EUQINOM Gallery is pleased to present Public Matters, an exhibition of photographs from Reagan-era San Francisco by Janet Delaney. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the book release from Mack Books, allowing viewers to see 40 photographs that are included in the long awaited monograph. The imagery in Public Matters was captured in one of America’s most liberal cities during a historic era of political conservatism. The stories of public protest and gathering of resilience and defiance at a point in history that was struggling with a record-breaking immigration level that takes on a new meaning in the Trump era. These photographs have remained unseen for nearly three decades as the artist considered them a personal record of her time living in the Mission District of San Francisco. Euqinom Gallery is excited to present this body of work in an effort to connect our current moment to the past and to envisioning a path towards a better future. Public Matters will run from November 1- December 22, 2018 with an opening reception on November 3 from 6-8pm. The artist will be in attendance and books will be available.
Capturing the spirit of protest and parade, Public Matters brings together photographs made in Reagan-era San Francisco. At this turbulent time in the mid eighties, Delaney was living in the primarily Latino neighborhood of the Mission District. She would spend the weekends photographing public gatherings, from the annual Cinco de Mayo parade, to the Peace, Jobs and Justice marches, which rallied against the U.S. invasion of Nicaragua and other issues of the day. If political governance was regressing, the West Coast city was a place where, as Delaney remembers, ‘progressive ideas would always be upheld.’ Celebrating multiculturalism and collective struggles for social justice, Public Matters surfaces at a juncture when the message of building bridges is needed now more than ever.
In the vintage glow of her sun-drenched images, Delaney leads us in and out of crowds – among demonstrators, fair-goers, crossdressers, union organisers, beauty pageants, dancers, salesmen, mothers, kids, and market punters – searching for as many intimate moments as she found collective voices. Fearlessly upbeat, her photographs nevertheless intimate a time when, as Delaney recollects, people ‘were reeling from the shift to a conservative government. The demands of the 1960s were addressed in the 70s: the end of the Vietnam war, women’s rights, environmental issues, gay rights, to name a few. Then when Reagan was elected all this came to a halt.’ And as soon as the streets were filled with placards – ‘babies are for loving, not for bombing’; ‘Hatred can never cure the disease of fear, only love can do that’ – Delaney was there, in the middle of the maelstrom, making pictures of public matters.
About Janet Delaney
Janet Delaney is a photographer and educator based in Berkeley, California. She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1981. Delaney has received three National Endowment for the Arts Grants and the Phelan Award. Her photographs are in collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Art, the de Young Museum, and the Pilara Foundation among others. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally. In 2013 She published South of Market with Mack of London. This series was exhibited in a one-person show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2015. Delaney held the position of adjunct lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley for over 10 years and has taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs at the San Francisco Art Institute.