News

off our presses

Peter Foucault's Auto-Matic

Curated by Peter Foucault @Root Division:
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 12, 6 to 10 pm Exhibition Dates: June 9th- 26th, 2010
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays – Saturdays, 2-6 pm (or by appointment)

AUTO-MANIC Ever since the first interstate highways began carving a path through the urban landscape in the early 50’s, California has been the epitome of American “Car Culture.” Nostalgic images of the warm summer sun reflecting off the chrome bullets on the ached tail fin of a steel behemoth have given way to technologically savvy hybrids that can tear up a track at 0-60 mph in less than four seconds, and are nearing 130 miles per gallon.

From Thunderbirds to Teslas, the freeways, side streets, beaches and parking lots of California have always been clogged to the saturation point with automobiles. These everyday objects have deeply imbedded themselves into the collective unconscious of artists working within this urban environment, and created a fertile trajectory for exploring the relationship between man and four wheeled machine.

In Venice Beach, CA, at the Speedway Avenue Garage on April 23, 1974, Chris Burden had himself voluntarily crucified onto a Volkswagen Bug. The following year, on July 4, 1975 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA, the Bay Area Art Collective Art Farm staged a full-scale collision of the Phantom Dream Car (a modified 1959 Cadillac) into a flaming wall of televisions as part of their piece “Media Burn”. Utilizing the car as a cultural icon and critiquing American ideals of heroics and technological superiority, these early performances gave way to a new breadth of work in the generations to come.

At our current vantage point, within a deep and crippling economic recession, with CO2 emissions reaching an alarming level and gas prices teetering on the preposterous at times, we must re-evaluate our relationship with the beloved car. With the devastating fall of the big American Car Companies and the disappearance of such iconic brands as Pontiac, a dramatic new relationship is evolving between producer and consumer, pragmatist and dreamer. Alternative modes of transportation are becoming more visible. Bicycles are beyond trendy; messenger bags are the new fuzzy dice. There are golf carts on city streets. High Speed Rail proposals are finally being funded.

As we speed off into a new era of travel, technology and environmental responsibility, the artists in Auto-Manic respond to the role of the automobile, and it’s alternatives, in art.

Curated by Peter Foucault
FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY:
Kevin E. Taylor and M.A.P. (Mobile Arts Platform – Peter Foucault and Chris Treggiari)
ARTISTS:
Cody Bratt, Laura Garzon, Justin Hoover, Shea Naer, Guy Overfelt, Michael Pedroni, Damaris Rivera, Kirsten Rae Simonsen, Susanne Slavick, Heather Sparks, Anna-Maria Vag, Michelle Waters

ROOT DIVISION GALLERY 3175 17th Street (at S. Van Ness) San Francisco, CA 94110 415.863.766 www.rootdivision.org