Upcoming Exhibitions


Engineers of Illumination Artists
Engineers of Illumination artists (left to right) Scott Stark, Kerry Laitala, Kevin Cain, Elise Baldwin, and Ben Wood
Engineers of Illumination: A Projected Light Project by Optic Flare!

March 6, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Every night after dark

For the duration of CHS's exhibition City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World's Fair (Feb. 22, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016), this series of artist-based, projected-light installations honors the stunning achievements of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). Six light-based artists show an after-dark artwork in the CHS gallery's front and side windows, each running for approximately six weeks. The installations can be viewed from Mission Street or Annie Alley.

Upcoming installations:

Thursday, October 8, 2015 – Sunday, November 22, 1915

Field of Vision: Landscapes from the Imagination, by Elise Baldwin

Much as the completion of the Panama Canal in 1915 was a twentieth-century engineering triumph over geographical obstacles, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was a demonstration of human and cultural resilience in response to the devastation of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires. The fantastical city of the PPIE was born from the shadow of this disaster, a message to the world celebrating the combined powers of technology, industrialization, cultural determinism, and globalization. In her installation, Elise Baldwin juxtaposes panoramic landscape photographs of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake with panoramics of the PPIE. Overlaying photographic panoramas from different years, maps, and other documents from the era, she underscores the surreal phoenix-like rebuilding of the city and construction of the fairgrounds.

Thursday, November 23, 2015 – January 3, 2016


  • November 23–29: Shimmering Spectacles, by Scott Stark
  • November 30–December 6: Lopa Pikta (Rope Picture), by Ben Wood
  • December 7–13: The Illuminated Palace, by Kevin Cain
  • December 14–20: Field of Vision, by Elise Baldwin
  • December 21–January 3: The City Luminous: Spectral Canopy Variation, by Kerry Laitala

Optic Flare is a collective of experimental media artists with significant experience in creating light-based installations and performances in public spaces.

Engineers of Illumination is supported by a grant from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.

Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA
Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environmental Workshop, July 4, 1966. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA
Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environmental Workshop, July 4, 1966. Pictured (left to right) Lawrence Halprin, Anna Halprin, and architect Charles Moore. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
January 21, 2016 – May 8, 2016

Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966–1971

How do you perceive the environment?

In the summer of 1966, renowned American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin (1916–2009) and his wife, dance pioneer Anna Halprin (born 1920), began a series of experimental, cross-disciplinary workshops in northern California that offered a new approach to environmental awareness. Drawn from architecture, ecology, music, cinematography, graphics, choreography, and lighting, Experiments in Environment brought together artists, dancers, architects, and environmental designers in avant-garde environmental arts experiences.

From June 27 to July 22 that summer, they engaged multi-sensory activities in alternating environments according to loosely structured, written guidelines—from movement sessions, to blindfolded awareness walks, to collective building projects, to choreographed journeys in urban plazas, parks, and rail cars. As an article in Progressive Architecture magazine described, "They built their own ‘city' on the shore of the ocean and recreated the impact and atmosphere of a metropolis in a multimedia presentation. Dancers became architects and architects became dancers." The series continued in 1968 and 1971.

Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966–1971 presents to the West Coast public for the first time original photographs, films, drawings, scores, and other archival documentation of the workshops, which were staged in the streets of San Francisco, on the shores and cliffs of Sea Ranch (a coastal community designed by Lawrence), and on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. In an observation reflective of Sixties culture, Anna Halprin said, "I want art and structures which express individual creativity and collective living. I want all the personal responses of my company members to be evident in themselves and also to unite into a communal experience."

Organized by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago

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