Starting this June, 500 Capp Street delves deep into its vast collection and archive to present two exhibitions that reflect on the history and practice of conceptual art in the Bay Area in the later part of the 20th century.
THE CONDITION WHERE ART WOULD DISAPPEAR brings out some of David Ireland’s most iconic works to explore questions surrounding conceptual art and the issues artists confront when deep in studio work. The rooms of the House will be populated with works that will, for the first time since 500 Capp Street’s public opening, reconstruct what was in these spaces when Ireland was working and living there from 1974 to 2004. These iconic tableaux will illuminate how Ireland navigated between the correlation of work and site and will cast light on the point in his work where the studio became the central object of the art itself. On view will be such treasures as Marcel B. (1980-1994), a cascade of sardine cans that serve as a pun-like homage to fellow artist Marcel Broodthaers; Ireland’s sculptural tribute to Yves Klein; and his South China Chairs (1979), arranged as they were with the well-known Broom Collection with Boom (1978/1988) between them. Also on view are a number of early prints by Ireland, including a series of 1972 lithographs made while studying at the San Francisco Art Institute, which have never before been exhibited in the Bay Area.
In conjunction with this exhibition of Ireland’s work, 500 Capp Street celebrates the launch of its newly-named Paule Anglim Archive Room, opening the space to the public for the first time for a special archival exhibition. Named after one of San Francisco’s most important gallerists who represented and championed Ireland and many other local conceptual artists, the Paule Anglim Archive Room houses objects, artworks, photographs, and ephemera that serve as an essential time capsule of the conceptual art movement of the 1970s-90s in the Bay Area and beyond.
In 2022, Anglim’s estate donated several small artworks, papers, and more to 500 Capp Street, enriching the archive with works by many of Ireland’s contemporaries including Gay Outlaw, Paul Kos, Enrique Chagoya, William T. Wiley, Tom Marioni, Tony Labat, and Alan Rath. Select works from the newly expanded collection will be on display alongside pieces from Ireland’s personal collection and works by female conceptual artists from his circle including Hannah Wilke, Mildred Howard, Katherine Sherwood, Amy Trachtenberg, Ann Hamilton, Mie Preckler, Catherine Wagner, and Peggy Ingalls.
Also on view are other donated or loaned works including several gifted by Jim Melchert as well as William T. Wiley’s 1977 book, Suite of Daze, on loan from printer Timothy Berry. Screening in the Garage will be Same Difference (1975), a film by Al Wong with sound by Terry Fox on loan from Canyon Cinema. Catalogs, personal correspondence, and other ephemera documenting the lives and careers of Ireland and his contemporaries will also be on display.
“Paule Anglim’s relentless passion for and commitment to California post studio art practice was unparalleled,” says Jennifer Rissler, Interim Executive Director, 500 Capp Street. “As the eponymous protagonist of the archive room at 500 Capp Street, Paule’s legacy intertwines with that of David Ireland’s, and is a lasting testament to how important she was in elevating Bay Area conceptual art beyond her gallery’s walls.”