Work in Progress: Investigations South of Market began as an invitation to the artists Terry Berlier, Val Britton, Tom Loughlin, Jenny Odell, Weston Teruya, and Stadium Projects (Joshua Peder Stulen, Monte Masi, and Lex Kosieradzki) to create new works on site that delve into the layered history of the South of Market neighborhood. From the mid-19th century through today, from boom to bust to boom again, this historically industrial area has witnessed a multitude of reinventions. This history is woven throughout the exhibition, starting with Terry Berlier’s exploration of the 1906 earthquake’s destruction and aftermath, and ending with Stadium Projects’ probing of the physical and psychological impacts of AT&T Park.

The exhibition is like a palimpsest portrait, with layers of people and objects continually built up over the course of its run. This approach also surfaces as a technique, as in Val Britton’s exploded collages that physically allow the viewer to pass through her mediated version of history, or Jenny Odell’s temporal portraits created via Google Street View. These strata, whether imagined or enacted, are meant to be seen and felt as the artists rotate in and out of the space, creating a living exhibition that renders visible what is usually unseen—namely, the structures and processes underlying art and exhibition making.

At the same time, whether in Weston Teruya’s delicate paper sculptures or Tom Loughlin’s fluctuating landscape of sound, these works speak to the fragile, ephemeral nature of the world we inhabit. As the title suggests, this exhibition is a work in progress until its end. When finally complete, it will come down, embodying the cycles of change it describes.