Exploring Public Art Practices

Exploring Public Art Practices featured artist talks and discussions with local and national artists to investigate the shifting field of public artistic practice, and to showcase the opportunities and challenges of working in public space in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This symposium was presented in September 2016 by the Rainin Foundation as part of our Open Spaces Program.

Opening Remarks by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Keynote, Presentations & Roundtable Discussion

National and local artists share their work and ideas.

Keynote: Ghana ThinkTank Ghana ThinkTank, an international collective, uses public art to reveal blind spots between otherwise disconnected cultures, challenge assumptions about who is “needy,” and turn the idea of expertise on its head by asking people in the “third world” to solve problems of people in the “first world.” Core artists and organizers: Christopher Robbins, John Ewing and Maria del Carmen Montoya.

Mildred Howard Mildred Howard is a Berkeley-based artist who creates sculptural installations and mixed media assemblage work. She has collaborated with notable poets and writers to create public installation works exhibited around the Bay Area.
Postcommodity Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist. Postcommodity’s art functions as a shared Indigenous voice to engage manifestations of globalism and the ever-expanding, multinational, multiracial and multiethnic colonizing force that is defining the 21st century through ever increasing velocities and complex forms of violence. Their recent work, "The Repellent Fence," is the largest bi-national land art installation ever exhibited on the U.S./Mexico border.
Favianna Rodriguez Favianna Rodriguez is an Oakland-based interdisciplinary artist and cultural strategist. Her art and collaborative projects address migration, economic inequality, gender justice and ecology. She partners with social movement groups around the country to co-create art that’s resilient, empowering and transformative.
Transformazium Transformazium is the collaborative practice of artists Dana Bishop-Root, Ruthie Stringer and Leslie Stem. Their Pennsylvania-based projects examine local systems of communication, exchange and resource distribution. They seek to expand and connect dialogue in their neighborhood with the larger art world, and include voices currently underrepresented in more dominant arts discourses.
Roundtable Discussion Roundtable Discussion with artists Mildred Howard, Poscommodity, Favianna Rodriguez and Transformazium. Moderated by Genevieve Quick.

Lightning Talks & Roundtable Discussion

A series of seven minute talks by local Bay Area artists on their work and ideas.

Michael Arcega Michael Arcega is a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and installation. His research-based work—directly informed by historic narratives, material significance, and geography—revolves largely around language and sociopolitical dynamics, whose subject matter deals with circumstances of unbalanced power relations.
Kota Ezawa  Kota Ezawa is an Oakland-based artist who has produced public art installations in Vancouver, BC; New York City; Washington, DC; and San Francisco. His work references images in popular culture, cinema, television and art history.
Ana Teresa Fernández Ana Teresa Fernández was born in Mexico, and lives and works in San Francisco. She creates work that explores the politics of intersectionality, and the ways it shapes personal identity, culture, and social rhetoric through painting, performance and video. Her work illuminates the psychological and physical barriers that define gender, race, and class in Western society and the global south.
Cliff Hengst Cliff Hengst is a San Francisco-based visual and performing artist. He is currently working with his husband, Scott Hewicker, for a show at San Francisco’s Gallery 16 in November. In April 2017, Hengst will perform Mr. Akita, a play written and directed by Asher Hartman, at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive as part of the MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art.
Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman Dee Hibbert-Jones is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who works on film, art, and new media projects that address critical social issues and personal testimony. Nomi Talisman was born in Israel and lives in San Francisco. She is a filmmaker, freelance editor, animator and motion graphics designer. Together they directed "Last Day of Freedom," which won an Emmy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Alison Pebworth Alison Pebworth is a San Francisco-based artist whose work comments on contemporary culture through re-imagined prototypes of earlier histories and practices. She focuses on long-range projects that combine painting, installation and social interaction. Her recent large interactive sculptural works merge history and social narratives.
Chris Sollars Chris Sollars is a San Francisco-based artist. His work focuses on the reclamation and subversion of public space through interventions and performance. The results are documented using photographs, sculpture, and video that are integrated into mixed-media installations.
Jenifer K. Wofford Jenifer K. Wofford is a San Francisco-based artist whose work plays with notions of hybridity, authenticity, and global culture, often with a humorous bent. She is also one-third of the Filipina-American artist trio Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., a collective that uses humor and camp to explore issues of culture and gender.
Roundtable Discussion Roundtable Discussion with artists Michael Arcega, Kota Ezawa, Ana Teresa Fernández, Cliff Hengst, Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman, Alison Pebworth, Chris Sollars and Jenifer Wofford. Moderated by Christian L. Frock.