Bay Area Now 7 proposes other routes through dark times
There are also some sui generis standouts. Creativity Explored artist Christina Marie Fong's hand-drawn, cardboard installation of her dream bedroom — complete with R&B LPs, cult horror movie posters, and spilled junk food — is a hypnotizing explosion of pop cultural references rendered in filigree-like lines. Floris Schönfeld's video Sanguine Dreams at di Rosa — filmed on location at the estate in collaboration with a Sonoma County vampire-themed LARP group — falls somewhere between Dark Shadows and Mike Kelley's ensemble-filled video opuses.
True to its name, BAN7 is topical, and the pieces that channel the current climate of economically-fueled dissatisfaction in which so many feel priced out, kicked out, silenced, or foreclosed upon is what gives the exhibition its teeth. Taking up almost a quarter of the main gallery space, the Bay Area Art Workers Alliance's strategically messy installation Invisible Labor attempts to stage the opposite of its title, rendering visible (as well as audible; you hear the installation before you see it) the physical labor and construction materials used to install the very art on display throughout YBCA. The names of Alliance members, many of whom are artists who also created and contributed to the installation, are pointedly writ large on the gallery's floor-to-ceiling east-facing window.
Invisible Labor can be taken as a response to the same question asked by How Do We Make More Public the Other Work that We Do?, Edgar Mojica's in-process collaborative mural that's part of Important Projects' section. Once completed, the mural — which depicts San Francisco as a sprawling technopolis — will then be re-covered by the same hands that created it, making it an "invisible monument" to the labor of all involved.
Mojica's question has been asked a lot lately in the local arts community. One answer was proposed this past June when adjunct professors at the San Francisco Art Institute voted to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, following a similar vote by adjuncts at Mills College earlier in the same month.
BAN7, much like Invisible Labor, insists that organization and visibility can take other forms as well. This might not make this year's triennial into an avenging David to the tech boom's Goliath, as poet Kevin Killian casts Publication Studio in a colorfully illuminated manuscript that hangs in front of its in-house printing press. But it can provide a stage for alternate realities, such as Fong's bedroom. And it can confront us — as it does by having pieces from the San Quentin Prison Arts Project be some of the first artworks one encounters — with other sites of struggle and resistance. As Lori Gordon exclaims in one of her newsprint Snippets, a participatory variation on Jenny Holzer's Truisms series: "divert your eyes from the traffic accident of culture and look here instead." *
BAY AREA NOW 7
Through Oct. 5
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission, SF