David Hammons Institute: Performance by Yuji Agematsu

by Admin on 06/17/2015

04/29/2017 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
360 Kansas Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

You can tell a lot about a place by looking at its trash.

When Yuji Agematsu walks the streets, he picks some of it up: cigarette butts, chewed gum, scraps of paper, bits of wire. He slips it in his pocket. When he gets to his studio, he puts all of it in a box, labels it with that day’s date, and lets it marinate. Eventually, he’ll use tweezers to place some bits of it into the cellophane wrappers of a cigarette pack. He finds the beautiful sculptures within other people’s garbage.

This is dirty art, not messy art. In an essay about David Hammons, called “The Poetics of Dirt,” Tom Finkelpearl notes that our culture dislikes (and even fears) whatever is dirty. Art (and museums) like to sanitize. But Agematsu …(like Hammons) understands place through its dirt—the objects, materials, people, and sounds of the street.

Agematsu presents a new performance with the musician Tadao Kawamura. Agematsu uses three slide projectors (equipped with contact microphones), while Kawamura accompanies on guitar. Shot with a range of lenses, the images include buildings, flowers, construction materials, water, pavement, traffic, and discarded objects. Some of the slides are dirty.


Yuji Agematsu (b. 1956) has had recent solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015); Yale Union, Portland (2014); and Artspeak, Vancouver (2014).

This is the eleventh event in our year-long season about and around the work of David Hammons.