Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Last updated
Wikipedia ArtAndFeminism Meetup at Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, February 1, 2014. Wikipedia Meetup San Francisco ArtAndFeminism Wattis Institute.jpg
Wikipedia ArtAndFeminism Meetup at Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, February 1, 2014.

The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a contemporary art center in San Francisco, California, US, and part of the California College of the Arts. The Wattis Institute was established in 1998 to serve as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practise and a premiere venue for contemporary art exhibitions worldwide. Through exhibitions, lectures, symposia, and publications, along with its residency program, Wattis has become one of the leading art institutions in the US, and provides an active site for contemporary culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. [1] The local impact is equally important and the Wattis Institute is central to the vitality of the Bay Area art scene. Local residents and visitors come to the Wattis Institute to see the best work of emerging artists, as well as new work by established artists, and can attend any program free of charge.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, US

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a city in, and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of, Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

California College of the Arts Art, design, architecture, and writing school located in the San Francisco Bay Area

California College of the Arts (CCA) is an art, design, architecture, and writing school with two campuses in California, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland. Founded in 1907, it enrolls approximately 1,500 undergraduates and 500 graduate students.


Location and design

The Wattis Institute was originally located on the San Francisco campus of the California College of the Arts at the bottom of Potrero Hill in a refurbished 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) former Greyhound Bus maintenance facility designed in 1951 by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Wattis opened its new location at 360 Kansas Street in January 2013. The facility was redesigned by architect Mark Jensen, best known for his work with the Rooftop Garden at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. [2]

Potrero Hill Neighborhood in San Francisco, California, United States

Potrero Hill is a residential neighborhood in San Francisco, California. It is known for its views of the San Francisco Bay and city skyline, its proximity to many destination spots, its sunny weather, and having two freeways and a Caltrain station.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art modern art museum in San Francisco, California, USA

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is a modern art museum located in San Francisco, California. A nonprofit organization, SFMOMA holds an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art, and was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th-century art. The museum's current collection includes over 33,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, and media arts. They are displayed in 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) of exhibition space, making the museum one of the largest in the United States overall, and one of the largest in the world for modern and contemporary art.

Founding and leadership

The Wattis Institute is named after Phyllis C. Wattis one of San Francisco's greatest supporters of the arts who died in June 2002 at the age of 97. During her lifetime, she supported many art organizations in San Francisco and the Bay Area. She served on the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera and was as much an ideological as financial supporter of these organizations. Her vision helped to shape the art community of San Francisco to be one of the most active and most cutting edge.

de Young Museum Art museum in California, United States

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, commonly referred as the de Young, is a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, and one of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco along with the Legion of Honor. The de Young is named for its founder, early San Francisco newspaperman M. H. de Young. Since Nov 1, 2018, Thomas P. Campbell serves as the Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, overseeing the de Young and Legion of Honor museums.

San Francisco Symphony symphonic orchestra

The San Francisco Symphony (SFS), founded in 1911, is an American orchestra based in San Francisco, California. Since 1980, the orchestra is resident at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in the City's Hayes Valley neighborhood. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (1972) are part of the organization. Since 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas has been the orchestra's music director. Tilson Thomas is scheduled to conclude his tenure as the orchestra's music director in 2020, when Esa-Pekka Salonen is scheduled to become the orchestra's next music director.

San Francisco Opera opera company based in San Francisco, United States, performing in the War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Opera (SFO) is an American opera company, based in San Francisco, California.

Lawrence Rinder was the founding director of the Institute. The current director is Anthony Huberman, who replaced Jens Hoffmann in 2013.

Lawrence R. Rinder is the Director of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), a position to which he was appointed in 2008.

Capp Street Project

The Wattis Institute also runs the pioneering Capp Street Project. Founded in San Francisco in 1983, it is the first visual arts residency in the United States dedicated solely to the creation and presentation of new art installations. Since its inception, the Capp Street Project has given more than 100 local, national, and international artists the opportunity to create new work through its residency and public exhibition programs. [3]

Capp Street Project was established as an experimental art space in 1983, at 65 Capp Street in San Francisco, California, and was the first visual arts residency in the United States dedicated solely to the creation and presentation of new art installations and conceptual art. The Capp Street Project name and concept has existed since 1983, although the physical space which the residency and exhibition program occupied has changed several times. In 1998 Capp Street Project united with California College of the Arts’ Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. In 2014 Wattis celebrated 30 years of Capp Street Project Art.

Related Research Articles

Jay DeFeo American painter

Mary Joan Jay DeFeo was a visual artist associated with the Beat generation who worked c.1950 to 1989 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Harrell Fletcher is an American social practice and relational aesthetics artist and professor, living in Portland, Oregon.

Jens Hoffmann Costa Rican-born art curator, educator and writer.

Jens Hoffmann Mesén is a writer, editor, educator, and exhibition maker. His work has attempted to expand the definition and context of exhibition making. From 2003 to 2007 Hoffmann was director of exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts London. He is the former director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art from 2007 to 2016 and deputy director for exhibitions and programs at The Jewish Museum from 2012 to 2017. Hoffmann has held several teaching positions including California College of the Arts, the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti and Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as others.

Southern Exposure (art space) San Francisco non-profit art space

Southern Exposure (SoEx) is a not-for-profit arts organization and alternative art space founded in 1974 in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.

David Kenneth Ireland was an American sculptor, conceptual artist and Minimalist architect.

Renny Pritikin is chief curator of San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum. From 2004 to 2012 he was Director of the Richard L. Nelson Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection at the University of California, Davis.

New Langton Arts

New Langton Arts was a not-for-profit arts organization focusing on contemporary art founded in 1975 in San Francisco, California. Part of the first wave of alternative art spaces in the US, New Langton Arts was a leader in exhibiting new media forms in art and involving artists in the decision-making process. Its first directors were Judy Moran and Renny Pritikin, who have been a central figures in the San Francisco Bay Area art scene for 30 years. Subsequent directors include Nancy Gonchar, Christiane Robbins, Susan Miller, and Sandra Percival.

Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco, California was founded in 1996 by Todd Hosfelt to exhibit contemporary international artists working in all media.


Charlie Castaneda and Brody Reiman are two contemporary artists who work together to form castaneda/reiman.

Howard Fried is an American conceptual artist who became known in the 1970s for his pioneering work in video art, performance art, and installation art.

La Mamelle, Inc. / Art Com was a not-for-profit arts organization, artist-run space, or alternative exhibition space, active from 1975-1995 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The organization’s first venture was publishing but it became involved in a multiplicity of activities including maintaining an artists’ space and presenting exhibitions and events of mail art, performance art, conceptual photography, video art production and screenings, a library, distributing artist-produced works, and creating one of the first artists’ online networks.

Ala Ebtekar is a contemporary visual artist who works between his native San Francisco Bay Area and Tehran, Iran. Ebtekar is known primarily for his work in painting, drawing, illumination, and installation that explores the juncture between history and myth, forging a multi-faceted project. Ebtekar’s recent investigations have created liminal experiences to longer notions of scientific duration beyond human timelines, and explore the phenomenology of light. These projects bring forth sculptural and photographic possibilities of the universe gazing back through endless collapses of time and physical reworking of centuries old processes of image making. Ebtekar’s practice extends how our contemporary moments both live together as minuscule and paramount.

Lynn Marie Kirby American artist

Lynn Marie Kirby is an artist, filmmaker and teacher. She currently lives and works in San Francisco.

Natasha Boas Art curator

Natasha Boas is a French-American contemporary art curator, writer, and critic. She has taught art history and curatorial studies at Yale, Stanford, and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her exhibition on the forgotten Modernist Algerian artist, Baya Mahieddine "Baya: Woman of Algiers" 2018 at the Grey Art Gallery NYU garnered important international critical attention. In 2017 she was featured in Lynn Hershman Leeson's "Vertighost" playing the role of herself, an art historian. She also authored the Facebook Artist in Residence book on the recent history of Art and Tech in the Bay Area for the 5th anniversary of Facebook's artist in residency program.

Zarouhie Abdalian is an American artist of Armenian descent. She creates site-specific sculptures and installations. She is a 2012 recipient of the SECA Art Award.

Lindsey White (1980) is a visual artist working across many disciplines including photography, video, sculpture, and book making. Her work has been described as "reveling in lighthearted gags and simple gestures to create an experience that is all the more satisfying for the puzzles it contains."

Leigh Markopoulos was an American art critic, curator, and teacher. Markopoulos was the chair of the graduate program in curatorial practice at California College of the Arts. She had curated over 50 exhibitions, including ones at the Serpentine Gallery and the Hayward Gallery. Her focus was the art and artworld of the 1960s and 1970s.

Léonie Guyer is a contemporary artist known for abstract paintings, drawings and installations utilizing materials such as antique, vintage and handmade paper, marble remnants, wood panels, and in site-based projects, walls and windows.


  1. "CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts". NewMuseum.org. New Museum Of Contemporary Art. 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  2. Cascone, Sarah (2012-12-17). "CCA Wattis Opens New Space". Art In America. Art In America. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  3. "Capp Street Project". Wattis.org. CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. n.d. Retrieved 2014-07-27.

Coordinates: 37°46′02″N122°24′00″W / 37.767160°N 122.400046°W / 37.767160; -122.400046