Experience It: Martine Syms

Monday, February 26, 6:30 pm
Martine Syms, Vertical Elevated Oblique, 2015
The Lab | 2948 16th Street San Francisco, CA, 94103

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Martine Syms (b. 1988) is an American artist who coined the term "conceptual entrepreneur" in 2007 to describe her area of critical inquiry. Working with digital media, film, and installation, Syms examines the construction and performance of black identity as a response to the experience of surveillance and consumer culture, while operating publication platforms such as Dominica Publishing, a press that has published and distributed work by Laurie Anderson, Diamond Stingily, and Hannah Black.

Immersive exhibitions that draw simultaneously on viewers’ multiple senses⎯hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling⎯are common in contemporary art today. Museums, galleries, biennials, and art fairs present work by artists who interweave objects, images, texts, sound, video, and performance into complex and enveloping environments. These exhibitions physically implicate viewers in orchestrated situations, in settings both inside and outside the institution, where art and ideas coalesce through the lived experience of space and time.

Experience It is a conversation series about this work. In close dialogue with visiting artists, the series will examine, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. The format will include conversations between each artist and the writer and art historian James Voorhies, as well as viewings of film clips, performances, and images of their work to dissect and analyze their multivalent, time-based activity. The series will address questions around the making and reception of this work by looking closely at artists’ practices and processes, their engagement with institutional infrastructures, and discussing how they negotiate the economics of making work. Experience It aims to reveal why artists choose their given artistic approaches, how institutions support them, and how they imagine their audiences as integral to the art, ultimately arriving at a better understanding of the "it" in the work.

Organized by James Voorhies, Dean of Fine Arts and Acting Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, in partnership with Dena Beard, Director of The Lab.

[ View of Martine Syms, Vertical Elevated Oblique, 2015; photo: Marc Brems Tatti ]