July 23rd 2009
Re: Lance Fung Wonderland Exhibition Opens Oct. 17 in San Francisco Tenderloin
From: Artist Organized Art
To: The Subscriber Email Address
Lance Fung Exhibition
To open in San Francisco
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
San Francisco, CA – Curator Lance Fung’s latest curatorial endeavor, Wonderland, is set to open to the public October 17, 2009, in San Francisco, with a symposium on October 18th. Teaming 43 artists from San Francisco and from 9 other countries, the exhibition features 10 site-specific projects throughout the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, a community known more for its immigrant population and diverse street life than for the visual arts. This unique setting presents opportunities for artists to engage in social consciousness and community building.
Wonderland emerged from one of Fung’s MFA classes, with the goal of introducing San Francisco artists to the arts community. “We chose the Tenderloin to work in, as it remains one of the most authentic areas in the USA,” states curator Lance Fung. “The Tenderloin is a true melting pot in the USA. No other place in San Francisco combines as many languages, ethnicities or outlooks. Despite the mythology of its dangerous nature, there is an ease about the community.”
The primary audience for Wonderland is the people who live and work in the Tenderloin, some of whom may never have been exposed to contemporary art. “This community-based art project aims to offer empowerment and hope to an area that has more than its share of economic hard times,” Fung continues. “The exhibition is an effort in social consciousness through art-making, a model the whole world can benefit from.”
The Community Benefit District of the Tenderloin is the proud organizer of the event. “Our participation in the Wonderland art project is a collaborative effort of several neighborhood groups bringing arts and art activities to the Tenderloin as a means of community engagement for improvement of the neighborhood,” states CBD director Elaine Zamora. Additionally the Tenderloin Economic Development Project has been instrumental in connecting Wonderland with a number of organizational agencies. The City of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is contributing some logistical expenses, but Wonderland is otherwise 100% based on volunteerism, from the organizer, to the curator, to the artists and numerous participating local organizations. The project is a labor of love, with a huge potential for enriching the community; Wonderland is hopefully only the beginning.
The Tenderloin has been a thriving residential and commercial community since the California gold rush. Its name originated in an era in which police were paid more to work there, affording them better cuts of meat. Its history includes a hardscrabble reputation and active nightlife, and it has long served as a haven for artists and iconoclasts. Author Dashiell Hammett’s detective stories were influenced by living in the Tenderloin, and jazz legends Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis performed regularly. It is where Jack Kerouac reportedly wrote his early beat poetry. Today, nearly 40,000 people live and work there. It is one of the lowest income neighborhoods in San Francisco and has some of the highest concentrations of homeless, elderly, disabled and ex-offenders. Furthermore, the Tenderloin is home to families and approximately 4,000 children.
Wonderland presents a new approach to the already active San Francisco art scene through its focus on community-based public art, particularly because the art is all collaboratively created. Artists working in groups of three to nine members developed each project. The background of the artists range from MFA students from San Francisco to internationally established artists such as Lawrence Weiner.
Independent curator Lance Fung has created important exhibitions in the United States and abroad. An emphasis on site-specificity has been a core component of his curatorial practice. Past exhibitions include Lucky Number Seven, the SITE Santa Fe Seventh International Biennial 2008; The Ship of Tolerance, Illya and Emilia Kabalov, the Venice Biennale 2007; The Snow Show Torino, for the 20th Winter Olympic Games 2006; The Snow Show in Lapland 2004; The Snow Show preview at UNESCO’s Palazzo Zorzi for the 2003 Venice Biennale; Revisiting Gordon MattaClark, at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2002; Crossing Parallels, at the SSamzie Space in Seoul, Korea 2001; and Going Home, at the Edward Hopper Historical Museum, Nyack, New York 2000.
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