Exhibitions & Public Events

From the Tower: Transmission
Friday, Sep 4, 2020 - Friday, Oct 23, 2020
SFAI Tower + Online 800 Chestnut Street

From the Tower: Transmission

On view September 4, 2020 - October 23, 2020
SFAI Tower + Online, SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus

Screenings every Friday | 9pm PST

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From the Tower: Transmission transforms SFAI's historic Chestnut Street tower into a monumental canvas for a series of video screenings curated by SFAI MFA Director, alumnus, and faculty member Tony Labat. The eight-week series explores SFAI's history of experimental art making with both archival and contemporary works by SFAI alumni whose practices developed under the ethos of the school's New Genres Department.

Since the early 1970s, the New Genres Department has been a pioneering breeding ground for the study of performance, moving image, and installation, and the intersection of the three. As one of the first graduates of the Department, Labat has been an integral part of its development since inception.

Each week will feature a new program of selected works.

Projected on all four sides of the landmark tower, audiences are invited to watch from vantage points throughout the streets of North Beach, from the windows of neighboring buildings, or to experience the live streamed projections virtually from anywhere in the world at sfai.edu.

SFAI will offer a mobile friendly map on its website as well that provides locations for optimal viewing and links to audio tracks of the sound based elements of the works that can be experienced on viewers’ phones.



Tony Labat was born in Havana Cuba and came to the United States at the age of fifteen in 1966. He received both a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has exhibited internationally over the last thirty years. Labat has received numerous awards and grants and his work is in many private and public collections. Labat has developed a body of work in performance, video, sculpture, and installation. His work has dealt with and continues his investigations with the body, popular culture, identity, urban relations, politics, and the media.



From the Tower is an exhibition series that explores artworks, images, objects, and stories living within the archives of the San Francisco Art Institute. Housed in the historic Tower of the 800 Chestnut Street campus and unique in its scope, the archive contains a vast store of primary source materials and objects whose creators range from bygone students to contemporary art superstars. Explorers of the archive—those willing to climb the levels of the tower in search of buried histories—will find unusual treasures from art worlds past and present, and visions of potential futures. Past exhibitions have brought SFAI’s archive into view and conversation with contemporary inquiries and include From the Tower: Andy Warhol and From the Tower: Queer Histories.


Image: Tunnels of the Mind, curated by Orit Ben Shitrit, 2020. Artwork by Ben Wood. Photograph courtesy of Orit Ben Shitrit.