Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’


Invitation to PUBLIC WORKS at Mills College Art Museum !

Greetings Friends !

I am very pleased to invite you, your friends and relations to the opening reception of Public Works - Artists’ Interventions on September 16, 6-8 pm, a group exhibition at Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California, curated by Christian Frock and Tanya Zimbardo, and the following week, to my illustrated talk on selected works - Past Present Future - on September 23, 7 pm, in Danforth Hall, adjacent to the Museum.

The exhibition features Sitting Still l (pictured on attached pdf announcement) and the Sitting Still Series among other artists' works. At the time that I created this work (1970), I was exploring the nature of what a performance could be, where it could be, and who could be an audience. With this work, I thought I was simply demonstrating how a seated human figure could easily transform an environment - but as it turns out, I was really doing much, much more.


What I learned some years later, is that I was actually facing my future:

Sitting Still l took place in a neglected garbage area where water had collected due to the construction of the 101 Freeway Interchange at then called, Army & Potrero.  Sitting in the overstuffed armchair I found there, I faced the “audience” of people in slow-moving cars, and I also faced:

      • Exact site of what would become Crossroads Community (the farm) , a pioneering urban agriculture community farm, art and education center, and farm park that I developed beginning in 1974
      • Northern frame of Islais Creek Watershed along Cesar Chavez Street.
      • 101 Freeway Interchange at Army & Potrero that was being built, and that I am currently proposing to become the Northern Gateway to the Watershed.
      • And, amazingly enough, I was actually sitting in water from the Islais Creek, in a pond created due to the heavy construction. Today, I am seeing multiple opportunities to daylight the Creek throughout this Watershed to address flooding, climate change, and habitat restoration, and am working to achieve that goal.

Because of all of this powerful and profound synchronicity, I now consider Sitting Still l to be my Watershed Piece, all meanings and puns intended.

Please come to the opening on September 16, 6-8 PM and see the show, and return again for my talk on September 23 at 7 PM . I will discuss how all of this early work has led directly to what I am creating today and for the future with A Living Library, aka, A.L.L.

I look forward to seeing you soon ! Thank you.

Sending love and appreciation,
Bonnie Ora


PUBLIC WORKS: ARTISTS’ INTERVENTIONS 1970s–NOW, September 16–December 13, 2015


Oakland, CA—August 14, 2015.

The Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now on view from September 16 to December 13, 2015. Organized by the Mills College Art Museum, Public Works examines strategies of public practice by women artists from the 1970s to the present. The exhibition presents photography, prints, audio, video, and installations from a number of important historical and contemporary projects that explore the inherent politics and social conditions of creating art in public space.

Public Works moves beyond traditional views of public art as monumental and/or permanent artworks and instead focuses on often small but powerful temporary artistic interventions online and in the urban environment. Through various tactics, Public Works explores themes of public space, public expression, public action, public platforms, and public life through the evolving lens of participatory projects, socially engaged performance and political action, among other media.

Christian L. Frock notes, “When considering artists’ interventions in public space, the limits on public expression come into sharp focus, particularly if we also consider the recent backlash against peaceful protests and the rising dominance of private interests. Public Works broadly considers how artists subvert these limitations to advance freedom of expression on a number of salient issues defining public life, specifically in relation to encroaching technologies, personal liberty, gender equality and the environment, among other themes.”

“The desire to work independently outside of traditional venues and formats, to pursue collaboration and to encourage audience participation, informed the development of public practice since the 1970s. Key long-term projects in this survey demonstrate the potential for art to intervene and engage with public policy,” adds Tanya Zimbardo.

The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue of the same title features an introduction by Mills College Art Museum Director Stephanie Hanor, PhD, essays by curators Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo, and conversations and texts from María del Carmen Carrión, Courtney Fink, Leila Grothe, Valerie Imus, and Meredith Johnson.

The exhibition is supported in part by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.

@millsartmuseum; @publicworks_art; #publicworksintervene; #womenatwork; #millsartmuseum

Book Cover: Bonnie Ora Sherk, detail Sitting Still I, 1970. Courtesy the artist.


Opening Reception
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 | 6:00-8:00 pm

Artist Talk: Bonnie Ora Sherk
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 | 7:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College

Performance & Panel: On Freedom of Expression and Technology as Public Platform: Featuring a live Skype performance by Enar de Dios Rodríguez, a special multiple produced by Leah Rosenberg, and a panel discussion featuring exhibiting artists Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Stephanie Syjuco, and Favianna Rodriguez.
Sunday, October 4, 2015 | 3:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College

Curators Talk: Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 7:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College

Jenifer K. Wofford: MaxiPad
Southern Exposure Off-Site Commission
Sunday, November 8, 2015 | TBA
Location: Oakland

Constance Hockaday: You Make a Better Wall Than a Window - The Tour
Southern Exposure Off-Site Commission
Sunday, December 6, 2015 | TBA
Location: SF Ferry Building

Artists in Exhibition:  Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Candy Chang, Minerva Cuevas, Agnes Denes, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Karen Finley, Coco Fusco, Guerrilla Girls, Sharon Hayes, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Suzanne Lacy, Marie Lorenz, Susan O’Malley, Adrian Piper, Laurie Jo Reynolds | Tamms Year Ten, Favianna Rodriguez, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Stephanie Syjuco, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles.  Off-site commissions by Constance Hockaday and Jenifer K. Wofford.


Christian L. Frock is an independent curator, writer and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is presently 2015 - 2016 Scholar in Residence at the Center for Art & Public Life at California College of the Arts. Her work focuses on the role of artists in social justice and public life. Invisible Venue, the alternative curatorial enterprise she founded and has directed since 2005, collaborates with artists to present art in the public realm, online and in the built environment. Her writing has been featured in the Guardian US, KQED Arts,, Public Art Dialogue, and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Frock has organized numerous interventions and site-specific commissions, including projects with EMERGENCY USA| Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Headlands Center for the Arts, Kala Art Institute, Oakland Main Public Library, and Mills College Art Museum, among others. She is presently visiting faculty at California Institute of Integral Studies, California College of the Arts, and San Francisco Art Institute. Chronicle Books released Frock’s first book, titled Unexpected Art, in March 2015. Her work is archived on and Frock possesses an MA in curatorial practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Tanya Zimbardo is the Assistant Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She co-curated four off-site SFMOMA commissions in outdoor and non-art spaces for the 2012 SECA Art Award: Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, David Wilson (2013) exhibition. At SFMOMA, Zimbardo co-organized Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards and The More Things Change, among other exhibitions. She has curated numerous screenings of film, video, and performance documentation at the museum and other venues. Her research and writing is primarily centered on conceptual art, performance, experimental media, and artist-run projects in California since the 1970s. She has co-authored and contributed texts to several publications including SFMOMA’s Open Space and most recently West Coast Visions, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul. Zimbardo received her MA in curatorial practice from the California College of the Arts.

Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 am–4:00 pm and Wednesday 11:00 am–7:30 pm. Admission is FREE for all exhibitions and programs unless noted.


Green Skills Paid Internship for Youth – HS-21 years: A.L.L ECO Stewards Summer 2015

Sign Up NOW !  Space is limited,  Bring or Send your Application to St. Mary's Recreation Center, 95 Justin, San Francisco, CA 94110.  Page1  

Another Fantastic Salesforce Volunteer Group Grows A Living Library Nature Walk !

Helen Chan led another fantastic Salesforce Volunteer Event on December 17 in St. Mary's Park planting California Native Understory Plants in the Oak Allee, adding beauty and health to the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Nature Walk. IMG_7955_Foto<em>r_Collage_Fotor__1423168042_73.15.149.33 This planting was accomplished in conjunction with Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director, Life Frames, Inc. and A Living Library Nature Walk, and John Miller, Park Supervisor, SF Recreation & Park Department. This Living Library Nature Walk is linking multiple parks, schools, public housing, and streets, leading to currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park, near Highway 280 in San Francisco. The Nature Walk is a prototype for what can be occurring throughout the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in SF that interlinks eleven communities in southeast and southwest SF, through creating a new, narrative native landscape interconnecting diverse community assets and resources, framed by the Watershed. Also, proposed is development of Northern & Southern Gateways to the Watershed, that would incorporate the currently derelict 101 Freeway Interchanges at Chavez/Potrero/Bayshore (to become Northern Gateway) and Alemany/Industrial Way/Bayshore (to become Southern Gateway).  More about this exciting opportunity later. Stay tuned.......

Crossroads Community (the farm): Early Life Frame Leads to Development of Potrero Del Sol Park & A Living Library

Enjoy short video on Crossroads Community (the farm), a pioneering, urban agriculture, environmental education, multi-arts, community gathering place that began in 1974 and incorporated a major freeway interchange.  The open space is now site of Potrero del Sol Park, which was originally inspired by The Farm.

Also see below Original Proposal For The Farm, Drawing/Collage © 1974 by Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founding Director and President of Crossroads Community (the farm) from 1974-1980, and picture of Model of The Farm: View South To Freeway ©1977 Bonnie Ora Sherk.

[caption id="attachment_9227" align="aligncenter" width="426"]Original Proposal For The Farm, Drawing/Collage © 1974 by Bonnie Ora Sherk Original Proposal For The Farm, Drawing/Collage © 1974 by Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9242" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Model of The Farm: View South To Freeway ©1977 Bonnie Ora Sherk Model of The Farm: View South To Freeway ©1977 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption]

Affectionately known as The Farm to the thousands of participants from all walks of life - locally and globally - The Farm also led directly to the development of  A Living Library, which began right after Bonnie Ora Sherk left The Farm at the end of 1980.

The Farm, was located in San Francisco in the crossroads of four, low-income, multicultural communities (Mission, Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, Bayview) on 7+ acres adjacent to, and including the intersection of a major freeway interchange (101 at Chavez & Potrero). The Farm, was an early Life Frame*, and involved extensive land transformation including the integration of disparate, derelict, land parcels into a new city culture-ecology park at the convergence of three hidden Creeks - Islais, Precita, Serpentine, now called Potrero Del Sol Park.  (*The Life Frame literally engages and frames life, so we can see it and experience it more profoundly- Bonnie Ora Sherk.)

[caption id="attachment_9268" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Crossroads Community (the Farm) Crossroads Community (the farm) - BEFORE © 1974 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9270" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Crossroads Community (The Farm) Crossroads Community (the farm) & Potrero Del Sol Park -AFTER © 1980 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9269" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Crossroads Community (the Farm) Crossroads Community (the farm): First Garden on State Land - BEFORE © 1975 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_9271" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Crossroads Community Crossroads Community (the farm): First Garden on State Land - AFTER © 1980 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption]
The Farm educated people of all ages about ecology and natural, integrated systems, including all the arts.  It was the home of farm animals, who lived in The Raw Egg Animal Theater (TREAT), organic vegetable and flower gardens, a human theater, and diverse community gathering places. It included a state preschool, a library, several performance spaces, farmhouse and kitchen, events, dances, community meetings, classes, other public and private gatherings. Neighborhood residents, local schools, as well as the visual and performing arts communities, were invited to participate in The Farm’s interdisciplinary, ecologically oriented, multi-arts activities and educational programs.  People from all over the world came to visit The Farm, as it provided a good example of urban agriculture, before that became a burgeoning field.  Additionally, The Farm was also one of the first Alternative Arts Spaces in the United States.
  [caption id="attachment_9243" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Scene From Crossroads Community (the farm): Boys Mowing The Lawn Next To The Freeway © 1976 Bonnie Ora Sherk                      Scene From Crossroads Community (the farm): Boys Mowing The Lawn Next To The Freeway    ©1976 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_5030" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Scene From The Raw Egg Animal Theatre At The Farm: Buck Meets The Cat © 1976 Bonnie Ora Sherk Scene From The Raw Egg Animal Theatre [TREAT] At The Farm: Buck Meets The Cat © 1976 Bonnie Ora Sherk[/caption]
Please see below an original work, Crossroads Community (the farm) is an alternative to alternative art spaces, by Bonnie Ora Sherk © 1979, commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for the exhibition, Space Time Sound, at SFMOMA, 1980:
The Farm by Bonnie Ora Sherk
Read this short original text below on The Farm written by Bonnie Ora Sherk in 1977 on Crossroads Community (the farm) official stationary, for the Center For Critical Inquiry, 1st International Symposium, San Francisco Art Institute.
Crossroads Community (the farm)
Crossroads Community (The Farm)
Crossroads Community (The Farm)
This original text has been republished in diverse books worldwide, including:
  • Politiques de la Végétation, Marco Scotini, Editor, Eterotopie, France 2017
  • Vegetation As Political Art, Marco Scotini, Editor, Parco Arte Vivente, 2014
  • NATURE: Documents of Centemporary Art, Edited by Jeffrey Kastner, Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press, Extract from Crossroads Community (the farm),     Center for Critical Inquiry Position Paper, 1st International Symposium, San Francisco Art Institute, 2012
  • ART AND SOCIAL CHANGE:  A CRITICAL READER, Edited by Will Bradley And Charles Esche, Tate Publishing, 2007
  • Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings, Edited by Peter Selz And Kristine Stiles, UC Press, Berkeley, 1996

Additionally, Art Installations on The Farm have been exhibited nationally and internationally in addition to being published in books and journals worldwide.

Selection Of Exhibition Venues on The Farm Listed Below:

•  Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
•  Parco Arte Vivente, Turin, Italy
•  Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
•  National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, Seoul, Korea
•  Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
•  Museum of Modern Art/PS 1, New York City
•  Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
•  National Museum of Women, Washington, DC
•  American University Museum, Washington, D.C
•  Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
•  Roski School of Art, USC, Los Angeles, California
•  Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
•  Smart Art Museum, Chicago, Illinois
•  California College of Art Wattis Gallery, San Francisco, CA
•  San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
•  Cincinnati Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
•  Belkin Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
•  Braunstein / Quay Gallery, San Francisco, California
[caption id="attachment_9266" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Installation on Crossroads Community (the farm) by Bonnie Ora Sherk at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, 2012 Installation on Crossroads Community (the farm) by Bonnie Ora Sherk at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien,                Berlin, Germany, 2012[/caption]
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