projectlosaltos

Whether it is for gold or citrus or celebrity, California has always attracted dreamers and prospectors. What is so fascinating about the most recent rush in Silicon Valley is that the harvest is invisible − the gold is in the cloud.

– Photographer Alec Soth on documenting Silicon Valley for our upcoming exhibition, Project Los Altos.

Image: Alec Soth, “Facebook main campus, Menlo Park” (2013)

Did you know that Mission School artist Chris Johanson grew up in the suburbs of San Jose? 

Johanson will be included in Project Los Altos, SFMOMA’s upcoming exhibition in Silicon Valley. Throughout the downtown area, he will install several outdoor sculptures, one of which is a twenty-foot-tall inflatable question mark (the preliminary sketch for which is above, and we posted a GIF of it being installed earlier today). See the show for yourself starting next weekend!

Image: Chris Johanson, Sketch for I Do Not Know But Am Open to Learning, 2013

What attracted you to the Winchester house? 
The combination of it being symbolical powerful and not particular researched in a serious way. At least I didn’t know of any artworks based on the Winchester House, so to me it was some kind of buried treasure. It reminded me of the American obsession with massive scale and the sort of upper class monster houses that are being built in contemporary suburban America. I liked that the first one was build to house ghosts, because it captures something truly American about how we are working hard in this world, to get to the next. And then there is also the obsession with protection from unseen threats, which has become present again.

READ MORE: The Winchester Trilogy - Interview with Jeremy Blake

Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, the quiet suburban city town of Los Altos was a rather unlikely hotbed of performance art. The driver behind this was Charles Garoian, who would end up winning SFMOMA’s SECA Art Award in 1974.

Documentation from Garoian’s collaborative work with the Los Altos High School students will be on view as part of #ProjectLosAltos starting this November. Learn all about it here.

Image: Charles Garoian, Documentation of “Drill Team: Homecoming Parade” (1973)