Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance @ SOMArts Cultural Center – Opening Night

Getting Lucky at SOMArts Cultural Center

We create a community of multi-disciplinary artists who fuse eastern philosophies and practices in their work. This new community engages musicians, architects, visual artists, sculptors, videographers, and others in a conversation and exchange that evokes the spirit of John Cage and his impact on avant-garde art that permeates and vibrates throughout the bay area. ~ Hanna Ragev, Co-Curator

Mathematicians, scientists, and artists are all driven by uncertainty. Chance operations might entail risk but it also lends itself well towards calculated steps. All of these factors drive innovation. As difficult as it may be to relinquish control in anything we do, chance is what helps create substantive work. This is particularly true for artists. But the belief that chance will deliver success is futile. Yet, with these elements, any favorable outcome from chance offers a catharsis from unproductive habits and stagnancy. One of the most notable iconic art figures, John Cage, best known for his experimental methods and approaches to music and art creation takes center stage as the inspiration for current exhibition Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance now showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, CA. Curators, Hanna Regev and Justin Hoover, gathered a wide array of talented artists working in a wide range of media paying homage to Cage’s legacy.

Chance operation, which was so boldly undertaken by John Cage as a structural tool for fine art production is often misunderstood as haphazard. It is quite the opposite. John Cage developed exact structures with precise timing, scoring, and rule sets in order to re-frame the relationship between chance and choice in the western tradition. He used a proscenium setting to realize his pieces and yet his influence expanded to all aspects of contemporary and modern art. He largely looked to Chinese and Japanese traditional cultures for influence in how to determine his chance structures and opened the door for a precise indeterminacy. We are much in debt to his playfulness and precision. ~ Justin Hoover, Co-Curator

As Hoover mentioned, the relationship between chance and choice inevitably creates structure as seen in the artworks shown in Get Lucky. From textiles to multimedia installations, the show offers the viewer an incredible look into Cage’s influence on contemporary art practitioners. Michelle Wilson’s edible paper explores creating from a variety of food and vegetable products that look at unpredictability. Michael Bartalos’s cardboard boxes mimic building blocks with words that can be rearranged to create words and phrases leaving it up to the viewer to decide what other viewers will read. Immediately to the left and right, Tony May’s and David Middlebrook’s boat pieces are inversions of the other. One suspended while the other seems held up precariously by what appears to be bamboo shoots. In the midst of all the activity, sounds of Garrett La Fever, David Molina, and Mickey Tachibana’s collective artwork, Memory Web, resonate from the screening room. On the other side of the gallery, Mauro ffortisimo plays impromptu pieces from his deconstructed piano. ZERO1 alumni, Scott Kildall and Tim Roseborough present the idea of chance as a game. Aspects of the opening event harked to the days of Happenings and the emergence of relational aesthetics. As the viewers became active participants in the creation of art, the interplay between creation and consumption between artist and viewer presents another variable in how the art objects evolve.

Exhibiting artists include:
Nick Agid, Kirkman Amyx, Michael Bartalos, Richard Berger, Antonio Cortez, EXCOR (led by Sherry Parker), Mauro ffortisimo, Nancy Genn, Bryan Hewitt, Vita Hewitt, Robin Hill, Janet Jones, Nolan Jones, Theodora Varnay Jones, Jonathon Keats, Scott Kildall, Naomie Kremer, Jon Kuzmich, Garrett La Fever, Tony May, Jim Melchert, David Middlebrook, David Molina, Luke Ogrydziak, Micky Tachibana, Sandra Ortiz Taylor, Zoe Prillinger, Renee Rhodes, Tim Roseborough, Micky Tachibana, Kenneth Wilkes, Michelle Wilson

Originally posted to ZERO1. Please view posting here

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

4 thoughts on “Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance @ SOMArts Cultural Center – Opening Night”

    1. You’re very welcome! Congratulations on the show. Many thanks again for explaining your process! Really looking forward to seeing more of your work and the chances you take on future pieces! Exciting!!

    1. Thanks for the comment and checking out the blog. The Get Lucky was, indeed, a very cool show. If you’re ever in San Francisco, please pay a visit to SOMArts Cultural Center. They’ve got some great exhibitions this year.

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