The ubiquitous cut-copy-paste is explored in SF State exhibit of Bay Area collage

Friday, September 05, 2014
Image of Matt Lipps' photograph titled Art
Artists in 'Allegorical Procedures' include Jay DeFeo, Matt Lipps, Winston Smith, Lynn Hershman Leeson

SAN FRANCISCO, September 5, 2014 — A new exhibition at San Francisco State University’s Fine Arts Gallery brings collage full circle — and many other shapes — in a survey of Bay Area artists who have shaped the medium over the last six decades. Allegorical Procedures: Bay Area Collage, 1950 – Present expands the traditional definition of collage art, also featuring notable work in décollage, assemblage, photomontage and détournement.

The exhibition opens Saturday, September 20, with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m., featuring brief performances by Chris Froh, playing on artist Terry Berlier’s work “Pan Lid Gamelan II.” Several artists will be present. Admission is free.

“Allegory functions by layering meaning upon meaning, allowing one thing to stand for another,” said curator Gwen Allen, an SF State associate professor of Art and author of Artists’ Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art (MIT Press). “Collage as a medium corresponds to this method, in that it literally ‘pastes’ one image on top of another, altering the context and significance of both.”

For the exhibition, Allen defines collage broadly: as an “allegorical” technique of signification that relies on methods of “confiscation, superimposition and fragmentation,” as Benjamin Buchloh observed in his 1982 theorization of collage and montage. The exhibition looks back to such well-known precedents as Wallace Berman, Jess, Jay DeFeo, Bruce Conner and the Bay Area Dadaist/Mail art scene of the 1970s, as well as other contemporary artists employing and/or expanding the practice of collage. It ranges from Emory Douglas’ illustrations for the Black Panther Party Newspaper and Winston Smith’s work for the Dead Kennedys’ album covers and liner notes to SF State Assistant Professor Matt Lipps’ staged photographs of magazine cutouts and a new installation by castaneda/reiman.

SF State’s Fine Arts Gallery is open Wednesdays – Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Allegorical Procedures closes October 16.

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Media Contact: 

Matt Itelson, 415-338-1442,, College of Liberal & Creative Arts, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, California 94132

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