The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Experience It: Shahryar Nashat

6:30 pm, doors open at 6 pm

In his sculptures, photographs, and films, the work of Swiss artist Shahryar Nashat often addresses the representation of the body and the conventions of mediation and presentation. Nashat finds great pleasure in details, and his works—with their near-obsessive methods of framing and cropping—draw the viewer into a world of clandestine forms, artful gestures, and posturing. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Kunsthalle Basel (2017); Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2017); Portikus, Frankfurt (2016); Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin (2016); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); 356 Mission Road, Los Angeles (2015); and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge (2015). He took part in the 20th Sydney Biennale (2016); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); and the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Nashat is represented by David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, and Rodeo Gallery, London. He is currently based in Los Angeles.

Immersive exhibitions that stimulate multiple senses—hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling—are common in contemporary art today. Museums, galleries, biennials, and art fairs are presenting work by artists who interweave objects, images, texts, sound, video, and performance into dense, enveloping environments. These presentations physically implicate viewers in orchestrated situations, both inside and outside the institution, where art and ideas coalesce through the direct experience of space and time. Often complex in the making, the work requires artists and their studios to corral a range of skilled resources to produce something well beyond the expertise and confines of an artist’s studio.

This development speaks to the changing characteristics of the artist figure—manager and artistic director, negotiator and administrator—in reaction to expectations of art institutions and audiences who crave more experiential engagement with contemporary art.

Experience It is a conversation series about this shift. In dialogue with visiting artists, the series examines, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. The format includes conversations between each artist and curator and art historian James Voorhies, as well as viewings of film clips, performances, and images of their work. Experience It aims to reveal why artists choose their given artistic approaches, how institutions support them, and how they imagine their audiences as integral to the art, ultimately arriving at a better understanding of the “it” in the work.

Organized by James Voorhies, Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, in partnership with Dena Beard, Director of The Lab. All events occur at The Lab and are free and open to the public.

Generous support for Experience It provided by Marv Tseu and Mary Mocas.

Image: Shahryar Nashat, Image Is an Orphan, 2018. Installation view. David Kordansky Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.