Mon March 4th Closed
Featuring 30 Artists from Across the Region, Exhibition was Developed with a Curatorial Counsel to Reflect the Diversity and Creativity of the Bay Area
Images: (Left) Ashwini Bhat, The Earth Under Our Feet, 2022/2023. Single channel video, sound, 03:53 min. Image courtesy the artist and Shoshana Wayne Gallery. (Right) Connie Zheng, Routes/Roots, 2021. Mixed media on cyanotype and silkscreen print. Production support provided by Brian von Bargen and Jud Bergeron at The Space Program. Courtesy the artist. Photo by Jenna Garrett and the Minnesota Street Project.
(San Francisco, CA – August 3, 2023) – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is thrilled to announce Bay Area Now 9 (BAN9), the ninth iteration of the institution’s signature triennial exhibition, opening on October 6, 2023. On view through May 5, 2024, BAN9 will feature a broad range of creative practices including visual art, dance, performance, music, film, sound, new media, technology, fashion, poetry, and social practice—underscoring YBCA’s role as one of the only interdisciplinary arts centers in the Bay Area. This edition holds particular significance, taking center stage in YBCA’s 30th anniversary celebration and marking three decades of groundbreaking art and community connection.
Bay Area Now has long been recognized as a platform for showcasing the vibrant artistic ecosystem and the rich diversity of cultures and communities that define this region. Spanning YBCA’s entire campus, including outdoor spaces, BAN9 will include site-specific commissions as well as new and historic work. The exhibition is curated by Martin Strickland, Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and independent curator Fiona Ball, under the artistic leadership of Amy Kisch, Head of Art + Public Programming, alongside a Curatorial Counsel of eight individuals from diverse disciplines and communities from throughout the Bay Area.
“YBCA’s 30th anniversary is an opportunity for us to reflect on what and who has brought us to this moment—and will carry us forward—as we envision an even more inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable future,” said Amy Kisch, Head of Art + Public Programming for YBCA.
The 30 artists included in the 2023 edition are: Indira Allegra, Michael Arcega, Sholeh Asgary, Ashwini Bhat, Nyame Brown, Craig Calderwood, champoy, Jeffrey Cheung, Lenore Chinn, Arleene Correa Valencia, Jillian Crochet, Janet Delaney, Jose Figueroa, Heesoo Kwon, Masako Miki, Golbanou Moghaddas, Courtney Desiree Morris, Paz G, Tracy Ren, Trina Michelle Robinson, Muzae Sesay, Nicole Shaffer, Peter Simensky, Charlene Tan, Shirin Towfiq, Christine Wang, Leila Weefur, Chelsea Ryoko Wong, Doris Yen, and Connie Zheng.
In the spirit of expanding the creative voices contributing to the BAN9 exhibition and programming, YBCA convened a Curatorial Counsel to work alongside the YBCA curatorial team. The Curatorial Counsel includes: Erina Alejo, artist and cultural worker; Gina Basso, independent film programmer and public media worker; Jason Bayani, author and co-director of Kearny Street Workshop; Mina Girgis, ethnomusicologist; Candace Huey, head curator at Edge on the Square, and founder of re.riddle; Aay Preston-Myint, artist, publisher, curator, and educator; José Ome Mazatl, co-founder of NAKA Dance Theater and curator of LiveArts in Resistance at EastSide Arts Alliance; and Lehua M. Taitano, queer CHamoru writer, interdisciplinary artist and co-founder of Art 25: Art in the Twenty-fifth Century. Together, the Curatorial Counsel ensured a wider representation of artists from across various communities and artistic disciplines, reflecting the diversity and robustness of the Bay Area’s creative ecosystem.
“When we set out to curate BAN9, we did not go into it with specific curatorial themes already decided,” said Martin Strickland, Director of Curatorial Initiatives. “We felt that we should allow the themes and ideas most pertinent to the artists to emerge and shape the exhibition. What we learned through the studio visits, and the resulting formation of projects and installations, was how vastly folks in the region are thinking about their practices: the materials they use, the histories they are pulling ideas from, and how the binding ties and legacy of the artistic community that is specific to the Bay Area keeps them in this place, making work, and pushing their creativity forward.”
This year’s triennial includes a wider array of artistic mediums than previous years, including dance, spoken-word, film, sound art, textile art, and fashion. In addition, several of the works on view will evolve over the course of the exhibition through community participation in collaboration with the artists, creating a more dynamic experience for audiences.
Visitors to the exhibition will be greeted by a new interactive installation of Indira Allegra’s Texere on the Mission Street plaza, where text or images contributed by visitors are turned into a “thread” and woven into an ever growing digital tapestry. Masako Miki’s fantastical creatures will dance across YBCA’s Grand Forum Building in a large-scale vinyl installation based on her watercolor works, while a series of Persian rugs printed on gauze fabric by Shirin Towfiq will provide an ethereal space for reflection and inspiration in the east garden and lobby. Leila Weefur will turn YBCA’s Glass Passageway into The Chapel, a celebration of the transgender community through the subversion of religious iconography, viewable from both inside and outside of the building.
Additional works on view in the exhibition include a fully functioning Leymusoom gift shop by Heesoo Kwon in collaboration with Sming Sming Books; an interactive sculpture by Jillian Crochet that meditates on providing space, inclusivity, and comfort for disabled bodies; a video installation by Courtney Desiree Morris exploring the healing powers of pleasure and desire; a selection of new watercolors by Chelsea Wong; new photography diptychs by Janet Delaney; and a large-scale iterative textile by Charlene Tan which will be worked on by Tan and community members throughout the exhibition’s run; among many other works.
The exhibition will be supported by an ongoing slate of seasonal artist activations, participatory public programs, and educational initiatives that feature both BAN9 artists and additional Bay Area artists, cultural producers, and organizations, developed in collaboration with the Curatorial Counsel. The programming will include film screenings, workshops, communal meals, artist talks, dance and music performances, poetry, and literary presentations. Exploring the notion of convening as a creative discipline, the programming will invite Bay Area communities to connect to and be changed by one another through evocative creative experiences—in collective pursuit of better ways forward.
About Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Opened to the public in 1993, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) was founded as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood. Our work spans the realms of contemporary art, performance, film, civic engagement, and public life. By centering artists as essential to social and cultural movement, YBCA is reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the communities it serves. For more information, visit ybca.org.