Please enjoy A Living Library: Cultivating the Human & Ecological Garden, a Presentation by Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director ofLife Frames, Inc. & A Living Library.
A Living Library SF Fall ’15 After School Paid Internship Programs: A.L.L.Eco-Stewards & A.L.L. Green Futures
I am very pleased to invite you, your friends and relations to the opening reception of Public Works - Artists’ Interventions on September 16, 6-8 pm, a group exhibition at Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California, curated by Christian Frock and Tanya Zimbardo, and the following week, to my illustrated talk on selected works - Past Present Future - on September 23, 7 pm, in Danforth Hall, adjacent to the Museum.
The exhibition features Sitting Still l (pictured on attached pdf announcement) and the Sitting Still Series among other artists' works. At the time that I created this work (1970), I was exploring the nature of what a performance could be, where it could be, and who could be an audience. With this work, I thought I was simply demonstrating how a seated human figure could easily transform an environment - but as it turns out, I was really doing much, much more.
What I learned some years later, is that I was actually facing my future:
Sitting Still l took place in a neglected garbage area where water had collected due to the construction of the 101 Freeway Interchange at then called, Army & Potrero. Sitting in the overstuffed armchair I found there, I faced the “audience” of people in slow-moving cars, and I also faced:
- • Exact site of what would become Crossroads Community (the farm)
, a pioneering urban agriculture community farm, art and education center, and farm park that I developed beginning in 1974
- • Northern frame of Islais Creek Watershed along Cesar Chavez Street.
- • 101 Freeway Interchange at Army & Potrero that was being built, and that I am currently proposing to become the Northern Gateway to the Watershed.
- • And, amazingly enough, I was actually sitting in water from the Islais Creek,
in a pond created due to the heavy construction. Today, I am seeing multiple opportunities to daylight the Creek throughout this Watershed to address flooding, climate change, and habitat restoration, and am working to achieve that goal.
Because of all of this powerful and profound synchronicity, I now consider Sitting Still l to be my Watershed Piece, all meanings and puns intended.
Please come to the opening on September 16, 6-8 PM and see the show, and return again for my talk on September 23 at 7 PM . I will discuss how all of this early work has led directly to what I am creating today and for the future with A Living Library, aka, A.L.L.
I look forward to seeing you soon ! Thank you. http://mcam.mills.edu/events/
Sending love and appreciation,
Oakland, CA—August 14, 2015.
The Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now on view from September 16 to December 13, 2015. Organized by the Mills College Art Museum, Public Works examines strategies of public practice by women artists from the 1970s to the present. The exhibition presents photography, prints, audio, video, and installations from a number of important historical and contemporary projects that explore the inherent politics and social conditions of creating art in public space.
Public Works moves beyond traditional views of public art as monumental and/or permanent artworks and instead focuses on often small but powerful temporary artistic interventions online and in the urban environment. Through various tactics, Public Works explores themes of public space, public expression, public action, public platforms, and public life through the evolving lens of participatory projects, socially engaged performance and political action, among other media.
Christian L. Frock notes, “When considering artists’ interventions in public space, the limits on public expression come into sharp focus, particularly if we also consider the recent backlash against peaceful protests and the rising dominance of private interests. Public Works broadly considers how artists subvert these limitations to advance freedom of expression on a number of salient issues defining public life, specifically in relation to encroaching technologies, personal liberty, gender equality and the environment, among other themes.”
“The desire to work independently outside of traditional venues and formats, to pursue collaboration and to encourage audience participation, informed the development of public practice since the 1970s. Key long-term projects in this survey demonstrate the potential for art to intervene and engage with public policy,” adds Tanya Zimbardo.
The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue of the same title features an introduction by Mills College Art Museum Director Stephanie Hanor, PhD, essays by curators Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo, and conversations and texts from María del Carmen Carrión, Courtney Fink, Leila Grothe, Valerie Imus, and Meredith Johnson.
The exhibition is supported in part by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
@millsartmuseum; @publicworks_art; #publicworksintervene; #womenatwork; #millsartmuseum
Book Cover: Bonnie Ora Sherk, detail Sitting Still I, 1970. Courtesy the artist.
RELATED PUBLIC PROGRAMS (Visit http://mcam.mills.edu)
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 | 6:00-8:00 pm
Artist Talk: Bonnie Ora Sherk
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 | 7:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College
Performance & Panel: On Freedom of Expression and Technology as Public Platform:
Featuring a live Skype performance by Enar de Dios Rodríguez, a special multiple produced by Leah Rosenberg, and a panel discussion featuring exhibiting artists Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Stephanie Syjuco, and Favianna Rodriguez.
Sunday, October 4, 2015 | 3:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College
Curators Talk: Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 7:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College
Jenifer K. Wofford: MaxiPad
Southern Exposure Off-Site Commission
Sunday, November 8, 2015 | TBA
Constance Hockaday: You Make a Better Wall Than a Window - The Tour Southern Exposure Off-Site Commission Sunday, December 6, 2015 | TBA Location: SF Ferry Building
Artists in Exhibition: Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Candy Chang, Minerva Cuevas, Agnes Denes, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Karen Finley, Coco Fusco, Guerrilla Girls, Sharon Hayes, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Suzanne Lacy, Marie Lorenz, Susan O’Malley, Adrian Piper, Laurie Jo Reynolds | Tamms Year Ten, Favianna Rodriguez, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Stephanie Syjuco, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Off-site commissions by Constance Hockaday and Jenifer K. Wofford.
ABOUT THE CURATORS:
Christian L. Frock is an independent curator, writer and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is presently 2015 - 2016 Scholar in Residence at the Center for Art & Public Life at California College of the Arts. Her work focuses on the role of artists in social justice and public life. Invisible Venue, the alternative curatorial enterprise she founded and has directed since 2005, collaborates with artists to present art in the public realm, online and in the built environment. Her writing has been featured in the Guardian US, KQED Arts, NPR.org, Public Art Dialogue, and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Frock has organized numerous interventions and site-specific commissions, including projects with EMERGENCY USA| Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Headlands Center for the Arts, Kala Art Institute, Oakland Main Public Library, and Mills College Art Museum, among others. She is presently visiting faculty at California Institute of Integral Studies, California College of the Arts, and San Francisco Art Institute. Chronicle Books released Frock’s first book, titled Unexpected Art, in March 2015. Her work is archived on www.invisiblevenue.com and www.visiblealternative.com. Frock possesses an MA in curatorial practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Tanya Zimbardo is the Assistant Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She co-curated four off-site SFMOMA commissions in outdoor and non-art spaces for the 2012 SECA Art Award: Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, David Wilson (2013) exhibition. At SFMOMA, Zimbardo co-organized Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards and The More Things Change, among other exhibitions. She has curated numerous screenings of film, video, and performance documentation at the museum and other venues. Her research and writing is primarily centered on conceptual art, performance, experimental media, and artist-run projects in California since the 1970s. She has co-authored and contributed texts to several publications including SFMOMA’s Open Space and most recently West Coast Visions, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul. Zimbardo received her MA in curatorial practice from the California College of the Arts.
Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 am–4:00 pm and Wednesday 11:00 am–7:30 pm. Admission is FREE for all exhibitions and programs unless noted.
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
SF Rec and Park Partners with A Living Library to Celebrate Earth Day Living Library Nature Walk Connects San Francisco Parks and Neighborhoods
SAN FRANCISCO – In honor and celebration of Earth Day, 2015, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in partnership with A Living Library announced the completion of interpretive signage for the Living Library Nature Walk. The Living Library Nature Walk takes place in San Francisco parks and other community resources throughout the Islais Creek Watershed, which is now continuing its development to be the largest trail to interlink eleven neighborhoods including, Noe Valley, Mission, Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, Bayview, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, Ocean View, Merced Heights, and Ingleside, Sunnyside, Glen Park and possibly more.
"Earth Day is really Every Day ! So, we are creating the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk as a wonderful way to link the rich resources in this community, and showcase the currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park and Highway 280, by planting this new, narrative California native landscape,” said Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder and Director of A Living Library. “The opportunity is to expand this Nature Walk to interconnect the eleven neighborhoods of the Islais Creek Watershed - the largest in San Francisco, and demonstrate how we are all interconnected with each other, and diverse species of plants and animals."
According to Earth Day Network, Earth Day is honored around the world on April 22, although larger events such as festivals and rallies are often organized for the weekends before or after April 22. Many communities also observe Earth Week or Earth Month, organizing a series of environmental activities throughout the month of April.
“SF Rec and Park’s partnership with A Living Library is our overall efforts to raise awareness for the importance of green space and to encourage community stewardship of our neighborhood parks,” said, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “The Living Library Nature Walk showcases how parks can connect our communities, as well as the innovation of sustainable landscape that can tackle many environmental challenges including climate change, wild habitat restoration and so much more. It is a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.”
Since 2002, SF Rec and Park has been in partnership with Life Frames, Inc., non-profit sponsor of A Living Library coordinating the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk. The program links local schools, parks, public housing, streets and other open spaces leading to the Islais Creek.
The goal of A Living Library is to connect people in a sustainable, ecological environment, and call attention to the importance of California Native Trees and the Islais Creek Watershed. Other city agency partners in this initiative include: San Francisco Housing Authority, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco Department of Public Works, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Students (Camille Bersonda, Edmund Cruz, Kevin Zheng & Erica Narciso) from San Mateo High School, led by Erica Narciso, met recently with Bonnie Ora Sherk and Manisha Dhar to discuss ways to support A Living Library. Their written statements of why they want to be involved with A.L.L. are shown below:
My interest in your program was because that you really want to reach out to schools and spread the topic of the importance of ecology. I believe your goals and lessons are very essential and the work you guys have done for recreation and beautification are worth being noticed. So, I would like to offer my help in such a program with my knowledge of technology in order for A Living Library to get more attention and spread the word over the internet. I think what you are trying to accomplish deserves more credit and respect and I look forward to working with this program.
- Camille Bersonda
Personally, the idea of incorporating ecology and redesigning school communities is great for the students to enjoy as well as appreciate the wonders of nature. Once A.L.L (A Living Library) can get more of its voice globally, then students from everywhere will be educated and astounded by how nature can be beautiful and educational. Helping A.L.L as a volunteer will ensure that A.L.L is one step closer to sharing its magic of nature from one to all. From planting trees, making mosaics, and helping the environment gives great benefits of both being much greener and much more creative when it comes to the community.
- Edmund Cruz
In my search for a volunteer opportunity related to computer sciences, I came across A Living Library through VolunteerMatch.com and assumed the given task would simply be to create or modify website for a library. However, A Living Library is not your typical library, a silent building filled with books, its knowledge is centered around parks where children and adults alike come together to learn a countless amount of subjects. Similarly, the internet gives people a boundless amount of information but sitting at your desktop or laptop or being at school all day is not the same as being in the great outdoors and interacting with others, an opportunity that A.L.L opens up by branching out and creating Think Parks. The hands-on experience as well as the connections that can be formed between people and nature is what makes A Living Library unique and fresh, a stark contrast to today’s technological age, but highly necessary.
- Erica Narciso
A Living Library has contributed to numerous communities by setting forth projects that bring ecological innovation and building a learning place within those communities. Think Parks in Chinatown and Excelsior for example, bring children and adults alike to participate in local gardening and teaching the youth about how important it is to create a culture that will last for years to come. As a student recently joining A.L.L., I have explored their goals and would love to take part in their mission to create a better community through education, shared experiences, and a positive attitude. My next steps would be to visit A.L.L’s programs at schools and libraries to see how they work and if its possible to volunteer at those locations.
- Kevin Zheng