Space is the Place: Saya Woolfalk, Wendy Red Star, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and David Huffman

March 23 – April 27, 2013

In the loosely defined movement of afrofuturism artists use the imagery and language of science-fiction to construct visual narratives about identity, politics, and technology. Coined by cultural critics aiming to draw a connective thread through the work of artists and writers such as Parliament-Funkadelic, Sun Ra, Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler, afrofuturism re-examines technology through the lens of ‘the other’.

Space is the Place features a mix of new, recent and historical work from Guillermo Gómez-Peña, David Huffman, Wendy Red Star and Saya Woolfalk in an investigation of the evolution and maturation of afrofuturism as these artists break away from the movement’s original constraints. All four artists create distinct landscapes and narratives that examine ‘the other’ in radically different ways. Together, these works form a constellation of new perspectives that explore the boundaries between fantasy and identity, drawing attention to how these themes affect our day-to-day social interactions.

This exhibition was co-curated by Elizabeth Spavento, an independent curator living and working in Portland, OR. Her most recent project, We Know Not Exactly Where or How, will open at Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn, NY this summer. She holds a MA in Liberal Studies from Reed College.

Public Program

Wednesday, March 27, 6–10 pm
OMSI After Dark
Join us at OMSI for a special night of art amidst the science of it all! Saya Woolfalk will screen a film in the planetarium and David Huffman will have a special installation on display. One night only!

David Huffman studied in New York and San Francisco and has an MFA from California College of the Arts. He received a Eureka award in 2007, an ARTADIA Foundation award in 2006, and a Palo Alto Public Arts Commission Award in 2005. His work has appeared in Art Forum, Art Journal, Art Papers, Frieze, Flash Art, Vibe, NY Arts, What’s On in London, the San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times. Huffman’s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and London.

Saya Woolfalk is a New York artist who works across media (sculpture, installation, painting, performance, and video) re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions, blurring the boundaries between science-fiction, play and technology. She received a BA in Visual Art and Economics from Brown University and an MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited widely in the United States including at MoMA PS1, Deitch Projects, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Performa 09, and most recently at the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ. Woolfalk has also appeared in Sculpture Magazine, the New York Times, W Magazine and in Art21’s online publications.

Wendy Red Star’s work explores the intersection between life on the Crow Indian reservation and the world outside of that environment. She received a BA in sculpture from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana and an MFA in sculpture at UCLA. Her work has been shown internationally including at The Fondation Cartier L’Art Contemporain, Paris, France; The CSULB gallery, Long Beach, CA; Research & Development, Chicago, IL; The Museum Tower at MOCA, Los Angeles, CA; and The Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, England, and the Portland2012 Biennial, Disjecta, Portland, OR.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Born in 1955 and raised in Mexico City, Guillermo Gómez-Peña came to the United States in 1978. His artistic production has centered around his life mission: to make experimental yet accessible art; to work in politically and emotionally charged sites for diverse audiences; and to collaborate across racial, gender, and age boundaries as a gesture of citizen-diplomacy.

As founding member of the bi-national arts collective Border Arts Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo (1985- 1990), Gómez-Peña was featured in the 1990 Biennale di Venezia. He has participated in a vast number of exhibitions, biennials and festivals including the Sydney Biennial (1992) the Whitney Biennial (1993), Sonart (1999), and Made in California at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (2000). In 1991, he became the first Chicano/Mexicano artist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. He has also won a number of awards including: the New York Bessie Award (1989), the Viva Los Artists Award (1993) and the Cineaste Lifetime Achievement Award at Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival (2000). Gómez-Peña’s performance and installation work has been presented at more than five hundred venues across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the former Soviet Union, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. Chronicles and scripts of his performances and manifestos have led to the publication of several books, including Dangerous Border Crossers (2000), Codex Espangliensis (2000) and The New World Border (1996), for which he won the American Book Award in 1997. Gómez-Peña has also been a writer and contributing editor for several newspapers and experimental arts magazines, and has participated in national news radio programs.

His work, which includes performance art, video, audio, installations, poetry, journalism, critical writings and cultural theory, explores cross-cultural issues and North/South relations in the era of globalization. Utilizing his body, language and wit as primary tools, Gómez-Peña’s work challenges conventions of race, culture and class. He uses his art and writings to reveal labyrinths of identity and the precipices of nationality. Gómez-Peña currently lives and works in San Francisco.