San Francisco Bay Area
A longtime home for political progressives and technological pioneers, the San Francisco Bay Area is a magnet for artists who are drawn to its experimental atmosphere, countercultural spirit, and history of innovation. In addition to three artists working across photography, installation, and new media, this episode features a non-profit art center, spotlighting multiple artists with physical and cognitive disabilities who work across a range of mediums. The artists in this hour are united by their steadfastness and persistence in creating; their art serves as an essential expression of their experience of the world.More information and credits
Executive Producer: Tina Kukielski. Series Producer: Nick Ravich. Director & Producer: Christine Turner. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Director of Photography: Tyler McPherron.
Field Producer: Laura Wagner. Production Coordinator: Ife Adelona. Curatorial Assistant: Danielle Brock. Advising Producer: Ian Forster.
Title Sequence & Typography: Afternoon Inc. Composer: Joel Pickard. Narration: Carrie Mae Weems. Additional Photography: Luca Bragagnolo, Ethan Indorf, Larry Rochfort, & Marshall Stief. Assistant Camera: Lawrence Abad, Lance Canilao, Erika Houle, Luke Lasley, Michael Lindemuth, Ines Portugal, & Dean Snodgrass. Grip: Hunter Huston. Sound: Kevin Crawford, Trokan Nagabe, & Ty Peterson. Production Associate: Trinity West. Production Assistant: Dolan Chorng. Production Intern: Alexis Salmons.
Digital Intermediate: Blue Table Post. Post-Production Producer: Oliver Lief. Colorist: Natacha Ikoli. Re-Recording Mixer & Dialogue Editor: Rich Cutler. Additional Animation: Andy Cahill & Grace Mendenhall. Assistant Editor: Caroline Berler, Adam Boese, Maya Elany, & Jonah Greenstein. Technical Evaluation: Pillar To Post.
Creative Growth Art Center Artists: Rosena Finister, Jackie Frank, Dan Miller, Judith Scott, William Scott, & Monica Valentine. Artwork Courtesy: Creative Growth Art Center, Katy Grannan, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Stephanie Syjuco, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Anglim Gilbert Gallery, Bridget Donahue, Catherine Clark Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery, Ryan Lee, & Waldburger Wouters. Archival Materials: Shane Bauer; California Academy of Sciences; Katy Grannan photographs installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2012, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA; Library of Congress; “Outsider: The Life & Art of Judith Scott” by Betsy Bayha, Courtesy of Icarus Films; Prelinger Archives and the Internet Archive; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; & ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. Additional Music: Kevin MacLeod.
Additional Art21 Staff: Maggie Albert, Lindsey Davis, Lolita Fierro, Joe Fusaro, & Jonathan Munar. Interns: Diane Huerta, Esther Knuth, Sunny Leerasanthanah, & Kristopher Neira. Public Relations: Sutton. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Barbara T. Hoffman, Esq.
Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees, Edna Atterbury, BAMPFA, La Biennale di Venezia, Leon Borensztein, Francesca Buccaro, Susie Cantor, Eleanor Coppola, Becki Couch-Alvarado, Tom di Maria, Apsara DiQuinzio, Ola Dlugosz, Matt Dostal, Jonathan Duffy, Skylar Economy, Nkechi Emeruwa, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, A.J. Fox, Mario Furloni, Ed Gilbert, Anna Gustavi, Heky, Mark Hellor, Max Hollein, Hannah Hughes, Celia Kitchell, Colin Klingman, Jeff Lee, Kija Lucas, Nahkoura Mahnassi, Jennifer Martindale, Rae Maxwell-Ross, Sarah Galender Meyer, Cara Miller, Hiro Narita, Miriam Newcomer, Jerome Pansa, Katie Revilla, Melissa Reyes, Lawrence Rinder, Sara Roffino, Mary Ryan, Salon 94, Claudia Schmuckli, Martine Syms, Target Gallery, Catherine Valentine, India Vega, Patrick Waldburger, Peter Weibel, & David Wiley.
Series Created By: Susan Dowling & Susan Sollins.
Major support for Season 9 is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Lambent Foundation, Agnes Gund, Ford Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, Nion McEvoy, and The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
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Creative Growth Art Center was founded by Elias and Florence Katz in 1974. Operating in a former car-body shop near downtown Oakland, California, Creative Growth provides studios, gallery space, and supplies to more than 150 artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities, who work in a wide array of media. Predicated on the belief that art is fundamental to human expression and that all people are entitled to its tools of communication, Creative Growth is an incubator of artistic activity that has fostered exemplary artists, such as Dan Miller, Judith Scott, William Scott, and Monica Valentine.
Katy Grannan was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, in 1969. A photographer and filmmaker, Grannan is fascinated by the lives of what she describes as “anonymous people” on the margins of society in the American West. Grannan develops long-term relationships with transient residents, which lead to stunningly beautiful and unsettling portraits.
Lynn Hershman Leeson was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1941. At once a pointed critic and a sly practical jokester, Leeson has worked across a wide range of mediums, from drawing, painting and sculpture to interactive films, net-based media works, and artificial intelligence. Overlooked for the better part of her decades-long career, Leeson is a pioneering multidisciplinary artist, critiquing the deep seated gender biases that have excluded her and other women artists.
Stephanie Syjuco was born in Manila, Philippines, in 1974. Syjuco works in photography, sculpture, and installation, moving from handmade and craft-inspired mediums to digital editing. Her work explores the tension between the authentic and the counterfeit, challenging deep-seated assumptions about history, race, and labor.
Isolated as a result of being institutionalized for most of her life due to Down syndrome and deafness, Judith Scott began creating art at age forty-three, after being introduced to Creative Growth in 1987. Scott’s vivid and enigmatic sculptures, which evolved in shape and material throughout her career, expressed her imagination in ways she could not through speech. Her abstract works have been compared to nests and cocoons while her processes alluded to both ritual and play. Described as hermetic and complex, the wrapping suggests protection and concealment.
A self-taught artist, William Scott’s paintings often render San Francisco as “Praise Frisco”, an imagined utopia that realizes his idealization of a wholesome place of community. Scott features transformed city landmarks, neighborhood sites, and portraits of African-American celebrities and community members from his church. Scott layers text phrases such as, “Reinvent the past”, “Another life”, and “Wholesome encounters” in his paintings, reiterating the aspirations in his imagined world. Scott’s recurring fantastical narratives and characters address realities of race, class, identity, citizenship, spirituality, and tolerance. Born and raised in San Francisco, Scott has observed the marginalized spaces in the city, including his own neighborhood, change over the years. Through meticulous detailing of a futuristic urban utopia in his drawings and paintings, Scott communicates his desire for an optimistic future.
Working with paper, ink, pencil, and paint, Dan Miller illustrates dense layers of words and letters and objects such as light bulbs and electrical sockets, obsessively repeated into abstraction. These layers are superimposed upon each other and amalgamate, resulting is monochromatic fields of patterned forms and bold strokes. His impressive canvases, sometimes measuring over twelve feet tall, serve as a way for Miller to organize, process, and communicate with the world around him. Rendering visible “the cacophony that is daily life,” Miller’s work “articulate[s] something of the relentless ebb and flow of thoughts, ideas and emotions that are common to us all.” In recent years, he has expanded his use of materials to include wood, textiles, and ceramics.
Using pins, colored sequins, beads and shaped foam, Monica Valentine creates sculptures that are both visually rich and tactile. From geometric cubes and spheres to more playful cake shapes, skulls and logs, Valentine’s sculptures draw up the artist’s fascination with color, despite her blindness. Valentine relates to color through her other senses, such as touch, describing her ability to feel the heat of the color red and the cool of the color green. Through this synesthetic relation to color, Valentine speedily pins beads and sequins into the foam body of her sculptures, intuitively grouping similar colors together or positioning contrasting colors in relation to one another. Her work has been described as embodying her cheerfulness and dry sense of humor.
“Creative Growth is really a Bay Area story. The disability rights movement in the early 1970’s, Creative Growth really comes from that.”
Tom di Maria, Director of Creative Growth Art Center