CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts Presents "City of Disappearances"



City of Disappearances

September 10-December 14, 2013

San Francisco, Calif., July 25, 2013 -- The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts will present the group exhibition City of Disappearances September 10 through December 14, 2013, in the Wattis Institute galleries, located on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts. The exhibition is free and open to the public, with an opening reception on Tuesday, September 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. After its appearance in San Francisco the exhibition will travel to the Zabludowicz Collection, London, under the title Infinite City, February 27–May 11, 2014.

City of Disappearances focuses on the city as material, site, and situation for the contemporary lived experience. It will feature works from two important collections: the Kadist Art Foundation (located in San Francisco and Paris) and the Zabludowicz Collection (located in London, New York, and Sarvisalo, Finland). The show is curated by Joseph del Pesco, director of the Kadist Art Foundation, and Elizabeth Neilson, director of the Zabludowicz Collection.

Featured artists: Michel Auder, Slater Bradley, Martin Boyce, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, John Menick, Enrique Metinides, Yelena Popova, Amie Siegel, Kelley Walker

City of Disappearances involves three distinct but integrated elements: a solo display devoted to one artist from each collection, a new installation of works drawn from both collections, and a room in which artworks of different mediums are shown together. From the Kadist Art Foundation there is Berlin Remake (2005) by the New York–based artist Amie Siegel; this two-channel work juxtaposes preexisting films of Berlin with contemporary footage of the same locations, presenting a ghostly portrait of a city that has been a prominent protagonist in world conflict.

From the Zabludowicz Collection comes a selection of hard-hitting reportage captured by Enrique Metinides, a Mexico City–based photographer, between 1949 and 1995.

The show will include a newly configured sculptural installation by the Scottish artist Martin Boyce; the work is appearing for the first time in San Francisco. Boyce references architectural and modernist design and materials to create environments that blend functionality and aesthetics, to uncanny effect.

There will be video, painting, and photography by Slater Bradley, Yelena Popova, and Kelley Walker from the Zabludowicz Collection and Michel Auder, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and John Menick from the Kadist Art Foundation.

Co-curator Joseph del Pesco says: “Variously recognizable in the exhibition are corporeal vanishings, filmic echoes from the past dissolving in the present, and contaminated memories. The exhibition argues for the insubstantiality of the city as a concrete material and conceptual container, proposing instead that numerous cities live but are eventually forgotten in the minds of its inhabitants.”

“Does the city make the people, or do the people make the city?” asks co-curator Elizabeth Neilson. “Whether we observe the formation of cities by their inhabitants or the formation of inhabitants by the cities in which they live, we recognize the city as a primary dilemma, a tension that is prevalent in all the works on view.”

The physical and spatial experience of a city defines a language spoken around the world -- a language of skyscrapers, traffic, human density, technology, affluence, poverty, and noise. Since 2007, the majority of the world's population has been urban, making it increasingly urgent for us to think about what “the city” means. Whether we extol or condemn particular features of a certain city, there is no disputing that urban denizens play a more critical role than ever in determining the direction of global culture.

When the exhibition travels to the Zabludowicz Collection location in London it will appear with a different title: Infinite City. The underlying concept is that in each city, the show takes its title from a book relating to the other location; the intent is to highlight the ways in which the title of an exhibition, and by extension the context in which artworks are exhibited, influences the show’s local reception.

The two books that inspired these exhibition title choices are Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances (2006) and Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (2010). Sinclair calls his book an “anthology of absence”; it includes writings by more than a dozen authors, and the curators believe that it speaks broadly to the many “cities of shadows” in the exhibition. Solnit’s book is a series of color maps created in collaboration with artists, writers, and cartographers to illuminate diverse aspects of San Francisco, its history, and its inhabitants.

This exhibition exchange was initiated by Jens Hoffmann during his tenure as director of the Wattis Institute and advisor to the Kadist Art Foundation. It is the first in a series of exchanges organized by Kadist in collaboration with local and international partner institutions. The next exchange will occur in 2014 with the Times Museum in Guangzhou, China.

Visit and for current information concerning related programs and events.

About the Kadist Art Foundation

The Kadist Art Foundation encourages the contribution of the arts to society, conducting programs primarily with artists represented in its collection to promote their role as cultural agents. Kadist’s programs develop collaborations between its local contexts (Paris, San Francisco), artists, curators, and art institutions worldwide. Read more at »

About the Zabludowicz Collection

The Zabludowicz Collection is dedicated to bringing emerging art to new audiences and actively supporting arts organizations and artists. It was founded in 1994, and it contains more than 2,000 works by more than 500 artists, spanning 40 years of art production. Its programs take place in a former Methodist Chapel in north London as well as permanent venues in the United States and Finland. Read more at »

About the CCA Wattis Institute

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area. For more information about the Wattis Institute, visit

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) offers 21 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers BFA, BA, MFA, MA, MBA, BArch, MArch, and MAAD degrees. It has campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, and currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students. CCA students are encouraged to work in an interdisciplinary manner, undertaking projects and collaborations with students in other majors and engaging with outside communities.

Noted alumni include the artists Nathan Oliveira, Jules de Balincourt, Robert Arneson, Robert Bechtle, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the Oscar-winning filmmaker Audrey Marrs; the illustrator Tomie de Paola; the conceptual artists Harrell Fletcher, David Ireland, and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl, and Gary Hutton. For more information about CCA, visit


September 10–December 14, 2013
The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents the exhibition City of Disappearances
Location: CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, 360 Kansas Street (between 16th and 17th Streets), San Francisco
Opening reception: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Gallery hours: Tues.-Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m.; closed Sun. and Mon.
Cost: Free
Info: 415.355.9673,,

Brenda Tucker, 415.703.9548,
Allison Byers, 415.703.9541,