Three Projects Constructing a New Dialogue about Race in America

David Huffman, Traumanaut Tree Hugger, video still

Opening Reception: Friday, September 16, 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: September 16 - December 10, 2011

The San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery is pleased to present SHIFT, an exhibition of newly commissioned solo projects by Bay Area artists Elizabeth Axtman, David Huffman and Travis Somerville who, through their work, confront the concept of race in America.

SHIFT pushes the public to think about our changing demographics and what role race plays in our post-millennial American circumstance. The SHIFT artists, of whom two are mixed race and one is white, are creating works that are extremely disparate from each other in terms of aesthetics. However, each attempts to illuminate the present by thrusting the past (recent and not so recent) and its varied legacies of prejudice, hate and denial into today and the future. SHIFT - shifting demographics, shifting forms of activism, shifting critical theory, shifting contemporary art practices...

Meg Shiffler, SFAC Gallery Director and SHIFT curator, says, “We’re not living in a post-race world, however things are changing. According to the 2010 Census 2.9% of Americans claim to be more than one race, which is up 32% from 2000. We are fast becoming a nation of mixed race individuals, which broadens the dialogue about racial identity and politics immensely. The artists in this exhibition, each in their own way, present new insights and perspectives that implicate a living history and call for discourse around radical redefinition.”

Established Bay Area painter, David Huffman, takes on the SFAC Main Gallery with his first multi-media exhibition. A centerpiece of Out of Bounds will be a pyramid made out of 650 basketballs, which, at the end of the exhibition, will be deconstructed and donated to local charities. Elizabeth Axtman, an artist deeply interested in forgiveness, has created a video, The Love Renegade #308: I Love You Keith Bardwell (Phase 1), that responds to a 2009 incident in which Bardwell, a former Louisiana Justice of the Peace, refused to marry a mixed race couple. Her video, featuring interviews with mixed race couples and the children of mixed race couples will be screened at various locations throughout San Francisco. Travis Somerville’s new installation, Places I’ve Never Been, takes over our Grove Street installation space, and highlights six historical moments in San Francisco when various populations have risen up in protest.

Elizabeth Axtman
The Love Renegade #308: I Love You Keith Bardwell (Phase 1)
Off-site & Online Video Project
Check out the project page for more information.

David Huffman
Out of Bounds
Main Gallery, 401 Van Ness Avenue
Tuesday - Saturday, Noon-5pm

David Huffman is represented by Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco.

Travis Somerville
Places I've Never Been
Window Installation Site, 155 Grove Street
Viewable: 24/7
Check out the project page for more information.

SHIFT is generously supported by the following:

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