Throughout spring 2015 the CAG is hosting a series of artists-in-residence, each continuing research toward participatory projects to be realized throughout 2015–2016. The Field House Studio is an off-site artist residency space and community hub organized by the Contemporary Art Gallery. This program moves beyond conventional exhibition making, echoing the founding origins of the gallery where artists were offered support toward the production of new work, while reaching out to communities and offering new ways for individuals to encounter and connect with art and artists. Running parallel to the residency program are an ongoing series of public events for all ages.
Fletcher will develop research rooted in his recent walking projects toward a new piece for Vancouver. In 2013, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, he developed a four day walk with a group of museum staff, scientists and members of the public. Over forty miles, from the museum across the Bay to Emeryville and the top of Mt Diablo, each participant presented topics related to the areas they were travelling through. Each day featured several official stops while countless unofficial observations added to the experience, additional members of the public connected with the core group at more than a dozen points along the path. By extending the museum’s curiositybased learning into the surrounding landscape, the project aimed to transform the everyday world into an open classroom, working toward a greater integration of the cultural institution within its surrounding community.
Fletcher has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects since the early 1990s. His work has been shown at SFMoMA, de Young Museum, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Yerba Buena Center, all in San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum; The Drawing Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, and The Sculpture Center, all in New York; PICA, Portland; The Seattle Art Museum; Signal, Malmö, Sweden; Domain de Kerguehennec, France; Tate Modern, London and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. His work was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and was the 2005 recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts. From 2002 to 2009 Fletcher co-produced Learning To Love You More, a participatory website with Miranda July. His 2005 exhibition The American War originated at ArtPace in San Antonio, travelling to Solvent Space, Richmond, VA; White Columns, NYC; The Center For Advanced Visual Studies, MIT, Boston; PICA, Portland and LAXART, Los Angeles among other locations. Fletcher is an Associate Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University, Oregon.
The Best Things in Museums Are the Windows is a project of the Exploratorium's Center for Art and Inquiry, an R&D center for the arts within the larger learning laboratory of the Exploratorium. It contains essays and a poem by Harrell Fletcher, Marina McDougall, Jordan Stein and Jason Groves. Harrell Fletcher is one of the CAG artists-in-residence in 2015.
On July 18–21, Exploratorium Artist-in-Residence Harrell Fletcher joined a core walking group of Exploratorium staff artists and scientists—plus the public—for The Best Things in Museums Are the Windows, a four-day trek from the Exploratorium’s Pier 15 home across the Bay to the summit of Mount Diablo. The adventurous project created a dynamic framework for discovery as it moved across water, city, suburb, and country, building on the multidimensional perspectives of the participants.
The public connected with the core group at more than a dozen points along the path, which were seeded with free public demonstrations, screenings, talks, and other investigations designed by Exploratorium staff and community partners. Each day featured several official stops while countless unofficial observations colored the trek with surprise and spontaneity.
The Windows reflects Fletcher's interest in artful investigation, community collaboration, experiential learning, and decentralized authorship. By extending the museum’s curiosity-based learning into the surrounding landscape, the trek aimed to transform the everyday world around us into an open classroom while working toward a greater integration of a cultural institution within its surrounding community.