July 15 – August 27, 2017
Trout Fishing in America, the latest exhibition at City Limits, features Creative Growth artists Christine Szeto, Paulino Martin, and Alice Wong alongside Dodie Bellamy, Ross Caliendo, Martine Gutierrez, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Stefan Hoza, Matthew Kerkhof, Marlon Mullen, Willy Reed, and Emily Jane Rosen.
But it wasn’t completely over, for it took a while to get trout fishing in America off the clothes of the first-graders. A fair percentage of trout fishing in America was gone the next day. The mothers did this by simply putting clean clothes on their children, but there were a lot of kids whose mothers just tried to wipe it off and then sent them back to school the next day with the same clothes on, but you could still see “Trout fishing in America” faintly outlined on their backs. But after a few more days trout fishing in America disappeared altogether as it was destined to from its very beginning, and a kind of autumn fell over the first grade. -Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing In America (1967)
Richard Brautigan’s first and highly abstract novel, Trout Fishing In America, eschews any real continuity between its disparate chapters, but characters and objects reappear throughout different stories and settings. The titular phrase of “trout fishing in America” reoccurs as the name of a character, a hotel, an ambiguous residue, and the actual activity of fishing. Trout Fishing in America, the exhibition, takes a similar approach to a curated group show. It features a diverse group of artists: painters, poets, performers, computer game programmers, sculptors, and writers, some working outside their assigned mediums or taxonomies. Which one best fits the mold of an artist? This question is as fraught as which of Brautigan’s esoteric referents is the “true” trout fishing in America. Objects and ideas reoccur throughout the exhibition, but they reject the thematic couplings and narrative of most group shows. If there is a goal to this exhibition, it is to break down the barriers of nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs society gives us to mark the boxes of, yes, “this” is art and yes, this is what “this” looks like. The work in this exhibition does not wish to clarify a position, but to slowly tease out a position through various, dissonant artistic voices. It is not unlike casting out onto the river and catching one fish and several twigs, and being content with those results.
300 Jefferson Street Oakland, CA 94607
Sundays 1-5pm and by appointment