The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Artist Call – 2014 JURIED ANNUAL Reimagining Progress: Consumption, Consumerism, and Alternative Economies



Images – Minimum: 1, Maximum: 3
Video – Minimum: 0, Maximum: 1
Total Media – Minimum: 1, Maximum: 3

May 15 – Sep. 5, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 13, 2014 at 10:59 PM Pacific Standard Time



Consumption—of food, natural resources, and energy—is fundamental to human life, while consumerism—the acquisition of consumer products—lies at the foundation of contemporary society throughout much of the world. For at least the last century, artists and activists have raised awareness of and provided alternatives to overconsumption, consumer economies and commodification.

Artists might even be seen as the pioneers of many current efforts to find new efficiencies outside of the mainstream American consumer economy: upcycling, the process of bestowing a new, higher value on “waste” materials; time banking, in which people exchange time and skills rather than purchase goods and services with money; and other practices informed by a do-it-yourself ethos. From Joseph Beuys to Chris Jordan, Barbara Kruger to Stephanie Syjuco, Conceptualism to Fluxus, and land art to Burning Man, artists have questioned the role of commodities and consumption in post-industrial life.

Today, technology start-ups are offering a more businesslike twist on the informal economies so often explored by artists. AirBnB, TaskRabbit, Lyft and myriad other companies have created platforms to help people earn money by maximizing the value held in the apartments, skills, and cars they already have. With its robust technology sector, the Bay Area is at the center of this shift, and local artists have a unique opportunity to explore the significance of these cultural changes. Do these new modes of commerce offer a vision for more efficient, less consumerist economy, a new way to exploit post-industrial workers, or something in between?

“Reimagining Progress” highlights the Bay Area’s diverse points of view regarding current patterns of consumption, our consumer-based society, and alternative, more sustainable practices.


-Lawrence Rinder, Director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

-JD Beltran, Artist and President of the San Francisco Arts Commission

-Deborah Munk, Director of the Artist Residency Program at Recology San Francisco

Berit Ashla, Executive Director of the David Brower Center

Only San Francisco Bay Area artists age 18 years or older are eligible to apply. That includes artists living in one of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano or Sonoma.

-Existing works are preferred (except for art performances or happenings).
-Artwork will be wall-mounted objects, video or temporary performances or events.
-All media will be considered, as long as all objects displayed for the duration of the exhibition are mounted to the wall.
-Wall-mounted objects must be no less than 24” wide, no more than 72” wide and no more than 12” deep.
-Works will be ready to hang. In some cases, the David Brower Center’s professional installer may modify the artwork’s hanging mechanism in order to attach to the gallery’s custom wall hanging system.
-Video will be displayed on one of the Center’s wall-mounted monitors, which can play DVDs and computer files from a thumb drive. It may be looped with other artists’ videos. Video should be appropriate for a roving gallery audience, rather than a theater screening. Sound may be experienced only with headphones.
-Temporary art performances or happenings may be proposed as part of the exhibition’s event programming. These will occur within a limited time period only, such as one day or part of one day. Scheduling will be determined by the Center with input from the artist.
-For proposed art performances and happenings, submission should include one or more image or one video file to represent the event as well as a description of the event including: title, type of event, concept, names of performers, type of space required and duration. Artist is expected to provide all materials required for the event, but may use the Center’s tables, chairs and/or theater, if available.


The nonprofit David Brower Center is a vibrant place that inspires, sustains, and brings together people committed to environmental and social action. The Center offers educational and arts programs, stunning conference and event facilities, and high-quality office space for nonprofits — all in the greenest building in Berkeley. It is named to honor David Brower, a Berkeley native who many consider the father of the modern environmental movement.

Learn more about the Center:

About the Hazel Wolf Gallery:


Since it opened in 2009, the Hazel Wolf Gallery at the David Brower Center has featured exhibitions including the work of Sebastião Salgado, Richard Misrach, David Maisel, Chris Jordan, and Amy Franceschini, among others. Each exhibition explores the intersection between art and activism, with an emphasis on inspiring visitors to engage in environmental and social action – whatever that means to them.

Annually, the Center hosts a juried exhibition in which local artists are invited to participate. This is the Center’s third juried exhibition.

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