Trio of Art Entities Opens in San Franciscos Mission District


The Paris-based Kadist Art Foundation—an international residency, collecting and exhibitions organization—opened its first U.S. location on March 19 in San Francisco’s gritty, mural-rich, Latino and hipster Mission district.

Kadist’s two-room space abuts two other arts groups, who also opened their doors last weekend: The People’s Gallery and an office and artist space for The Thing, a subscription-based art object “publication.”

A champagne celebration marked the opening, attended by several hundred people, including representatives from Kadist’s Paris office, area curators, artists, and arts patrons. Remarks by Kadist co-founders, Vincent Worms and Sandra Terdjman, and other organizers spelled out the goals for San Francisco, which parallel those of the Paris site: to provide a place for creative collaboration, dialog and education that engages the international art world with the local scene.

Why open in San Francisco? Worms drew a connection between the Bay Area and Paris. “Because they are not on top… maybe they are trying harder to be more experimental, more interesting,” said Worms.

Kadist SF will be run by curators Joseph del Pesco and Devon Bella, who was curatorial assistant for the 01SJ Biennial. They will host twice-weekly programming beginning in April. Each Saturday, the front-room “reading room,” stocked with 120 English-language art magazines will be open to the public. Each Wednesday, the adjoining event space (complete with bar), will host arts presentations, including screenings, talks, performances, and installations, organized by area artists and other cultural organizations.

The foundation has also launched a residency program welcoming artists, curators, and art publications. Participants in an art publication residency will produce a San Fran-specific magazine and host a pop-up shop. That program begins at the end of April with the Rome-based publication Nero. Chinese conceptual and performance artist and sculptor Lin Yilin will arrive this summer for the first artist residency. [Yilin will feature in the May issue of A.i.A.]

The three-year-old The Thing—founded in San Fran and run by artists Will Rogan and Jonn Hershand—collaborates with guest artists to create quarterly “issues,” each an art object created in a series of limited multiples; contributors have included Chris Johanson, Trevor Paglen, James Franco and Miranda July. Additionally, The Thing creates limited edition projects. The next, to be released this spring, is by Franco.

The People’s Gallery organizes bimonthly exhibitions of artists from cities around the country who were featured in the People’s Biennial, a project supported by Independent Curators International, which culminated in a two-year traveling exhibition.

Both the biennial and gallery are curated by Jens Hoffmann—director of the CCA’s Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts—artist Harrell Fletcher and Jana Blankenship. The focus of the gallery and biennial is exposure for outsider or underexposed artists. The first is a solo show of black-and-white images from the 1970s by rodeo photographer Bob Newland.

“I can feel this space,” Terdjman remarked at her opening reception, “will have a similar position as the one in Paris, and that we can work together to create a bigger community of creative people.”