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Chris Johanson and Jessica Stockholder at SFMOMA

From November 9, 2013 through March 2, 2014, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley, an exhibition sited throughout the downtown commercial core of Los Altos, a town located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Through the lens of national and international artists, this exhibition will explore the history and culture of this innovative region, the community of Los Altos and its surrounding areas, and the distinctive character of each artwork’s setting. Project Los Altos will be on view at indoor and outdoor locations—ranging from commercial spaces to a public intersection—and include existing artworks as well as newly commissioned, site-responsive projects. Featured artists include Jeremy Blake, Spencer Finch, Charles Garoian, Christian Jankowski, Chris Johanson, Mike Mills, KateĊ™ina Šedá, Alec Soth, and Jessica Stockholder.

Project Los Altos will be free to the public and is organized by SFMOMA in collaboration with the City of Los Altos and lead sponsor Passerelle Investment Company, a local group working to enhance the vitality of the Los Altos community. Representing all curatorial departments of the museum, the exhibition is curated by Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of painting and sculpture, and Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture; with Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, assistant curator and acting department head of architecture and design; Rudolf Frieling, curator of media arts; and Corey Keller, curator of photography.

The exhibition is part of the extensive off-site programming SFMOMA has developed for the two-and-a-half-year construction phase of its major expansion project. While its building is temporarily closed for construction from the summer of 2013 to early 2016, SFMOMA will present a dynamic slate of jointly organized and traveling exhibitions; outdoor and specially commissioned projects; and newly created education programs throughout the Bay Area and beyond. On view concurrently in Silicon Valley with Project Los Altos will be a collaborative exhibition with the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th-Century Art (November 13, 2013–March 16, 2014).

“While SFMOMA is off-site, reimagining the museum’s role and exploring new ideas, Project Los Altos provides an exciting moment to capture the experimental nature of exhibition making,” notes Gheith. “With this collaboration, we’re thrilled to present a compelling platform for artists to make new work and for the community in Los Altos and the surrounding areas to engage with contemporary art in an unexpected way.”

“The City of Los Altos has a rich history of supporting the arts, particularly public sculpture,” explains Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers. “By providing open space for a wide variety of art installations throughout the city, residents of all ages are able to experience fine arts on a daily basis. This unique collaboration between the City of Los Altos, SFMOMA, and Passerelle will strengthen the artistic presence already thriving in the community and welcome a whole new audience to experience the beauty and charm of Los Altos.”

Exhibition Overview

Located 37 miles south of San Francisco, Los Altos was initially an agricultural community known for its apricot orchards and small cottages. A large period of growth occurred from the 1950s through the 1980s, and in recent years Los Altos has again experienced a moment of development and transformation. Responding to this unique setting, this exhibition will feature existing artwork including Jeremy Blake’s Winchester trilogy (2002–4) from the SFMOMA collection and documentation of performance art that Charles Garoian organized with his students at Los Altos High School from 1969–86 alongside new commissions by seven national and international artists. These site-specific and site-responsive projects will be situated in the downtown commercial core in indoor and outdoor spaces that resonate with the artists’ interests. Ranging in scope and scale, the commissions will include a public street intersection that Jessica Stockholder will transform through color and form; photographs by Alec Soth that explore the emptiness and possibility of Silicon Valley, from the Googleplex to Steve Jobs’s garage; and others currently in development. More details on the artist projects will be announced in the coming months.

Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley is organized by SFMOMA in collaboration with the City of Los Altos. The lead sponsor of this exhibition is Passerelle Investment Company. Major support is provided by SFMOMA's Collectors Forum and Randi and Bob Fisher. Generous support is provided by the Bay Area Contemporary Arts Exhibitions fund, founded by Agnes Bourne; and Brit and Dave Morin. Patricia W. Fitzpatrick, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, and Thomas W. Weisel and Janet Barnes are sponsors of the exhibition. Additional support is provided Phyllis and Bill Draper, Concepción and Irwin Federman, and the Graue Family Foundation.