San Francisco–based art group Will Brown (a collaborative project of David Kasprzak, Jordan Stein, and Lindsey White) reimagines the roles of artist and curator through an inventive upending of traditional exhibition formats. The collective often mines unexpected or forgotten histories that exist within artistic and cultural spheres. Inspired by enigmatic stories about a Dan Flavin work at BAMPFA, culled from archives and oral histories, Will Brown’s MATRIX exhibition unfolds across various sites outside BAMPFA’s Mario Ciampi building: an artist book displayed in UC Berkeley’s Morrison Library; a seemingly abandoned car sited in front of the now closed Bancroft Way entrance to BAMPFA; a light installation on the roof of the building; and a one-night theatrical production written by poet and playwright Kevin Killian, which will take place at the exhibition’s opening.
For MATRIX 259, Will Brown takes as its point of departure a site-specific work made by Minimalist artist Dan Flavin for BAMPFA’s main public stairway in 1977–78. Flavin’s installation, untitled (for Gretchen, a colorful and fond match), consisted of twenty-eight green fluorescent lightbulbs installed vertically in the building’s light well, whose glow permeated the adjacent stairway and spilled out into the lobby. Although the installation was removed sometime in the 1980s, divergent narratives have survived about the ethereal green light that could often be seen emanating from the exterior of the building through the skylight above the stairwell. Building upon the mythology and transience of Flavin’s work, Will Brown takes the allure of Flavin’s green glow as its point of departure for each of the works in MATRIX 259. The light acts as a conceptual and formal link among each location, object, and event, and as a metaphorical beacon for the memories that remain of a mysterious work of art.
Will Brown, formerly housed in a Mission District storefront, has realized projects with the Kadist Art Foundation, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, and Southern Exposure in San Francisco, and di Rosa in Napa. Will Brown received an Alternative Exposure Award from Southern Exposure in 2012 and in 2013 was artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin County, California.
Artist Book Display
101 Doe Library, on the UC Berkeley campus
Free and open to the public
Morrison Library hours
June 12–August 19: M-F, 12–5 p.m. (closed Friday, July 3)
August 20–September 11: M–F, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (closed Monday, September 7)
Check the library website as hours are subject to change.