From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art

The Contemporary Jewish Museum
San Francisco, California
November 25, 2016 – April 2, 2017

Press release:

There are many forms of memory: memories of events we have experienced, memories we have heard as family stories and from popular culture, even memories of an imagined future. The twenty-four artists in From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art work with memories that are not their own. They remember and recall stories that were never theirs and assemble them in a variety of media to be seen, heard, and experienced by others. At once intimate and shared, the memories they work with are second-hand experiences, culled from a photograph they saw, or a story they heard, or even a once subconscious memory. The artists are secondary witnesses to the past events they use in their works, and it is precisely this distance in time and space that allows them to offer powerful narratives open to a wide range of interpretation and expression.

[...] Moran’s Record of Cherry Road engages with memories shared by her mother, aunt, and uncle, who grew up in what they believed to be a haunted house in Tennessee. Her audio piece George, Lucie, Cary 2016: Strange but True is a conversation between the three siblings sharing their ghost stories at a family reunion, blending memories, anecdotes, and memory lapses, and leaving the listeners in doubt about what is the truth. The artist has listened to these conversations throughout her life and has noted how the stories change; this record is their most recent account. Wandering through Moran’s installation, one encounters pages and photographs from her mother’s personal archive, floor plans of the house noting where supernatural steps were heard, and undated photographs of the house that, altogether, form one account of a family memory.

Participating artists: Christian Boltanski, Nao Bustamante, Binh Danh, Silvina Der-Meguerditchian, Bernice Eisenstein, Eric Finzi, Nicholas Galanin, Guy Goldstein, Fotini Gouseti, Ellen Harvey, Aram Jibilian, Loli Kantor, Mike Kelley, Lisa Kokin, Ralph Lemon, Rä di Martino, Yong Soon Min, Fabio Morais, Elizabeth Moran, Vandy Rattana, Anri Sala, Wael Shawky, Hank Willis Thomas, Chikako Yamashiro

curated by Pierre-François Galpin and Lily Siegel