Young Suh, Birthday, 2014Young Suh, Birthday, 2014

Can We Live Here? Stories From A Difficult World
January 20—March 16, 2016
Mills College Art Museum presents Can We Live Here? Stories From A Difficult World a collaborative exhibition with photographer Young Suh and poet Katie Peterson. Drawing on a shared interest in landscape developed in different media, this project examines the struggle of humans to survive in a rapidly changing natural world and the shifting concepts of nature that govern that world. In Can We Live Here? Stories From A Difficult World, the artists create works that upend the Romantic tradition of the sublime landscape and respond to the Romantic tradition of populist, narrative storytelling. These works bring into focus how daily life itself is charged with a sense of environmental disaster, and elevates the stakes of ordinary experience beyond the ordinary to the mythic.

Two screening rooms will feature new videos that explore in narrative and abstract form how civilization’s failures follow us into natural experience, especially during a time of environmental crisis. The exhibition also showcases a new series of photographs, both as large-scale prints and in intimate book form, that depict human activity within the beautiful and remote landscapes of the California desert and Alaska. References to Emily Dickinson appear through multiple recreations of her small writing desk, inviting visitors to engage directly with the artists’ books, which combine photography and resonant, concise text to create a contemplative space. A donkey appears as a disruptive protagonist throughout the work, surfacing in the video and materializing as a performance figure. With this exhibition, Suh and Peterson present a poetic series of works that subtly disrupt assumptions about both the depiction and perception of being in nature. 

This exhibition is supported by the Agnes Cowles Bourne Fund for Special Exhibitions and the
Joan Danforth Art Museum Endowment.

(Visit for full details)
Opening Reception 1/20/16Opening Reception
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 | 6:00-8:00 pm | MCAM

Celebrate the opening of Can We Live Here? Stories From A Difficult World with a drove of disrupting donkeys and a performance by Mills College faculty Chris Brown (music) and Shinichi Iova Koga (dance). Refreshments provided.

Performance on 2/2/2016Bray, a new performance work
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 | 6:00 pm | MCAM

Mills College dance faculty Shinichi Iova Koga along with students of his Interdisciplinary Collaborations class and special guests present a new performance work inspired by 
Can We Live Here? Stories From A Difficult World.

Artist Talk 2/10/16Artist Talk: Katie Peterson and Young Suh
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 | 7:00 pm | Danforth Lecture Hall

Katie Peterson and Young Suh discuss their first collaborative exhibition together. Moderated by MCAM director Stephanie Hanor.

Young Suh is Associate Professor of Art and Co-Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at UC Davis
Katie Peterson is Assistant Professor of English at US Davis. 

Performance 3/9/16Writers and Musicians Respond to Can We Live Here
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | 7:00 pm | MCAM

Join artists Katie Peterson and Young Suh and friends for an evening
of listening to work composed by writers and musicians in response
to the exhibit.

MCAM Location and Hours



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Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, California 94613

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