IFORWE is a new curatorial project that explores and retells Bay Area art history from an unusual angle.
It looks at the connections between artworks that are credited to collective identities or assumed names. I’ve written a bit about the idea in a curator’s statement.
For at least the last 70 years the Bay Area has been a place where lots of art has been made by cooperatives, collectives, communes and groups — contexts where credit for the work is given either to the group whole or to a pseudonymous identity, rather than to an individual artist. It’s part of the fabric of local art practice and is still vibrant and extremely influential today.
It’s so influential in fact, that I’m guessing you likely know someone who has contributed to an artwork in this way. Maybe as a member of a collective or cooperative whether structured or informal, or as a volunteer on a sculpture build, or as a part of a participatory or social engagement artwork, or an art car or Burning Man crew; or by using a pseudonym to obscure either their identity or number of participants involved with an artwork.
The site you’re visiting right now is a tool I developed to help gather stories like these. It will also help to visualize some connections between some of these groups and identities, and aid in an exhibition in 2018 that will tell some stories about larger trends that may be shaping our reasons for making art this way. You can take a look at the project roadmap at this page.
The goal of this web project and the exhibition is to scratch the surface of this idea, and start a conversation about an important facet of Bay Area artmaking.
I’m doing this using a mix of crowdsourced oral history, interviews, and research, and I would love to include your story as part of the project.
—curator Matt Fisher