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"Artifice," by the Urbanauts, Sean Orlando and Matthew Passmore

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Urbanauts, Systemic installation. Photo by Adrian Arias.

Kimball Education Gallery

Gallery Hours
October 2–November 3
Wednesdays–Sundays, 1–5 pm, plus Friday Nights 6–8:30 pm (artists on site Wednesdays–Fridays)
Closing Reception: October 18, 2013, 6–8:30 pm

The Urbanauts—Sean Orlando and Matthew Passmore (Rebar)—are back at the deYoung Museum for the final phase of their Artist Fellows project: Artifice

Hidden in plain sight or buried just beneath our feet is a complex system of pipes, valves, drains, and pumps. Contemporary society relies on this expansive engineered network in fundamental ways that it sometimes takes for granted. But for the careful observer, there is evidence of a more complex system just below perception -- beyond the visible "tip of the iceberg"—a massive network of infrastructure, as out of mind as it is out of sight. What does it mean to live in an urban habitat so relatively removed from the everyday reality of this infrastructure? How do hidden systems affect our choices about resource consumption and waste production?

To explore these questions and others, the Urbanauts cast a narrative about urban exploration and the mysteries of unseen structures. Over the past 18 months they have explored, mapped, and catalogued their explorations and generated a series of sculptural works based upon the form and materials of infrastructural systems. 

In October 2013 the Urbanauts will create the final phase of this exploration: Artifice. In collaboration with the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the official supporting organization of the fellowship, the Urbanauts will identify several sites around the city and install site-specific temporary public artworks that will act parasitically—attaching to existing infrastructure throughout the city—to simultaneously blend in with the urban landscape and reveal the inherent beauty and craft of these critical systemic structures. The Kimball Education Gallery will display photographs of these artworks,  along with a selection of tools and equipment used by urban explorers, and a collection of artifacts discovered through excursions around the Bay Area.

Ticket Information

Admission to the gallery is free of charge and open to the public.


The Urbanauts' Artifice is presented with the support of the de Young Museum Artist Fellows Program and partner organization Black Rock Arts Foundation.  

This project has been generously funded by The James Irvine Foundation's Innovation Fund and the Institute of Museum and Library Services/Museums for America.

Contact Information

Andrea Martin