Juxtapoz Mag – A Well timed Posthumous Retrospective “Bonnie Ora Sherk: Lifestyles Frames Since 1970” in San Francisco


This can be a display we extremely counsel trying out on the shocking San Francisco house, Castle Mason Heart for Arts & Tradition (FMCAC). They’re these days presenting a super retrospective, Bonnie Ora Sherk: Lifestyles Frames Since 1970, the primary posthumous exhibition survey of the overdue artist, environmental educator, and panorama planner. Earlier than city farms reclaimed unused town parcels, earlier than parklets popped up throughout city streetscapes, earlier than New York Town’s Top Line and the San Francisco Presidio’s Tunnel Tops repurposed stretches of railway and freeway into inexperienced areas – there was once the groundbreaking paintings of Bonnie Ora Sherk (1945-2021).

Many years forward of her time, Sherk’s pioneering tasks in Seventies San Francisco, together with Transportable Parks I-III (1970, with Howard Levine) and Crossroads Neighborhood (the farm), conceptualized new makes use of for overpassed city landscapes, and laid the basis for a world motion to reclaim city areas.

Bonnie Ora Sherk: Lifestyles Frames Since 1970 items newly transferred movie and video in addition to hardly noticed pictures, collages, works on paper, artist books, revealed subject, and ephemera of Sherk’s early performances and site-specific interventions within the Seventies and Eighties. Sherk’s expansive creative imaginative and prescient for reworking city landscapes thru A Residing Library (1981-present) is explored thru a number of proposals and drawings for the reason that Eighties.

“Around the globe, there’s a motion underway to change into city areas like parking areas, highway on-ramps, and streets themselves into accumulating puts,” mentioned Mike Buhler, President and CEO of FMCAC. “The seeds of that motion are rooted in Bonnie’s paintings right here in San Francisco.”

Curated by way of Tanya ZimbardoBonnie Ora Sherk: Lifestyles Frames Since 1970 strains the advance of Sherk’s dedication to artwork and ecology within the public sphere over a variety of tasks. Sherk is identified as a key determine a few of the first era of Conceptual Artwork and function artists in California and the other or artist-run house motion of that generation.

(Quilt of the approaching Bonnie Ora Sherk: Lifestyles Frames Since 1970 catalog) 

Her solo performances and installations within the Seventies – equivalent to Snow Activity (1970) in entrance of the San Francisco Museum of Artwork (now SFMOMA), Public Lunch (1971) on the San Francisco Zoo, and Residing within the Woodland: Demonstration of Atkin Good judgment, Stability, Compromise, Devotion, and so forth. (1973), within the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara College – re-imagined ecosystems: a mound of snow seems in San Francisco; the artist eats lunch subsequent to tigers; animal habitats take root in an artwork gallery. Those early works display the artist’s lifelong learn about of the interrelationships between vegetation, animals, and people, with the objective of constructing sustainable techniques for social and ecological transformation.

“Earlier than her passing, Sherk loved a resurgence of pastime in her pioneering paintings within the public sphere and its legacy for modern artwork, from ecofeminism to social follow,” mentioned Tanya Zimbardo, visitor curator. “It’s an honor so to be offering an in-depth take a look at the evolution of her concepts, which resonate with a variety of network gardening, meals justice, and environmental sustainability projects these days within the Bay Space.”

Sherk’s first public set up, Transportable Parks I-III (1970, with Howard Levine), remodeled a sequence of city “lifeless areas” in San Francisco – the previous James Lick Highway that crossed over Marketplace Side road; two concrete islands adjoining to the Project/Van Ness Off ramp; the entire side road of Maiden Lane between Stockton and Grant – into inexperienced, dwelling environments, whole with sod, palm bushes, and are living animals. The transient installations would move on now not best to win essential acclaim however would presage the pop-up urbanism motion a long time later.

Regarded as Sherk’s best-known mission, The Farm, was once a multi-arts heart, environmental schooling farm, and network accumulating position situated beneath a big highway interchange in San Francisco on the former location of a dairy farm. Running to unite parcels of land throughout 4 neighborhoods bisected by way of the highway, The Farm engaged multigenerational neighbors and college youngsters from around the town whilst enjoying host to visible, acting arts, and track communities till 1987. Impressed by way of Sherk’s paintings, San Francisco in the end remodeled the website into an everlasting park, Potrero del Sol.

For the exhibition, the collaborative spirit of Sherk’s generation as founding president of The Farm from 1974 to 1980 are pictured thru video, pictures, and posters spanning hands-on actions to circus and dance performances.

“Bonnie is the uncommon artist whose contributions prolong past her medium of selection and into the bodily cloth of our city surroundings,” mentioned Frank Smigiel, Director of Arts Programming and Partnerships for FMCAC.

Sherk WEAD

As of late, Sherk’s bicoastal nonprofit A Residing Library (ALL), established in 1981, continues her imaginative and prescient for community-oriented, environmental tasks situated on Roosevelt Island, NYC, and the Bernal Heights, and OMI/Excelsior neighborhoods in San Francisco. ALL brings network participants and adolescence in combination to revive local habitats, create instructional gardens, plant bushes, and sunlight San Francisco’s Islais Creek watershed.

Additionally at the instance of Sherk’s exhibition, FMCAC has commissioned a pop-up network lawn advanced by way of John Bela, an urbanist, co-founder of Rebar and co-creator of the trendy parklet, in tribute to the artist’s Transportable Parks.

“Bonnie’s performative installations laid the groundwork for parklets as an expression of network in inexperienced areas on our town streets,” mentioned Bela. “There’s a right away thru line from her paintings within the Seventies to the parklets of these days.”

FMCAC is generating the primary important catalog devoted to the artist. Designed by way of McCall Mates and dispensed by way of D.A.P., the impending absolutely illustrated e-newsletter that includes key historical interviews (Linda Frye Burnham and Linda M. Montano) and writings by way of Sherk with texts by way of co-editors Smigiel and Zimbardo and visitor authors (John BelaJana BlankenshipRobert CroonquistKaren MossJen Delos ReyesRyan David Tacata, and Patricia Watts).

A symposium and birthday party of the e-newsletter release closes out the exhibition’s run in March 2024.

Bonnie Ora Sherk: Lifestyles Frames Since 1970 is a part of FMCAC’s signature Gallery 308 exhibition collection presenting main fresh artists, together with Sophie CalleJanet CardiffJoan JonasSir Isaac Julien, and Sunny A. Smith.



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