Wednesday, October 9, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle reviews "Blickwinkel 2"

We'd like to congratulate Thomas on the recent review by Ken Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Ken writes, "But that formalism, which surfaces in other ways elsewhere in the show, evokes an almost agnostic viewpoint, one seeking meaning as much in the chance criss-cross of ship and bridge, as in their familiar utility".

You can read the review in full here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thomas Heinser, Blickwinkel 2

Gallery 16 is excited to present Blickwinkel 2, a new body of work from photographer Thomas Heinser. Blickwinkel in Heinser's native German means Point of View. The project is a series of eighteen large-scale, aerial photographs. As the title suggests, these aerial views of our world persuade us to reflect more intently on the familiar. 

 He creates lush landscape photographs from great heights. The photos are shot around the world, and  are both beautiful and unnerving. His work is, by design, intended to create fresh vantage pint with which to view our environment.  His disorienting photographs depict roads, bridges and landscapes and airplane runways as abstract, flattened and painterly visions of world.  

Heinser is known for his aerial work or as her refers to them,“Überblicks”. His work investigates built environments and urban landscapes carved out of natural space. His photography often has a stark and graphic stillness that reflects his particular way of seeing and organizing the image. He searches for an honest, organized and uncomplicated viewpoint, “I do not need to alter the reality if I can find and capture it”.

“Blickwinkel” is Heinser’s second exhibition at Gallery 16. While the photographer is often engaged in producing multiple, ongoing bodies of work of various subject matter, aerial photography has been a leading fixture in his work for more than six years, with “Überblick” exhibited at Gallery 16 in 2011.

Thomas Heinser was raised in Dinslaken, Germany, and received his degree in Communication Arts from the FH School for Communications Design in Düsseldorf. He also attended classes at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where Joseph Beuys was a professor. Thomas Heinser lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle reviews "5 Short Holidays"

We'd like to congratulate artist Wayne Smith on the recent review of his exhibition "5 Short Holidays" by Kenneth Baker.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Update

Friends, Because you all have been asking….. Here's a quick rundown on what Gallery 16 and some of our amazing artists have been up to this summer!

First off, have you been enjoying our  NEW WEBSITE and handsome NEW LOGO? 
Then, thank the fabulous team at McFadden + Thorpe for our new style! Our sleek new website has added features including links to our Vimeo page, which we update with video content. 
And, our Issuu page which now has 11 new catalogs for summer reading!

Futurefarmers: Amy Franceshini and Stijn Schiffeleers were in Oslo Norway creating a public artwork taking the form of a Bakehouse! Flatbread Society and Bakehouse Bjørvika is a public art project led by Futurefarmers. The multi-functional community oven will facilitate various types of bread baking. 

We are excited for an upcoming Futurefarmers exhibition here at Gallery 16 in November! Their first sine 2007!

Tucker Nichols: Tucker has been chasing Ada around like a doting father, oh and in two museum shows! What Time Is It There? at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and Material World at the Denver Museum May 19-September 22, 2013. Other artists include Chuck Close, Lucas Samaras.

A video of Tuckers work by William Brangham, Rocks and Plants can be seen

Jered Sprecher: will be in residence at Chinati in July and August. Sprecher lives in Knoxville, TN where he is Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee. He received his MFA in Painting from the University of Iowa and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Maya Hayuk: Hammer Projects: Maya Hayuk. For her first one-person museum exhibition in the United States, she will make a new site-specific mural on the Lobby Wall. Hammer Projects: Maya Hayuk is organized by Hammer assistant curator Corrina Peipon.

Ari Marcopoulos: Ari has taken over Times Square and glove box of every car in the world with Jay-Z's Magna Carta cd. Ari was the creative force behind all the images and the look of Jay Z's new album. His photographs are currently presented in rotation on enormous displays around Times Square. 

Rex Ray: Make sure to check out Rex's commission for the future home of Levi's on Market Street. His artwork and a written piece by Kevin Killian adorn the exterior of the construction site. 

Graham Gillmore: Graham has been commissioned to produce a large scale mural for the lobby of the new NeMa building at 10th and Market here in San Francisco. Graham will be painting directly on the 14x20 foot wall. This is Graham's first public commission in San Francisco. 

Darren Waterston: Darren's A COMPENDIUM OF CREATURES in on view at the Legion of Honor San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts March 30 – December 29, 2013. He is also preparing for his largest project ever at MassMoca Uncertain Beauty opening in March of 2014. It will feature a selection of paintings and works on paper in addition to a major new installation that will reinterpret James McNeill Whistler’s famous Peacock Room as a resplendent ruin, a vision of crumbling excess.

We'd also like to welcome Jason Jagel to Gallery 16! Come on people let him hear you! We are all excited for Jason's first solo show with Gallery 16 in 2014. More on that

An interview conducted by Patricia Maloney with Griff and Pat Williams on Bad at Sports can be heard here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wayne Smith, 5 Short Holidays

Gallery 16 is excited to announce its fourth exhibition with artist Wayne Smith. His exhibition 5 Short Holidays continues his interest in scanner-based imagery, repetitive drawing techniques, and working with found printed matter. The show will feature a new group of digital prints, collage works with imagery layered between glass and ink and pencil drawings on pieces of wood.  The show will also include a text-based installation piece that foregrounds his interest in writing/collecting seemingly random and often humorous titles for nonexistent projects. The title “5 Short Holidays” playfully refers to his decision to present work in these various styles. The title is also shared with an EP by Smith’s ongoing music project Aero-Mic’d to be released during the run of the show.

We made an online catalog in conjunction to the exhibition, please take a look!

Wayne Smith is a visual and sound artist who lives and works in San Francisco. Working in a variety of media including drawing, installation and video, his work has been shown locally and internationally. In 2007, he collaborated with Berlin-based artist D-L Alvarez on a sound and video installation inspired by Joan Didion’s “The White Album” that took place at Derek Eller Gallery, NY. A video installation at Exile Gallery in Berlin, Germany was shown as part of the “Psychometry” exhibition in 2009.


Jock McDonald, Havana; The Longview

Gallery 16 is pleased to present a new body of photographic work by Jock McDonald  
Havana:The Longview explores the contradictions and symbols of Cuban life.

We made an online catalog in conjunction to the exhibition. Please take a look!
Jock McDonald Havana; The Longview 

McDonald’s interest in Cuba has spanned two decades. During this time he has photographed
the island and it’s people in depth. In this body of work McDonald set out to capture all 8 kilo-
meters of Havana’s Malecon, the famous sea-clinging boulevard, site of the Gran Prix and iconic
speeches of Castro and Che Guevara. El Malecon, Spanish for breakwater, took 50 years to
build, beginning in 1901 under military rule by the United States and was completed in 1952.
McDonald photographed the complete boulevard facing both the city and seaside. It was cap-
tured over a three year period and contains 288 photographic frames. With homage to Ed Rus-
cha’s famed 1966 book, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, McDonald presents El Malecon a
epic book over 100 feet in length which records every inch of the famous boulevard in Havana.
The book documents the decay and renewal of this dynamic stretch of road on the Cuban north
shoreline. It stands as the only document of it’s kind and photographically preserves this historic
place for all time.

You can read a review of Jock's exhibition in Huffington Post here 

McDonald also presents a series of large format prints, some assembled from hand cut strips
and woven together. The images reference the iconography of Cuban existence and the ever
present Sea which is both life sustaining and a dramatic symbol of Cuban isolation.
Jocks photographs are in the collections of The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Muse-
um of Fine Arts in Houston, The di Rosa Art and Preserve and have been exhibited worldwide.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Celebrations, Broken Hearts and Autopsies: An Interview with Michelle Grabner

Griff Williams interviews Michelle Grabner
My friend, artist Michelle Grabner has recently been tasked with being one of three curators of the upcoming 2014 Whitney Biennial. For many of us, who have followed Grabner's career this came as thrilling and welcome news. Michelle is a Chicago-based painter. Since 1996 she has been the professor and department chair in the Department of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She writes criticism for Artforum magazine, and is a contributing editor at Xtra contemporary art quarterly. For the past 15 years she has run The Suburban, an artist project space located in her backyard with her husband and fellow artist, Brad Killam. They also founded and operate The Poor Farm, a space located in Wisconsin on the site of a poor farm built in 1876. The Great Poor Farm Experiment, or as they put it "The Suburban's rural cousin", presents artist projects and year-long exhibitions.
Michelle and Brad began exhibiting their work at Gallery 16 in 1998 and we are looking forward to their fifth exhibition with the gallery in 2014. As part of our 20th Anniversary Conversation series I posed some questions to Michelle about her plans and challenges in curating the Biennial at Gallery 16.

Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam "Down Block" 2010

GW:  Over the past decade you and I have frequently talked about various power imbalances in the art world and your anti-curatorial positions. And yet, here you are one of three curators for the upcoming Whitney Biennial! Does the challenge of selecting living artists and specific artworks for exhibition pose conflicts with your philosophical position?

MG: Yes, let’s take a moment for that ridiculous bit of situational irony. It is one of the artworld’s many peculiarities: as soon as you tell it to fuck-off, it wants your attention. But to get at your question, I will claim the high ground and say curating the Biennial does not compromise my position. I remain critically opposed to a very specific kind of ‘curatorial think,’ specifically that which flows wholesale from curatorial studies programs. Jens Hoffman, a practitioner of this type of curatorial practice describes the condition by saying, “Exhibitions became the creative principle of so-called exhibition makers who were described as exhibition directors and who became catalysts between the creative individual and society.” That smells like an opportunistic middleman to me. It is a new celebrity industry, professionalizing the curator/artist in all of us.

 But regarding my approach to the Biennial, I will organize my part of the exhibition by featuring artists who are dedicated to their ideas and to contemporary artmaking. I will not deploy other artist’s work as a means to illustrate my subjective conceits. No Themes, no thesis, no poetic title.

GW: The Suburban's greatest success, in my estimation, is in its Midwestern humility and your grounded value system which is at odds with careerist art-world predilections. Your intention was not to redefine the roles of the art world but instead champion art, artists, and their imagination without concern for the market.  Do you see your work as an example of how artists can and must create their own value systems in opposition to existing market driven paradigms?

MG: Market driven value systems are a reality and I encourage artists to make use of them if and when they are appropriate to the work. Another reality in our artworld is that contemporary criticism is embedded within art’s commercial enterprise. But because of the staggering number of contemporary artists and fast money rapidly pulsing through the system, commercial success no longer guarantees critical evaluation.

Unquestionably, artists today have to accrue influence. That can mean a combination of critical, institutional, and even commercial recognition. But most importantly it demands that you gain the respect of other artists. So this means that one must be devoted to working and to committing a long protracted life in this work. Sure, The Suburban and the Poor Farm invert institutional power structures and makes interfacing with art’s unseemly features tolerable. But in the end, Brad and I just want to be close to artists of all stripes, and in continuous proximity to their ideas, work, and processes. 

The Suburban

GW: I've been interested in your comments about "community" as it relates to your activities at the Suburban and Poor Farm and as it relates to my experience at Gallery 16. You have said that after 15 years of operating the Suburban "I am not convinced that a proper community has announced itself (which might not be a bad thing.) Or conversely, its community is always being refigured, and I just can't put a finger on it. What is certain and why I don't dwell on the question of community is that I am an unyielding supporter and enthusiastic viewer of every single project. So with Brad and the kids we have a solid community of five. That is really enough." This is an important and frequently ignored question that goes back to artists defining their own value system irrespective of external pressures.

MG: That is why, despite the many miles that separate Northern California from the Upper Midwest, I feel that we are not only peers, but that we are also long-time neighbors, sharing value systems shaped by criticality, responsibility as well as our fondness for family. For one thing, we both choose to live in locations that allowed us to develop and evolve our own principles for shaping our theoretical and practical understanding art and life. I also think we are both distinctly aware and committed to challenging the conventional frameworks we choose to embrace. It is also a political choice to do what we do. Even if critique is overshadowed by a bevy of freedoms afforded by today’s free market, I still feel a profound sense of responsibility toward critical awareness within those freedoms.

GW: Are the curators Anthony Elms, Stuart Comer, and yourself collaborating or are you working independently to develop your exhibitions?

MG: We each get one floor of the Marcel Breuer building and we will share the interstitial spaces offered up by the museum: lobby gallery, courtyard, theater, etc.

GW: How many studios do you expect to visit this year?

MG: This year, conversations with artists will encompass much of my waking life. And as you can imagine, studio visits are the agreeable part of the whole Biennial process.

GW: If at the end of this Biennial experience you have achieved your objectives, what will that look like?

MG: I am not interested in using this platform to “talent hunt.” Instead I am hoping to foreground artists who have made a life out of their dedication to art making

GW: What excites you most with respect to the upcoming year?

MG: Disappearing into Elaine DeKooning’s old studio on Long Island once the Biennial is launched next March.  

GW: Now to the broken hearts question -- given the incredible number of artists you have worked over the years, have you had to change your phone number since you were announced as a Biennial curator?

MG: Nope. But my inbox is endlessly populating with unsolicited jpegs.

GW: And the autopsy question! The art-world is strewn like a battlefield with the corpses of previous Biennial curators. What motivates your decision to do it given it's such a thankless job?

MG: It didn’t even occur to me that I could say “no.” This is a big deal and a chance to shape it from an artist’s perspective. Besides, I get to walk away from that pile of corpses and head to my studio in hopes of someday landing on the other pile of corpses, that of previous biennial artists.

GW: Does the body count of former curators simply point to the inherent subjectivity of these endeavors? 

MG: Over the years, the institution has selected curators for various reasons. Early on in the Biennial’s history, curators were practical, in-house choices, sometimes with advisory teams. Obviously in the recent past there was a move toward celebrity curators with international reputations. But happily even this is changing. In 2012 and 2014, the institution selected curators who represent the contextual shifts going on in the contemporary art. It is not a coincidence that none of the 2014 curators are from New York City. Regardless, there will always be a body count as long as curators are named. The first Biennial Exhibition (1973) was curated by its “curatorial staff.”

GW: Will you wear your Packers knit cap to the Biennial opening? 

MG: You will see a green and gold knit cap on my noggin even if the Giants win the Superbowl in February.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gallery 16 celebrates 20 years!

Friends, I want to take a moment at the beginning of our 20th year to thank everyone for their continued support! I feel very fortunate to be able to champion the amazing artists who we present, without your involvement this would not be possible. In celebration of our anniversary the talented folks at McFadden + Thorpe have given a fresh update to our identity system and website, changes to be launched soon!

To honor our 20th year (1993-2013), we are embarking on a year-long program of conversations with artists, thinkers, organizers, agitators, and writers. The G16 20th Anniversary Conversation series will present significant members of the arts community who have inspired us over the years. We will share these conversations on a monthly basis throughout 2013. Some of this programming will take place before an audience at G16 or venues around the bay area. Some will be video or transcribed conversations viewable online.

Our upcoming monthly 20th Anniversary Conversation Series will include among many others:
Ann Hatch, Jim Melchert, Jonn Herschend, Lynn Hershman, Graham Gillmore, Richard Barnes, Michelle Grabner
We begin by directing you to an online video of a conversation with famed poet Bill Berkson, writer and curator Renny Pritikin, and painter Martin McMurray. The event was held at Gallery 16, San Francisco in November 2012.

Martin McMurray, Bill Berkson and Renny Pritikin at Gallery 16

Along with a video of legendary musician John Doe performing at Gallery 16 in January 2013.

John Doe at Gallery 16

G16 regularly hosts live music, artist talks, and public events designed to engage the San Francisco art community. I believe the role of the art gallery has gone through radical changes in recent years, but its value as a gathering place where people can meet each other and discuss interesting, often subversive ideas is still reason enough to exist. We work hard to get folks out to attend our stellar exhibitions and events and yet some still fail to show. Often sited excuses for not attending G16 events include;

Sick kid
Traffic is insane from the east bay
I hurt myself bowling
I teach on Thursday evenings
I mistakenly came last Thursday and you were closed
We had a pet emergency

Let's make a pledge not to reuse these in 2013!

Hope to see you all here!