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SFMOMA Acquires Art In Technological Times Acquisitions Include Commissioned Projects By Janet Cardiff And Sarah Sze Museum Also Acquires Major Multimedia Work By Rineke Dijkstra

Released: April 01, 2001 ·

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 13, 2001—The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today the acquisition of recent works by Rebeca Bollinger, Janet Cardiff, Karin Sander and Sarah Sze that are featured in the exhibition 010101: Art in Technological Times (on view at the Museum through July 8, 2001). SFMOMA has acquired two works commissioned specifically for 010101: Sarah Sze’s towering installation Things Fall Apart and Janet Cardiff’s site-specific audio and video walk, The Telephone Call. In addition, the Museum will accession a suite of works by San Francisco–based conceptual artist Rebeca Bollinger and German artist Karin Sander’s miniature sculpture of John Weber, SFMOMA’s Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs and a co-curator of 010101. In a joint effort between the Media Arts, Painting and Sculpture and Photography Departments, the Museum also acquired The Buzz Club, Liverpool, England/Mysteryworld, Zaandam, Netherlands, the first multimedia work by Rineke Dijkstra to enter the permanent collection.

“For 010101, SFMOMA’s curators scouted worldwide for the best contemporary art that deals with technological issues. The acquisition of key works created specially for the exhibition dramatically enhances the presence of contemporary art in our permanent collection and reiterates the Museum’s commitment to commissioning original works by an array of international artists,” states David A. Ross, SFMOMA director.

Among the exhibition’s most stunning and complex commissions, Sarah Sze‘s Things Fall Apart, 2001, features a fractured sport utility vehicle (SUV) that cascades down the central staircase and into the Museum’s Haas Atrium. Known for her site-specific assemblages composed of the mass-produced miscellany of consumer society, Sze’s work includes everything from packing peanuts, toothpicks and sponges to pills, lightbulbs and fake grass. By slicing the SUV and replacing its original parts with simulations, Things Fall Apart suggests the sort of entropic, nonhierarchical sprawl that characterizes present-day information systems like the Internet. Sze’s work has been included in the 1999/2000 Carnegie International, the 2000 Whitney Biennial and the 1999 Venice Biennale.

Lauded by Richard Lacayo in Time magazine as “more fun than a funhouse excursion, as intimate as Molly’s soliloquy in Ulysses,” Canadian artist Janet Cardiff’s Telephone Call, 2001, is a 17-minute, site-specific audio and video walk through of SFMOMA. Equipped with a small digital camcorder with stereo headphones, visitors journey through the Museum by aligning onscreen images with the actual physical space and listening to an extraordinary narrative collage that includes Cardiff’s voice, fragments of recorded music and the artist’s footsteps. The live ambient sound becomes indistinguishable from the recorded soundtrack and, together with the visual track, produces a cinematic experience that blurs the lines between fiction and reality and the roles of the artist and spectator. Since the late 1990s, Cardiff—who, along with her husband, George Bures Miller, will represent Canada at the 2001 Venice Biennale—has become well known internationally for her perceptually engrossing, psychologically riveting works of art using recorded sound and speech. The Telephone Call is Cardiff’s second audio and video walk, her first being a commissioned piece for the 1999/2000 Carnegie International. SFMOMA is the first museum to acquire one of Cardiff’s video walks.

For 010101, German artist Karin Sander added a three-dimensional figure of SFMOMA curator John Weber to her 1:10 series, which she began in 1999. The piece, John Weber 1:10, 2000, started with an elaborate, 360-degree digital scanning apparatus that recorded Weber’s appearance, posture and clothes. The resulting data was fed to a computer-driven extruder, which fabricated the figure by spraying plastic in thin layers, each representing a horizontal cross section of the subject’s body. Finally, the plastic figure was sent to an airbrush artist, who colored it according to photographs. At precisely one-tenth the subject’s actual size, each figure in Sander’s series represents a strangely engrossing facsimile of a real person. Ultimately, 1:10 challenges viewers in much the same way that photography in the 19th century raised crucial questions about art, science and nature.

The Museum also announced the acquisition of four drawings from the 010101 exhibition—clouds and clouds, 1999, and Important Documents, Ed Glaze and Photo Albums, all from 2000—by Rebeca Bollinger. These colored pencil drawings on vellum feature an often incomplete grid of delicately rendered, thumbnail-size images that Bollinger gathered by entering key words into Internet search engines and surveying personal postings. From her first such investigation, clouds and clouds, which features stock images of clouds from the Web, to Important Documents—which features historical documents ranging from Declaration of Independence to letters sent from Elvis Presley to Richard Nixon—these drawings underscore the leveling quality of Web-based imagery, which is sorted and prioritized according to categories rather than content.

With the acquisition of the multimedia installation The Buzz Club, Liverpool, England/Mysteryworld, Zaandam, Netherlands, 1996–97, the Museum enriches its existing holdings of Rineke Dijkstra‘s still photography. Known internationally for her still and moving documentary images of adolescents, the Dutch artist’s fascination with youth and mass culture plays out in this compelling piece. To create the work, the artist invited adolescents in two nightclubs—one in Liverpool, England; the other in Zaandam, Netherlands—to pose against a blank wall and dance to a favorite tune. The resulting two films are screened in juxtaposition, revealing the similarities that exist between youth cultures around the world. The Buzz Club, Liverpool, England/Mysteryworld, Zaandam, Netherlands is featured in Let’s Entertain, an exhibition organized by the Walker Art Center that will soon travel to Mexico City and Miami.


Rebeca Bollinger (American, born 1960)
clouds and clouds, 1999
Colored pencil, tape and label on vellum
38 x 25 in.

Important Documents, 2000
Colored pencil on vellum
38 x 25 in.

Photo Albums, 2000
Colored pencil, tape and label on vellum
38 x 25 in.

Ed Glaze, 2000
Colored pencil on vellum
14 x 17 in.

Janet Cardiff (Canadian, born 1957)
The Telephone Call, 2001
Audio and video walk through of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Duration: 17:00
Media: digital videotape
Equipment: mini DV camera and headphones

Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, born 1959)
The Buzz Club, Liverpool, England/Mysteryworld, Zaandam, Netherlands, 1996–97
Two-channel film projection (35mm film with sound, transferred to DVD or video)
Dimensions variable
Edition 7/8

Karin Sander (German, born 1957)
John Weber 1:10, 2000
Three-dimensional body scan of the original subject (fused deposition modeling), rapid prototyping, ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) plastic, airbrush
Each figure exactly 1:10 scale

Sarah Sze (American, born 1969)
Things Fall Apart, 2001
Mixed media with vehicle
Dimensions variable

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172 jilynch@sfmoma.org
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org
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