You had to be there

February 8–April 20
swissnex San Francisco, Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California

Opening Reception and Futurefarmers Event: February 8, 6-9 p.m.

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday, 1-5 p.m.

You had to be there is a group exhibition at the swissnex Gallery that playfully examines what remains beyond the completion of a public artwork or an action, and imagines various modes for experiencing projects in their aftermath. Through close collaboration with the artists and groups involved, the exhibition hopes to tell a story that diverges from the official lines read and promoted through art history. Through unconventional displays of firsthand accounts, reenactments, and ephemera, You had to be there aims to tell a story that is not necessarily the story.

You had to be there also questions the role of care and myth-making in the preservation of public works by exploring the legacy of such practices in San Francisco and Sierre, Switzerland. It will present educational initiatives; site-based projects, such as the Center for Land Use Interpretation; and Furk’Art, a little-known artist residency program that has been operating in relative isolation in the Swiss Alps since 1983. You had to be there is the first time archival documents, videos, and images from Furk’Art have been exhibited outside of Europe.

The exhibition is a product of a collaborative workshop between students from California College of the Arts Curatorial Practice Graduate Program in San Francisco and the Cantonal School of Art of Valais (ECAV) Masters of Arts in Public Spheres course in Sierre, Switzerland, under the auspices of the Creative Villages Project, which took place during the Fall of 2016. Scenography is designed by Anthony Guex and Camille Blin, who are faculty at ECAL/University of Art and Design, Lausanne, Switzerland. Graphic design by Jon Sueda, StripeSF.

The exhibition is curated by CCA Curatorial Practice students MK Meador, Amanda Nudelman and Rosa Tyhurst.