Survival Adaptations – Press Release!

On June 26, 2014 by admin

Adobe Books Backroom Gallery Announces

Survival Adaptations

An exhibition, public programming and a publication reflecting on recent changes and challenges to surviving and adapting to life in San Francisco as an artist.*


OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION, Saturday, July 12th, 7-10pm

Adobe Books Backroom Gallery

3130 24th St., San Francisco, CA 94110


*Supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grants Program through an Organization Project Grant.


Survival Adaptions: Gallery Exhibition

Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, in collaboration with Aggregate Space and Root Division, present Survival Adaptations, a multi venue exhibition exploring responses to the current economic climate of the Bay Area.

Curated by: Calcagno Cullen & Christian Davies of Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, Conrad M. Meyers II of Aggregate Space, & Amy Cancelmo of Root Division

Survival Adaptations dictate that “in order to survive and thrive in specific environments, animal species have developed a host of amazing characteristics that help them find food, protect themselves, [and] cope with tough environments.” With a host of shifts and challenges in the Bay Area socio-economic landscape, how do artistic communities and individuals adapt and survive in this changing environment? What does the economically driven relocation of cultural administrators, institutions, artists, and residents of racial, economic, and age diversity mean for the future of San Francisco? What dialogue does this migration have with the development of arts centers outside the city, and how is the perpetual cycle of gentrification being challenged and deconstructed in the process?

Being that we are a group of creative problem solvers, our intention with this exhibition is not to point fingers, or place blame, but rather to explore the creative ways in which artists are responding to the challenge. This is a project to not only reflect on our changing city, but to celebrate those who have chosen to stay and fight, and those who endeavor to redefine and relocate our cultural centers in order to keep diversity and arts a vital part of the Bay Area.

Adobe Books recently faced an eviction due to rising real estate prices, but weathered the storm and relocated with the support of book lovers and artists. Similarly Root Division is currently transitioning to a new location this summer, and sees the renovation of a new facility as the opportunity to be an anchor for artists and educators in the city. One survival tool we have found to be of utmost importance for our organizations is the ability to collaborate and work together in crisis.

ADOBE BOOKS BACKROOM GALLERY: 3031 24th St. San Francisco, CA 94110
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 12, 7-10 pm

Survival Adaptations at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery will highlight artistic preservation and strategies for maintaining an artistic presence in San Francisco. The works in this exhibition take an innovative and tenacious approach to adapting to the restrictions and challenges of remaining in the city.

Tana Quincy Arcega

Allie Blanchard

Jon Gourley (w/Alice Shintani)

Tom Loughlin

Masako Miki

Heather Murphy

Michelle Ramin

Merav Tzur

Crystal Vielula

AGGREGATE SPACE: 801 West Grand Avenue, Oakland CA 94607
FIRST FRIDAY Receptions: Friday, July 4, 6-8 pm & Friday, August 1, 6-10 pm
2nd Sat. Artist Talk: Saturday, July 12, 11am

Survival Adaptations at Aggregate Space Gallery in Oakland will consider how housing relocation, and self-made gallery spaces have contributed to the survival of the arts in the Bay Area. Alongside frank conversations about the effects gentrification, this show celebrates the beauty and infrastructure that ties San Francisco and Oakland together.

Elizabeth Cayne

Jon Gourley (w/Alice Shintani)

Tom Loughlin

Erica Molesworth

Yuri Pop (w/ Yuko Inatsuki, Kristin Miltner & C. Alex Simpkins, Jr.)

Stairwells (Sarah Hotchkiss & Carey Lin

WE Artspace (Tina Dillman)

Jesse Walton

Michael Wisniowski

Arrive to Adobe Opening Reception via:

RAPID TRANSIT:  A series of BART performances organized by Carrie Katz
Saturday, July 12th times TBD
(visit for updated schedule of boarding times, #rapidtransit)

RAPID TRANSIT is a moving exhibition of performance and covert intervention curated by Carrie Katz, wherein artists will individually and concurrently activate the complex and transitory space that is the BART train system. In a time when public transportation linking the East Bay and San Francisco is integral to continued habitation in the Bay Area, the dynamics of how people occupy the train are more vital than ever.


Survival Adaptations: Related Programming


Engineer, Persevere, Succeed: Survival Training for the San Francisco Artist

July 26th, 2-4pm, YBCA Galleries, in conjunction with BAN7 exhibition

This class will feature artists leading hands on critical survival skills workshops for the local artist who needs preparation and endurance training for living and thriving in the Bay Area. In this course you will be taught how to effectively source, forage, and re-purpose in order to provide you with all basic and creative needs. Additionally, you will learn improvised as well as emergency signaling methods, water purification methods, and survival tips for the urban dweller. Each student will leave with a handbook that will prepare you for the most common emergencies encountered in San Francisco. Merit badges will be awarded upon completion of this course.


Survival Adaptations

August 4th, place TBD

A Survival Adaptations panel discussion seeks to explore current artist survival tactics that are rapidly developing throughout the Bay Area. These include communal strategies that reflect alternative political and social groups born in decades past, but which are learning to adapt to contemporary economic pressures. This panel will surface groups on the forefront of an artistic revolution/redefinition and help to promote their rhizomatic practices which will benefit all Bay Area artists.


Survival Adaptations: Publication

An Artist Survival Guide chapbook will be produced in conjunction with the exhibition and related programs. The publication includes writings and designs by artists on how to survive as an artist in San Francisco as well as musings, drawings, and other related materials.

Book Release Party: Saturday, July 12, 7-10 pm

A limited edition run of 100 copies will be printed by Colpa Press and will be made available for purchase at Adobe Books from July 12th until they sell out.

Contributing artists include:

Art for a Democratic Society

Benjamin Hersh

Chad Schimke

Chris Carson

Christopher McClusky

Crystal Vielula

Daniel Nevers

Eliza Gregory

Jeff Ray

Jesse Walton

Jon Gourley

Jonathan Levy-Warren

Kyle Knobel

Michal Wisniowski

Masako Miki

River Drum

Sarah-Dawn Albani

Skip Cullen

Tony Torrez Solis

Wendy Macnaughton


About Adobe Books Backroom Gallery:

Since opening in 1989, Adobe Books has become a Bohemian stronghold in the Mission District. Known for its large collection of art and modern philosophy books, comfortable couches, lingering regulars and general disarray, Adobe Books has always been a friendly place towards artists. Adobe Books Backroom Gallery opened at the rear of the bookstore in 2001 and has since become an important crucible for emerging artists in San Francisco. Due to rising rent prices, the gallery and the store were both forced to leave their longtime home on 16th Street in the Mission District in the summer of 2013, and relocated with the store to their current home at 3130 24th St. While other art spaces have come and gone, Adobe continues to be a nurturing ground for young artists — nationally recognized Mission School painters Chris Johanson and Alicia McCarthy both gained early attention from shows in the store.


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For full press release as pdf, download here: SurvivalAdaptationsPressRelease.



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