Presidio National Park, 649 Old Mason Street, San Francisco, CA
Thursday, January 11: 6PM Live performance, 7 – 9PM Opening Reception
Exhibition hours: Thursday – Sunday, 12 – 6PM
Cuban-born artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons addresses the unique and resilient nature of the Afro Cuban diaspora through photography, sculpture, performances, and video installations. Her West Coast debut and first exhibition with Gallery Wendi Norris, presents works ranging from 1990 to 2017, including three major installations, rare large-format Polaroid photographs, and a performance work.
Among the significant works in the exhibition are gridded variations of large-format Polaroid photographs depicting ancestral, totemic and futuristic themes ranging from the slave trade to migration. Polaroid manufactured only four large-format cameras and they have been used by very few artists, including Chuck Close, Gerhard Richter and William Wegman. The company ended production of the film in 2017 making existing works increasingly rare.
If I Were a Poet features several works from international museum exhibitions. Matanzas Sound Map, a sound and glass sculptural installation, debuted at Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece, and will be part of her upcoming retrospective at the National Museum of Fine Art in Havana in 2019. Another video and sound piece, Meanwhile the Girls were Playing, has been shown at the Frist Center at Vanderbilt, Spelman College, in Atlanta, and Smith College, in Northampton, MA.
Another highlight of the show is the performance work titled Remedios, in which Campos-Pons negotiates narratives of pain, loss and resilience while imagining herself in a time of societal and geopolitical transition. During her singular meditation on survival, the artist wears a costume that she designed and made by hand. Remedios has been performed at the New Museum in New York and at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Campos-Pons will perform Remedios at 6 pm on January 9, 2018 at Building 649.
The exhibition in Presidio National Park utilizes raw spaces in historic building 649 in Crissy Field. The building was constructed in 1951 by the United States Army to house the Sixth Army’s US Army Reserve Center. The 6,000 square foot interior features a large assembly hall surrounded by storage, classrooms, and a rifle range. Building 649 was dedicated to training and administrative activities. In April 1975, the facility was used to house and medically treat more than one thousand orphans from Vietnam, a program called Operation Babylift.