September 7, 2012 - Temporary Structures
September 7, 2012

Temporary Structures

Still from Michael Robinson, Victory Over the Sun, 2007. Courtesy of the artist.

Temporary Structures
September 14–December 15, 2012
Curated by Glen Helfand and Cydney Payton

Opening:September 14, 6–9pm 

Walter and McBean Galleries
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Free and open to the public

The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is proud to present the interdisciplinary exhibition Temporary Structures, featuring over a dozen acclaimed international and Bay Area artists. Taking root in the exciting possibilities of impermanence and inspired by San Francisco’s colorful history of World’s Fairs, the exhibition includes works—many of them site-specific—concerned with architectural aspirations, follies, and momentary acts of cultural transformation.

Pawel Althamer, Roberto Behar & Rosario Marquardt, David Gissen, Amy M. Ho, Paul Kos, Roy McMakin, Christian Nagler & Azin Seraj, Ben Peterson, Michael Robinson, Jonathan Runcio, Mungo Thomson, and Together We Can Defeat Capitalism

The works on view in Temporary Structures explore aesthetic, political, and social ideals, ranging from the rise of consumer culture to 19th-century French uprisings to the recent Occupy movement, and help bring new meaning and understanding to the past and present. The broad allure of World’s Fairs, and their use of temporary pavilions in the service of now-questionable views of internationalism and entertainment, is a key element of the exhibition. San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, designed as a gateway for the exhibition halls of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, today serves as a “permanent” landmark. The Palace represents a growing collection of temporary-in-design, yet lasting, structures around the world, including those captured in the works by exhibition artists David Gissen and Michael Robinson, as well as in Jacques Tati’s 1967 film Playtime, which will be screened in conjunction with the exhibition.

With their late modernist architecture and long history of hosting impermanent exhibitions, SFAI’s Walter and McBean Galleries are also central to the artwork in Temporary Structures. Revealed for the exhibition is a 1985 wall work by Paul Kos that has been interned under sheet rock for over a decade. Amy M. Ho’s video project focuses on the galleries’ staircase, imposing imagined possibilities and uses on the space. Jonathan Runcio’s newly commissioned piece points to additions to and subtractions from the building since its “completion” 40 years ago. Some elements of the galleries have even been shifted—the entrance reworked, the skylights opened, a wall removed, new structures built—to make transparent the adaptability of fixed space and renew engagement with the perhaps-familiar place.

In addition to the art featured in the Walter and McBean Galleries, Temporary Structures includes a series of events, performances, artist talks, and films. For a full schedule, please visit:

The exhibition and its associated events are all free and open to the public. Space is limited, and for some events advance registration is recommended.

About the San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), a nonprofit art institution, is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art. A small institution with global impact—notable faculty and alumni include Richard Diebenkorn, Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Enrique Chagoya, Kathryn Bigelow, Peter Pau, Catherine Opie, Paul Kos, George Kuchar, Lance Acord, and Kehinde Wiley—SFAI enrolls approximately 650 students in undergraduate and graduate programs, and offers a wide range of continuing education courses and public programs. The Walter and McBean Galleries at SFAI’s historic Russian Hill campus house exhibitions, workshops, and other alternative and experimental avenues for presenting work by international contemporary artists. 

SFAI’s exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.
Twitter: @SFAIevents / #SFAI / #TempStructures
Like us on Facebook 

Press: ldresnick [​at​]  




San Francisco Art Institute presents Temporary Structures
Temporary Structures
Share - Temporary Structures
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York