Continuing the conversation: Indigenous Contemporary opens this week

Well gee golly. I wrote an article about our imminent exhibition for the USF Museum Studies blog, and it just went live. Fun fun fun!!

USF's Museum Blog

by Nicole Meldahl

Nicole Meldahl Nicole Meldahl

The best part about being a Museum Studies graduate student is stepping outside your comfort zone within your chosen field, even if you’ve been a museum professional for some time. This is particularly true for students in Professor John Zarobell’s Curatorial Practicum being taught this Fall as an elective course in the University of San Francisco’s museum studies program. This week, our class opens Interwoven: Indigenous Contemporary–the contemporary Native Californian art exhibit we have curated at USF’s Mary and Carter Thacher Gallery.

The curatorial practicum students meeting with Professor John Zarobell to begin the installation process. The curatorial practicum students meeting with Professor John Zarobell to begin the installation process.

Interwoven: Indigenous Contemporary continues a conversation on Indigenous artistry from the Thacher Gallery’s Fall exhibit, Interwoven: Native California Basketry Arts from the Missions Forward. It moves the dialogue forward by presenting a survey of generationally diverse artists who dispel romanticized Native American archetypes and challenge preconceived…

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What it’s like to install an exhibit

In case you were wondering what it’s been like to install a contemporary art exhibit, wonder no more!! Here’s the inside scoop from USF.

indigenous contemporary

The installation of Indigenous Contemporary is well underway and we have been hard at work to ensure everything is in place by the opening.  It is exciting to finally have an opportunity to directly apply what we have learned in our Curatorial Practicum course in the actual installation of the exhibit.  It is one thing to discuss the artwork and choose which works will be exhibited, but it is another entirely to unpack it yourself and see it firsthand.  As our professor John Zarobell remarked, “It’s like Christmas!”


Implementing the exhibition layout planned by the installation team has been a fascinating process.  As one might imagine, 20 people brainstorming and debating how to best display each artist’s work is both exciting and exhausting.  Curators must take account of many different factors when placing artwork including spacing, height, sequencing, and even how well separate artists’ works relate to each other.



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Mercedes Dorame Redefines Cultural Boundaries

As some of you may know, I’m currently a Museum Studies graduate student at the University of San Francisco. This semester, I’m part of a wonderful group of people curating a contemporary Native art exhibition titled “Interwoven: Indigenous Contemporary.” I’m on the PR/Marketing team, and we’ve created an external exhibition website, and this is one of the inaugural posts written by my team member Morgan Schlesinger . I’ll continue to reblog them, or you can get them from the source!!

indigenous contemporary

A native of Los Angeles, Mercedes Dorame is a photographer whose work challenges ideas of cultural construction.  Mercedes has shown her work internationally and has recently had her work acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Additionally, she has been featured in publications such as 580 Split and News From Native California. Her experience working on archaeological sites has ha a huge influence on her work.  As a member of the Gabrielino Tongva tribe, Mercedes has been deeply affected by how archaeological excavation requires interaction with objects that have been disconnected from their original meaning and context.

Mercedes Dorame, 2013 Facing Storms, Mercedes Dorame, 2013

Mercedes Dorame, 2013 Smoke to Water, Mercedes Dorame, 2013

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Intern-Connectivity: San Francisco History Center

An amazing summary of why we do what we do as history keepers.

USF's Museum Blog

By Sabrina Oliveros

For the past half year, I’ve been an intern at the Daniel E. Koshland San Francisco History Center (SFHC), which houses a formidable research and archival collection at the San Francisco Public Library. I’ve been assisting a small curatorial team in finding stories from the center’s collections to build an exhibit on the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco. It’s an internship that’s further shown me what curatorial work is and how it can be done—and, more importantly, through one particularly resonant story, why it must be done.

The reading room of the Daniel E. Koshland San Francisco History Center. The reading room of the Daniel E. Koshland San Francisco History Center.

By virtue of the SFHC’s location alone, I see a setting where exhibitions can originate and thrive outside of museums. The SFHC is a hybrid of public library, archive, and gallery. With exhibit spaces open to the public at extended hours, free of charge, the SFHC’s…

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