Tell Them We Were Here
May 7–July 31, 2021
Structured as a series of intersecting, beautifully photographed studio visits and conversations annotated with archival and contemporary images, Tell Them We Were Here focuses on the work of eight groundbreaking Bay Area artists. Considering Amy Franceschini’s merging of design, research, public art, and gardening; Tucker Nichols’s mail art; Jim Goldberg’s photographs of the poor and the rich; Lynn Hershman Leeson’s prescient works on identity, surveillance, and artificial intelligence; Nigel Poor’s collaboration with the incarcerated at San Quentin prison; Michael Swaine’s Mending Library; Alicia McCarthy’s mural in the Tenderloin; and Sadie Barnette’s transformation of the FBI file on her activist father into a glittering celebration of resistance and survival, the documentary shows how these artists have engaged with the legacies of Bay Area activism and social consciousness through their work. Joined by a chorus of colleagues, curators, and collaborators, they reflect on the influence of historical countercultural movements, as well as contemporary social and economic challenges, in fostering an art scene less concerned with money and power than with imagination, innovation, community, and care.