In The Unfinished Letter, the artist investigates the unexpected death of her mentor by revisiting places where her mentor resided, conducting interviews, and collecting various evidences, which allows her “activating” the lost communication thus “reconnecting” with her mentor poetically yet distantly. To respond to the series The Unfinished Letter, the homage to the artist’s mentor, Jasphy would love to collect unfinished or unsent letters to create an intimate memorial and performance of letter reading. If you are interested, please email Jasphy here.
The Unfinished Letter
The Unfinished Letter is a solo exhibition by New York based artist Jasphy Zheng, featuring her recent series Before the Storm, Under the Sun and The Unfinished Letter. Inspired by the perplexity in her personal life, the series reveal the artist’s contemplation on mortality, beingness, as well as the sometimes “failed” or interrupted communication among individuals. Standing at the intersection of photography and narrative, Jasphy’s work is further complicated and enriched by a fusion of texts, video, sound, and hand-made books. Challenging the temporality and ephemerality of photography, Jasphy suspends the passage and eclipse of emotion, memory, and time in her work. The exhibition is curated by Rui Tang.
Jasphy Zheng is an image-based artist who resides in New York. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. She was the recipient of the Italy travel grant from Francesca Woodman Family Foundation. Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA; Pingyao Photo Festival, China; Red Eye Gallery, Providence, RI, and among others. She uses photography along with other media, from artist books, videos, digital media, to public interventions as her vocabulary to construct her artistic language. She is interested in the notion of mortality and everything short-lived.
Rui Tang is a curator and writer based in New York, who focuses on the notion of locality in visual culture. Graduated with an MA in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, Rui had previously worked at Guggenheim Museum, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Asia Society Northern California, and Montalvo Arts Center. Her recent curatorial project is Painting is Forbidden, a solo exhibition of artist Martin Wong at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.
We are so thrilled to announce our latest book, Maximum Sunlight by Meagan Day with photographs by Hannah Klein. Here's an excerpt from the opening chapter:
Sky, sand, sky, sand, sky, sand
Most of unincorporated America is relatively civilized. Beyond the borders of small towns we encounter rural houses, roads, crop fields, livestock, scattered machinery, an array of anthropogenic junk. In the East there is scarcely an unobstructed acre, but even in the West we eventually spot power lines, drilling equipment, ranch fences.
But the edges of Tonopah, Nevada are sharp. There are houses and trailers with yards full of trampolines and car parts, and then suddenly there is only earth and sky. Tonopah, Nevada is an island of civilization in a vast humanless sea.
In the desert, up is sometimes difficult to distinguish from down. After heavy rains, water pools between the blackbrush and mirrors the stratosphere. Just after sunset the crisp horizon dissolves into a hazy bluish band. An inverted Fata Morgana will sometimes appear, actual hills collapsing into an imaginary limit. Tough bald hills slope at impossible angles, as if molded under the heel of a giant. It’s easy to envision dinosaurs pounding this dry terrain with legs the size of refrigerators.
In Tonopah, I meet a man who warns me of the dangers of driving off-road in the desert at dawn and dusk. He crashed doing this once, going 120 mph on his three-wheeler. “I broke my neck out in the dunes and ripped my face off,” he says. “I told them there was no way I was going to the hospital, to just give me a beer and wipe the sand out of my lips and my eyes.”
This man has just spent a night in jail for a DUI and is sipping plain Coke through a straw. “I know where it sits now, the three-wheeler,” he says, “and every time I see it I just get flashbacks to when I was flying off it – sky, sand, sky, sand, sky, sand. And that’s why you don’t ride at twilight. At twilight, you can’t tell what a shadow entails.”
Come on out to our book release party, December 16th or order your copy here!
Super stoked to announce the Black Aesthetic Film Series Schedule!
Oct. 4 Drylongso Cauleen Smith
Oct. 11 The Watermelon Woman Cheryl Dunye
Oct. 18 Bush Mama Haile Gerima
Oct. 25 Ganja and Hess Bill Gunn
Nov. 1 All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story George C. Stone
Nov. 8 Daughters of the Dust Julie Dash
Nov. 15 Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. Leslie Harris
Nov. 22 She's Gotta Have It Spike Lee
Organized by Ryanaustin Dennis and Philip Johnson.
All screenings are in the gallery and begin at 7pm. $5.00 suggested donation. NOTAFLOF.
We are so stoked to host the Black Aesthetic Film Series here at Wolfman starting in October. The organizers, Ryanaustin Dennis and Philip Johnson will be doing a residency in the shop Fridays, and using the award money and stipend to build out infrastructure around this new series. Check out more about BAFS below:
My art practice combines collage, poetry, and video installation. My main concern is the metaphysics of blackness. I look at our cultural notions of contemporary blackness as a material substance investigating how the matter, properties, and physics of Blackness work in our social world. Below is a manifesto that I hope will guide my practice:
A New Black Imaginary Manifesto
We are social death
We are in the constant process of decolonization
We must engage with our social imaginary
The Black Body is Real
Blackness is always present
Black is Trans
Black people experience pleasure
Violence is mode of expression
Black is Global
Black is Local
We are rooted in the ecology of this planet
Black people are Animals
Black people are Humans
Black people are Transcendental
Blackness is not always able-bodied
Blackness is not inherently a political identity. We are prior to the polis
During my residency I will be collaborating with an Oakland based filmmaker, Philip Johnson, on a project called The Black Aesthetic. This project is about showcasing rare, independent, or unknown films and shorts that we think should have a wider audience. With each film viewing, we will have a guided audience discussion where we can tease out technical, structural, and socio-political themes. The goal is to create a robust forum for people to exchange ideas, make connections, and experience the communal aspects of film.
Ryanaustin Dennis is a Midwest (Akron, OH) writer/artist/cook and Bay Area transplant that has performed on street corners, stages, slams, and open mics across the country. He often collaborates with other artists on different projects and has two manuscripts in the works for publishing How to Bend a Nigger and Strike: Poems Out Loud. You can find him shuking artichokes or cleaning fresh squid at Camino. And if you’re lucky, you might find him on the tennis courts around in your area.
More info on the film series coming soon!
We are so excited to welcome our latest Wolfman Artist in Residence, Shiloh Jines! Shiloh will be working on a rad project about poetry and typography and ampersands and we are so stoked to have her in the shop! Come say hello to Shiloh, Fridays starting next week. Yes!
More on the artist:
Shiloh makes hybrid poem-realities through merging handmade printed matter with video art. She examines the presence & absence of materiality in language & book-forms—how the world necessitates & degenerates a physical body. Much of her practice involves deconstructing the codex as an object of power & considers the visceral ways language can manifest in/on/through a body. Growing up in Eastern Tennessee, her identity as an Appalachian Queer & how she has come to critically understand this identity plays a central role in her poetic works. She believes in the magic of remembering, forming deep accountability & what Baldwin referred to as, “the necessity of the long view.”
Shiloh is a poet & visual artist based in Oakland, California. She is the co-author of the hand-bound letterpress chapbook SITE OF IMPACT (Eucalyptus Press 2016). She is currently working on her poetry manuscript, “& if it flows like pity/ then it spills like viscous fluid” and Mills College MFA thesis exhibition.
OPENING JUNE 30th at 5pm!
We are so excited for Karin Dahl's solo show, Field Notes!
Field Notes is a collection of Karin Dahl's artistic fragments and ephemera on nature. As a watercolorist and textile-artist, Karin is constantly notating and exploring the convergences between botany, biology, and topography, as well as how these natural phenomena are visually and culturally interpreted, from field guides to maps, scientific illustrations to cartographic representations. Field Notes is an attempt to highlight the materiality of natural representation, and make sense of her own scattered interests and ambulations through nature.
Karin Dahl was born in Ekenäs, Finland, raised in Seattle, and is a decade-long resident of Oakland. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and is an aspiring archaeologist. Karin has watercolored from an early age when she painted flowers with her grandma. She is obsesed with textiles, plants, and maps and is working toward a practice as artist, researcher, and educator that is outside any one discipline.
WHAT THE HECK!
That's right! The Hundy is back! We did it last year, 100 readers in two weeks, readings every night, so much amazingness. So we're doing it again! Readings will start June 18th at 7pm, and go every night, Monday-Sunday, at 7pm with readings also at 9pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Really? Really.
We're still getting all the details together, but so far here is the list of participants in no particular order:
Sophia Kim, Turner Canty, Katherine Duckworth, Joel Gregory, Andrea Abi Karam, Spray Tan, Elana Chavez, Amai Freeman, Malcolm Thompson, Malcolm Hoover, Trisha Andrea, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Indiana Pehlivanona, Derek Fenner, Harold Terezón, Wendy Trevino, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Alan Bernheimer, Lorraine Lupo, Jason Morris, Stephen Emerson, Zack Haber, Nico Peck, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Williams, Lindsey Bolt, The Fools, Yetunde Olagbaju, Sasha Ravitch, Alexandra Mattraw, Valerie Witte, Tiff Dressen, Donna de la Perriere, Steve Orth, Melissa Mack, Ted Rees, Jasmine Gibson, Emji Spero, Jenn McCreary, Brooke Doaks, Aries Jordan, DeMareon Gipson, Kali, Mecca, Mandela, Vernon Keeve III, Hope Amico, Julian Shendelman, Daphne Gottlieb, Zachary Ozma, Ilana Kramer, Wes Holtermann, Stephanie Young, Jacob Kahn, Kevin Killian, Lehua Taitano, Angel Dominguez, Anna Avery, Trisha Low, Tessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck, Julian Brolaski, Liam Curley, Grace Ambrose, Emmalee Conner, Liz Kinnamon, Anne Lesley Selcer, Suzanne Stein, Connie Yu, The Third Thing...
More coming soon! Stay tuned for details!
Each week, our newest employee, Akande X, picks a book or zine or something from the store and uses it as a jumping off point for a short piece of nonfiction, a poem, or an essay. We'll release these on a roughly weekly basis whenever Akande's working. We hope you enjoy!
Nature, a zine by Jeffrey Cheung
In this piece I wanted to utilize the same style Jeffery uses in his illustrations- simple abstractions from daily life. These are the observations I had of a trip to Washington, D.C.
Boy, they had all of us fooled. In between the legs of the dead man Lincoln and by George Washington's penis (tell me that’s not a huge white penis) sprouting like a monumental deathly lilac out of the ground.
A painfully beautiful Yoruba woman studying medicine talked to me about Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.
They say Washington, D.C. is built after ancient Egypt.
A Trump youth who threw himself down the steps of the Lincoln memorial four at a time, his parents were not in sight.
A short black man struck a conversation with me and my grandmother during a festival. He told us how this street was once the parade grounds for the Masons, then the Klan, then the gentrifiers. We can see those pictures on Howard’s campus.
I saw the president speak. Nothing much to say there (keep shufflin!).
A young Asian woman had trouble finding which platform to board the blue train on. In retrospect, I did not see a lot of Asians there.
Walking through Washington D.C. is a Marxist wet dream.
The Mecca is all that it is said to be.
Pick up a copy of Nature at the shop (as well as tons more of Jeffrey's zines). Find more of Jeffrey Cheung's work here!
As part of our newly revamped Wolfman Residency Program, we ask our artist residents to write a short check-in during their time here, reflecting on what they're doing, or just sort of thinking through their project. Here's the first in the series from our current resident, Patricia Sazani (and holy business, it's great!). Stay tuned for more updates on the project and for the release of Patricia's publication very soon!
A GUIDE TO READING/INTERPRETING MESSAGES FROM GOD
By Patricia Sazani
Five Fridays in residence at E.M. Wolfman and I have filled almost an entire notebook with writings and drawings about the Binders: a fictional sect of Christianity re-colonizing a future California, made empty by environmental disaster and radiation poisoning.
As the Binders settle in their fertile river valley, they are faced with the riveting question: How will we teach our children?? What educational philosophies are in line with our extremist beliefs?
I am working on a textbook— a guide for teachers. Lesson plans, definitions, histories, prompts and exercises for students. Central to the Binder religion are the figures of instruments (a term borrowed from the Shakers), people that receive gifts (again, Shakers) from God in the form of poetry, song, dance, drawing.
But how do you teach this? How do you teach receptiveness to religious visions? Is it a muscle you can strengthen? I’ve been rereading my Baltimore Catechism: Are worksheets a good idea? (Answer: No, they are not.)
What’s been really fruitful is trying to imagine what the needs of Binder teachers would be: How to distinguish between a false and true vision. How to offer emotional and physical support to a fellow instrument after she’s received a gift and she’s just completely and spiritually exhausted.
Or, a truly frustrating task: How do you explain the subtle semiotic categories of Charles Sanders Peirce, on which the teachings of the religion are loosely based? (Why is Secondness desirable? What does it mean to live between things? How to understand Firstness when “every description of Firstness must be false to it”? How can a sign be hollow?)
I began a daily exercise at the start of the residency: Using a deck of flashcards I made a couple months ago, I pick at random a line from Binder scripture. I then reflect on and write about and expand upon the line— the way I imagine Binder priests and instruments spend their days. This is the card I pulled today: Chapter 3, Verse 8 of Mother Corita’s Sacred Categories:
(It’s a good one because I’m writing today about the Binders’ obsession with path-making, and realized paths can be this kind of bridge.)
Stay tuned for more thoughts from the Binder universe!
We are so excited to host this series of workshops as par of Pro Arts 2016 Open Studios! There are three workshops, curated and organized by Jennifer Williams of The Process of Letting Yourself Have a Creative Process and they're going to be so amazing.
About the show:
"Your footsteps follow not what is outside the eyes, but what is within, buried, erased," Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Our understanding of ourselves is intimately woven with our physical surroundings. A walk down a familiar neighborhood street, a visit to a foreign part of town, or a quiet moment in a certain corner of the kitchen; these experiences shape our thoughts, dreams and selves. As the Bay Area rapidly changes into an almost unrecognizable landscape, with housing prices on the rise and a shifting demographic, we are forced to rethink our identities in connection with the places and spaces we call home. The creative exploration of this physical and psychological link, we believe, is a necessary piece in the conversation about the current state of our cities.
We are so excited to announce our newest resident! Multi-genre artist and writer, Patricia Sazani will be spending Fridays in the store working on a project based on her massive, ongoing, speculative world-building-art-project. What! So rad. This thing is huge and strange and wonderful and we are so excited to have Patricia join us for the next two months!
Stay tuned for updates from Patricia, works in progress, and announcements for artist talks and the release of a brand new Wolfman Edition object based on Patricia's residency work. Yes!
My art practice involves building worlds and then living in them and making art from the inside. For years now I have inhabited a world built around a fictional sect of Christianity based on the writings of logician and philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce, and inspired by Shaker and Mormon history. I spend most of my time in this world with a group of women that act as spiritual mediums in their community— or, in the Shaker tradition, instruments, who spend their days receiving visions from God in the form of poetry, song, drawing, and dance; discussing experimental methods of religious education; and interpreting scripture.
The framework of this universe allows me to imagine and engage with concepts that are otherwise closed to me: encounters with the divine, moments of conversion, the ways that faith plays out in the daily lives of believers. I am interested in how these experiences are narrated, in the relationship between religion, language, and representation, in the productive power of religious language—that is, moments when language induces belief.
About the Artist
Patricia Sazani is from Lompoc, California, and currently lives in Oakland. Her past jobs include teaching math to art students and collecting oral histories from beekeepers. Recent unpaid ventures include perfume-smelling, scooter-riding, and swimming. She is interested in architecture, land use, and botany, but somehow her art always ends up being about religion instead. She likes to imagine a future for herself that includes all of these things: land, art, teaching, stories, scooters.
Hey friends! E.M. Wolfman is finally turning two! It seems like it's taken two years for this to happen, and we've been on this wild journey and suddenly here we are.
We didn't do a party for our one year anniversary—we kind of forgot? Or we were in a weird mood? Or we just were busy? Or something came up?
Anyway, we want to DO IT UP this year to make up for last year's lapse and because we have all these balloons left over from the Hundy and we're tired of trying to sell bulk balloons on Craigslist (it's more work than it's worth) and because—what were we talking about?
Here is the general outline of the thing:
1. Incredible Group Art Show.
2. Too Many Performances and Readings.
3. Some Really High Quality Snacks.
4. Actual DJs DJing.
5. We all go home.
6. More details coming soon.
7. Also, who cares about more details?
8. You should just come!
Yes! Come hang out at this event/party/thing! It will be incredibly fun and great. Pick up some amazing books! And some amazing art! And eat a really high quality snack!
Or just come hang out any time in April, which is our birthday month, so everything in the shop will be especially rose-tinted/tequila-tinged for the thirty or whatever days April decides to throw at us. We hope you can join us!
forget how to read by Today at the Archive is an intervention set within E.M. Wolfman’s bookstore and gallery that will discuss through the interplay of photography and objects the idea of “reading” and “narrative” in the digital age. Public spaces of reading are increasingly disappearing and this project proposes a way to actively and creatively re-engage the community.
Today at the Archive is a collaborative duo composed of artist, Ali Padgett, and curator, Amelia Brod. They often work together to create exhibitions and interventions that encourage active looking and alternative narratives through the disruption of quiet space in archives, libraries and places of reading.
Ali Padgett is a California native living and working in Oakland. She graduated from California College of the Art’s MFA program in 2012 with a degree in photography. Captivated by the numerous ways in which images inhabit the world and circulate within it, her work incorporates found and printed photographs in an attempt to both unravel pictures and complicate them. Recent projects include We live here a collection of snapshots mapping routes in her neighborhood and Women in magazines a photographic survey of women in fashion magazines. A longtime collector of artists books, zines and printed matter, Ali has been making photographs and working in libraries for over ten years. For the exhibition Forget How To Read at E.M Wolfman Ali combines these interests to create an uncanny intervention in the shelves and amongst the books which will have you wondering where the space begins and the photograph ends.
Amelia Brod recently graduated with an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts with a thesis titled Art and Community Organizing Queens Museum. Amelia has previously had stints at Creative Time, The Brooklyn Arts Council and The Wassaic Project. Most recently she curated a series of ten installations that interrupted quiet space at the Meyer and Simpson Libraries in Oakland and San Francisco as well as Painting is Forbidden, a solo exhibition dedicated to the work of artist Martin Wong at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. Amelia is fascinated by photography, artists' books and social practice.
Our Mender in Residence, Karin Dahl, is mending away! Come on by, every Saturday for the next two months and have your ripped clothing artfully mended! We did it, and we're so excited about it! If you can't make it in Saturdays, you can always drop your clothing off any time the store is open, and we'll log them and pass them on to Karin. Woo!
Karin's artist statement:
Cloth is defined by its malleability. It holds memory and can be read like a kind of syntax that floats around the body. Alas, it also gets torn, wears through, and generally falls apart. But, also, of course, it can be mended! I am obsessed with this simple and radical part of the process, a process humans have been using for thousands of years, the reconstruction, refabrication, and reinterpretation of worn materials character and worth. As an artist in residence at E.M. Wolfmans for the months of October and November, I will be at the bookstore every Saturday repairing, restoring and reimagining the holes in your clothes. Partially an homage to fabulous bay-area artist Michael Swaine and his free “mending library,” my mendings are less an exercise in social practice and practical fix, and rather extended studies on sites for visible re- and de-construction, exploring the history of the garment, retaining its “faults” and highlighting its time-bound dimensions. While I mend, I will document each repair “site” and consider the implications of use and time on our current understanding of textiles. You can drop clothes off at the store any day you like (one piece, please, for starters) or come see me on Saturdays!
Karin Dahl was born in Ekenäs, Finland, raised in Seattle, and is a decade-long resident of Oakland. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and is an aspiring archaeologist. She has made textiles for film, poetry, and performance art, including tents, masks, and embroidered writing, that weave in and out of the comfortable range of practical textile usage. She has worked at an archeology museum and ceramics studio, and taught ceramics, textiles, and other mediums to both kids and adults. Karin is working toward a practice as artist, researcher, and educator that is outside any one discipline.
Residents Emji Spero and Patricia Sazani navigate the ever-exciting Wildernedd of Wolfman. Be careful out there!
Patricia, Wolfman's reader in residence, came back today from her travels. She spend the last month creating primary source and secondary documents for an imaginary (once it's created, can we still call it imaginary?) religion. She spent the last month in bare feet stomping the ground trying to create paths in The dirt of the state of Nebraska. That is to say, she was at a residency. I know nothing about Nebraska and I said so. Patricia said "it was kind of like summer camp for adults." She is currently reading 'H is for Hawk.' Right now in the corner. For a book club. She let me photograph her and even pretended not to see me squatting in front of her holding out my phone.
This is so rad! In conjunction with Hope Amico's new show in the back gallery, Oakland's Crimewave produced a rad soundtrack you can listen to while checking out the show. There's headphones, and a little walkman, and you can walk around or write your own letter—and, it's really a magical experience of dreamy swirling ambient awesomeness. We recommend you come by to get the full effect. But, for those of you who can't come by, or maybe you just want to continue the party on your own time, the audio is below. Thanks to Crimewave for this fully excellent thing!