Friday, Mar 02, 2018 - 12:00 pm

San Diego, CA— The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present two solo exhibitions at its downtown location this spring. Yve Laris Cohen: Meeting Ground and Sadie Barnette: Dear 1968,… will open on Thursday, April 19, during the Museum’s popular monthly program, Downtown at Sundown. The new exhibitions will remain on view through September 2, 2018.

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The work of transgender artist Yve Laris Cohen often considers the architecture and latent histories of theatrical spaces through installations and performances that highlight states of transition. For Yve Laris Cohen: Meeting Ground—the artist’s first solo museum presentation on the West Coast—Laris Cohen takes as his starting point MCASD La Jolla's current expansion, a construction endeavor involving the conversion of Sherwood Auditorium into gallery space. On the occasion of Sherwood’s disappearance, Laris Cohen has engaged in an excavation of the history of the auditorium and, in turn, of the Museum itself. His installation will transpose architectural and archival elements of Sherwood to the Museum’s downtown building, effectively extending the life of the former civic space.

Laris Cohen sees architecture as not only a formal construction but also a social and political one. The project considers not just material artifacts of the building, but also the labor that supported the auditorium’s programs and maintenance. As part of the exhibition, a former Sherwood events technician, Michael Scheer, has been contracted to assist with weekly events taking place every Saturday from 2 to 4 PM in the installation. As a caretaker of Sherwood for over two decades, Scheer’s role in the exhibition will be to guard archival materials from 1971, which marked a turning point in Sherwood’s history. This institutional ephemera points to Sherwood’s complex legacy, raising questions about the Museum’s parameters and its constituencies, both in the past and the present.  

Meeting Ground represents the culmination of over a year of research on the part of the artist, who spent several weeks onsite at MCASD examining its archive. The exhibition’s title references an early press release the artist found that announced the opening of Sherwood Hall, describing it as “a meeting ground between the museum and the public.” His project offers a meditation on this idea, exploring how the particularities of theatrical architecture shape both a museum’s programs and its publics.

Laris Cohen (b. 1985, San Diego, CA; lives and works in New York) holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA from Columbia University. His work was presented in the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as well as at venues including The Kitchen, New York; SculptureCenter, New York; The Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Laris Cohen has received grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; the Foundation for Contemporary Arts; the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art; The Rema Hort Mann Foundation; Dance Theater Workshop; and Movement Research. His work is held in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Yve Laris Cohen: Meeting Ground is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by gifts to the annual operating fund. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.

In Dear 1968,… artist Sadie Barnette mines personal and political histories using family photographs, recent drawings, and selections from the file that the FBI amassed after her father joined the Black Panther Party in 1968. The exhibition takes its title from Barnette’s large-scale drawing, which reads “Dear 1968,” “Love, 1984”. Laboriously rendering its seemingly mechanical lettering by hand, Barnette approaches the year 1968 with a mixture of sentimental devotion and critical distance.

Barnette and her family recently obtained her father’s 500-page FBI file through the Freedom of Information Act and she responded to its intimate details by further redacting its contents with her signature stickers and paint splashes. In Barnette’s immersive reimagining of the family album, she demonstrates that her family’s story is not theirs alone. Examining the fraught relationship between the personal and the political, the everyday and the otherworldly, the past and the present, Barnette reveals that the injustices of 1968 have not yet been relegated to the pages of history, but live on in new forms today. 

Sadie Barnette (b. 1984, Oakland, CA; lives and works in Oakland and Compton, CA) holds a BFA from CalArts and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at venues including The Studio Museum in Harlem (where she was Artist-in-Residence), the Oakland Museum of California, and Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the recipient of Art Matters and Artadia awards and was named one of the “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know” by the Huffington Post. Her work is in the permanent collections of museums such as The Pérez Art Museum in Miami, the California African American Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Sadie Barnette: Dear 1968,… has been organized by the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis and Associate Curator Francesca Wilmott. Funding for the San Diego presentation is made possible by gifts to the annual operating fund. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.

Also on View
April 19, 2018 - September 2, 2018
Prospect 2018

Each spring, MCASD’s curatorial staff organizes an exhibition entitled Prospect, featuring artworks to be considered for acquisition by members of Contemporary Collectors and International Collectors, the Museum’s premier support groups. In advance of being selected by ballot at the Annual Selection Dinner, the works are displayed in the galleries along with contextual pieces from the permanent collection. This year’s presentation includes work by Meschac Gaba, Thomas Glassford, Camille Henrot, Judith Linhares, Jim Shaw, and Yinka Shonibare.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,700 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Kathryn Kanjo is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD. Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.



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