The Lab

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

Back to All Events

Terry Fox: Resonance


Terry Fox (1943-2008), a native of Seattle, was a first-generation Conceptual artist who from 1963-1978 lived off and on in San Francisco, punctuated by extended stays in Europe, where he subsequently made his home. He was a core member of the artists, including Howard Fried, David Ireland, Paul Kos, Tom Marioni, Linda Montano, Bonnie Sherk, and others centered around Marioni’s Museum of Conceptual Art. Like their peers internationally, these young artists developed the new genres of body art, performance, installation, video, and sound. This roving exhibition will celebrate and reinvigorate the spirit of Fox’s works in multiple spaces around the Bay Area, including The Lab, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grace Cathedral, the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 871 Fine Arts, Cushion Works, and the libraries of the San Francisco Art Institute and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

During his stays in Europe in the 1960s Fox had several experiences that shaped his future work. In 1972 he discovered the stone labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral, which led to an extensive body of work in a variety of materials. The Chartres labyrinth is a unicursal path winding in thirty-four turns through eleven consecutive rings to the center representing life’s circuitous journey. Worshippers follow the 552 steps to the enter as an act of devotion. For Fox it also served as a metaphor for the eleven-year cycles of sickness and health he had endured as a result of Hodgkin’s Disease. When he encountered the labyrinth he had just gone through the last major operation that ended these cycles. The series will form the basis of the exhibition at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and aspects of it will be presented at Grace Cathedral and BAMPFA, latter of which will also screen excerpts from Fox’s 1974 video, Children’s Tapes.

Another life-changing event was Fox’s encounter with 1968 student demonstrations in Paris, which taught him the power of direct action and led him to abandon the paintings he was making up until that time. The third major experience in Europe was his 1971 performance with his artistic mentor Joseph Beuys, who was then little known in the states. Fox brought to his Bay Area peers first-hand knowledge of these new developments, which had a profound effect on the local scene.

Fox once said that “even to enter the door is to puncture the space.” When he prepared for a performance, he spoke of affecting the energy of the room, transforming both him and the room into another state of being. The exhibition at The Lab, titled A Resonating Chamber, will focus on Fox’s videos, sound works, and performance documentation, highlighting the subversive resonance of attunement and perception.

Fox is perhaps best known for his performances, many of which were private and known through photographs and video. An examination of Fox’s philosophy as it pertains performance will be the subject of an evening at Cushion Works, a new alternative space in the Mission District. Fox’s works on paper will be exhibited at 871 Fine Arts and ephemera will be displayed in the libraries of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Terry Fox: Resonance is curated by Dena Beard and Constance Lewallen.

The Scope of the Exhibition:

The Lab
2948 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
A Resonating Chamber
October 11–November 12, 2019
Audio and video works, performance documentation, and sculpture

October 11, 6–9 p.m.: Performance of Berlin Wall Scored for Sound (1980-88), interpreted and realized as an instrumental version for the Del Sol Quartet by Arnold Dreyblatt and activation of Circulation: Site Pendulum from the Labyrinth Series (1970) by Ron Meyers

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
360 Kansas St., San Francisco, CA 94103
The Labyrinth Series and Other Works
October 12–November 2, 2019
Works in a variety of mediums that revolve around Fox’s interpretation of the labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral

October 12, 5–7 p.m.: Walkthrough with Constance Lewallen and activation of Circulation: Site Pendulum from the Labyrinth Series (1970) by Marita Loosen-Fox

Grace Cathedral
1100 California St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Friday, October 4, 2019; 6–9p.m.: The Labyrinth Scored for the Purrs of 11 Different Cats, 1977
Visitors are invited to walk the Cathedral’s replica of the labyrinth at Chartres while listening to Fox’s sound piece.

Cushion Works
3320 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94110
October 10th, 7 p.m.
Living Archive: A Presentation by Marita Loosen-Fox, with Ron Meyers

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2155 Center St., Berkeley, CA 94720

October 1–11, 2019: An excerpt from Fox’s video, Children’s Tapes, will be shown on the museum’s exterior screen
October 1–December 14, 2019: The Labyrinth Scored for the Purrs of 11 Different Cats, an audio work, will be installed in the lower level of the museum

871 Fine Arts
20 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA 94105
October 25–December 14, 2019
A selection of works on paper will be displayed in this art bookstore and gallery in downtown San Francisco.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Library
151 Third St., San Francisco, CA  94103
October 11–November 12, 2019
View and discuss with experts a range of Fox’s books, records, and ephemera, by appointment. Email for appointment: library@sfmoma.org.

Thursday, October 17, 7–9 p.m.: Screening of a video of Fox’s performance Timbre and a discussion led by artist Tom Marioni.


San Francisco Art Institute Library
800 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94133
September 24–December 14, 2019
The display cases will feature a range of materials relating to Fox and his circle.


Dena Beard and Constance Lewallen would like to thank: Barney Bailey, Calen Barca-Hall, Kelly Bennett, Marilyn Bogerd, Lisa Calden, Stephanie Cannizzo, Arnold Dreyblatt, Adrienne Fish, Michael Goldwater, Leila Grothe, Jeff Gunderson, Ann Hatch, Anthony Huberman, Tracy Lee Jones, Paul Kos, Tom Marioni, Ron Meyers, Mary Kate Murphy, Rebecca Nestle, Lawrence Rinder, Anthony Russell, Steve Seid, David Senior, Jordan Stein, Valerie Wade, and Tanya Zimbardo. Our gratitude especially for the support and advice of Marita Loosen-Fox.