Megan Wilson
Writings > atlas(t)
Gallería de la Raza
Through March 31

When I tell people that I live on Nob Hill, the response that I get, with few exceptions, is always the same -- "that's a really nice neighborhood." Without question, I understand the subtext of this statement: you live in a moneyed area. And still I find myself pondering this euphemism because of its weight and how it comes to define a space. In this case, one that is affluent, but lacking in a richness of public art, community, and culture. "atlas(t)," the current exhibit at Gallería de la Raza in collaboration with Kearny Street Workshop, examines and redefines the spaces we occupy as communities and individuals through an openly political, irreverent and direct approach to cartography. This poignant show includes painting, sculpture, installation, photography, digital art, video, and public performances by more than 35 Asian Pacific American and Latina(o) artists. Several works take more personal trajectories such as "Mapping Myself," a 12-week collaborative project among ten Horace Mann students and artists John Leaños, Mónica Praba Pilar and Marisa Vitiello. By documenting the various aspects of their lives through digitally-generated collaged images, the middle-school students have ruptured the stereotypes that are made about urban youth. Through similar tracings, Conchita Villalba maps her family's migrations between Mexico, China and the U.S. and Veronica Majano's video "Calle Chula," is a wonderful and engaging contemporary Rip Van Winkle story of a Salvadorian/Native American girl who wakes up to find her Mission neighborhood radically changed. Exploring the edges of parallel borders are Jaime Cortez's "Parting (Snap) Shot, a humorous, yet distressing diorama of the intersection of 16th and Mission Streets, and Jim Choi's two videos, tracking in tandem a Latino and an Asian individual through a day of activities. The global encroachment of multi-national corporations can be seen through the conceptual work of Mike Arcega, who has created an intricately detailed map of the world from dried SPAM, and Vikki Del Rosario's "Made In America, Wash With Like Colors," a soft-sculpture globe made from denim with a GAP tag erected on top. This is a truly intriguing show with many surprising intersections and strata to navigate through. I highly recommend setting aside a chunk of time to fully explore.

Gallerí de la Raza
2857 24th Street (at Bryant), San Francisco
Tues. to Sat. 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
(415) 826-8009, (Megan Wilson)