January 10, 2015

Bill OwensSuburbanites and SocialitesSheldon B. Smith and Lisa WymoreEndless Gestures of Goodwill

Mills College Art Museum
Bill Owens, Untitled [Baton Practice], ca. 1973. Gelatin silver print, 7 7/8 in. x 10 in. Gift of Marion Brenner and Robert Harshorn Shimshak.

Bill Owens: Suburbanites and Socialites is the first exhibition by the Bay Area photographer to highlight his photographs of women and girls. Internationally recognized for his depictions of Northern California suburban life in the 1970s, Owens’s images demonstrate his interest in documenting ordinary people. A subset of a larger body of work, these photographs of girls and women raise questions about the role of women in the early 1970s, the importance of community and social organizations, and the cultural differences between suburban and urban parts of the greater Bay Area during that time period.

Bill Owens was born in San Jose, California in 1938. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 1976 and two National Endowment for the Arts grants. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and are held in numerous museum collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Berkeley Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. His photographs have been published in the books including, Suburbia, Our Kind of People, Working, and Leisure.


Created by Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore, Endless Gestures of Goodwill is an attempt at making a never-ending dance. This two-channel video work utilizes 250 separate video clips of short movement statements inspired by folk dances, edited together by custom software in a manner that implies continuity. In their work together, Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor at Mills College, and Wymore, Associate Professor of Dance and Director of the Dance Program at UC Berkeley, create funny and provocative pieces that are deeply human, odd, rigorous, and inviting all at the same time. Their work subverts formalist notions of concert dance through experiments with language, music, and technology.

Sheldon B. Smith has been making dances, music and video art for over 25 years. His current creative interests are focused on developing workable strategies for integrating technology into improvisational performance. Lisa Wymore teaches courses in choreography, contemporary dance technique, performance, movement improvisation, and dance/technology.


About the Mills College Art Museum (MCAM)
Founded in 1925, The Mills College Art Museum is a forum for exploring art and ideas and a laboratory for contemporary art practices. Through innovative exhibitions, programs, and collections, the museum engages and inspires the intellectual and creative life of the Mills community as well as the diverse audiences of the Bay Area and beyond.

Media contact
Maysoun Wazwaz: T +1 510 430 3340 / [email protected]


Bill Owens and Sheldon B. Smith/Lisa Wymore at the Mills College Art Museum

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