press release

The Wizard of Oz translates the narrative of L. Frank Baum's famous book into the narrative of an exhibition. It features sculpture, film, video, painting, drawing, and photography by 22 international artists, several of whom are contributing new pieces specially conceived for the show; others are represented by existing artworks related to one of the book's key themes. A number of cultural artifacts, inspired either by the novel or by the famous 1939 film, create a framework for the visitor's journey. This is the second in a series of exhibitions by curator Jens Hoffmann that take a written narrative as their point of departure (the first was Around the World in Eighty Days [2006]).

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has become one of the most beloved stories in popular culture. Written in 1900, it captured a moment in American history when society was rapidly changing, due in part to industrial, sociopolitical, and technological developments as well as increased expansion toward the West. Some of the themes that it touches upon—the realities of childhood, rural life, poverty, displacement, and migration as well as the more intangible, but nonetheless powerful, ideas of security, friendship, and dreams—continue to have resonance with the way that we experience the world and approach the idea of America itself.

Designed by Jon Sueda / Stripe, the 76-page exhibition catalog is inspired by the first edition of Baum's novel. It includes a full-color plate section (including photographs of the new commissions), a text on each participating artist, and critical essays by Jens Hoffmann (curator and director of the Wattis Institute) and Rebecca Loncraine (writer and Baum biographer).

About the CCA Wattis Institute The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area.

Lead sponsorship for The Wizard of Oz is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Robert Bechtle, Jennifer Bornstein, Ulla von Brandenburg, Bruce Conner, Walker Evans, Simryn Gill, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Loris Gréaud, Joseph Grigely, Carsten Höller, Evan Holloway, Glenn Ligon, Steve McQueen, Gareth Moore, Rivane Neuenschwander, Raymond Pettibon, Clare Rojas, Harry Smith, Donald Urquhart, Andy Warhol, Cerith Wyn Evans

Curated by Jens Hoffmann