In the Age of Information, actual reality has been supplanted by virtual reality, computer simulation, and false narratives. Since the concept of utopia is based on the improvement of reality, the disappearance of the real also signals the end of utopia. Without Reality There Is No Utopia illustrates this premise by examining false narratives that masquerade as truth; the collapse of Communism in the 1980s; the current financial crisis, which heralds the demise of Capitalism; the contradictions inherent in geopolitics; and the explosion of democratic uprisings around the world. The exhibition includes work by more than two-dozen international artists, and features works of photography, video, drawing, painting, collage, and more.
Erin Shirreff, informed by her training in sculpture, explores the physical and technical aspects of image production in an effort to extend and examine the act of looking. This practice can be seen in the video Lake, which reworks a picture of Lake Okanagan in British Columbia from a 1980s tourist brochure using an intricate, multilayered process involving digital software and analog photography. Projected onto a freestanding wall, the work foregrounds the tension between a flat image and its three-dimensional physical support, providing an experience that is less cinematic, and more sculptural.
Want.Here.You.Now is the latest installation in YBCA’s open-to-the-community art space, the Room for Big Ideas. It features works of art by Kenneth Lo, Ana Teresa Fernandez, and Jennifer Locke in the mediums of light, video, sculpture, photo, and text. These artists explore our complex and often fragmented connections to others, and each piece offers an interactive experience paired with unexpected media, in a combined effort to begin to uncover what we lose and gain as we move through our lives.
Shih Chieh Huang creates a sculptural ecosystem using found and collected objects — including toys, plastic bags, electrical devices, and sensors — into beautiful, ethereal installations that seem unexpectedly organic and life-like. For his exhibition at YBCA, he will create a work that reflects on the Bay Area’s rich legacy in both the machine performance movement and the countercultural aesthetics of psychedelia.
In this exhibition, eight artists—Ala Ebtekar, Michelle Dizon, Naeem Mohaiemen, Meleko Mokgosi, Wangechi Mutu, Yamini Nayar, Ishmael Randall Weeks, and Saya Woolfalk—actively negotiate their relationships with two or more different cultures and the influence on their individual lives.
The work of these artists, all of whom are in their late 30s and early 40s, forms a sampling of a generation’s response to the role of cultural diversity in the U.S. Guided by their ability to move fluidly between cultures, and drawing from the uniqueness of their individual journeys, these artists reveal the ways in which their identities have been transformed by the confluence of mobility, cultural retention, and personal history.