May 9 –
June 6, 2021
Contact Traces
Curated by CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2021

Featuring works by Derya Akay, Lenka Clayton, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ilana Harris-Babou, and Jenny Kendler

Care is difficult to define. Acts of caring for the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of ourselves and others can be quotidian, disciplinary, revolutionary, selfish, virtuous, obligatory, interpersonal. At a moment when the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for social and racial justice, and the ongoing climate crisis have highlighted the importance of care, Contact Traces reconsiders existing definitions of the concept, exploring caregiving as both labor and a way of relating to others. The artists in Contact Traces question assumptions of care as an act of benevolence, revealing it to be variably contradictory, ironic, futile, and steeped in power relations, failure, or decay. Working across mediums of video, sculpture, and photography, they suggest that individuals can disrupt the systems that do not recognize the value or labor of care by spotlighting its messy processes and unveiling how care offered freely and with adequate resources is necessary for the survival of all, not just the most vulnerable.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition and is available for purchase. The catalogue features original essays by members of the curatorial cohort and guest contributor Jen Delos Reyes, interviews with Ilana Harris-Babou and Jenny Kendler, images of the featured artworks, and a map of care-based resources and organizations around the Bay Area.

Contact Traces is curated by CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2021: Leandra Burnett, Katherine Jemima Hamilton, Shaelyn Hanes, Youyou Ma, and Emily Markert.

LaToya Ruby Frazier, Detox (Braddock U.P.M.C.), 2011 still from video (color, sound), 22:24 min. Copyright LaToya Ruby Frazier, Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.
LaToya Ruby Frazier, Detox (Braddock U.P.M.C.), 2011 still from video (color, sound), 22:24 min. Copyright LaToya Ruby Frazier, Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.
Lenka Clayton, 63 Objects Taken from my Son
Lenka Clayton, 63 Objects Taken from my Son's Mouth, 2013, printed 2021. Photograph, 11” x 15”. Courtesy of the artist.
Jenny Kendler, Underground Library. Biocharred books, 2017-ongoing. Installation view at Storm King Art Center
Jenny Kendler, Underground Library. Biocharred books, 2017-ongoing. Installation view at Storm King Art Center's museum as part of Indicators: Artists on Climate Change, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Ilana Harris-Babou, Decision Fatigue, 2020, still from HD video, 08:33 min. Courtesy of the artist.
Ilana Harris-Babou, Decision Fatigue, 2020, still from HD video, 08:33 min. Courtesy of the artist.
Derya Akay, concept sketch for upcoming project, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.
Derya Akay, concept sketch for upcoming project, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.