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Mills College Art Installation Features Historic Architecture

Oakland, CA–May 21, 2010. The Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce Here and Now, a series of site-specific installations on three historic Oakland buildings, including Mills Hall, curated by Christian L. Frock. Artists Elaine Buckholtz, Floor Vahn, and Christine Wong Yap, have been commissioned to create new works that investigate the various inherent legacies of these locations. Each one provides a relatively unchanged visual benchmark for the architecture of its period, with respective histories that reflect the early radical politics of the Bay Area.

“These three projects by contemporary artists examine the relationship between location and its inhabitants. They are re-interpreting and bringing to life the history of Oakland and the Bay Area through artistic expression of light and sound,” said Mills College Art Museum Director Stephanie Hanor. “The exhibition exemplifies our goal to connect with the community while showcasing innovative work by emerging artists at the Mills College Art Museum.”

Influenced by an Eadweard Muybridge photograph from 1873 of students and faculty assembled on site, Elaine Buckholtz’s site-specific light and video installation entitled Out of the Blue (Mills Hall Reconsidered), will animate the architectural features of Mills Hall on select weekend evenings in June. This work will be freely visible as a drive-by experience from an easily accessible circular driveway on campus. The installation will be visible on Friday evenings, June 4, 11, 18, and 25, from sunset to 10:00 pm and Saturday evenings, June 5, 12, 19, and 26, from sunset to 10:00 pm.

Mills Hall is the original school house of Mills College which was established in Oakland in 1871. Initially formed in Benicia in 1852 and conceived as a college for women, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast.

The second installation, by participating artist Floor Vahn, is entitled Sonic Pardee Home (Reconstituting Memories of Pardee Past), 2010. Vahn has created three unique sound scores that draw on the real and imagined history of the Pardee Home Museum in West Oakland and installed them as ambient sound within various rooms.

The Pardee Home Museum was originally built in 1868 and occupied by Enoch Pardee, an early public figure who served terms as Oakland mayor and California state assemblyman and state senator. His son, George Pardee, was state governor during the famous 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco. The house was occupied by family members of the original residents for more than 100 years until 1981. Its unchanged interiors reflect both its unusually layered domestic history, but also that of the greater history of California and the progressive politics of its inhabitants. This site-specific sound installation is located at 672 11th St. in Oakland. It runs on Saturdays, June 5, 12, 19, and 26, at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. Tours are $5/person.

The third installation by artist Christine Wong Yap is a one-day event on Saturday, June 5, 2010, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Yap’s The Great Balloon Giveaway, 2010, is a site-specific installation and social sculpture at the Camron-Stanford House, located at 1418 Lakeside Dr. in Oakland.

Inspired by imagery from the recent Oscar-winning animated film "Up," Yap’s work re-contextualizes the political histories of the house through the free distribution of 1,000 helium balloons to passersby. The City of Oakland’s Lincoln Square Recreation Center, a Chinatown community organization, is providing youth volunteers for the project.

The Camron-Stanford House was built in 1876 during the early development of Oakland and was a residence for various historic figures, including David Hewes and Josiah Stanford, before becoming the official site of the Oakland Public Museum.

Christian L. Frock is an independent curator and writer. Invisible Venue, the alternative enterprise that she founded and has directed since 2005, collaborates with artists to present art in unexpected settings. Frock holds a master’s degree in curatorial practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is a regular contributor to Art Practical, art ltd, and SFArts.org. Critical assessments of her work have appeared in Artillery, San Francisco Chronicle, and Camerawork Journal, among other publications.

About the Mills College Art Museum

The Mills College Art Museum, founded in 1925, is a dynamic center for art that focuses on the creative work of women as artists and curators. The museum strives to engage and inspire the diverse and distinctive cultures of the Bay Area by presenting innovative exhibitions by emerging and established national and international artists. Exhibitions are designed to challenge and invite reflection upon the profound complexities of contemporary culture. Admission is free for all exhibitions and programs unless noted. For more information, please visit the Mills College Art Museum.

About Mills College

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to approximately 950 undergraduate women and 550 graduate women and men. Since 2000, applications to Mills College have more than doubled. The College is named one of the top colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and ranks as one of the Best 371 Colleges by The Princeton Review. Forbes.com ranked Mills 55th among America's best colleges and named it a "Top Ten: Best of the All-Women's Colleges." Visit us at www.mills.edu.


Jeanne Herrera
Director of Media Relations

Lori Chinn
Mills College Art Museum Program Manager

Last Updated: 2/27/17