We Are Open

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YBCA is OPEN, and we are doing OPEN differently. We invite our community to join us on our journey to radically reinvent what it means to be a center for artists and the public to build a more just and equitable future.

For many months, we have activated our campus, our online platforms—including our new Artist Power Center—and our social media platforms by centering and supporting artists who are igniting public discourse, inspiring action, and leading change. For the remainder of 2020, we will continue to work with artists to engage, provoke, and inspire.

In Yerba Buena Gardens, we invite you to experience Infinite Center, infinite sun by multidisciplinary artist, educator, and former YBCA fellow Tosha Stimage. The first of a series of public installations in collaboration with the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy and the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, these colorful bursts allow visitors to safely relax inside of the art or take each of them in from afar. A new design by blink!LAB Architecture founder and design principal, and YBCA 100 honoree, June Grant will be revealed in November.

On Monday, October 12, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we invite you to engage with a larger-than-life sculpture by Caleb Duarte, The Monument as Living Memory, on YBCA’s 701 Mission Street Plaza. This work is a constantly evolving sculpture that speaks to the dismantling of monuments across America and the street mural as a form of public dialogue. The piece will be an evolving collaboration over 18 weeks, with Bay Area artists contributing revisions, additions, and cover-ups every two weeks until Duarte creates the final layer in mid-February. 

Opening simultaneously online and around the YBCA campus in November 2020, AFTER LIFE (we survive) is a new experiential presentation of curator and OPEN CALL winner Thea Quiray Tagle’s ongoing research on artistic responses to the dire effects of environmental collapse, policing/surveillance, health disparities, and loss of homes and land on communities of color. Projections, window installations, and interactive artworks by artists Rea Tajiri, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Super Futures Haunt Qollective, and more can all be experienced in person and online. Fifty-Fifty art collective’s Portable Memories of Rising Seas (2018-present) invites you to contribute your own drawings around sea level rise, and Coven Intelligence Program’s SpellWeaver app allows you to build unique, encoded spells to connect closer to our natural ecology. 

Starting October 13, YBCA will transform our galleries into safe, inspiring, and digitally-connected spaces for distance learning, serving K–5 youth from Bessie Carmichael Elementary, the only public school in SOMA and a longtime YBCA partner. We have stepped up to San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s call to support the remote learning needs, and the out-of-school time activities, of the most at-risk students in our city. We are partnering with the Community Benefit Organization, Mission Graduates, to center these students in our art-filled galleries, lobby, and outdoor spaces, offering a spacious and inspiring learning environment for those unable to engage in distance learning at home. We are honored to have these youth call our space “home” this fall.

OPEN to us also means opening our resources and work to a broader public via digital channels and neighborhood-based work across San Francisco. We believe neighborhoods are the soul of a city and that art can build on the power of communities by connecting us and reflecting our collective voice.  

On October 17 we will present City Is Alive, YBCA’s inaugural neighborhood commission to celebrate the everyday heroes of Bayview–Hunters Point in collaboration with YBCA artists-in-residence SF Urban Film Fest (SFUFF) and Bayview-based partners Imprint City and Young Community Developers. This one-day digital and in-person experience brings Imprint City’s signature annual event BayviewLIVE Festival online for the first time in tandem with neighborhood murals coming to life along Egbert Avenue, which you can experience in person in the Bayview, or online from wherever you are.

We will continue our tradition as a safe and welcoming polling place this November, and in these final weeks leading up to the election, we will ask our artists community what matters right now. We will work together to engage our public in visible discourse that amplifies what matters to our Bay Area community, what kind of leadership we want, what has to change, and what kind of city and country we want to be. 

As we prepare to open our Forum building to the public in early 2021, we continue our work on the local, state, and federal levels, advocating to ensure that YBCA and the many diverse arts organizations in our city remain open.

No matter what the next few months bring, we are eager to engage with you in redefining how art and community can work together to build the world we want to see. Please join us in this endeavor. We’re OPEN!

Public Art at YBCA

Caleb Duarte, The Monument as Living Memory, 2020.
Plywood, paint.

This work is an iterative sculpture that speaks to the dismantling of monuments across America and the street mural as a form of public dialogue. Working closely with Bay Area artists and collectives, this work will be an evolving collaboration over the course of 18 weeks, with new revisions, additions, and cover ups added every two weeks by Bay Area artist collaborators until Duarte’s final layer is created in mid-February. 

Tosha Stimage, Infinite Center, Infinite sun, 2020
Spray marking paint.

Infinite Center, infinite sun by multidisciplinary artist, educator, and former YBCA fellow Tosha Stimage is the first of a series of installations for the public to take part in. These colorful bursts allow visitors to occupy space inside of the artwork or view them from afar. 

The Following works are part of AFTER  LIFE (we survive)

alejandro t. acierto, How to take up space when you’ve only been given the margin, 2019 Pink neon form, mini-LCD screen, and Twitter enabled software

This work honors the legacy of LGBTQ activist and icon Sylvia Rivera. By using twitter-enabled software, the work scans Twitter for the use of the hashtag #LGBTQ. The frequency of this hashtag then formulates the speed at which Rivera’s famous “Y’all Better Quiet Down” speech is played, the more the hashtag is used the more legible the video is. The neon work expands until the ACT UP signature triangle in three dimensions.

Coven Intelligence Program (efrén cruz cortés, Margaretha Haughwout, Suzanne Husky), [Title], 2020
SpellWeaver app, vinyl, plants, video

Coven Intelligence Program creates artworks exploring the relationship between witchery, plants, and machines to encourage revolutionary ecology. For this installation, the coven is creating a SpellWeaver app where the public can write their own spells, which are then transformed into woven designs and rhizome (plant root structure) designs to encode the spell. The installation will elaborate on their research in this field and feature live plants, videos, and informative texts.

Courtney Desiree Morris, Selected prints from Solastalgia series, 2019
Photographic prints

This photographic series examines the effects of environmental racism and exploitation through the artist’s family history. Taking portraits of herself and a multigenerational group of family members, Morris creates images to mourn the violent loss of place caused by the petroleum industry in Southwest Louisiana. 

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Tomorrow We Inherit the Earth, 2020
Multimedia Installation

Tomorrow We Inherit the Earth contains two rocket ships that function as sisters. They are displayed side by side with a painted talisman between them containing numeric mysticism based on the rockets’ names. A monitor is placed under the talisman showing an animated video of the rockets following their departure from earth and discovering alternative queer, muslim planets.

Art25 (Lisa Jarrett and Lehua M. Taitano) with Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng, Future Ancestors, 2019
Large scale photographic prints, sound

As a collective, Art25 explores possibilities for Indigenous and Black futures and pasts. They collaborate with different artists to see how their three practices can come together to imagine how their practices can exist beyond the present. This photographic series examines how individuals from their cultural backgrounds have been depicted through portraiture by the Western gaze and explores how they present themselves instead when taking that agency.

Super Futures Haunt Qollective (F. Sam Jung, C. Ree, and Angie Morrill),
Geronimo, 2020

Found footage video, vinyl, posters, projection

SFHQ’s installation explores the relationship between state government, manifest destiny, colonization, and beavers by unpacking the unusual choice by the Idaho state government to parachute beavers to other geographic areas to control a growing beaver population in the 1940s and 50s. The installation also features Lady HOW (Haunting or Whatever), the avatar of member Angie Morrill, who utilizes her avatar to reconcile with the violence of colonialism, specifically looking towards revenge. She, with the other members of SFHQ, performs haunting visitations to decolonize, answer to ancestors, create a more socially just world, but also to have a cocktail, watch Korean dramas, and just hang out. 

micha cárdenas, Sin Sol / No Sun, 2020
Augmented reality video game

Sin Sol / No Sun is an augmented reality game that allows users to experience the feelings of a climate change event, in order to deeply consider how climate change disproportionately affects immigrants, trans people and disabled people. Players can find, see and hear a story told through poetry about living through climate change induced wildfires, from a trans latinx AI hologram, Aura. Set fifty years in the future, Aura tells the story of environmental collapse from the past, which is our present in 2018.

Fifty-Fifty art collective (Lisa Bulawsky and Laurencia Strauss), Portable Memories in Rising Seas, 2018-present
Video, vinyl, scratchboards, auto-draw app

Portable Memories in Rising Seas is a socially engaged, multi-media project about sea level rise. The project works to connect memory and climate change to create antidotes for grief. Using the force of memory, the project evokes a sense of interdependence with others facing the force of water. The public is invited to submit their own drawings of fish via an auto-draw app that will then be featured as part of the project on the YBCA website. 

Lead image: Ana Teresa Fernández, OPEN, 2018