Every year we offer a residency to an artist or artists who creates work that illuminates the cathedral’s annual theme, amplifying the cathedral’s vision, mission and goals. We have an Artist in Residence program because we believe in the power of art to inspire people and we want to make art accessible to everyone.
Our 2016 Artists in Residence – Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell
Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path
An installation of light and moving images
On view in the cathedral daily through 2017
See the Installation
Installation on view during regular open hours 8 am to 6 pm (please check the calendar for events that may affect access, like our ticketed Christmas concert series and our Christmas services.) Free and open to all.
Jacob’s Dream was unveiled on December 11, 2016. When the artists spoke at The Forum on their creative process and the community was welcomed at an opening reception was held. More events are being planned for February 2017 to give you an inside look at Jacob’s Dream.
About the Installation
Experience the new work created for Grace Cathedral by our 2016 Artists in Residence, Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell. Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path is an installation of light and moving images designed to evoke a pathway between earth and heaven, between the visible and invisible, as we continue exploring our “Home” theme. Bergery, a media artist and cinematographer, and Campbell, a light artist whose work is in the collections of both the New York and San Francisco Museums of Modern Art, have previously collaborated on critically-acclaimed projects.
Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path will be a rising luminous pathway within Grace Cathedral that evokes the “stairway” that Jacob dreams about in Genesis 28:
“He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”
The pathway will be made of rungs of LED lights, rising in the north aisle like a ladder or stairway, lifting up some 50 feet as it moves toward the altar. Jacob’s Dream is designed specifically to work with the tall architecture of Grace Cathedral. The LED rungs will act as a a fragmented screen for low-resolution moving images of figures going up and down, some climbing arduously, others gliding, some flying, some descending. The installation will evoke the Biblical story, the connections between the visible and invisible, our “Home” theme and our own personal journeys on the ladder of life. “Jacob’s Stairway” or “Jacob’s Ladder” is a theme richly illustrated in the history of art and architecture, with a wide range of imagery, from the Roman catacombs to Marc Chagall.
Past installations by our 2016 Artists in Residence
Miracle Fragments – Premiered February 24, 2017
This two-night-only event evoked different Biblical miracles using nothing more than light and text throughout the cathedral.
About the Artists
Benjamin Bergery is interested in putting art in sacred spaces. His installation work seeks to renew the Renaissance tradition of church art, creating contemporary biblical frescos that use digital textures, audio, performances and light installations informed by cinematic techniques. He is a Franco-American media artist based in Paris, who returned to media art nine years ago, after a twenty-year hiatus. Benjamin’s early video art earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Art, and the California & Massachusetts Arts Councils. His video work was screened in video art venues and on PBS. With Jan Crocker, he shot early music videos of British bands, including The Cure, in Boston. Benjamin’s early interactive pieces were shown in the Hague and at the AFI Video Festival. In the late 1980s, Benjamin turned away from media art to focus on filmmaking. He made a series of short films, taught cinematography at USC in Los Angeles and worked in the film industry at Lucas Film, and then at length for Panavision. Benjamin returned to media art twenty years later, inspired by the themes and tools of his artist friend Jim Campbell, and in particular by Jim’s masterpiece, Last Day in the Beginning of March. Benjamin has exhibited his work regularly in the vast church of Saint Sulpice since 2006, and was commissioned by Nuit Blanche, Toronto and the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia. He and Jim have collaborated on several pieces for Paris’s Nuit Blanche, and for the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
Jim Campbell, the prolific pioneer of low resolution re-imagings communicated through programmed bulbs and LEDs, has a career that spans three decades—the artist’s recent works have been called “consummate” and “transformative” by Art Daily. Originally a filmmaker, Campbell has fused his artistic and scientific backgrounds to create interactive installations using what he terms “custom electronics” that he designs for the unique purpose of each installation. His electronic artworks have been exhibited in museums throughout the United States and Europe, Asia and Australia, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C., the Sundance Film Festival, the Ringling Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney. Commissions include works for Battery Park and Madison Square Park in New York, the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas; the New San Francisco Central Subway in Union Square and with Benjamin Bergery, two works for St. Sulpice Cathedral, Paris. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Arts & Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters in New York, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Award in Multimedia, the Eureka Fellowship Award from the Fleishhaker Foundation and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Bay Area Treasure and SECA Awards. Jim was one of ten internationally recognised artists chosen to participate in the 1997 InterCommunication Centre Biennale in Tokyo.
Past Artists in Residence
In 2015, the Year of Technology, artists Elaine Buckholtz and Floor van de Velde of Nighthouse Studio were invited to be Grace Cathedral’s 2015 Artists in Residence.
Buckholtz and van de Velde explore the medium of light and sound as ephemeral phenomena with the potential to unmask hidden aspects of architectural forms and to activate space. As the Artists in Residence, they premiered their work, Fields of Prayer, an integrative, immersive light and sound installation. They presented several live performances, and several exterior presentations of the installation.
In 2014, the Year of Sustainability, Oakland-based eco-chef, food justice activist and author Bryant Terry educated the community about how a more just, healthier food system supports healthy communities. He also delighted us with vegetarian menus and presentations as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Learn more about Bryant Terry.
In 2013, the Year of Music, New York visual artist Anne Patterson produced multi-sensory evenings of visual art and music, collaborating with renowned cellist Joshua Roman and composer and conductor Paul Haas, and created a stunning, music-inspired aerial installation with 20 miles of ribbon, titled Graced with Light. View a film about Graced with Light by Three Bridges West, and learn more about Anne Patterson.
In 2012, the theme was Grace. Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith became the cathedral’s first Artist in Residence. The premiere of her work in progress, “On Grace,” with accompaniment by cellist Joshua Roman, was presented over two nights in sold out performances.