The New Situationists

The New Situationists 

March 3 – April 28, 2017

Pro Arts Gallery and Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612


The New Situationists video documentation

The New Situationists was the first major survey of Bay Area avant-garde art and countercultural activities, influenced by the ideas, theory and techniques of the Situationist International movement (1957 – 1972). The Situationists aimed for integration of art and life, and worked to critique consumer capitalism and mediated experience. At their core, they challenged the idea of ‘art.’

Situationist Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle predicted the Trump Age. Many of the works in the show critiqued authoritarian and capitalist politics. Others demonstrated the Situationist technique of détournement, in print, sound, media, and performance. The New Situationists also included artists whose work challenge the primacy of the art object, creating “new situations” in the public sphere of Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, also known as Oscar Grant Plaza, site of civic protest, Occupy Oakland and the City of Oakland’s government. The exhibition featured work from the 1970s to the present.

The New Situationists timely exhibition , provided audiences with a brief history of past Bay Area provocations, actions and interventions, inciting a new generation of artists, who dismantle, fight, and subvert the present. Looking back is looking forward.

In the Gallery: Art Strike’s Back, Craig Baldwin | Billboard Liberation Front | Evan Bissell | L.M. Bogad | Packard Jennings | Negativland | Stephanie Rothenberg |  Kal Spelletich | Winston Smith.

Open Archives: Council for the Eruption of the Marvelous | Point Blank | Processed World | Cacophony Society | Suicide Club | Plagiarism Festival 1988 |The Washington Hillbillaries: The A Teams 1993 | Council for the Eruption of the Marvelous | The Urban Rats | Ken Knabb/Bureau of Public Secrets | La société du spectacle (1st edition, 3rd printing) | Internationale Situationniste (revue, issue #9) | Pour le Pouvoir des Conseils Ouvriers | Original posters from May ’68 French student protests.

Performances, Actions and Interventions: Shelley Harrison | Alexander Brown | Guillermo Galindo | ReadyMaids (Anna Muselmann and Rachael Cleveland) | Chris Treggiari & Peter Foucault | Finishing School | WIGband | L.M. Bogad | Si-si Dance & Performance Art Project | Krista DeNio & Stephanie DeMott | being_sound.

Talks: Howard Besser | Chris Carlsson | Ken Knabb | Stephen Perkins | Konrad Steiner | Kal Spelletich | Eddie Yuen | V. Vale.

The New Situationists Podcast: Isaac Cronin on The Brilliant. The Brilliant podcast is a way to have a deeper conversations than allowed in the text boxes of websites.

Screenings: Guy Debord | Keith J. Sanborn | Craig Baldwin (co-presented in partnership with Black Hole Cinematheque and Canyon Cinema.)

Pro Arts YouTube Channel: Spetsai, Tu, sempre 1 and Tu, sempre 2 by Yann Beauvais | FOX News TV with Kal Spelletich | Call It Sleep by Isaac Cronin and Terrel Seltzer | Free Spaceby Les LeVeque.

Reading Room: Videos, archival materials, books, pamphlets, flyers and print-outs. Special selection of books and pamphlets for sale by Little Black Cart.

Events: We Know You are There by bivoulab (Archimedia) and Derive App & Action by Eduardo Cachucho & Babak Fakhamzadeh.

Détournements: A Guided Exhibition Audio Tour by Benj Gerdes & Jennifer Hayashida and Cyber-Exhibition, curated by Extremely Good Shit at Pro Arts’ Blog.  Participating Artists: Steven Weissman | Luke McGarry | Dan G. aka CULT OF DANG | Teenage Stepdad.

Curators/Provocateurs: Natalia Ivanova Mount & Sarah Lockhart

Major Contributors of Archival Materials/Exhibition Collaborators: Chris Carlsson, Isaac Cronin, Ken Knabb, John Law, Scott MacLeod, and Mehdi El Hajoui.

The New Situationists project was made possible with a generous grant from The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.  

REVIEW by Peter Maravelis

Schizo-curation Amidst The Ruins: A Review by Peter Maravelis