Utopian Market Street

In artist Tracey Snelling’s Market Street Poster Series pulp fiction novel covers promote idealistic visions of Market Street

SAN FRANCISCO, October 28, 2016 – Artist Tracey Snelling’s Art on Market Street Poster Series, Best Sellers, is a response to the immense changes occurring in San Francisco’s physical and cultural landscape. The posters, which appear along Market Street between the Embarcadero and 8th street from October 28, 2016 to February 13, 2017 offer idealistic visions of Market Street that combine cherished aspects from the past with the new and innovative ideas that are reshaping the City’s identity.

“Tracey Snelling has captivated audiences around the globe with her intricate and mysterious miniature facsimiles of urban buildings and spaces. We are thrilled to have an artist, who has so deeply investigated the physical and sociological attributes of cityscapes present her vision of Market Street,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny.

Snelling used vintage pulp fiction novels as the conceptual jumping off point for her poster designs. The posters are titled HEROIC, DARING, EXTRAORDINARY, MYSTERIOUS, RADICAL, and TRANSCENDENT, qualities the artist believes encapsulates San Francisco and its residents. To create each poster, the artist layered two-dimensional images with images of her highly realistic three-dimensional sculptures, for which she has garnered international acclaim. Photographs of sunsets, cityscapes, night skies or large expanses of brushed color comprise the backdrop for her dynamic and striking collages. The end result is a poster series that combines the real and the surreal with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

According to Snelling, “The posters are a celebration of San Francisco and Market Street, calling back on the history, and looking forward to a proposed, idealized, and hopeful future.”

Tracey Snelling was born in Oakland, California, and lives and works in Oakland and Berlin, Germany. She is a 2016 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Snelling has shown work in museums such as the The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Belgium; Gemeentemuseum Helmond, the Netherlands; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Kunstmuseen Krefeld Germany; El Museo de Arte de Banco de la Republica, Bogota; The Stenersen Museet, Oslo, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, among other museums. She has been awarded residencies in Beijing at Galerie Urs Meile, and at the Shanghai Zendai MOMA. Her largeĀ­ scale installation Woman on the Run was originally commissioned by Selfridges, London during Frieze 2008, and has traveled to five US museums.

In 2010, Snelling showed her installation Bordertown at the Sundance Film Festival. Her short films have screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece, Circuito Off in Venice, Italy. And the Arquiteturas Film Festival Lisboa in Portugal. She was included in the Triennale Brugge 2015 and Expo 2050 at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels and the Palazzo Reale in Milan. She has had recent solo exhibitions in Berlin and Cologne. Snelling is invited for a residency and exhibition with the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities in early 2017, and has an upcoming sculptural commission at the Historical Museum of Frankfurt.


San Francisco Arts Commission

401 Van Ness, Ste. 325
San Francisco, CA 94102

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