McEvoy Foundation for the Arts is pleased to announce Next to You, an exhibition of modern and contemporary artworks from the McEvoy Family Collection that celebrate the joy, vitality, and healing power of the performing arts. As the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and its requisite isolation, Next to You is a farewell ballad to a strange and challenging time and a look forward to a future where we are reunited. In appreciation of the recovery of our senses and the joy of reconnection, the exhibition, along with related screenings and events, showcases dance, theater, music, circus arts, film, and other creative forms.
Next to You explores people as participants in the performance of their own lives, asking viewers to consider how their interior and exterior selves once again meet in time and space now that intimacy, as we once knew it, has been transformed by social distancing, masks, and vaccinations. How does it feel to see, hear, or touch one another again? What type of world awaits us after a year of living on-hold?
The exhibition primarily includes modern and contemporary photography and painting from the McEvoy Family Collection. Works by Ilse Bing, Thomas Ruff, Dennis Stock, and others anchor the experience through representations of sound, movement, and emotive expression while images by Malick Sidibé and Sabine Weiss capture the healing role of live arts.
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s 1998 photograph of an empty, yet once vibrant, Stanley Theater in New Jersey reminds us of recent and past losses in access to American theater while Mamma Andersson’s depiction of two dancers in Ceremony (2014) captures the desire and tentativeness of coming together in rhythmic movement. Images of conventions, weddings, and pageants are longingly celebrated in photographs by Neal Slavin and Ave Pildas while moments of isolated vulnerability are seized by Guy Stricherz and Alex Prager.
The sole sculptural work in the exhibition, Francis Cape’s Utopian Benches (2011-12), is a construction of seventeen hand-made wood benches inspired by the Shaker movement and other intentional communities. The benches suggest a space of quiet communal comfort and self-reflection while referencing a time when seating in close proximity was and will be possible. Lava Thomas’ assemblage of reflective tambourines, Illuminated Anthem (2018), silently conjures the instrument in both celebration and protest. Michelangelo Lovelace, Sid Grossman, Irving Penn, and Michelle Blade further explore a range of human emotion, from joy to sorrow and loneliness to intimate embrace.
With the performing arts cultural sector largely inaccessible during the pandemic, the sensation of live experience is only a memory for many. Next to You asks: “What can live performance do to unite us—to rebuild our collective selves—after a pandemic that reminded us of the innate vulnerability of our bodies? What have we lost and what, inexplicably, might we have gained?” Next to You is a secret reverie for those longing for the energy of a crowd and a meditative space for recovering long dormant senses as a new world unfolds.
Next to You runs from May 28 through December 4, 2021. Admission is free and open to the public. The exhibition is accompanied by a Screening Room program of film and video shorts guest curated by artist Alison O’Daniel. In celebration of a year-long progression towards reopening and reuniting with live arts, Next to You includes a series of virtual and live events with several dynamic partnering organizations to be announced in Spring 2021.
About McEvoy Foundation for the Arts
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts presents exhibitions and events that engage, expand, and challenge themes present 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 the Foundation’s gallery, new media programs in the Screening Room, as well as numerous film, music, literary, and performing arts events each year. Exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Visiting McEvoy Foundation for the Arts
McEvoy Arts is dedicated to providing a safe environment for all by following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the State of California, and the City and County of San Francisco. Admission is free by timed-entry reservation or with a walk-up reservation (limited quantities available). For more information and details about McEvoy Arts’ health and safety procedures, please visit mcevoyarts.org/visit.