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Off the Walls in Z Space

For the past year, Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson and her artistic partner Catch Me Bird have been creating Off the Walls, a multimedia performance based on the de Young Museum’s iconic painting Aspiration (1936) by Aaron Douglas. On September 20, the world premiere of Off the Walls will take flight in the Koret Auditorium at the de Young. Today we highlight Z Space, one of the project’s collaborating partners, whose technical residencies offer artists and performers the time and resources to experiment with various staging elements and production designs integral to the creative process.

Z Space B_W

Photo by Adrian Arias

Reading on Wheels

It’s the fifth and final day of Five Days of Friday! Tonight, September 7, Friday Nights at the de Young hosts a ton of great events, including live music, performances, art demonstrations, video installations, and of course, art making for all! One of tonight’s highlights is a visit by the San Francisco Public Library Green Bookmobile, featuring titles used by Artist Fellows Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth to research The Conflicts, a triptych of monumental tapestries. Guest bloggers Hope and Roth share their reading list below—check it out and then check out a book tonight at the Bookmobile!

DY Bookmobile

Off the Walls: A Work in Progress

One of the most innovative components of the Artist Fellows program is the goal to reveal the process of artistic creation—the weeks (even years) of planning, the evolving ideas, and the constant back-and-forth that foments creativity. Throughout the month of July, Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson and her artistic partners, Catch Me Bird (C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev), have been exhibiting this collaborative process as they work together to produce Off the Walls. A multimedia performance that melds Wilson’s dynamic jazz-oriented music with Catch Me Bird’s dance and aerial performances, Off the Walls is inspired by the painter Aaron Douglas, whose painting Aspiration is a highlight of the de Young’s American painting collection.

Sarah Wilson and Catch Me Bird

Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson with C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev of Catch Me Bird

Love Letters from the Harlem Renaissance Through the Generations

Love Letters from the Harlem Renaissance tells the story of the relationship between Alta Sawyer Douglas and her husband, Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas. Catch Me Bird’s C. Derrick Jones, the great nephew of this seminal American painter, shares his family’s story with guest blogger Elspeth Michaels. Tonight at Friday Nights at the de Young Jones will speak about the factors that propelled his great uncle to establish himself as one of the 20th century's visionary artists. This fall Catch Me Bird, in collaboration with Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson, will premiere a brand new production inspired by the art of Douglas entitled Off the Walls. The performance combines music, aerials, and dance as an expression of Douglas's painting Aspiration, which is currently on view in Wilsey Court.

Aspiration

Aaron Douglas (American, 1899–1979). Aspiration, 1936. Oil on canvas. 1997.84

Conflict in the Collections

De Young Artist Fellows Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth are artists-in-residence this month in the Artist Studio. They are working on completing the third monumental tapestry in their triptych entitled The Conflicts. Today, guest blogger Andy Diaz Hope discusses aspects of the Museums’ permanent collections that touch on the themes contained in this project.

The Third Tapestry

This month, Laurel Roth and Andy Diaz Hope begin their year as de Young Artist Fellows by setting up a research studio in the Kimball Education Gallery. Roth and Hope will use this time in the Artist Studio to design the third piece in a triptych of tapestries, which will be known as The Conflicts

Jazz at the de Young

Seven years ago, the de Young hosted its first jazz performance in partnership with Intersection for the Arts. Jazz at Intersection at the de Young came about through my relationship with Kevin Chen of Intersection for the Arts. Together we invited a wide range of local jazz composers and musicians to create and perform music inspired by the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collection.

The Wild Woman of Jazz

Composer, trumpeter and singer-songwriter Sarah Wilson technically grew up in a vineyard, but her coming of age as a musician took place in New York City. At her first performance as an Artist Fellow at the de Young tomorrow, Friday, May 25, Wilson presents new work inspired by both the rolling hills of the Napa Valley and New York City’s wild women of jazz.

Wilson began her yearlong fellowship last November with a 10-day residency at Stags’ Leap Winery, where the vineyards—their colors and moods—served as muse for the new compositions Night Still and Color, both of which will be featured in tomorrow’s performance.

Stags' Leap

Photo by Sarah Wilson

Museum Without Walls: Sarah Wilson and Catch Me Bird Go Off the Walls

The blog series Museum Without Walls features de Young Artist Fellows working outside of the museum with other artists and local, community based arts organizations. In this edition, we catch up with Sarah Wilson and Catch Me Bird at their Djerassi alumni artist residency where they gave us a glimpse into the early stages of their creative process.

What's Going On? Artist Fellow Kevin Epps Gets Down with Marvin Gaye

What’s Going On: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, the second installment in Kevin Epps's curated Filmmakers Lounge series, examines the life and legacy of this astounding musical artist. Serving once again as a guest blogger, Epps talks about his life-long connection to the music of Marvin Gaye.

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