Touch On

Touch On

December 1, 2016–January 12, 2017
SOMArts, 934 Brannan Street

Touch On: Aesthetics in the Art, Politics and Ontology of Touch is a deep inquiry into the multifaceted nature of touch curated by James Fleming and Kelly Lovemonster. The first exhibition in the 2016–2017 season of the SOMArts Curatorial Residency, this group exhibition challenges viewers to reconsider preconceived notions of the meaning of touch through sculpture, installation, performance, traditional art and digital mediums. Touch On is the first in a series of curatorial programs by Fleming and Lovemonster.

Opening with a free public reception on Thursday, December 1, 6–9 pm, Touch On reveals the contingency of touch through the perspectives of fourteen Bay Area artists. Experimental engagements with touch encourage viewers to rethink their expectations of a visual art exhibition — creating an immersive gallery experience that inspires somatic and kinesthetic responses to contemporary art.

“Through deeply personal narratives and representations, this cohort of artists enmesh audiences in an active reconsideration of touch, and its ancillary forms and aspects,” Fleming and Lovemonster observe of their curatorial debut for Touch On.

The opening reception on December 1 will feature experimental performances by Dia Dear and boychild. Both are movement-based performance artists whose practices are deeply influenced by their early work in underground drag and performance scenes of San Francisco. Their live visual performances will activate Touch On and further illuminate the themes raised in the exhibition.

In addition to the opening reception, public programs in conjunction with the exhibition include Figure, Form, Frame, artist and curator visual dialogue on Thursday, December 15, 6–8 pm and the closing reception and film screenings on Thursday, January 12, 6–9 pm.

Craig Calderwood
Erica Dixon
Render Fruit
Xandra Ibarra
Aron Kantor
Damien Moreau
Ramekon O’Arwisters
Yetunde Olagbaju
Brontez Purnell
Manuel Solano
Robbie Sweeny
Virgie Tovar
Courtney Trouble

Dia Dear


Opening Reception
Thursday, December 1, 6–9pm
The opening night celebration features performance activations by Dia Dear and boychild, in addition to performative installation activations by several exhibiting artists.

Figure, Form, Frame: Artist and Curator Visual Dialogue
Thursday, December 15, 6–8pm
An evening presentation and discussion by fat femme writer and activist Virgie Tovar, choreographer and performance artist Larry Arrington and Touch On curators James Fleming and Kelly Lovemonster. Figure, Form, Frame brings together voices on the science, politics and cultures of touch.

Closing Reception & Film Screenings
Thursday, January 12, 2017, 6–9pm
Touch On presents an evening of mixed media, experimental films, and digital art to celebrate and reflect on the closing of the exhibition. The evening will begin with social-practice artist Ramekon O’Arwisters leading visitors through an interactive crotchet jam.

Touch On is a debut exhibition by curators James Fleming and Kelly Lovemonster. This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Zellerbach Family Foundation, The SOMArts Curatorial Residency program, and individual donors.

Image credit: Touch On, photo by Kelly Wu.

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