Join us for an intimate artist conversation between David Wilson and Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo on Wednesday, June 23 at 6pm. Drop by in person, or tune in on Instagram Live @500cappstreet. David Wilson is the resident artist of The David Ireland House while artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo is the curator of Southern Exposure’s current exhibition, We use our hands to support. They have previously collaborated with one another and now find themselves in the same neighborhood doing collective exhibition work. Join the artists as they check in on each other, share stories and, exchange experiences of their work processes in an intimate one-on-one dialog.
This program will take place outdoors on The David Ireland House terrace. Free and open to the public.
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo is an artist, activist, educator, storyteller & curator who lives/works between Ohlone Land [Oakland, CA] and Powhatan Land [Richmond,VA]. Their work has been included in exhibitions and performances at Konsthall C [Stockholm, Sweden], SEPTEMBER Gallery [Hudson, NY], EFA Project Space [New York City, NY], Leslie Lohman Museum [New York City, NY], San Francisco State University Gallery, Signal Center for Contemporary Art [Malmo, Sweden], Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [San Francisco, CA] and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [Berkeley, CA], amongst others. For the past 5 years, Lukaza has been the Lead Curator at Nook Gallery [Oakland, CA], collaborating with over 80+ artists, writers, performers & musicians, in a gallery located in their apartment kitchen. They are currently enrolled in an MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.
David Wilson creates observational drawings based on direct experiences with landscape and orchestrates site-based gatherings that draw together a wide net of artists, performers, filmmakers, chefs, and artisans into collaborative relationships. He organized the experimental exhibition The Possible at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) and received the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) 2012 SECA Art Award. He has exhibited his work with SFMOMA, was included in the 2010 CA Biennial, and presented a Matrix solo exhibition at BAMPFA. Wilson has received grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation, Southern Exposure, The Center for Craft and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. He is based in Oakland, CA.
“It’s a state of touching the surrounding energy and I shudder.”
Clarice Lispector, Agua Viva, 1973
To experience an object as art while aware of its memory, is to intensely experience it. There are places full of objects that touch, and, in return, fill you with the desire to touch back. There is a physical reaction that occurs in proximity with art objects: a quivering of the air that grazes your skin and produces a shudder.
If that touch is forbidden, as in a room full of glass jars, the phenomenon is ever more present. In form these glass jars contain things you can’t touch or see, especially if they are unlabeled, that fill you with a yearning to dig up their secrets. They tease you with coy glances and hints of what is at their center. In turn, inviting you in to smash and destroy them so you may obtain that deeper knowledge, that deeper intimacy of their being. These feelings incited by these jars are your relationship to them; it becomes an exchange.
Whether this exchange between your being and the object is destructive or instructive, it is about a feeling of touching and being aware of that touch. It is a filling experience, which allows for energy to flow from one object to another. Objects are bodies, like human bodies, full of memories and sensations. We live in constant collision and creation with these object bodies. When we interact with another body we participate in an exchange of energy and feeling, both being impacted by this exchange. This interaction can be between you and me, you and a table, a window and a tree, a piece of art and the viewer, or a house and its inhabitants. In realizing everything is a body, we recognize that relationships can be built between anything and ourselves and between any number of objects and individuals.
When a relationship occurs there is a chain of relationships and exchanges of feeling created between many bodies and are continuously exchanged within a space. They spill and fold over and onto themselves again and again, spreading through containers becoming an invisible current of touch. A new body entering such a space feels the touch of these concentrated feelings trembling in the air, inviting them to join in. This new relationship is visceral: a sharing of these different touches and feelings occurs and adds a new voice to the eternal dialogue of that space; a dialogue that expands and burrows itself into its surroundings with each word etched into the bodies occupying the space in the form of memories; a resultant swell of the state of intimacy. If you are in one of these spaces you can choose to participate, to feel this caress from the tip of your forehead to the hair on your legs, to experience this shudder if you allow yourself.
“… any object, any situation, can be art if so experienced…”1 says David Ireland about his Maintenance Action work at 500 Capp Street. Maintenance Action is a term that describes Ireland’s work where art is something flowing underneath all things, something that is already there and ready to be experienced when a person is willing to participate. He goes on to say “My art would be that of living; each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual or cerebral. It is a sort of euphoria.”2 However, it is inscribed, engraved in his surroundings, affecting the objects he creates in Ireland’s home at 500 Capp Street. When you step onto the staircase you see it recorded in the lines of the dark wood, carved into its very being. Like a memory mirror, when participants place their feet on a step they will feel your foot on the soles of their feet. A visible sensation from the wearing of the boards, in the discoloration from a burnt umber brown to a light sienna. But, this act is also recorded within the staircase’s memory, every foot acting as a trigger. Years of footsteps, bare and covered, are etched into these winding stairs. To walk up them is like floating to a new realm of lightness.
The act of using generational memory and the history of what an object has come in contact with is a form of stabilization for Ireland. This form of memory stabilizes your position in the history of the home by realizing the intensity of the life within these objects. Gaston Bachelard ponders this, stating: “Immensity in the intimate domain is intensity. An intensity of being, the intensity of a being evolving in a vast perspective of intimate immensity.” To experience something in immensity is to experience it intimately, and in order to intimately experience something you must create your own relationship to it.
Mark Thompson, friend and collaborator of Ireland’s, describes this, saying “to create a relationship with something you must care for it.” It’s a relationship of tapping into an object’s memory through your own memories, memories that are inherently immense. This immensity fills the object and your mind creating an experience of art and care with this object.
Ireland inhabited the house at 500 Capp Street with extreme care. He saw and treated it as another living body in relation to himself. You can feel this nurture in the words he uses in his diary.3
“After removing the immediate skin of the prior occupant, I washed and washed with the care that goes with the last shrouded bath in the Gauges.”
He speaks of the house with these types of immensities, as if it is its own vast universe that grew and collapsed with each new generation of occupancy/ownership.
“I found gouges that I was sure were from glaciers that had ripped through the hallways and chambers Of this house.”
When you walk into the house there is a collective gaze that meets yours and invites you in. Every body in the house meets your eye creating a spark of emotion. You are both incapable of hiding from the other’s gaze. All you can do is breathe and feel the air that surrounds that pulses and swells through the bodies of the house in the rising of your chest. We depend on objects, and they depend on us because without these fellow bodies we would be empty of memory, it takes two to create intimacy. 500 Capp Street is a collective intimacy through being a place where a body can feel it is made of the same essence as those which surround it.
The metal in the walls, or a wire drawing made of the same metals in your blood. There is a recognition. The metals pulse together, flowing faster through your veins pulling your body to expand with it. You recognize and are recognized as the same matter and become incapable of fighting off this great shudder.
The Art Of David Ireland: The Way Thing Are, Karen Tsujimoto [↩]
The Art Of David Ireland: The Way Things Are, Karen Tsujimoto [↩]
Intimate VIP evening consists of open bar, crafted cocktails, bites, curated house experience of the David Ireland House at 500 Capp Street, and music from world renowned 14TH CENTURY SUFI CHAMBER FUSION ENSEMBLE. Hosted by Value Culture and The David Ireland House.
Value Culture: The mission of Value Culture is to produce and support artistic, educational, charitable, and spiritual events to inspire individuals to give back to their communities.
The 500 Capp Street Foundation: The David Ireland House at 500 Capp Street in San Francisco is the historic home turned work of art created by the late, pioneering conceptual artist David Ireland. The House presents exhibitions and educational programs celebrating Ireland’s artistic legacy, and hosts collaborative events to strengthen San Francisco’s cultural community—bringing together artists, scholars, teachers, students, and the public—as Ireland’s home did during his lifetime.
Falsa Music: Submerge yourself with the sounds of @FalsaMusic, a New York-based Sufi music ensemble known for the instrumentation of vocals, harmonium, electric bass VI, Spanish guitar, drum set, tabla, Carnatic violin, and trumpet. Falsa’s ability to mold the traditional sounds within a modern context will mesmerize you into states that can be meditative at times and, at other, explosive.
Wander 20th and Utah street and visit new exhibitions at Catharine Clark Gallery, The David Ireland House, KADIST, and Southern Exposure! While safety protocols remain in place, fixed start times do not, and we are all open 12-5 pm with no appointment necessary. We all look forward to welcoming you back for the long-awaited summer exhibition season.
Exhibitions on view
Catharine Clark Gallery, 248 Utah Street Open Field: Nine Artists Respond to the Ideals of Black Mountain College Open Field includes work by Jen Bervin, Lenka Clayton, LigoranoReese, Mary Muszynski, Reniel Del Rosario, Stephanie Syjuco, Leilah Talukder, and Amy Trachtenberg. Full information here.
The David Ireland House, 500 Capp Street Sittings David Wilson’s solo exhibition was developed over 4 months of residency. Full information here.
KADIST, 3295 20th Street Seeing Sound, curated by Barbara London The group exhibition explores current trajectories in sound art through the works by Marina Rosenfeld, Aura Satz, and Samson Young. Full information here.
Southern Exposure, 3030 20th Street We use our hands to support, curated by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo This project includes installations, garments, banners, and manifestos based on aesthetics of resistance and transformative collectivity by Fronteristxs Collective, Amanda Curreri, Kimi Hanauer, and Sam Vernon. Full information here.
Various telephone numbers are written on the walls of Ireland’s house at 500 Capp Street. One name and number that stands out with mystery is FOXY #621-3479. Who is FOXY? This and other questions about narratives of art making from the period of Ireland’s life, the 1970’s to 2009, will be answered on August 21, 2021 through FOXY.
We are proud to present FOXY, a performance-based oral history project recording stories about artist David Ireland and his house at 500 Capp Street in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood co-produced and conceptualized by artist Camile E. Messerley. This generative project engages David Ireland’s collaborators, friends, and the larger Bay Area artist community to contribute to our collection of stories about the artist’s biography and the conceptual art scene from San Francisco of the artists’ life in the bay (1970’s to 2009).
FOXY’s launch will include a feature on our website and a sculptural installation in our archive room where visitors can contribute to this generative archive by leaving a message. Grow FOXY and this narrative archive by calling (833) 621-3479 and share a memory of David Ireland or a time at 500 Capp Street.
Featuring Curator Shehab Awad Friday, May 14 at 12pm PDT Online
Join us online this Friday, May 14 at noon for The David Ireland House’s first LUNCH HOUR. Curator Shehab Awad leads this free, midday workshop titled “Dust and Bones” using the House’s dining room as a case study to approach problematic representation through specificity, questioning, listening, honoring, and remembering.
Shehab Awad’s workshop will include research about essentialist, identity-based art criticism, personal discoveries, and a poem by the Haitian-born, queer icon Assotto Saint.
The workshop is one hour: starting with a presentation, which runs for approximately 40 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of questions and discussion.
How can we develop clear language constructions around complex histories within the gazes of art and museology? Should we bury the bones of the skeletons in our closet or hang them up for everyone to see?
Shehab Awad is an independent curator and writer from Cairo, Egypt currently based in New York City. He/she is Founding Director of Executive Care, an all-encompassing agency at the service of artists. Awad’s interests include artists’ books, cuteness, banality, hedonism, and the liberating potential of nightlife, sleep, recreational drugs, and chronic conditions. As a freelance curator, Awad’s projects highlight queer, marginalized, and undervalued practices. Recent projects include Happy tears (2020), a two-person exhibition presenting the sinister aspect of cuteness at 17Essex Gallery, NY through artworks by Ian Faden and Wayne Bruce Dean; A Body of Work (2019), a group exhibition exploring the body through textile at Jane Lombard Gallery, NY; Publishing Process (2018), a symposium about artists’ books and experimental publishing practices from the global south at Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, NY; Hiding in Plain Sight (2018), Syracuse University’s MFA graduate exhibition; and When the whites of the eyes are red (2017), a group exhibition about the conflation of sleep and death at Hessel Museum of Art; NY.
Publications include A Tardigrade’s Dream (2016), an illustrated, short story book about a batch of frozen tardigrades sent to outer space published by Nile Sunset Annex, EG; The Symbol That Must Not Be Named about the Raba’a Square Massacre in Branded Protest (X-SITE: 2020); The People Who Hold The Wall about laziness as a form of political resistance in Sara Enrico: The Jumpsuit Theme (NERO: 2021); and various writing in periodicals such as The Brooklyn Rail, ArtAsiaPacific, Art Papers, and Madamasr—Egypt’s leading independent news source. Awad has held curatorial positions at Townhouse, Cairo; Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, NY; and most recently, Participant Inc, NY. He/she holds an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. In Summer 2021, Awad looks forward to curating Bard’s MFA graduate exhibition and launching Executive Care with multidisciplinary artist Keioui Keijaun Thomas’ first long-form solo exhibition at Participant Inc, NY.
LUNCH HOUR at The David Ireland House is a program created to support the collective endeavor of the House’s staff to question their positions in the artistic field through creative and discursive means. LUNCH HOUR aims to strengthen The David Ireland House staff’s roles as art mediators in the ever-evolving landscape of creating narratives for art-making. The program invites curators, archivists, artists, and specialists for skill-generating workshops extended to the general public in the Bay Area and beyond.