The Witnesses, organized by Cliff Hengst and Scott Hewicker • Landlooker!: Anne Beck •Animals A to Z: Rebecca Jantzen at NIAD Art Center from November 3-24 //

“The Witnesses” takes its leading inspiration from anthropologist Edmund Carpenter’s permanent installation inside the Surrealist galleries of The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas called “Witnesses to a Surrealist Vision.”

Exhibited as a cabinet of curiosities, indigenous tribal artifacts and totems ‘—which the Surrealists believed to be “witnesses” to the universality of their own visual and literary artistic practices—are exhibited with 19th-century European astrolabes, anamorphoscopes, and other devices that offer alternative ways to perceive and understand reality’. Carpenter conceived of the installation as a means to illustrate a “common intelligence” connecting vastly different cultures and perspectives with the Surrealists fascination with dreams, the unconscious and the universal significance of mythology.

Tugging on this wild thread, San Francisco artists Cliff Hengst and Scott Hewicker approached their exhibition as a kind of surreal game in auto-curation. They invited ten longtime Bay Area artists — Rebeca Bollinger, Sydney Cohen, Norma Cole, Tara Daly, Sahar Khoury, Pam Martin, Alicia McCarthy, Karla Milosevich, Laurie Reid, and Alice Shaw — who share highly visionary but vastly unique artistic practices to contribute artworks or totems with a deep personal significance. Pairing their contributions with works selected from artists at NIAD, the curators aim to present a vibrantly intuitive exhibition that blurs distinctions between art and artifact, and connects and weaves a “common intelligence” across many different influences and approaches to perceiving and representing the nature of humanity.

The Witnesses features works from Saul Alegria, Mireya Betances, Vanessa Bravo, Deatra Colbert, Heather Copus, Frank V. Daly, Adonia Douglas, Darlene Farr, Sylvia Fragoso, Matt Gordon, Raven Harper, Julie MacDonald, Sara Malpass, Jean McElvane, Dorothy Porter, Maria Radilla, Dorrie Reid, Carlota Rodriguez, Martha Shaw, Linda Stewart, Breonna Turner and Billy White.

Scott Hewicker is an artist, writer and musician. He has an MFA from Stanford University and has exhibited his work at Gallery 16, Deitch Projects NY, ICA Philadelphia and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He has curated exhibitions at The Berkeley Art Museum and Right Window gallery in San Francisco. With Cliff Hengst, Hewicker co-edited and illustrated the book, Good Times, Bad Trips published by Gallery 16 editions in 2007. Hewicker currently teaches in the First Year Program at California College of Arts. 

Cliff Hengst is an artist and performer. He has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and currently teaches in the SFAI grad program. Hengst recently performed a one-man play, Mr. Akita at the Berkeley Art Museum as part of their Matrix program. He has exhibited his work at Gallery 16, SFMOMA, The Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Southern Exposure, The San Francisco Arts Commission, and Machine Project, Los Angeles.

Scott Hewicker was the subject of a recent solo exhibition at NIAD. Cliff Hengst has also exhibited in a group exhibition at the Art Center. This is the first exhibition organized at NIAD Art Center by Scott Hewicker and the second organized by Cliff Hengst.


Landlooker! A Cursory Survey of Land-Use Traveling from New York to California and Back Again, 2008 – 2017: Anne Beck

Landlooker! revisits and expands upon work Anne Beck was doing in New York prior to moving to Northern California in 2008. While living in a part of Brooklyn that was in various stages of development and abandonment where wildlife was both controlled and unruly, Beck worked in a shiny part of Manhattan in the film and television industry. And she spent holidays on the rugged Mendocino coast with her newly-transplanted (originally from Virginia) mother. From the stark contrasts between these environments arose a series of wall-based collages & public interventions – hybrid landscapes of cut and recombined images that examine the collision between civilization, the land, and its inhabitants and divergent concepts of land-use: urban and rural, developed and conserved, cultivated and paved, sustained and depleted. 

Anne Beck works collaboratively and independently in a variety of media from painting to print and book making to public intervention. Broadly, she is exploring the roles of amateur naturalist and lay surveyor of the current landscape–collecting specimens and recording data, cataloguing that which seems useful, and investigating further that which seems impermeable. This is all in the context of envisioning a sustainable path forward for herself and the planet, which is often a playful exercise in the face of absurd and complex circumstances. Beck’s work has been featured in In the Make, Studio Visits with West Coast ArtistsWorks & Days QuarterlyHyperallergic, and Dublin’s The Visual Artists News Sheet. She has received residency awards from the Virginia Center of Creative Arts, Can Serrat in El Bruc, Spain, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Germany, and was Barstow Artist-in-Residence at Central Michigan University.  Anne is a 2015 recipient of the Fath Scholarship for Artists and Artisans of the Book from the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a project grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Anne lives and works in Northern California.

This is the first exhibition of Anne Beck at NIAD Art Center.


Animals A to Z: Rebecca Jantzen

Rebecca Jantzen has recently joined NIAD’s stable of artists. Soon after arrival, she decided to create linocut prints of each letter of the alphabet with a corresponding animal. The 26 finished pieces are terrific.

This is the first solo show at NIAD of Rebecca Jantzen.

Opening reception is Saturday, November 11 from 1:00-4:00 pm with music spun by Wayne Smith.