March 9, 2019January 26, 2020

Matt Mullican: Between Sign and Subject

Over the past four decades, Matt Mullican has created a body of work encompassing drawing, collage, painting, photography, video, sculpture, and installation as well as performance under hypnosis. Trying nothing less than to “organize the world” and make sense of his existence, Mullican invented a personal cosmology tin which colors indicate different orders or “worlds.” The first order, identified by the color green, is the material world; the second order, represented by blue, is everyday life; the third order is yellow and refers to culture and science; the fourth order is language and appears in black and white; and the last, most important order is subjective experience, rendered in red. His de Young installation comprises fifty works, including rubbings made by transferring the image of a glass etching onto canvas with acrylic gouache and oil stick; light boxes with computer graphics that map the five worlds; and bulletin boards with found household objects, studio drawings, comics, and charts that represent the visual system with which Mullican attempts to categorize the world around him.

Image: Matt Mullican, “Untitled (Computer Project)” (detail), 1989. Ilfochrome classic print, 18 computer generated images in lightbox, 18 parts, each 36 x 48 x 7 in. (91.4 x 121.9 x 17.8 cm). Courtesy the artist and Peter Freeman, Inc. New York / Paris

Sponsors

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Contemporary Arts Program is made possible by Presenting Sponsor the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund. Major support is provided by Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman and The Paul L. Wattis Foundation. Additional support is provided by Kate Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Jessica and Jason Moment, Katie Schwab Paige and Matt Paige, Rotasa Fund, Chara Schreyer, David and Roxanne Soward, Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Jeffrey N. Dauber and Marc A. Levin, Mr. Joshua Elkes–The Elkes Foundation, Shaari Ergas, Richard and Peggy Greenfield, Katie Hagey & Jill Hagey in memory of their mother, Mary Beth Hagey, Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger, Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston–The Shenson Foundation, Lore Harp McGovern, Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Schwab, Gwynned Vitello, Vance Wall Foundation, Zlot Buell + Associates, and the Contemporary Support Council of the Fine Arts Museums.