Friday, October 3, 2014

Lares and Penates: The Household Gods of East Berlin

photographs by Steven Seidenberg

October 3-28, 2014

Gallery hours:  Wednesday, October 15 and 22, 4-6 pm                        

Saturday, October 18 and 25, 1-4 pm

And by appointment (email

Finissage, Monday, October 27, 2014, 6-9pm

From the artist:
Devised to allow the easy clearing of debris from roof and balcony drainage pipes, the cast-iron fittings imaged in this exhibition have largely disappeared—replaced by plastic and aluminum plates throughout the East Berlin neighborhoods where they were once prevalent. Each totemic grimace of these decaying visages intimates the history and character of the Soviet era apartment blocks to which they are attached, both in growing state of disrepair and character of ornament unwittingly or illegally affixed. Some glare in eager anger at apathetic passersby, while others seem to hibernate in droll anticipation of an end that can’t come soon enough, but all declare a transit into utter dissolution otherwise unheralded by the denizens they’ve spent the last half century surveying. I seek in turn to witness and portend as witness the stages on the path towards the event horizon of complete elision, a performative decadence that transforms the commonplace of objects in abeyance into testament and sculptural abstraction.

In Roman religious practice, Lares and Penates were the deities of the household and domestic life. Lares were ancestral spirits to which everyday prayers and offerings were made, kept in the family shrine. Every family had its own Lar familiaris, beseeched to ensure familial health and longevity. Penates were the spirits of the pantry, taken out during meal times to preserve the family wealth and keep its members fed.

Composed of 40 x 60 inch prints, this second show of Berlin pipe images presents the totemic structure at a size more commonly associated with public art installation and religious idol alike, a monumentality in turn betrayed as a function of compositional distortion by divulging micro processes of manufacture and decay that are otherwise indiscernible. The tragic banality of the temple ruin revealed in the perversity of iterative archetype and optical deformity.
Steven Seidenberg is an artist living and working in San Francisco. Seidenberg’s work captures materials that are endangered in the urban landscape—whether through their impermanence, ethereality, threat of replacement, or redevelopment—documenting objects and structures while offering a nuanced reading of a moment in the life of the object. In some cases his reinterpretation is enhanced through repetition of form, in others, he focuses on small bits of paint, splashes and splatters, or trash pressed into crevices, highlighting unlikely groupings of texture, color, and function. He exposes the enduring qualities of his subjects, simultaneously recording the impact of natural and human action on their fragile form through shifts of depth of field and scale.

Seidenberg is also a writer and editor. Itch—a work of lyric, philosophical prose—was published in 2014 (RAW ArT Press). He has three chapbooks of verse, including Songs of Surrender (Gummi-Geliebter Verlag, Berlin, 2013), and most recently Null Set (Spooky Actions Books, 2014). He coedits the poetry journal pallaksch.pallaksch.

Please direct inquiries to the artist at or visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Patrick Hillman - Everything is Dangerous

September 1 through 30, 2014

Opening reception: Sunday, September 7, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Right Window is pleased to present Everything is Dangerous, by the New Jersey-bred, San Francisco-based artist Patrick Hillman, an exhibition which expands on the methods and materials of Sets and Reps, Hillman’s debut exhibition at Right Window gallery in 2011.

Patrick Hillman's recent work explores the flowering of a childhood spent in the grip of sensational media broadcasts of the 80s and 90s that ostensibly set out to protect children but which effectively terrorized them into obedience to state control, particularly into the haven of heteronormative identity. “PSAs, docudramas, TV reenactments/dramatizations, talk shows, made-for-TV-movies, and after-school specials,” remembers the artist, “collectively cast the world as a scary place full of dangerous people, where bad things can happen at any time and the most mundane of objects can result in sudden tragedy for the unwary child.” 

At Right Window Hillman’s work ranges from video animation to large-scale installation to small sculptural pieces, each a recreation and interrogation of a bizarre moment in last century’s apocalyptic history.  TV’s Webster warns against child molestation using three firm, giant words, NO, GO, and TELL from which meaning drops out as the alphabetical characters, in the garish dayglo of youth, collide, merge, separate.  The unassuming shack in which his kidnapper hid the boy Steven Staynor for years is reconfigured, domesticized into a plastic canvas/yarn tissue box cover, hygienic and squalid at the same time.  Is trauma collective or individual, both, neither; can it be exploited to make fear into a social weapon?  Hillman spills such questions onto the dark plate glass of San Francisco, where you can see his work all month long in the storefront windows of the city’s #1 gallery.
Please direct questions, requests for interviews, and so forth, to Kevin Killian (415) 728-6309, or visit the artist’s website
About Right Window

Right Window is an exhibition space located in the Mission District of San Francisco and run by a collective of artists, writers, and curators.  Since August of 2007, Right Window has hosted over 70 events and involved over 100 artists to engage the general public in under-represented and experimental work. Exhibitions, installations, readings, and screenings are staged within a sunny space, lined by storefront windows that open to the busy streets.  The building is shared with Artists Television Access (ATA) and Other Cinema.