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SFAI – Walter and McBean Galleries: Anti-Advertising Agency and Finishing School, 2005
Offices of the Anti Advertising Agency and www.delocator.net
Two exhibitions by the artists’ collaboratives the Anti-Advertising Agency and Finishing School will take over the San Francisco Art Institute’s Walter and McBean Galleries for the month of April and into May.
The Anti-Advertising Agency (AAA) will transform the McBean Project Space into its temporary headquarters replete with a conference table, desks, chairs, dry erase boards, a water cooler, fluorescent lamps, and cubicle walls in order to plan the Agency’s counter-advertising projects for 2005–2006. Artist and educator Steve Lambert founded the Anti Advertising Agency. Co-opting the tools and structures used by the advertising and public relations industries, the Agency was established as a response to the pervasiveness of commercial content in public urban space. As the CEO of the Anti Advertising Agency, Lambert will work from start to finish with the artists selected for Agency support to help realize their projects.
To date, five artists’ projects have been selected for Agency support. All of these projects will have workstations in the gallery/office where they can begin work and present their ideas to the public.
Participating artists include Sara Dierck and Michael Dodge, who will work on engaging the public through sound and radio; Amanda Eicher, who will focus on connecting consumer products with labor; Susan R. Greene, who brings expertise in community-based art making and clinical psychology; Packard Jennings, who will hone the Agency’s message through public surveys and target audiences; and Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee, who will use street teams to promote business activity that doesn’t rely on advertising. As each of these artists projects evolve, the residual Post It ® notes, reference material, paper scraps, diagrams, and scrawled notebooks will be left in the gallery as part of the exhibition.
Simultaneously, downstairs in the Walter Gallery, the Southern California based artist group Finishing School will create a café/workshop environment to serve as the physical location for the launch of their newest project, the web-based, www.delocator.net. Finishing School is the collective identity of artists Brian Boyer, Ed Giardina, and xtine. For this project the artists have collaborated with computer programmer Vasna Sdoeung to produce their interactive website www.delocator.net. This online interactive database allows patrons to enter and pull comparative information regarding independently owned café and trans-national coffee emporiums.
During the exhibition, Finishing School will transform the gallery into a traditional coffee house environment with the addition of computers and wireless Internet access. Gallery visitors will learn about the delocator project and are invited to add information to a growing online database of independently owned café’s and coffee houses.
Finishing School is the second Nimoy Artist Residency to be funded by Susan Bay and Leonard Nimoy, who established the Nimoy Foundation in 2003. The mission of the Nimoy Foundation is to recognize, encourage, and support the work of contemporary visual and performing artists.
Exhibitions Director Merry Scully finds the entrepreneurial approach taken by both the AAA and the Finishing School reflective of national and international art making trends. "This kind of artistic practice engages the social and political sphere rather than simply representing or commenting upon it," explains Scully. “It invites a rethinking and exchange from the audience that more didactic work does not."
The Walter and McBean Galleries are open Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–6pm. Both exhibitions invite active participation by the audience. The "CEO" of the AAA will be on-site and available to the public Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The AAA will offer free anti-advertising "consultations" to the public on Wednesdays at 6:30pm, and "focus groups" on Fridays from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. The delocator café/workshop will be open during gallery hours. More information about these projects can be found at www.antiadvertisingagency.com