Lenore Chinn

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Lenore Chinn has been known primarily for her painting, focusing on portraiture to explore the super-realistic depiction of a wide spectrum of people of color, lesbians and same sex couples. Her oversized canvases have chronicled many of the populations in which she moves. In recent years, she has transitioned to using photography to capture images, documenting the cultural landscape from a painter’s perspective. Her lens captures the everyday, ordinary people living their lives, and many of the Bay Area’s arts communities. She was a Spotlight Photographer for "A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America," The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center + Flickr, in 2014. Chinn is a founding member of Lesbians in the Visual Arts and Queer Cultural Center and is affiliated with the Asian American Women Artists Association.

http://www.lenorechinn.com http://lenorechinn.wordpress.com

Artist Statement

Long before Twitter took root in the mid-Market corridor arts venues thrived in the area south of Market. The still functioning South of Market Cultural Center (SOMArts) was carved out of a cavernous warehouse.

New Langton Arts, founded in 1975 and located at 1246 Folsom, was part of the first wave of alternative art spaces in the US, remaining open until 2009.

Intersection for the Arts, an arts non-profit which relocated from its Mission district location on Valencia Street to the Chronicle Building, became a shadow of its former robust arts space just last year.

Faded from today’s headlines, the Western Addition has had its own history of consequential displacement. Whole populations of Japanese were unseated from their homes due to wartime hysteria during WWII and misguided notions of redevelopment beginning in the late 1940s led to deep chasms in the African American community.

This edition is an homage to the resilience of two adjacent communities tenuously connected by the Geary Blvd. Expressway, an artery that slices like a cultural divide through Geary Boulevard at Fillmore.

Pop-up galleries, such as the 1307 Gallery and Suite J-town are today’s Salon des Refusés, a vital strategy in creating community hubs.

Exhibited Work

Pop Up for Art–Galleries for the People

digital collage

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.