Experience It

Experience It

Experience It is a conversation series about immersive exhibitions that draw simultaneously on viewers’ multiple senses⎯hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling⎯that are common in contemporary art today.

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Sharon Hayes, Jon Rafman, Martine Syms

The Lab
San Francisco, CA
February 26–March 26, 2018

Curated by James Voorhies in partnership with Dena Beard

Made possible with funding and support by California College of the Arts and The Lab.

Museums, galleries, biennials, and art fairs present work by artists who interweave objects, images, texts, sound, video, and performance into complex and enveloping environments. These exhibitions physically implicate viewers in orchestrated situations, in settings both inside and outside the institution, where art and ideas coalesce through the lived experience of space and time.

In close dialogue with visiting artists, the series will examine, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. The format will include conversations between each artist and the writer and art historian James Voorhies, as well as viewings of film clips, performances, and images of their work to dissect and analyze their multivalent, time-based activity. The series will address questions around the making and reception of this work by looking closely at artists’ practices and processes, their engagement with institutional infrastructures, and discussing how they negotiate the economics of making work. Experience It aims to reveal why artists choose their given artistic approaches, how institutions support them, and how they imagine their audiences as integral to the art, ultimately arriving at a better understanding of the “it” in the work.

Organized by James Voorhies, Dean of Fine Arts and Acting Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, in partnership with Dena Beard, Director of The Lab.

Martine Syms
Monday, February 26, 6:30 p.m.
Martine Syms (b. 1988) is an American artist who coined the term “conceptual entrepreneur” in 2007 to describe her area of critical inquiry. Working with digital media, film, and installation, Syms examines the construction and performance of black identity as a response to the experience of surveillance and consumer culture, while operating publication platforms such as Dominica Publishing, a press that has published and distributed work by Laurie Anderson, Diamond Stingily, and Hannah Black.    

Sharon Hayes
Monday, March 5, 6:30 p.m.
Sharon Hayes (b. 1970) is an American artist who inhabits a space between activism and performance, exploring the intersections of politics, history, journalism, and linguistics. She often uses installation and video recordings but also works through public engagement on city streets. Hayes gained notoriety in New York’s East Village scene of the early 1990s for reciting, or “re-speaking,” political speeches of the 1960s and ’70s and continues to explore the political power of language and media in our interpretation of contemporary life.

Jon Rafman
Monday, March 26, 6:30 p.m. 
Jon Rafman (b. 1981) is a Canadian artist and writer interested in the impact digital technologies have on society. In his films and installations, he explores online subcultures, multiplayer video games, and our increasing obsession with digital life, virtual and real. His immersive works and exhibitions interrogate how our collective human experience and individual desires are shaped and mediated by continually evolving digital and communication platforms.

All events occur at The Lab, a not-for-profit arts organization and performance space founded in 1984, located in San Francisco’s Redstone Building. The Lab aims to serve as a catalyst for artistic experimentation.

CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice
CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice is a two-year program designed to give students a deep understanding of art, artists, galleries, and museums in order to empower their work in the art world. The CCA learning environment is highly interdisciplinary, offering students exposure to industrial and graphic design, architecture, visual culture studies, and conversations around sustainability in order to nurture and inform their developing practice. Alongside faculty, students work with visiting artists, writers, curators, and other museum professionals from large-scale institutions to emerging nonprofits. CCA’s acclaimed Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is an invaluable resource for the program and the site for students’ culminating exhibition.

CCA Graduate Program in Fine Arts
CCA’s Graduate Program in Fine Arts supports a sustained, informed practice that is essential to a professional artist’s life and career as a producer of culture. By providing the intellectual tools, facilities, and hands-on experiences, CCA helps students critically engage with the world and fully develop their ideas. Public lectures, intimate master workshops, and student-led events attract diverse campus speakers who exemplify the contemporary global discourse through an array of artistic techniques.

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