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Foundation’s Home Land Security Opens September 10, 2016

Artworks activate historic military defense structures in the Presidio.


San Francisco, CA, June 23, 2016 — Continuing its focus on art about place, the FOR-SITE Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the Presidio Trust, presents Home Land Security (September 10 through December 18, 2016). Curated by FOR-SITE Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Haines, the thematic, site-responsive exhibition will be installed in former military structures overlooking the San Francisco Bay — some open to the public for the first time — and brings together work by 16 contemporary artists and collectives from around the globe to reflect on the human dimensions and increasing complexity of national security, including the physical and psychological borders we create, protect, and cross in its name.

“The recent experience of presenting artworks by Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz Island has furthered my interest in working with artists whose ideas create dialogue around social change,” says Haines. “By placing art that examines security’s human cost inside former military sites, Home Land Security provides a powerful context for considering the perceived need for defense and surveillance, and looking at how fear of ‘other’ can obscure commonality of human experience and contribute to cultural misunderstanding.”

New commissions and recent works in various media — sculpture, painting, installation, performance, and video — will take over five historic structures at Fort Winfield Scott, the former headquarters for coastal defense of California at the Golden Gate. The complex of deactivated military buildings includes a series of gun batteries and a regimental chapel — all located in the heart of the world’s largest national park in an urban area, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The exhibition sites are part of a former US Army post and represent distinct chapters in the region’s coastal defense history.

The participating artists have roots in nine different countries, and each provides a unique lens on universal themes: definitions of home and safety, ideological extremism, forced migration in the wake of conflict, the constant shift of weaponry and targets, and the unwavering belief in the necessity for defense.

Highlights include videos from Bill Viola’s immersive Martyrs series about the endurance and infliction of suffering for beliefs (Earth Martyr, Air Martyr, Fire Martyr, and Water Martyr, 2014); The Propeller Group’s sculptural freeze-frames of bullets fired into ballistics gel designed to simulate the effect of wounds (Universe of Collisions series, 2015); Liza Lou’s hovering, gatelike sculpture covered in millions of gold-plated beads and providing no real protection (Barricade, 2007-8); and a commissioned wall drawing by Tirtzah Bassel (Concourse, 2016) that examines how familiar emblems of airline travel — freedom, adventure, global connection — have become entangled with notions of vulnerability and disempowerment.

The full list of exhibition artists includes: Shiva Ahmadi (born Iran, based in United States); Tamman Azzam (born Syria, based in Dubai); Tirtzah Bassel (born Israel, based in United States); Yashar Azar Emdadian (Iran); Al Farrow (born and based in United States); Díaz Lewis (Cara Megan Lewis and Alejandro Díaz-Perera) (established Cuba, based in United States and Cuba); Liza Lou (born United States, based in United States and South Africa); Mandana Moghaddam (born Iran, based in Sweden); Trevor Paglen (born and based in United States); Shahpour Pouyan (born Iran, based in United States); Michele Pred (born and based in United States); The Propeller Group (Matt Lucero, Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, and Phunam Thúc) (established Vietnam, based in Vietnam and United States); Do Ho Suh (born South Korea, based in United States, United Kingdom, and South Korea); Bill Viola (born and based in United States); Krzysztof Wodiczko (born in Poland, based in United States); and Yin Xiuzhen (born and based in China).

Home Land Security is the latest in a series of collaborations between the FOR-SITE Foundation, the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy that create new models for engaging park visitors through site-specific art presented on public land. The project also helps commemorate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, activating historic sites for broader public appreciation and signifying the innovative use of urban lands that the park service envisions for the future.

“The exhibition resonates with a key theme of the National Park Service’s centennial year, which is to connect our individual lives with the larger world around us through meaningful experiences on park land,” says Christine Lehnertz, superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. “Carefully selected artworks installed in the long-abandoned coastal gun batteries of the Golden Gate invite reflection on the timely subject of border defense in the United States and beyond.”

“The Presidio Trust has been embracing place-based art as an innovative way to welcome the community to explore and connect with their national park,” says Michael Boland, acting executive director of the Presidio Trust. “Home Land Security represents an extraordinary opportunity for visitors to rediscover a lesser-known sites in the area while experiencing thought-provoking art about important contemporary issues.”

“Bringing public art and public lands together through this unique partnership makes possible new perspectives on the significance of our national parks for each of us individually and for our society as a whole,” says Greg Moore president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

To encourage dialogue about the exhibition’s multilayered themes, Home Land Security will provide a team of art guides positioned at the installation sites, offering background about the artworks and the history of the area. FOR-SITE is also bringing wi-fi to the sites, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the exhibition online and to interact though social media (#FORSITEHLS). Additional facets of the project will be shared on FOR-SITE’s blog and through videos available both on site and online for audiences unable to visit in person.

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Presidio Trust Media Relations

Lisa Petrie

(415) 264-7787