Saturday, June 4, 5–7pm
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts is pleased to announce the upcoming spring opening of MYR, an exhibition of multi-media sensorial artworks exploring the impact of humans on the planet, nature, and climate change. Featuring an international selection of artists, the exhibition considers the concept of deep time in relation to both past and future human hazards, anxieties, and potential survival through a range of creative viewpoints informed by science and technology.
Guest curated by Elizabeth Thomas, MYR borrows its title from the commonly used abbreviation in earth sciences and astrology for a unit of measurement equaling a million years. Within that context, the exhibition draws particular focus on the Anthropocene epoch, the period in which human industrialized activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Through immersive works, moving images, and animated and interactive sculpture, scientific fact and speculative fiction compel consideration of such theories and concepts including augmentation of human emotions through biological intervention, future study of humanity’s physical remains, and the perception of non-linear time.
Thomas notes, “The vastness of geologic time stretching backwards remains an abstract truth, while its reach into the future is increasingly apocalyptic as humans confront the climate crisis. To imagine the millions of years behind us, we must also imagine the millions that might pass after us, on earth and throughout the universe. MYR features artists who manifest the spectrum of deep time, both past and future, proving art’s power to contend with the biggest of ideas and the most abstract states.”
The artists featured in MYR represent several distinct approaches to the study of time, space, and life. A floating sculpture by Tomás Saraceno offers the possibility of ecological harmony through spatial unification. Speculative landscapes by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Candice Lin depict scenes of abundant flora and fauna—both on and beyond Earth—that might thrive in the absence of human dominance over the environment. Heather Dewey-Hagborg utilizes video and sculpture to explore the viability of biological intervention to alter and augment human feelings and engender a version of utopia.
Amy Balkin’s ongoing archival project collects what “will have been” from places around the globe that may literally disappear due to forces of climate change, including sea level rise, erosion, desertification, and glacial melt. Whereas works by Katie Paterson consider how the abstract, non-linear essence of time can be perceived and portrayed through text and kinetic sculpture. MYR includes a program of films, running concurrently in the Screening Room, that further explore the exhibition’s themes.
“The breadth and depth of the McEvoy Family Collection,” notes McEvoy Arts executive director Susan Miller, “provides the ability to articulate upon contemporary global conversations within the visual arts and create opportunities to facilitate timely discussions and moments of personal contemplation around issues of climate change, social justice, and even speculative futures, as well as art history, language, pop-culture, and politics.”
Complementing the MYR exhibition, a related series of public programs will focus on specific actions underway and further actions needed to address climate change locally and globally.
MYR is on view from May 27 through August 27, 2022. A public opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, 5–7pm. Admission to McEvoy Arts is free.
Elizabeth Thomas is a Bay Area-based independent curator and writer and a Senior Lecturer in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. She was previously Director of Public Programs at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and MATRIX Curator at BAMPFA, where she considered central questions of interdisciplinarity, experimentation, and political and social engagement through commissioned research-based projects with artists. Other exhibitions she has organized include The F-Word at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Empathetic at the Temple Gallery of Art, Philadelphia; and The Believers at MASS MoCA, North Adams. She holds a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University and a MA in Contemporary Art History, Theory and Practice from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Amy Balkin is an artist whose works propose alternatives for conceiving the public domain outside current legal and discursive systems, addressing property relations, environmental justice, and equity in the context of climate change. Her work has been exhibited in Sublime (Centre Pompidou Metz), Hybris (MUSAC), Rights of Nature (Nottingham Contemporary), and dOCUMENTA (13), and published in Decolonizing Nature (Sternberg), Materiality (Whitechapel/MIT) and Critical Landscapes (UC Press). She lives in San Francisco.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg is an artist and biohacker who is interested in art as research and technological critique. Her controversial biopolitical art practice includes the project Stranger Visions in which she created portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material (hair, cigarette butts, chewed gum) collected in public places. Dewey-Hagborg has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Interactive Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, a Sundance Institute Interdisciplinary Program Art of Practice Fellow, an Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium, and an affiliate of Data & Society.
Dr. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is an artist examining our fraught relationships with nature and technology. Through artworks, writing, and curatorial projects, Ginsberg’s work explores subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, conservation, biodiversity, and evolution, as she investigates the human impulse to “better” the world. She read architecture at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and received her MA in Design Interactions from the RCA.
Candice Lin is an interdisciplinary artist who works in installation, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, and video. Her work is multi-sensorial and often includes living and organic materials and processes. Lin lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Art at the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture.
Katie Paterson is known for her multi-disciplinary and conceptually driven work with an emphasis on nature, ecology, geology, and cosmology. Collaborating with scientists and researchers across the world, Paterson’s projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. She received her BA from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, United Kingdom in 2004 and her MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, United Kingdom in 2007.
Tomás Saraceno is a contemporary Argentine artist whose projects—consisting of floating sculptures, international collaborations, and interactive installations—propose and engage with forms of inhabiting and sensing the environment that have been suppressed in the Capitalocene era.
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts presents exhibitions and events that engage, expand, and challenge themes and ideas in the McEvoy Family Collection. Established in 2017, McEvoy Arts creates an open, intimate, and welcoming place for private contemplation and public discussion about art and culture. Rooted in the creative legacies of the San Francisco Bay Area, McEvoy Arts embodies a far-reaching vision of the McEvoy Family Collection’s potential to facilitate and engage conversations on the practice of contemporary art. McEvoy Arts invites artists, curators, and thinkers with varied perspectives to respond to the Collection. Each year, these collaborations produce exhibitions in McEvoy Arts’ gallery, new media programs in the Screening Room, as well as many film, music, literary, and performing arts events each year. Exhibitions are free and open to the public.