The note from an overseas friend arrived in my IN Box as an invitation for a private viewing. Downtown on a Friday eve at "Pier 24". I knew it was a photography gallery, but had no idea what lay behind the silver gated doorway.
It turns out Pier 24 Photography is the largest private collection of contemporary photography in the US. Access is by appointment only, privately owned and curated, and installations remain for eight to ten months. The current installation is titled "Secondhand", and if you have a chance to get to San Francisco before May 2015, please take the time and energy to engage with these beguiling works.
The 16 rooms of space were thoughtfully curated and exhibited eight artists all with the common theme of reworking existing images to create something new. Whether it be scenes of cultural upheaval re-cut and arranged into modern flag frames in religious symbols, or the cacaphony of printed images bulging from an enclosed room to represent the number of printed images uploaded to a single social media site in 24 hours, I felt overwhelmed, captivated and alive with every image.
The exhibition tested my beliefs in sharing, owning, keeping, and displaying, forcing me to look at the fleeting nature of what we consider "beauty". It also encouraged me to let go of the reins and allow my creative endeavors to live their own life, not that which I may have created.
After two hours of exhaustive contemplation I spotted a parting statement on the exit wall, penned by American conceptual artist John Baldessari:
"I really don't think imagery should be owned, including my own. If it's part of our world, it's like owning words. How can you own words? It's just stuff to use."