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"OF THE MOMENT: Contemporary Art from the Permanent Collection "
2000-06-30 until 2000-08-29
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco, CA, USA

The exhibition includes numerous recent acquisitions, including Todd Hido’s haunting photographs of homes in Pacifica and South San Francisco, a diaphanous tapestry of silk flowers by Jim Hodges, and a resplendent new painting by young British artist Chris Ofili. Drawn entirely from the permanent collection, Of the Moment presents a diverse array of international artists—such as John Currin, Mona Hatoum, Charles Ledray, Annette Lemieux, Elizabeth Peyton, Michelle Rollman, Doris Salcedo, Paula Santiago, Kathryn Spence and Samuel Yates—who will define contemporary art in the new millennium.

“One of the key aspects of SFMOMA’s acquisitions program is its responsiveness to art being made right now,” remarks Janet Bishop, curator for the exhibition and the Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture. “The exhibition assembles very recent works that tell us something about ourselves at this moment in time. This new work also represents the Museum’s legacy to future audiences.”,p. Among the two dozen artists in the exhibition, Chris Ofili has gained the most notoriety in the wake of the presti-gious 1998 Turner Prize and the controversy over his work in Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collec-tion. In Princess of the Posse, 1999, named after a song by New York hip hop singer Queen Latifah, Ofili combines themes from art, craft and witchcraft with references to pop culture and non-Western traditions to create a luminous portrait.

SFMOMA also recently acquired emerging New York artist Sandra Scolnik’s provocative and witty Cathy, 1999. In her large oil-on-wood painting, shown at the artist’s first solo exhibition at the CRB Gallery in New York, Scolnik portrays a domestic setting with picture-perfect realism that, upon closer examination, gives way to an unnatural repetition. The four women of varying ages all have the same face: that of the artist. While the painting mimics the austere artistocratic family portrait typical of eighteenth-century England, the repetitive figures introduce chaos into this seemingly proper domestic scene.

New York–based artists Jim Hodges and Andrea Zittel approach natural and artificial environments in differing ways. Hodges explores the relation-ship between the physical world and the passage of time in his No Betweens, 1996, previously installed in SFMOMA’s 1998 exhibition Present Tense: Nine Artists from the Nineties. His meticulously sewn artificial flower petals create a brilliant and fragile curtain. In contrast,Andrea Zittel’s installation—drawing from the Bauhaus notion of transforming the quality of life through designed environment—displays real trailers that have been customized to reflect the personalities of their owners. One of three roving art pieces in Andrea Zittel: New Work in 1995, Zittel’s own A–Z Travel Trailer Unit, 1995, complete with modernist interiors, will be on view.

Committed to supporting Bay Area artists, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation established a fund at SFMOMA to support the purchase of works by artists who have recently graduated from prominent Bay Area art programs. Projects by photographer Todd Hido and the artist team of Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin—all graduates of the San Francisco Art Institute and/or California College of Arts and Crafts—will also be on view. In House Hunting, 1996–98, Hido created a series of 19 nighttime color photographs of typical suburban homes in Pacifica and Daly City. These lonely “portraits” explore both the ordinary and individual qualities of the houses. Only the silhouette of furniture or the eerie glow of a television hints at the life within.

In the site-specific commission Pictures Collected from Museum Visitors’ Wallets, Fletcher + Rubin also create a type of portrait. In 1998, the artists solicited personal photographs from SFMOMA visitors and photographed them; in particular, they looked for images that revealed the patina of age, the wear and tear of being carried. By documenting the cherished images that Museum visitors carry in their wallets and purses, Fletcher + Rubin explore visitors’ concept of preciousness and how it relates to visitors’ expectations. On view for the first time, this witty anthropology consists of 10 large-scale color photographs that translate the familiar and well-loved images of Mu-seum visitors into art objects.

Andrea Zittel and Charlie White
A to Z 1995 Travel Trailer Unit

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