Stage Presence

Theatricality in Art and Media
July 14–October 8, 2012

Stage Presence shines a spotlight on theatricality in the art of the last 30 years, presenting works in various media that defy the traditional divide between the visual and the performing arts. The notion of performance appears here in a range of guises, from the camp spectacle and subversive humor of 1980s works by General Idea and Charles Atlas, to the formal tableaux of James Coleman’s slide projection and Craigie Horsfield’s masterful tapestry. Rehearsals and reenactments are examined by Carey Young, Gerard Byrne, and Sharon Hayes, among others. Guy Ben-Ner appropriates IKEA showrooms for guerilla family comedies, while Janet Cardiff’s participatory video tour turns SFMOMA itself into a kind of theater. A newly commissioned in-gallery cinema and performance space created by artist Tucker Nichols expands the survey with live events by a variety of artists, including D-L Alvarez and Kevin Killian, Cliff Hengst, Anne McGuire, Shana Moulton and Nick Hallett, My Barbarian, Rashaad Newsome, Margaret Tedesco, and Richard T. Walker and daily screenings by artists such as Keren Cytter, Christian Jankowski, George Kuchar, Rosemarie Trockel, and Robert Wilson.

Geoffrey Farmer, wood and metal figure cut outs
Craigie Horsfield, tapestry of people in crowd
Carey Young, video still with man and woman standing in office room
Charles Atlas, video still woman making fist covered in red dots
James Coleman, video still of two young girls in costume and makeup with four girls in background

Geoffrey Farmer, The Surgeon and the Photographer (detail), 2009; collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, purchased with funds from the Jean MacMillan Southam Major Art Purchase Fund, Phil Lind, Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund, Canada Council for the Arts Acquisitions Assistance Program and the Michael O’Brian Family Foundation; photo: Scott Masey; © Geoffrey Farmer

Craigie Horsfield, Via Gianturco, Naples, February 2010, 2011; courtesy the artist, Scheublein Fine Art, Zurich, and Marvelli Gallery, New York; © Craigie Horsfield

Carey Young, I am a Revolutionary, 2001; courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; © Carey Young

Charles Atlas, Hail the New Puritan, 1985-86; courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix, Inc., New York; © Charles Atlas

James Coleman, Photograph (still), 1998-99; partial gift of Pamela and Richard Kramlich to the New Art Trust to benefit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate, United Kingdom; © James Coleman