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de Young Museum
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
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Museum image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

de Young Museum
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
415.750.3600
Map


deyoung.famsf.org
Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin
July 13, 2019 – October 6, 201

Deeper than Skin will feature paintings, drawings, prints and three-dimensional works by famed tattoo artist Ed Hardy in a retrospective format that begins with a selection of drawings from the 1950s, when the young artist became fixated on the art of tattooing. Photographs and sketched tattoo designs by the ten-year-old Hardy will be on view, all of them taken at or inspired by the tattoo parlors of the Long Beach Pike, an amusement zone not far from his Corona del Mar home. When Hardy was a teenager, his interest turned from tattooing to creating imagery inspired by the Southern California hot-rod, custom-car, and surf cultures. In high school, an influential teacher directed him to investigate contemporary art and literature, including Pop Art and Beat poetry. Hardy made trips to visit Los Angeles galleries, including the now-legendary Ferus Gallery, where he saw the work of Andy Warhol, Bruce Conner, John Altoon, and Philip Guston. Hardy’s drawings and collages from this period show their influence and will be exhibited alongside works that have what Hardy describes as “strident humanist bent.”

Ed Hardy’s Formative Years
In the mid-1960s, he attended the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), where he studied with Gordon Cook, who became an important mentor. At Cook’s urging, Hardy visited the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor on numerous occasions where then-curator Gunter Troche introduced him to the prints of Dürer, Rembrandt, and Goya, among others. Viewing old master prints and studying print history had a profound effect on his work, and Hardy’s prints from this period show their direct influence.

Hardy graduated from SFAI in 1967 with a degree in printmaking. His specialization in intaglio printmaking, with its “speed of line, rhythm, variety, and density of structure” prepared him well for the career that followed. He turned down a graduate fellowship offer from Yale University and decided instead to begin tattooing professionally. (In keeping with the times, he explains that he considered fine art as elitist, and tattooing as a “forgotten American folk art” with potential for a revival.) Hardy’s goal was to expand the expressive potential of the medium and introduce it to audiences beyond its marginalized status and insular subculture.

Hardy experienced a long learning curve in the course of working at tattoo studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, and Honolulu as he attempted to develop technical expertise and hone a personal style. An impressive selection of his tattoo “flash” (sample tattoo designs) from those years (1967–1971) will show his versions of standard “old school” tattoos as well as designs that melded Western imagery with the Japanese subject matter that he’d been introduced to by Sailor Jerry, a mentor tattooist in Honolulu . Hardy also studied with a Japanese master tattooist in 1972 in Gifu, Japan, and several preparatory drawings for tattoos developed there will be shown.

From Student to Artist
In 1974 Hardy opened Realistic Tattoo in San Francisco, a private studio where he undertook unique tattoo commissions tailored to his clients’ wishes and needs. A large selection of preparatory drawings developed for private clients will be shown, including back and chest pieces and full-body tattoos. By 1980 he had built an international reputation, and in 1986 decided to take a break from tattooing and return to drawing and painting in Honolulu, where he had moved. Hardy discovered then that he could utilize imagery that he had developed as a tattoo artist in compositions that were large and complex. Brushes and pens on paper and canvas presented a challenging departure from tightly controlled tattoo work. The process was nevertheless liberating, and during this time Hardy created a large body of work and exhibited frequently at galleries in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Hardy returned to printmaking in 1992, and early etchings created at presses in Chicago and San Francisco reveal a simple style akin to the “flash” in his tattoo repertoire. Later prints—particularly those done with Mullowney Printing (Nara, Japan, and San Francisco), Shark’s Ink (Boulder, Colorado), and Magnolia Editions (Oakland)—are larger, colorful, and more ebullient. Hardy describes them as a mix of “the grotesque, humorous, subtle, and flamboyant.” A large group, representative of this period and selected from Hardy’s 2017 gift to the Fine Arts Museums, will be included in the exhibition.

To honor the millennial year 2000, which was also the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, Hardy completed a 500-foot-long scroll painting that includes images of 2,000 dragons. This exuberant, celebratory painting will be shown in its entirety in the exhibition.

In 2003, several of Hardy’s tattoo designs formed the basis of the namesake global fashion line that became an international phenomenon. The licensing of his brand afforded Hardy the financial freedom to retreat from active tattooing and spend more time creating art in various media. In 2007, he created hand-painted porcelain in traditional Japanese forms as well as a series of unique wall-hung porcelains that he calls Ghosts. A selection will be included in the exhibition alongside Eyecons, a series of resin-coated paintings on panels, disks, and “boogie boards” that he created at Trillium Graphics (Brisbane, CA) in 2008. Rose, a jacquard tapestry (Magnolia Editions) from 2015, and recent paintings and drawings bring the exhibition up to date.

Artist Bio
Donald Edward Talbott Hardy was born in 1945 in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in Corona del Mar, on the Southern California coast. For over twenty years, Hardy worked exclusively as a tattoo artist, developing the medium’s potential and fueling the late twentieth-century boom in the practice. In the late 1980s he returned to painting, drawing, and printmaking while continuing to tattoo, and his work was exhibited widely. In the millennial year 2000, Hardy created a 4- by 500-foot scroll painting, 2000 Dragons. He describes this piece as a decisive turning point in its scale and expansive gesture that freed him to explore abstract elements along with recognizable forms in his art. In 2005, Hardy licensed his designs to Christian Audigier, who developed popular merchandise featuring Hardy’s tattoo imagery.

Hardy has written and published more than thirty books on alternative art under his imprint Hardy Marks. In 2010, Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World, a film by Emiko Omori was released, and in 2013, Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos, an autobiography with Joel Selvin, was published by St. Martin’s Press. Hardy divides his time between San Francisco and Honolulu, where he has had a home and studio since the 1980s.

Ana Prvački: Detour
June 11, 2019 – September 29, 2019

The Fine Arts Museums invited artist Ana Prvac?ki, known for her participatory projects that use humor as a means to disarm traditional museum activities and behaviors, to visit and imagine a project that uses the museum experientially, rather than as an exhibition venue. In the resulting project, Detour, Prvac?ki leads visitors around the museum to look anew at the building, grounds, and collections, and imagine different ways of viewing, connecting, and behaving.

In a special collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, short videos will be accessible on most mobile devices via Google Lens. Content is triggered at various spots throughout the museum to guide visitors through this alternative tour. With wit and playfulness at their core, each video addresses a different idea, relating the de Young’s context to topics ranging from ancient myth to personal intimacies, environmental matters to vision exercises. In addition to creating dialogues with collection objects and immediate surroundings, two sculptures will be installed in connection with the project.

Prvac?ki is a cross-disciplinary artist whose works take the form of diverse projects that draw on performance, daily practices, consumer aesthetics, and popular concerns. Her projects foreground experimentation in content and form, their ephemeral nature both a strategy for creating unique experiences and a nod to an environmentally conscious artistic practice. She has realized solo exhibitions and projects at the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; and the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin. Her work has also been included in many international exhibitions, including the 14th Istanbul Biennial and dOCUMENTA 13. Her performances have been commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, among others.

Videos produced in collaboration with Revelator, Austin and Director of Photography Jonn Herschend.

Ana Prvac?ki: Detour is installed in the de Young's public spaces; no admission required. Google Lens works on iPhone 6 and above and Android phones with 2 GB of memory or more.
Image: Still from Ana Prvac?ki, “Detour,” 2018. Courtesy of the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles
Interview with Ana Prvac?ki

Ana Prvac?ki at the de Young in October 2017.

Elizabeth Thomas, Director of Public Engagement for the Fine Arts Museums, spoke with Prvac?ki to find out more about what inspires her work.

You often enter institutions that have offered very open invitations. How do you approach thinking about what to do?

I have always been interested in protocols and gestures that ameliorate the discomforts of daily life and, in this context, how these affect and apply to both institutions and their staff and to visitors. Most of the time these concerns overlap with my own concerns and preoccupations, so ideally we work together and in dialogue to make life more bearable, or at least more poetic or humorous.

I know that you make work that actively tries to minimize its own ecological and economic footprint. Why is this important to you?

Throughout my career the key focus of my art practice has been the development of ideas and concepts rather than the production of large objects, I think that conceptual art is low carbon footprint in its essence. Our current and urgent situation on this planet requires a commitment to making work that is sustainable, both in theory and practice, by which I mean the research and development of works that do not require elaborate production, shipping, or storage. We need to make less and imagine more, tread lightly on this earth.

Imagination and invention are central to your work, as they are to many artists, but you apply it to very different realms, and often within the everyday, or as small gestures. Can you talk about scale and context with your work?

I think this is again connected to the question of ecology and conceptual practice. I was reading about Neolithic art and how during that period you had two types of art: it was either permanent, meaning on an immovable rock or inside a cave, or it was portable and nomadic, made to be carried easily. I think we need to return to that kind of regulating of scale. Not only is it respectful to the planet, but it also has the ability to be experienced and disseminated in a much more subversive manner.

Can you speak about your most recent performance in Chicago, in the context of the botanical gardens?

L’air pour l’air is a collaborative piece I developed with SO-IL architects, initially commissioned for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. We wanted to address the pressing issue of our environment and air pollution with a lyrical gesture, and with the belief that to be able to play and make poetry and culture, we need to be able to take deep and full breaths, without fear. We created air-altering mesh enclosures for musicians that have been designed to clean the air through breath. The more music that is played, the cleaner the air. I am thinking about very similar issues at the de Young and its location in Golden Gate Park, as it is where people come to breathe and feed both their lungs and their soul.

Can you explain why you're licking the building in the accompanying photo, since it might give people a window into your thought processes?

I am quite fascinated by the copper facade of the museum. I did some research about copper and was intrigued to learn that copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for our survival, yet it is a mineral our body does not produce by itself. It turns out oysters have a perfect balance of zinc and copper to give us the most benefits; however, they are in danger of extinction and most people can’t afford them. Having a little lick of the de Young could be a very generous gesture—democratic, free, and nourishing.

Specters of Disruption
Through November 10, 2019

Specters of Disruption is the result of an inquiry into the shared encyclopedic collections of the de Young and Legion of Honor museums, performed with an eye toward patterns that might suggest a storyline within a collective institutional subconscious. The narratives of disruption that emerged from this process speak to the museums’ deep grounding in their origins and geographies. Drawing from their historic holdings and re-contextualizing them with modern and contemporary art, Specters of Disruption connects the museums’ colonial and geological underpinnings to the current conditions of the Bay Area and the evolving trajectories of American art histories. Unfolding through several galleries, this presentation is conceived in five chapters that revolve around different manifestations of disruption within nature, history and myth, culture and technology.

This exhibition is included with general admission.

Matt Mullican: Between Sign and Subject
March 9, 2019 – January 26, 2020

Over the past four decades, Matt Mullican has created a body of work encompassing drawing, collage, painting, photography, video, sculpture, and installation as well as performance under hypnosis. Trying nothing less than to “organize the world” and make sense of his existence, Mullican invented a personal cosmology tin which colors indicate different orders or “worlds.” The first order, identified by the color green, is the material world; the second order, represented by blue, is everyday life; the third order is yellow and refers to culture and science; the fourth order is language and appears in black and white; and the last, most important order is subjective experience, rendered in red. His de Young installation comprises fifty works, including rubbings made by transferring the image of a glass etching onto canvas with acrylic gouache and oil stick; light boxes with computer graphics that map the five worlds; and bulletin boards with found household objects, studio drawings, comics, and charts that represent the visual system with which Mullican attempts to categorize the world around him.

Ordinary Objects / Wild Things
December 15, 2018 – July 14, 2019

Artists with interest in technical considerations such as reflection and reproduction have engaged with the still life genre for centuries. In its seventeenth-century heyday, verisimilitude was deemed a critical component of the technical success of any such work, ostensibly providing an accurate record of inanimate objects—often layered with symbolic content. In today’s artistic practice, however, such precision is no longer a categorical requirement. Though artists continue to render common things in their artwork for both symbolic and literal ends, the object’s essence is routinely conveyed in myriad ways. The artworks on view in this gallery demonstrate a diversity of approaches taken by artists working on paper over the past fifty years to representing some of the common objects with which we surround ourselves today, deploying ordinary objects to extraordinary ends.

William Bailey’s etching conforms to our expectations of a still life—the ceramic vessels are arranged credibly, masking the fact that they are drawn from memory rather than recording a literal tableau. But other works on view in this exhibition go beyond such plausible displays. In some, the everyday articles have turned “wild,” redesigned and repositioned for unconventional and unexpected use. In Willie Cole’s personal lexicon, ironing boards—which he transforms into printing plates, their impressions simultaneously representative of slave ships and the unknown women who—deprived of freedom—provided domestic services throughout the Antebellum South. Meanwhile, the giant electrical gadget at the center of Oldenburg’s Three-Way Plug, suggests a buoy or a floating building rather than merely a source of power.

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