Exhibitions & Public Events

David Ireland
Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 - Saturday, Mar 26, 2016
Walter and McBean Galleries

David Ireland’s approach to the world, and art, was wide-eyed and infectious. The joys of his artistic practice were fully synced with his joys of life. In food, material, his house, and in friendship, Ireland was a master. For Ireland, no material was above another, yet all deserved care. Shit could be as precious as polished glass. And a dumb ball of concrete could be the apotheosis of artistic form.

Ireland’s maxim, “you can’t make art by making art” is reminder that both we take things too seriously, and that art, as life, are as expansive as we make them. For those who knew the artist, or experienced an epic dinner with him, the experience granted understanding of the many ways art could dissolve into life.

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the public reopening of 500 Capp Street, Ireland’s San Francisco house, and most famous work. In his time a gift to his friends and neighbors, the work now offers gifts to the public. 500 Capp Street is an immersive architectural work and social environment that presaged so many contemporary artist-created living spaces.

The centerpiece of this exhibition is a reenactment of Smithsonian Falls, Descending a Staircase for P.K., a cascade of concrete poured down the gallery’s staircase, which the artist created for his 1987 Adaline Kent Award exhibition in this gallery. Also included are his tour-de-force Angel-Go-Round (1996) and other rarely seen works that offer diverse vantages on his wide-ranging and restless practice.

During the reception, choreographer and David Ireland collaborator Douglas Dunn and his company will present a new work in the galleries titled DIversions.

David Ireland is organized by San Francisco Art Institute and curated by Constance M. Lewallen and Hesse McGraw, SFAI vice president for exhibitions and public programs.

David Ireland (MFA, 1974) is recognized internationally for a diverse and prolific body of work concerned with the beauty inherent in everyday things and the making of art as a part of daily life. His home at 500 Capp Street served as his primary source for material and inspiration, and is widely considered his greatest masterpiece. After completion of a two-year construction and preservation effort that began in 2014, visitors will be able to experience the 1886 Victorian home and its embedded artworks as Ireland intended.

Ireland (1930-2009) was born in Bellingham, Washington and moved to San Francisco in 1965. His work has been presented in more than 40 solo exhibitions, at venues including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. He created major public projects and private commissions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities. His work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, and University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, among others.

Program support is provided by the Harker Fund of The San Francisco Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Kadist Art Foundation, Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation, Creative Work Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Meyer Sound, Fort Point Beer Company, Gregory Goode Photography, and Thomas J. Fogarty, MD. Ongoing support is provided by the McBean Distinguished Lecture and Residency Fund, The Buck Fund, and the Visiting Artists Fund of the SFAI Endowment.


Douglas Dunn + Dancers present Stucco Moon
Wednesday, January 27 | 7:30 pm
PianoFight | 144 Taylor Street, San Francisco

David Ireland House
January 15–March 19
500 Capp Street, San Francisco

Dumbball: David Ireland and His Circle
January 20–February 27
Anglim Gilbert Gallery | 14 Geary Street, San Francisco

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David Ireland Opening Reception
Friday, Jan 22, 2016, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Walter and McBean Galleries
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Douglas Dunn
Friday, Jan 29, 2016, 7:00PM
SFAI Lecture Hall
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David Ireland Catalogue Release Party
Wednesday, Jun 15, 2016, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
500 Club
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