April 23, 2018

Teaching in the Arts podcast

Thank you Peter Hawley (and to Ella Delaney) for this interesting conversation about teaching in the arts and how to continue living a creative life.
Click here to hear the podcast.

November 21, 2015

Guerrilla Café

In 2000, the collective Together We Can Defeat Capitalism held a “Guerrilla Tea Room” at e://MISSION gallery. Twelve years later, in the midst of another tech boom and bubble creating outlandish rents, and with another hotly contested election on the horizon, TWCDC revisits this project. Updated for an era when Capitalism (and its discontents) are daily news, when Occupy provides “free” food for its own cultural guerrillas, and when “tea party” has taken on a whole new meaning, the Guerrilla Café offers free tea and cake in an environment that encourages students and passers-by to discuss the upcoming election and radical thought of all sorts.

The Guerrilla Café was held in the SFAI Quad outside of the McBean Gallery from 12-5 on Saturday September 22 and Wednesday, October 10.

Together We Can Defeat Capitalism (TWCDC) is a loose collective of cultural guerrillas whose aim is to raise questions about early 21st Century Capitalism. TWCDC has been creating provocative public projects and installations and participating in exhibitions since 1996. Their most recent project is "Das Vegetal," Marxist Motorsport's number 68 car powered by waste vegetable oil. Previous projects include: creating "Bush Stops" using road paint and stencils, and the Stop Bush video game; holding a "Bed-in-for peace" after the events of 9/11; and reprogramming a traffic warning LED sign to question the excesses of Capitalism on May Day, 2000. Main TWCDC members include Amy Berk (b. 1967) and Andy Cox (b. 1961).

The Guerrilla Café was a part of the exhibition Temporary Structures curated by Glen Helfand and Cydney Payton.
Catalogue can be accessed here: Temporary Structures brochure

Guerrilla Table

Masked Guerrillas

Together We Can

stretcher article

December 21, 2012

near and far

at Meridian Gallery, 2012


When I was first approached to think about showing work as part of this group exploring issues of the everyday intimate, of the spiritual, of the home, I thought back of course to some of my past work that would fit the bill nicely. “Recoverings,” shown at the Magnes Museum in 2007 took stained table linens and presented them as abstracted paintings where the stains themselves became the intimate indexical mark showing use, disuse and the special world that happens when meals are shared. Another possible direction was to use embroidery hoops, which have been central to much of my past work. In these, I've mused on imagery both recognizable and abstract and told stories both real and imagined through thread and even glitter, beads and panty hose.

But here, at Meridian Art Center, in this special space already full of ghosts and memories, I've decided to to in a different direction. I've moved away from the physical (three-dimensional painting and sculpture) and into the realm of the spiritual (two-dimensional photographic processes). A project I have been working on for several years kept appearing before me as if begging to be brought to light.

In this work, called “near and far,” I've collaborating with my own little household god, Jude, who sees the world from another vantage point, one that is two feet above ground level. This perspective allows the images taken to be at angles not normally seen and of imagery not normally of interest. These images range from the banal, with the mother, or at least part of her features largely, to abstracted images where confused camera settings make for quite beautiful and magical images. At times the images are so strange it is almost as if there is another presence at work.

These images are difficult to decipher, the viewer is unsure of where their position is in the work both in terms of content and spatially. And I believe they speak to the other work in the exhibition in interesting and challenging ways. I look forward to seeing the outcomes and relationships that these works produce with each other and with the space itself.

nether #1 and #2

single channel video "near and far"

vibrations and lights

vibrations #1-#3

lights #1-#12

February 25, 2009

spraygraphic interview


September 8, 2008

penguin nation

soft sculptures and single channel video installation
Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, 2006

While on a residency in New Zealand in 2001-2002 living next to a wildlife center, I became fascinated with the kiwi bird. This interest turned into an obsession for odd fowl during my subsequent travels in New Zealand and Australia. There I saw a great deal of penguins in the wild and in captivity. In the wild I videotaped penguins at the Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve, a bizarre “camp” of ex-soldiers on maneuvers to find the penguin “enemy” on the South Island of New Zealand. In less war-like circumstances I filmed little blue penguins near Dunedin and in Milford Sound, also on the south island of NZ. Blue penguins were also filmed in the wild in St. Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia and in captivity at the Melbourne zoo.

For Swell, 10 years later, a video of the penguins I videotaped ‘down under’ will screen for a flock of soft, small, abstract penguin constructions that I made in my studio. These creatures, comprised of materials that evoke penguiness- blues, blacks, whites, yellows, fake furs and other evocative fabrics like old clothes, cottons and wools will be watching the video of their real life counterparts.

Penguins seem to me a wonderful metaphor for a variety of human behaviors. We are all waddling around from here to there but really going nowhere. Creating an installation about the penguin is my opportunity to try to stay sane in the madness of our current political situation, and to bring some levity into a clumsy world. Like the penguins do.

floor penguins
floor penguins detail
penguin drawings
another penguin drawing
David Buuck review in Artweek
Jordan Essoe review in SFgate

September 8, 2007


REVISIONS Amy Berk: Recoverings
Judah L. Magnes Museum
February 5, 2007-August 5, 2007

video shot and produced by David Lawrence

brochure- including texts from Alla Efimova and Elayne Grossbard

installation-outside wall with video

installation-interior room

installation detail


review in Artweek by Alison Bing

Magnes promo and talk info


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