SFAI—Fort Mason Campus
may 30–August 19, 2018
Drawings, paintings, and photographs illustrate Machado’s time at sea and his engagement with the cultural complexities of maritime exploration. I managed all curatorial logistics for this project in partnership with Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture and the San Francisco Maritime Museum.
Nearly 1.5 million metric tons of cargo passed through the Golden Gate in 2017. Much of this cargo arrived via container ships—massive vessels stacked high with multi-colored containers arriving from East Asia to drift under the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges and dock at the Ports of Oakland, Richmond, or Stockton. These ships and the containers they carry represent a vast web of global trade, one that is easy to disregard despite the incredible volume of marine traffic cruising just past the pilings of Pier 2 at SFAI’s Fort Mason Campus.
Martin Machado is a visual artist and alumnus of San Francisco Art Institute who has travelled the world on international commercial vessels as a merchant mariner. His work takes the form of drawings, paintings, and photographs that offer a window into this often-overlooked system of global commerce that underpins modern life. Cumulatively, the works in this exhibition illustrate Machado’s time at sea and his deep engagement with the people, places, and historical and cultural complexities of maritime exploration and trade. The exhibition’s title, Fluid State, alludes to the state of flux that defines both a life at sea and the shifting tides of global capitalism.