Experience It (2nd edition)

Experience It (2nd edition)

Experience It is a conversation series about immersive exhibitions that stimulate multiple senses⎯hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling⎯examining, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. 


Rosa Barba, Simon Fujiwara, Shahryar Nashat

The Lab
San Francisco, CA
September 10–November 19, 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. Generous support for Experience It provided by Marv Tseu and Mary Mocas.

Immersive exhibitions that stimulate multiple senses—hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling—are common in contemporary art today. Museums, galleries, biennials, and art fairs are presenting work by artists who interweave objects, images, texts, sound, video, and performance into dense, enveloping environments. These presentations physically implicate viewers in orchestrated situations, both inside and outside the institution, where art and ideas coalesce through the direct experience of space and time. Often complex in the making, the work requires artists and their studios to corral a range of skilled resources to produce something well beyond the expertise and confines of an artist’s studio.

This development speaks to the changing characteristics of the artist figure—manager and artistic director, negotiator and administrator—in reaction to expectations of art institutions and audiences who crave more experiential engagement with contemporary art. 

Experience It is a conversation series about this shift. In dialogue with visiting artists, the series examines, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. The format includes conversations between each artist and curator and art historian James Voorhies, as well as viewings of film clips, performances, and images of their work. Experience Itaims 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, Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, in partnership with Dena Beard, Director of The Lab. All events occur at The Lab and are free and open to the public.

Shahryar Nashat
Monday, September 10, 6:30 p.m.
In his sculptures, photographs, and films, the work of Shahryar Nashat often addresses the representation of the body and the conventions of mediation and presentation. Nashat finds great pleasure in details, and his works—with their near-obsessive methods of framing and cropping—draw the viewer into a world of clandestine forms, artful gestures, and posturing. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Kunsthalle Basel (2017); Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2017); Portikus, Frankfurt (2016); Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin (2016); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); 356 Mission Road, Los Angeles (2015); and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge (2015). He took part in the 20th Sydney Biennale (2016); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); and the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Nashat is represented by David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, and Rodeo Gallery, London. He is currently based in Los Angeles.    

Simon Fujiwara
Monday, October 29, 6:30 p.m.
Simon Fujiwara has shaped a complex and rich practice that interweaves performance, film, sculpture, and text into highly immersive environmental installations exploring the inherent contradictions in meaning and interpretation of image and representation. Often bringing personal experiences (both real and imagined) into contact with broader historical, social, and political topics, his expansive practice examines the influence marketing, advertising, social media, and other communication mechanisms have on the construction of personal identity. Recent solo exhibitions include Joanne, Galerie Wedding, Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2018); Hope House, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2018); Figures in a Landscape, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (2016); Joanne, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2016); The Humanizer, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016); White Day, Tokyo Opera City Gallery (2016); The Way, Yu-un, Obayashi Collection, Tokyo (2016); Three Easy Pieces, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge (2014). Fujiwara is based in Berlin and represented by Esther Schipper, Berlin.

Rosa Barba
Monday, November 19, 6:30 p.m. 
Rosa Barba is an artist with a particular interest in film and the ways it articulates space. Taking a conceptual approach to filmmaking, questions of composition, physicality of form, and plasticity play an important role in the perception of her work. She interrogates the industry of cinema with respect to various forms of staging, such as gesture, genre, information, and documents, taking them out of the context in which they are normally seen and reshaping and representing them anew. Recent solo exhibitions include Solar Flux Readings, Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2017); From Source to Poem to Rhythm to Reader, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2017); Spacelength Thought, Secession, Vienna (2017); Elements of Conduct, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2017); From Source to Poem, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France (2016); Blind Volumes, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2016); and Spaces for species (and pieces), Albertinum, Dresden (2015). Barba is based in Berlin.

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.

AfterWord at Curatorial Research Bureau, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
This season’s Experience It is accompanied by a new program called AfterWord, a series of intimate, by-invitation-only gatherings with visiting arts practitioners following their larger public events at The Lab. The purpose is to involve graduate students, faculty, and guests in informal and focused engagements with visiting practitioners, providing a platform for delving further into topics addressed in larger-format public presentations.

CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice
CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice is newly relocated to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a dynamic arts institution in downtown San Francisco. The move projects learning beyond the walls of the academy, taking advantage of the rich cultural context of the Bay Area and providing a unique environment for training curators. Graduate seminars are held at YBCA inside the Curatorial Research Bureau, a combined bookshop, academic site, and public program where students intersect with changing book inventories, participate in programs, and meet visiting practitioners from the Bay Area and beyond. By interacting with a contemporary arts institution and studying the analytic and intellectual resources in the graduate seminar setting, students gain tools to critically engage with contemporary art and its discourses. This pedagogical approach provides a broad perspective of the curator as a productive agent and mediator who views context as a primary asset, building bridges among artists, ideas, institutions, public space, online technologies, and their audiences, while allowing students to imagine a future in different scenarios where they creatively and intellectually apply the knowledge and skills of curatorial thinking and practice.