Visitors enjoy the 2011 MFA Graduate Exhibition at the Winery SF on Treasure Island.

Public Events

Wrong's What I Do Best
Thursday, April 24 - Saturday, July 26, 2014
Walter and McBean Galleries

Closing Reception » Thursday, July 24
Outdoor Screening of Tender Mercies + Summer Beer Garden with Fort Point Beer Company

Performance + Summer Beer Garden » Saturday, June 28
Matmos and Special Guests, with Fort Point Beer Company

San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco,

Curated by Hesse McGraw and Aaron Spangler

Tanyth Berkeley / Ashley Bickerton / CLUB PAINT / Liz Cohen / Wim Delvoye / Samara Golden /  Trenton Doyle Hancock / Brad Kahlhamer / Nikki S. Lee / Jonathan Meese / Laurel Nakadate /  Dana Schutz / Aaron Storck / Marianne Vitale / Kara Walker

“A diamond is a diamond, and a stone is a stone, but no man is all good or all bad.”
–Johnny Cash, quoting a Roy Orbison lyric, to introduce David Allan Coe

Wrong’s What I Do Best takes its title from what was originally a George Jones anthem, and later a catchall for a generation of Hard Country performers. Jones and his outlaw brothers—Johnny Paycheck, David Allan Coe, Hank Williams—were known equally for their crafted stage personas and unhinged private lives. These sincerely deluded, tragicomic figures inhabited characters of their own making, to personal peril and kindling for public legend.

"…desire is everywhere present in my paintings. I’m interested in the liberating aspect of being totally untethered, let loose in the worst possible environments. My favorite artists are always women that do things that are so wrong… I like things to be seven kinds of wrong. If they are seven kinds of wrong, sometimes the wrongs neutralize themselves, and the whole thing becomes…” 
–Ashley Bickerton

Wrong’s What I Do Best gathers the self-searing impulses of artists and musicians playing the role of one’s self as someone else. Working against both correctness and failure, Wrong’s What I Do Best revels in repeated derailments to present the work of artists who prod the edges of our world. Some unearth scorched histories or upset “natural” order, while others fling themselves headlong into the coming apocalypse. Collectively, their low-irony tilt toward social, political, and personal fault lines might be characterized by illicit unrestraint, yet their lack of critical judgment occludes the artists’ true selves. In the torrid gap between the artist-person, and the artist-persona we are reminded that one shouldn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Read "All Kinds of ‘Wrong’ Just Right at SFAI" on KQEDArts

Wim Delvoye, Untitled (Toile de Jouy), 2006; tattooed and taxidermied pig, 45.5 x 13.5 x 25 inches; courtesy of the artist
Ashley Bickerton, MV2, 2013; aluminum, oil, acrylic paint, hair, cement; 83 x 28 x 25 inches; courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong
CLUB PAINT, West Hollywood, 2013; oil on canvas; 72 x 54 inches; courtesy of the artist
Laurel Nakadate, Exorcism in January, 2009; HD Digital Video Loop, 11:40 minutes; courtesy of Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
Liz Cohen, Hydro Force, 2011; HD Video, 0:55 minutes; courtesy of Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco
Trenton Doyle Hancock, A New Creature #1, 2013; acrylic and mixed media on canvas; 60 x 60 inches; courtesy of the artist and James Cohan Gallery, New York and Shanghai
Ashley Bickerton, White Head I, 2012; acrylic, digital print and plastic laminate on wood; 93 x 80 x 7 inches; courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong
Jonathan Meese, We Toll, Schiessschartentum “Erzmeese” (der Totalste Tunnelblick ist Geilster Saint Just ii-Xii), sei Geometrie; oil on linen; 83 x 55.25 x 1.5 inches; courtesy of John Thomson, New York
Aaron Storck, 12 Ways, 2014; HD video; courtesy of the artist
Dana Schutz, How We Would Give Birth, 2007; oil on canvas; 60 x 72 inches; courtesy of Ovitz Family Collection, Los Angeles
Tanyth Berkeley, Linda Leven, Standing, Green and White Dress, 2013; inkjet print; 70 x 28 inches, ed. 1/5; courtesy of the artist
Tanyth Berkeley, Linda Leven, Standing, Orange Pants, 2007; inkjet print; 70 x 28 inches, ed. 3/5; courtesy of the artist
Nikki S. Lee, Layers, Rome 2, 2007; chromogenic print; 88 x 71.5 inches, ed. 1/3; courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York
Marianne Vitale, Double Decker Outhouse (2), 2011; reclaimed lumber; 144 x 36 x 36 inches; courtesy of the artist and Zach Feuer Gallery, New York

SFAI’s Exhibitions and Public Programs are made possible by the generosity of donors and sponsors. Major support is provided by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.

Program support is provided by the Harker Fund of The San Francisco Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Ongoing support is provided by the McBean Distinguished Lecture and Residency Fund, The Buck Fund, and the Visiting Artists Fund of the SFAI Endowment.