “Bozo Texino.”

The screening will feature an introduction and Q&A with Director Bill Daniel.

Panel discussion: “Mission School: Yes or No?”
Sunday, October 20, 2–4pm

In a 1956 ARTnews article, Hubert Crehan asked “Is There a California School?” and answered with a resounding “No,” claiming that the Abstract Expressionist school around the California School of Fine Arts (now SFAI) was too disparate and incoherent to constitute a “school.” The same year, Richard Diebenkorn made a case for a San Francisco School of Figuration in a symposium assembled at the Oakland Art Museum.

In conjunction with ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND, Renny Pritikin, former Chief Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Natasha Boas, curator of ENERGY, will reproduce the historic symposium, posing an updated question for 2013: “Mission School: Yes or No?” The panel—which will include preeminent Bay Area authors, curators, and artists—will consider how defining a school or art movement affects history, art-making, and localism.

Artist lecture: Alicia McCarthy
Thursday, November 14: reception 6:30pm; lecture 7:30pm

Alicia McCarthy’s work emerged out of the punk street culture and folk ethos of the mid-1990s Mission District. Her work emphasizes a paradoxical pairing of formal skill and crude immediacy through collaged paintings on wood and found materials. In her lecture, McCarthy will discuss her recent work as well as her early career and friendship with Ruby Neri and other Mission School artists.

ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND is made possible by the generosity of donors and sponsors:

Exhibition sponsors 
Steve and Maribelle Leavitt

Exhibition supporters 
Nancy and Joachim Bechtle
Ann Hatch
SF Honda

Exhibition friends 
Emily Carroll
Roselyne C. Swig
Susan Swig

SFAI exhibitions and public programs
San Francisco Art Institute’s exhibitions and public programs provide direct access to artists and ideas that advance our culture. The Walter and McBean Galleries, established in 1969, present exhibitions at the forefront of contemporary art practice. The gallery serves as a laboratory for innovative and adventurous projects and commissions new work from emerging and established artists. SFAI’s public programs develop meaningful interactions between artists, students, and public audiences through lectures, educational opportunities, and artist-driven experiences. Together, the exhibitions and public programs of SFAI promote an environment that catalyzes the creative process of its student artists and thinkers, and creates intimate connections between the SFAI community and the public.

Twitter: @SFAIevents


SFAI presents ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND: Mission School
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