GENERA#ION: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia, presented San Francisco’s first exhibition of contemporary art from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This timely, cross-generational survey of 15 artists working at the center of the Islamic world, opened at Minnesota Street Project in the heart of the Dogpatch district in summer 2016.
GENERA#ION marked the third stop on a multi-city Saudi artist’s tour of the United States, supported by King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. The tour, which launched earlier this summer at the Station Museum in Houston, Texas before traveling to Aspen-Colorado, aimed to generate people-to-people dialogue and better understanding between nations.
As the world’s media reports a resurgent tide of religious intolerance and conflict, a tight- knit group of Saudi artists, both men and women, acted upon a dream to discover the people and the diversity of America — from the East to West coast — trekking across the US interstate highway system and major cities on a mission to share not only their innate passion to create but also to learn from the local public’s reactions to their artworks.
San Francisco has always welcomed marginalized groups and outsider voices. Since the 50s, the Bay area has attracted influential artists, poets, thinkers and been the incubator for some of the great generational movements of their time. More recently, technological innovation and a cultural renaissance in the heart of downtown have once again put the ‘City of Rebels’ on the world stage. It seemed fitting then that San Francisco welcomed these outsider artists from Saudi Arabia, very much the pioneers of their generation, willing to address cultural norms and taboos and their societal impact. In traveling to the U.S. at that time, they were defying mainstream expectations, reaching out directly to bridge the divide across the most contested political and ideological border of our time. This exhibition represented a unique opportunity for the people of San Francisco to enter into a meaningful dialogue with these artists at this crucial time.
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, known as ithra, is a one-of-a-kind institution that brings together multiple offerings under one roof. From arts and culture to science and innovation, this bold initiative by Saudi Aramco promises a continuous journey of enrichment designed to energize the next knowledge economy of Saudi Arabia.
ithra aims to make a positive and tangible impact on the cultural scene by focusing on building local talents in the knowledge and creative industries. Blending iconic architectural design with advanced technology, and unique learning methods with enriching programs, ithra is an infinitely inspiring platform for explorers, learners, creators, and leaders–a thriving hub of knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement.
As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strives to achieve its ambitious national development goals to transition to a knowledge-based economy, ithra acts as a bridge connecting cultures and cultivating a creative and innovative community.
Located in San Francisco’s historic Dogpatch district, Minnesota Street Project offers affordable and economically sustainable spaces for art galleries, artists and related nonprofits. Inhabiting three warehouses, the Project seeks to retain and strengthen San Francisco’s contemporary art community in the short term, while developing an internationally recognized arts destination in the long term.
Founded by entrepreneurs and collectors Deborah and Andy Rappaport, Minnesota Street Project was inspired by the couple’s belief that philanthropic support for the arts today requires an alternate model — one suited to the innovative nature of Silicon Valley and the region as a whole.
Their vision of a dynamic, self-sustaining enterprise that shares its economic success with arts businesses and professionals aims to encourage heightened support for the arts from newcomer and established patrons alike.
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