Press Releases


Maya Stovall: Under New Ownership

Artist and Anthropologist Maya Stovall Opens Exhibition
Under New Ownership at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture

Stovall to give live performance on exhibition’s closing weekend


(San Francisco, CA, March 13, 2019) Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) and San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) jointly present Maya Stovall: Under New Ownership, an exhibition of the artist’s innovative performance-based interventions in public life. Under New Ownership includes performance videos from Liquor Store Theater and The Public Library as well as several of the artist’s conceptual sculptures. The exhibition, on view from March 29 through May 5, will culminate on May 3 with Theorem, a live performance newly commissioned by FMCAC.

A self-described “radical ballerina,” Maya Stovall explores questions of human existence, creating works that “vividly juxtapose art and life” (The New York Times) through unannounced performances in contemporary urban spaces. Stovall’s Liquor Store Theatre (2014–present) stages and films performance actions in and around businesses in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood in Detroit. Stovall inserts sequences of performances in an otherwise everyday rhythm, drawing out the people shopping, rushing, and hanging around. The dancers’ centered movement is juxtaposed with Detroiters’ stories, drawing on the energy of the city’s corners, sidewalks, and parking lots to picture this urban fabric in new ways.

“Stovall’s work is a kinetic investigation of the social and economic undercurrents of contemporary civic life” says Frank Smigiel, FMCAC’s Director of Arts Programming & Partnerships.

Under New Ownership includes The Public Library (2018–present) performed and filmed in Saskatoon, CA. Stovall’s new work takes her artistic method outside of her hometown to foreground the people making the Saskatoon main library a public crossroads. Through her performance, Stovall elicits views on immigration, local and cross-border economics, narco-cultures, and civic pride. The Public Library project was developed during Stovall’s 2018 invited residency with AKA Artist-Run, Saskatoon.

The exhibition marks the latest partnership between FMCAC and SFAI, the latter of which rehabilitated the historic Fort Mason Pier 2 and opened their Fort Mason Campus in 2017.

“Art and anthropology are natural co-invigorators of cultural disruptions and social awakening,” says Gordon Knox, President of San Francisco Art Institute. “Rooted in academic theory and research, yet contextualized with real life experiences, Stovall’s performances are a natural extension of our public programming at the Fort Mason Campus. The artistic inquiries presented in Under New Ownership reflect SFAI’s mission of fostering artists that engage with and impact society.”

“SFAI is an integral partner in presenting dynamic arts programming at FMCAC,” says Rich Hillis, Executive Director of FMCAC. “Their reach and expertise allow us to present ambitious and penetrating works.”

Theorem Performance
In conjunction with the close of the exhibition, Stovall will present a live performance of Theorem, no.1, commissioned by Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. Distilling the thinking and theorizing behind earlier projects, Theorem is a meditation on the fervor, grit, and craving of the day-to-day urban experience.

Coursing through city streets, Theorem casts a critical and celebratory gaze on fraught spaces and places while investigating the politics of the everyday. With actions referring to text, movement, object, and ritual, a group of artists spin a bizarre world within a world that’s already there. Participating artists include Seycon-Nadia Chea, Bana Kabalan, Mo Soumah, and Todd Stovall. Todd Stovall’s all-new original Detroit electronic music score situates and drives Theorem as a procession of research, wonder, and grind as it winds through the city.

Performance dates and details will be announced later in March 2019.

Exhibition Information
The exhibition is on view March 29, 2019, through May 5, 2019 at the San Francisco Art Institute’s Fort Mason Campus, located at Pier 2 within Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco, CA. Exhibition hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed Monday-Tuesday. Free admission.

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Exhibition Organization
Maya Stovall: Under New Ownership is jointly presented by Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and the San Francisco Art Institute.

About Maya Stovall
Working across the disciplines of performance and dance, moving and still image, installation, and text, Maya Stovall explores the monumental questions of human existence, creating works that “vividly juxtapose art and life” (The New York Times). Equally an artist and an anthropologist, she holds a PhD in anthropology; a book based on her dissertation, Liquor Store Theatre: Ethnography & Contemporary Art in Detroit, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in spring 2020.

A participating artist in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the Studio Museum Harlem’s 2017–18 F-Series, Stovall’s artwork has been widely shown in the US, Canada, and Europe. Her artworks are included in the permanent collections of the Cranbrook Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Stovall lives and works in her hometown of Detroit, as well as in Los Angeles County, where she is an assistant professor at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), Pomona.

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About Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC)
A decommissioned military installation converted into a nonprofit cultural center in 1977, FMCAC has long been host to a lively mix of arts, educational, and cultural programming. Each year FMCAC provides more than $2 million in support to local arts organizations, enabling groups to produce diverse and innovative artworks at the historic waterfront campus. With a nearly four-decade history as an arts and culture destination, FMCAC is now focused on reinvigorating its programming and amenities to better engage the evolving and dynamic Bay Area creative community. Central to this new vision is the commissioning and presentation of adventurous and unconventional artworks best realized in nontraditional or historic settings.

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About San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in the practice and study of contemporary art. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, SFAI provides students with a rigorous education in the arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts and art history curriculum, and critical engagement with the world. Committed to educating artists who will shape the future of art, culture, and society, SFAI fosters creativity and original thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary context.

SFAI’s Fort Mason Campus, opened in Fall 2017, houses 67,000 square feet of artist studios and exhibition spaces. This new campus joins the historic Chestnut Street campus in Russian Hill to radically advance SFAI’s commitment to positioning artists at the center of public life in the Bay Area and globally.

SFAI’s Exhibitions and Public Programs are made possible by the generosity of donors and sponsors. Program support in 2018-19 is provided by the Harker Fund of The San Francisco Foundation, Institute of Museums and Library Services, Grants for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Work Fund, Koret Foundation, Pirkle Jones Fund, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and Fort Point Beer Company. Ongoing support is provided by the McBean Distinguished Lecture and Residency Fund, The Buck Fund, and the Visiting Artist Fund of the SFAI Endowment.

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Nick Kinsey
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
(415) 345-7530

Nina Sazevich
San Francisco Art Institute
(415) 752-2483