The American Gun Show

Call to Artists: American Gun Show

Open call for artwork:

Few technologies have had the impact on civilization that the gun has had. With a storied history of a millennium and having been woven into American culture, it is not surprising that it is as contentious as it is empowering.

Dorothy Santos and James Morgan are bringing together a series of works across media that consider all sides of this technology. From the historic use in war to the representations in photography, painting and film, we are also interested in the object as it represents an intersection of functional design and technology. We want to look backwards and forwards and seek works that express a viewpoint related to guns and/or the second amendment.

We are particularly interested in the reflections of underrepresented and underserved communities regarding the place of the gun in the United States. Our expectation is that these views are not often reflected in the public and mainstream media.

Our intuition tells us that there are more than two sides of this story, that there is a relationship between queer, trans* and other communities to guns.

We want to tell that story.

The show will take place from October to November of 2015 in San José, California. We are particularly interested in media based projects and visual responses to the topic.

Please respond via email with links to appropriate work to either ags@factorynoir.com or dorothy.r.santos@gmail.com before August 21 for full consideration.

Curatorial Statement

The gun is a thousand year old technology changed by contemporary prototyping and communication processes. The American Gun Show looks at cultural responses in the context of personal liberty at the intersection of our identity, as Americans, and relationship to the network and print-on-demand technologies. Cody Wilson designed a 3D printable single shot pistol in 2013 which he posted as a computer file online for the public. Within days the U.S. State Department demanded that the files be taken down. This dispute marks a significant event in both legal and technological history – the collision of the first and second amendments of the US Constitution. Free speech and personal liberty become central themes to The American Gun Show.

This exhibition is about the artists’ response to guns and, to a lesser extent, the design and aesthetics of the machine itself. The art and technology of guns as an objective focus for this exhibition has been a challenging one to meet, but the much needed dialogue around an object rife with cultural, social, and political meaning warrants examination through a multi-faceted lens. This show is an exploration of the American psyche and history steeped by gun violence. What is the political will of the American public to address the issues related this advanced form of weaponry? As curators, we explored artists, artistic practices, and expressions that can offer a form of neutrality or balanced perspectives on the issue of gun creation and control.

We understand and expect a wide array of reactions to the content and nature of the exhibition. To that end, people will find some of the work offensive or antagonist to either side of the debate. But we ask visitors to consider the work that resonates with them may have the same or different effect on another viewer. The American Gun Show is not anti-gun or pro-gun. Rather, the show seeks to drive more of a census on what can bring opposing viewpoints stemming from the existence of this object as a point of departure for effective legislation while respecting the rights of American citizens.

Art, Tech, and Gentrification in San Francisco

The panel at ArtUp and ArtPractical’s “Re-engineering: Arts and Tech in the Bay Area” (photograph by Joshua Kim

SAN FRANCISCO — As fleets of shuttle buses take employees to their respective Silicon Valley campuses, resentment and tension grows in the Bay Area. Last week, protesters blocked one such Google bus in an effort to draw attention to the widening gap between the technology industry and the communities it affects; a union organizer impersonated a tech worker to incite dialogue through performative gesture. Within days, further demonization of tech figures, like the entrepreneur Greg Gopman — guilty of making crassly disparaging remarks about the Tenderloin area of San Francisco — continued to fuel divisions across the city.

In an effort to broaden and expand the conversation, ArtUp, a “community blog, meetup and monthly grant,” partnered with online magazine Art Practical to host the “Re-engineering: Arts and Tech in the Bay Area” event at Ratio 3 gallery in the city’s Mission district on December 11. The night started off with a panel discussion between Anthony Discenza, Josette Melchor of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), Olof Mathe of Art Hack Day, and Dena Beard with the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. [Read the rest here]

First Oakland Art Murmur 2013!

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Gallery Profile: 18 Reasons ~ Asterisk SF Magazine Food Issue

On a cool, breezy summer evening, music emanates from the middle of the block on 18th Street, steps away from Dolores Park. The lovely voice of a woman summons, rather easily, others to a delightful space. Stepping inside, there are vibrant and colorful drawings of sweet breads and cakes adorning the walls. The music that lured people in is just as intoxicating as the wine and food served. A songstress taps at an upside-down metal bucket fashioned into a stringed instrument while singing with perfect key and timing. Looking around, the tables are filled with people and food. One of the chefs for the event walks over with sushi wrapped in nori with intricate laser-cut patterning. Sitting down on one of the benches and with possibly the freshest ceviche ever made, it was hard not to feel captivated by the warmth and uniqueness of the space—not your average closing art exhibition. Yet, this is the constant environment and ambiance found at nonprofit organization 18 Reasons.

In 2007, Bi-Rite Market took over the space formerly known as Blue Space from founders Cliff Leonardi and Dan DiPasquo. Paying homage to the iconic San Francisco 17 Reasons sign that served as a part of the Mission District skyscape, Bi-Rite decided to rename the event and gallery space to 18 Reasons after its new home on 18th Street. Despite the bustling surroundings and wide array of eateries in the area, 18 Reasons unites an undeniable combination of art, community, and food. With the objective of creating community through food and art, the programming literally and figuratively caters to the diverse San Francisco community.

The multifaceted approach toward community engagement requires programming and interfacing with the public in ways that offer new perspectives to the community through the arts. Eighteen Reasons offers not only an exploration of food and cooking, but also a multitude of approaches that touch upon more complex issues. Art serves as a great vehicle for broaching real-world problems in relation to consumption and our overall relationship to food. Regarding the greater curatorial practice, 18 Reasons curator Casey Carroll elaborates on her vision of the space as a gallery: “Beyond encouraging pleasure and a deeper appreciation of food and those that produce it (both the environment and our farmers), my vision is to push the envelope and encourage open dialogue that addresses some of the rougher sides of food: commodification, labor infringements, animal abuse, poor nutrition, hunger, and beyond.” Carroll adds that “each art show is tailored to the individual artist and the concept or vision that guides their work. What sets our programming and curating at 18 Reasons apart is that the art on the walls never stands alone. The programming that surrounds each display showcases its interconnection and interdependence with the culinary arts and social practice.”

Lastly, the art programming at 18 Reasons entails the Bathroom Residency. Yes, it is exactly what you think. The yearlong artist residency allows for an artist to create artworks for the 18 Reasons restroom. Believe it or not, this takes an incredible amount of innovation and strategic thinking around how to utilize the space. Granted, many restrooms have some sort of decorative artworks, but these residents make using the space an unforgettable experience. Carroll describes the Bathroom Residency as “the second piece in a long-term project entitled The Residencies, which launched in 2009 during Julie Kahn’s stay at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Julie decided to take over our bathroom for the year and install amazing works of art that ranged from Eucalyptus branches springing out of the wall to laser-cut nori. Julie wanted to stay true to our roots and make the residency feel seasonal, which is why each artist has four different installations over the course of the year.”

Originally posted to Asterisk SF Magazine + Gallery site, please view here