The Notebook is an ongoing collection of links, events and artists of which French Culture SF has recently found of interest.


Lecture: Ryan Gander

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 7:00–9:00 pm
Timken Lecture Hall, 1111 Eighth Street San Francisco, CA 94107
Gander’s idea-based practice appropriates elements from different disciplines — from architecture to urbanism, design, or language — to suggest narratives that defy artistic conventions and evade popular culture or personal experience. Loose Associations (2002) was an ongoing performance work that rapidly gained him international recognition. Taking the form of a lecture series, the piece allowed Gander to engage in verbal digressions through topics as diverse as “desire lines,” furniture design, and Morse code. Puzzles also play a key role in Gander’s practice. In recent years he has produced curios and complex works, for instanceBauhaus Revisited (2005), a chess set based on Joseph Hartwig’s 1924 didactical redesign of the game.Gander studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL and the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, NL. Recent projects include ILLUMInations at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale; Intervals at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC, US; and The Public Art Fund, NYC, US. Recent solo shows have been held at Dazaifu Tenmangu, Fukuoka, JP; 1223 Gendaikaiga, Tokyo, JP; YU-UN Viewing Room, Tokyo, JP; Okinawa Prefectural Museum, Okinawa, JP, and Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, CH. A monograph by the artist, entitled Catalogue Raisonnable Vol: 1 has recently been published.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lecture: Nato Thompson

Monday, April 2, 2012 – 7:30pm
Free and open to the public
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco,

In this talk, curator Nato Thompson pulls from his recently published book, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Age of Cultural Production (Melville House, 2012), to discuss the work of some of the most interesting artists and activists working today. He evaluates sites and institutions that empower their communities to see power and re-imagine it. From cooperative housing to anarchist infoshops to alternative art venues, Thompson shows that many of today’s most innovative spaces operate as sites of dramatic personal transformation.

Since January 2007, Nato Thompson has been chief curator at Creative Time, organizing projects such as Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul Chan’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum. Prior to Creative Time, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions such as The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004), a survey of political art of the 1990s with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including BookForum, Art Journal, tema celeste, Parkett, Cabinet, and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. In 2004, the College Art Association honored him for distinguished writing in Art Journal.


Cinema : War and Remembrance: The Films of Aleksei Guerman

May 17-31
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Aleksei Guerman’s films — five features to date, all shot in stunning black-and-white and staged in complex, obsessively detailed tracking shots—have long been championed by a small but enthusiastic cult of admirers. But today, even the savvy art-film-goer is unlikely to have heard of Guerman, let alone seen any of his work — a dilemma for which this retrospective represents one small corrective.

Guerman was born in 1938 in Leningrad into something like Soviet cultural royalty, the son of author, playwright, reporter and screenwriter Yuri Guerman, a man who dined with Stalin and Gorky. The younger Guerman studied theater and film, beginning as an apprentice in the then-prosperous Soviet studio system. But Guerman quickly proved to be a troublesome cog in that well-oiled machine, clashing with a co-director and running so afoul of the authorities on Trial on the Road that the film was suppressed for the next 15 years.

Guerman’s subsequent projects have been subject to variously long production delays, owing to everything from the collapse of funding to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet Guerman has, rather like one of his own wizened, war-weary protagonists, soldiered forth, creating one of the most profoundly human and richly cinematic bodies of work in modern movies. We are delighted to present the first complete North American retrospective of a master of modern cinema, including new 35mm prints of The Seventh Companion and Trial on the Road.

More info: Artforum


Theater: In Paris

April 25–May 13, 2012
Berkeley Repertory Theater

Adapted from the short story by Ivan Bunin
composition and direction by Dmitry Krymov
Told in French and Russian with English supertitles

Berkeley Rep invites you to a love story that could only unfold In Paris. Legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov takes the stage with Anna Sinyakina and a talented ensemble assembled by visionary director Dmitry Krymov. Based on a story by Nobel Prize-winner Ivan Bunin, In Paris is a dazzling new play set in the 1930s, which mixes movement with a romantic story and spectacular design. This rare international collaboration—told in French and Russian with English supertitles—unites renowned artists born in Russia for a vivid visual experience. Visit the city of light and love with Berkeley Rep, Baryshnikov and the Dmitry Krymov Laboratory.

The Dmitry Krymov Laboratory—a young Moscow-based company—has offered him an exceptional new leading role. Premiered in Finland in August, In Paris contains little to no dance, but as theatre it is resoundingly poetic work…an intimate, melancholy story, where even the jokes are bittersweet…A chorus of five actors and singers joins the couple, and both the music and the subtle use of video contribute to the atmosphere of this eerie, surprising production.”—Financial Times

Baryshnikov’s acting has always been a part of his greatness.”—Chicago Tribune

Baryshnikov plies his trade with wonder, grace and more than a touch of genius…Beyond this there is poetry, beyond this there is heart.”—San Francisco Chronicle

One of the greatest dancers in history.”—New York Times

Dmitry Krymov is a revolutionary. His theatrical tools are not new, yet every moment is unexpected…Krymov steps over the literal into the poetic. Each image he creates is like a poem. All the images connect like beads on a necklace, fashioning a performance. While employing some texts in his productiosn, the majority of his works are visually based. The result: unforgettable theatrically-charged moments.”—Moscow Journal

“Yes, from day to day, from year to year, you wait in secret for only one thing—that moment when you’ll stumble onto happy love. Ultimately it is this hope alone that enables you to live…”—Ivan Bunin, “In Paris”


Einstein on the Beach

February 26- February 28, 2012

Widely credited as one of the supreme artistic achievements of the 20th century, Einstein on the Beach is recognized as one of director/designer Robert Wilson and composer Philip Glass‘s great masterpieces. New audiences and an entirely new generation will have the opportunity to experience the piece live as this reconstructed seminal work comes to Cal Performances as part of a major international tour, the first fully staged performances west of the Mississippi.
An experience to cherish for a lifetime” says The New York Times.


Slavoj Žižek & Boris Gunjevic

Monday, April 23, 2012, 8:00 pm
City Arts and Lectures – Palace of Fine Arts

Philosopher *God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse ** Croatian Theologian * Crucified Subject: Without Grail

In Conversation with Roy Eisenhardt

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. His books include Living in the End Times, In Defense of Lost Causes, and four volumes of the Essential Žižek. The forthcoming God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse is a brilliant dissection and reconstruction of Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm where, along with co-author Boris Gunjévic, Žižek employs Hegelian and Lacanian analysis to show how each faith understands humanity and divinity — and how the differences between them may be far stranger than they may at first seem.  Last summer, the Marxist theorist even managed to bridge the gap between intellectual discourse and the gossip of the New York Post’s “Page Six” when it was reported that he and Lady Gaga spent time discussing feminism and collective human creativity.  The rumors were false, but Žižek’s popularity outside traditional academic circles is undeniable thanks to his interest in contemporary issues and keen sense of humor.   He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The Croatian Theologian Boris Gunjevic  serves as a lecturer in ethics at the Biblijski Institut in Zagreb, Croatia. He is the author of Crucified Subject: Without the Grail and co-author with Žižek of “God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse.


Richard Serra’s Drawing

October 15, 2011 January 16, 2012

Richard Serra’s massive steel sculptures have made him one of the key figures in contemporary art, but his work also takes another striking form: drawing. This first-ever retrospective of Serra’s drawings is a chance to see this major artist’s work from an entirely new angle. The exhibition traces Serra’s evolving ideas and methods since the 1970s, when he began making wall-size abstractions that radically altered the relationship between drawing and architectural space. Serra uses black paintstick to build stark, densely layered forms that manipulate the viewer’s sense of mass and gravity, making for an experience that is as visceral as it is visual. The SFMOMA presentation also features a selection of the artist’s earliest sculptures in lead, rubber, and fiberglass, demonstrating the vital connection between the processes of sculpting and drawing in Serra’s art.


San Francisco Chronicle



Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal – Danzon

Friday Decmber 2 & Saturday December 3

Only a handful of dance makers have transformed the cultural landscape, and perhaps none was as influential and controversial as German choreographer Pina Bausch —”the undisputed Queen of European dance theater” (The Times, London)—who left an indelible mark on the artistic world before her death in 2009. Her famed company returns with Danzón, Bausch’s funny, bittersweet meditation on humanity’s trek through 20th-century life, named for the lively and passionate Cuban dance form. Filled with Bausch’s trademark blend of movement, speech, song, and astonishing visual images, Danzón cheerfully explores our life trajectory at its best and worst, from carefree childhood through playful sexual awakening to the inevitable transitions to adulthood and death.

Soon coming in the movie theaters
PINA directed by Wim Wenders

Homage to late choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009), a leading influence in the development of the Tanztheater style of dance. Bausch was the artistic head of Tanztheater Wuppertal, a German group that fuses modern dance with theatrical flourishes into a kind of hybrid art form. Lewis Segal, former Times dance critic, said that “it is limiting to call her a choreographer; she liked the term ‘dance theater.’ She was important because she thought everything belonged together — speech, movement, design, commenting on the audience.”



Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes Will Bring Richard III
Curran Theater, October 19 – 29

A production of Shakespeare’s Richard III with Kevin Spacey in the title role and Sam Mendes as director is coming to the Curran Theatre this fall, according to a statement from SHN, operator of the Curran. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale a week from Friday. The production will travel to 11 locations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, according to the statement. San Francisco is the only U.S. location other than New York. Mendes directed Spacey in the film American Beauty, for which each man won an Oscar.

“This is a really big deal for us, and for San Francisco,” Carole Shorenstein Hays of SHN is quoted as saying in the release. “People will recognize the combination of Spacey and Mendes from American Beauty; now they’re interpreting one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays for a modern audience. It should be an amazing experience.” A group called the Bridge Project, a collaboration of performing arts organizations BAM, the Old Vic, and Neal Street, is behind the production.
Other cast members, according to the release, include Maureen Anderman as the Duchess of York, Haydn Gwynne as Queen Elizabeth, Chuk Iwuji as the Duke of Buckingham, Gemma Jones as Queen Margaret, and Chandler Williams as George, Duke of Clarence.

Lear more about Richard III New York Time



Film Screening

Tacita Dean’s Craneway Event
SFMOMA Thursday, November 10, 2011 – 7:00 p.m.
Tacita Dean, 2009, 108 min., 16mm

Artist Dean offers a film portrait of late choreographer Merce Cunningham as he leads his dancers in three days of rehearsal for one of his dance “events” in the former Ford Assembly Plant in Richmond, California. The plant’s expansive windows allow shifting light and views of the San Francisco Bay to play a role alongside the dancers, complementing their movements. Completed just months after Cunningham’s passing, Craneway Event is a poetic homage to the avant-garde master.

Merce Cunningham & Tacita Dean

In November 2008, Tacita Dean filmed the choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919 – 2009) and his dance company rehearsing for an event in a former Ford assembly plant in Richmond, California. Sadly it was to become Cunningham’s last film collaboration. The feature-length film concentrates on Cunningham as he works with his dancers over three days and across three stages in the stunning 1930’s Albert Kahn building. Glazed on three sides and situated in a working port, the factory looks out across San Francisco Bay. The continually shifting light, the passing pelicans and the ship traffic all contribute to the choreography and the film, the sort of random intervention much welcomed by both Cunningham and Dean.

Merce Cunningham often constructed these ‘events’ in non-dance spaces re-using moments or parts of his choreography, as he did in London, in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003. Borne out of a working practice developed with his long-term partner John Cage, the music for such an event would be produced in parallel to the dance, and was often heard by the dancers for the first time during the performance itself. As a consequence the dancers would time themselves by counting. When Dean was invited to work again with Cunningham, she chose instead to film the rehearsal, which, she explained, would allow her to watch Merce more closely, but also observe the construction of the dance without music. Craneway Event is a film about Merce working on something with his dancers over three afternoons on site, as they have done on countless occasions before, but it is also the document of a celebrated practice, and of a legendary man at work, and now a moment lost in time.

When Merce died on July 26th, I had just begun editing Craneway Event. It immediately left me with an absence, which I filled initially by watching recordings of Merce dancing in his youth or chatting in interviews. When I returned to the film, I realised that I was in the unique position of still being able to work with him and to create something new, not only about him, but also with him. Although I lost the pleasure of imagining him watching the film, I gained a different sort of Muse. Merce’s joy in the process was steadfastly there and his enthusiasm seemed to have a directional force. I began to feel that Merce had set up the components that make up the film – the building, the dancers, the light, the ships and the birds, because he knew they would not fail him in absentia.
Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean is best known for her work in 16mm film, although she utilises a variety of media including drawing, photography and sound. Her films often employ long takes and steady camera angles to create a contemplative atmosphere. She has also published several pieces of her own writing, which she refers to as ‘asides,’ which complement her visual work. Since the mid-1990s her films have not included commentary, but are instead accompanied by often understated optical sound tracks.
Especially during the 1990s, the sea was a persistent theme in Dean’s work. Perhaps most famously, she explored the tragic maritime misadventures of Donald Crowhurst, an amateur English sailor whose ambition to enter a race to solo circumnavigate the globe ended in deception, existential crisis and, eventually, tragedy. Dean has made a number of films and blackboard drawings relating to the Crowhurst story, exploiting the metaphorical richness of such motifs as the ocean, lighthouses and shipwrecks.
Following her 1996 film Disappearance at Sea, Dean was nominated for the Turner Prize  in 1998. She has since been awarded the Aachen Art Prize (2002), Hugo Boss Prize (2006) and Kurt Schwitters Prize (2009), among others.

Realted article:



Think Art – Act Science

San Francisco Art Institute –  Walter and McBean Galleries
September 21 -Saturday, November 12, 2011
Curated by: Irène Hediger, in collaboration with Hou Hanru and Mary Ellyn Johnson
Artists: Monika Codourey, Christian Gonzenbach, Alexandre Joly, Roman Keller, Pe Lang, Wenfeng Liao, Alina Mnatsakanian, Nicole Ottiger

In San Francisco a selection of eight works will be shown from a total of twenty-four artists who have participated in the Swiss artists-in-labs program since 2007. Two of these works were realised during the Sino-Swiss residency exchange between artists and scientists in Switzerland and China in 2009/10.

The exhibition not only tries to build a bridge between different cultures of knowledge, but moreover points towards promising exchanges between art and science on a global scale.

A sculptor at CERN, a sound artist in a neuroscience lab, an architect embedded in the department of psychology. The results of these unlikely pairings make up the exhibition, Think Art – Act Science, which showcases eight works developed during a nine-month residency called Swiss artists-in-labs, which places, you guessed it, artists, in research institutes and universityscience departments.
The exhibition is built around three main themes: Ecology and Environment, Spatial Awareness and Emotions, and Exploration of New Technologies. In parallel with Think Art – Act Science, swissnex San Francisco and the SanFrancisco Art Institute (SFAI) host a series of lectures, conferences, and workshops to discuss and deepen the partnership between science and thearts. Swiss artists-in-labs began in 2003 to broaden dialogue, generate ideas, and raise awareness of the creative solutions artists and scientists can find to today’s challenges. To date, 28 artists have worked alongside scientists and scholars as part ofthe Artist in Lab program at institutions including CERN, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, and the artificial intelligence lab at the University of Zurich.


The Wisdom of Bees
The First Lesson of Democritus

show by Jean Lambert-wild, Jean-Luc Therminarias, Michel Onfray, Lorenzo Malaguerra, François Royet

The retreat into the forest leads one to be acquainted with animals – that in turn lead back to Man… Hence the beehive and their bees.

Bees are habitually presented as animals devoid of intelligence, the very symbols of predestination and of the incapacity to judge. Thus, they provide a suitable political model to those who yearn for brainwashed subjects subjugated to the devotion of their queen.In his famous Fable des abeilles (Fable of the Bees), Mandeville resorts to the magic insects so as to champion his well-known thesis: private vices contribute to public virtues. However, an accurate observation of the beehive shows something utterly different: that it is a private virtue, in this case, mutual aid, that contributes to the public virtue, the excellence of a community in working order.
In Democritus’ shadow, the one who, one day, turned his back on the community of men to venture deep into the forest, delivers here the fruit of his first meditation: a political lesson…
Michel Onfray

It is a real, living swarm that Jean Lambert-wild, Jean-Luc Therminarias, Michel Onfray, Lorenzo Malaguerra, et François Royet intend to place on stage in La Sagesse des Abeilles (The Wisdom of Bees). They also suggest that we become consciousof the bereavement we will suffer if honeybees keep on disappearing. The amnesia that distracts bees from finding their way back to the hive, forcing them to die away from their home, echoes the amnesia that strikes men when they intend to “converse” with a world they inhabit, but do not contemplate anymore.
To initiate this conversation, the creators of the show come up with several tactics: to undertake a “poetic pollination” with the inhabitants of the cities and towns that will host the show; to collect these people’s faces in a host of moving images, supports and memories of a humanity, that will, over the course of the performances, become denser and thicker around the figure of Dionysus, himself abandoned to a contemplation of bees and devoured by it. To make magical phenomena inhabit the stage, in order to reveal the poetry that lies under the flow of the world. Or else, to make audible, when attuned to the “voice of the bees”, the “voice of men”, in a concert version sung by a choir of its poets-interpreters.
For the swarm, Jean Lambert-wild has built his hive. But a hive empty of any queen bee, and so, in the company of Jean-Luc Therminarias, Lorenzo Malaguerra and François Royet he will put on stage and direct these “actresses”. Michel Onfray was entrusted with the text, marking his second collaboration with Jean Lambert-wild following Le Recours aux forêts (The Retreat into the Forest), the first movement of which was already filled with the rustle of insects.
But, how will men and honeybees work together in the same space? The solution they imagined brings the promise of many surprises, and will undeniably give us back to the world filled with the whirr of bees whirlwinding both inside and outside us like the atoms dreamed of by Democritus, leaving our ears humming with the murmur of conversation that man has with the world, and with himself.


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