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The Sonoma County Museum presents
Utopia Now! (and Then)

Opening Reception: February 14th, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

The Sonoma County Museum celebrates one of the
area's most treasured legacies by presenting the latest
in utopian creation in the exhibition, Utopia Now (and
Then). Utopian communities of Sonoma County have
drawn thousands to the land and continue to hold a
fascination with their mysteries and revelations. Today,
utopian ideals take a very different departure, creating
new visions for the present and future.

This exhibition inaugurates the new curatorial mission
of the museum "Where Land Meets Art" under the
leadership of the recently appointed executive director
Natasha Boas, Ph.D.

Utopia Now!

Vito Acconci/Acconci Studio
Shigeru Ban
Santiago Cirugeda
Amy Franceschini
Chad McCail

(and Then)

Sonoma County Colonies:
Fountain Grove
Icaria Speranza
Morning Star Ranch
Wheeler Ranch
Nils Norman
Michael Rakowitz

Utopia Now! features the work of socially engaged artists and
designers proposing radical concepts and practical solutions for urban transformation.
While some artists create elaborate unrealizable fictions that
present hopeful models of what could be achieved,
others engineer practical tools designed for use by
specific communities. Rather than manifesting itself in
the form of a sweeping, unified model of a perfect
society, the measured idealism of the artists and
designers featured in Utopia Now! is expressed through
projects addressing very particular situations,
constituencies, and locales.

"In Utopia Now! it's a foregone conclusion that we live
in a pervasive condition of dystopia," says curator
McDougall. "New utopian visions have to take into
account the complexity of proposing social change at a
time when the failures of past utopian visions -- those of
the Soviets, Modernism or the '60s counterculture, for
example -- have been revealed. Artists and visionaries
no longer dream up utopias from scratch but seize and
reclaim them where opportunities arise."

(and Then) traces the rise and fall of utopian
communities founded in Sonoma beginning in the
1870's. In the United States Sonoma County only rivals
up-state New York as a hotbed for experimental
communal living. Through original artifacts,
photographs, and archival documents the exhibition
illuminates the founding ideals of these unique
experiments in religious mysticism,
socialism, and open land communalism, and the
practical and social realities that eventually led to their demise.

"This exhibition is an exciting and important tribute to
Sonoma County and its legacy. It is a show that
encompasses art, history and cultureóboth regionally
and globally-- and showcases the Museum's new
curatorial purpose in the strongest way." states
executive director, Natasha Boas.

An illustrated catalog accompanies this exhibition.

Utopia Now! was originally organized and presented by
the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art at the
California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco
and Oakland.

Utopia  Now! (and Then) was curated by Marina
McDougall. Marina McDougall is an independent
curator who has organized exhibitions and public
programs at the CCAC Institute, MIT Media Lab, the
Exploratorium, and the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
She is the co-editor of Science of Fiction: The Films of
Jean Painleve (Brico/MIT Press). Her work explores the
intersection of art, science, technology and culture.

Public Programs:

Exhibition walk-through and Press Preview:
with exhibition curator Marina McDougall and Natasha
Boas, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Museum.
Thursday, February 14th, 5:00 pm

Utopia: Sonoma Style
Oral History Evening with Sonoma writer and social
historian Gaye LeBaron, Wheeler Ranch founder Bill
Wheeler and Sonoma State University Dan Markwyn and others.
Thursday, March 7th, 5:00 pm

Ecology/Art Expedition Survey: A sustainable/experimental garden and
agricultural projects tour of the Bay Area.
Phase: 1
With London-based artist Nils Norman, and Scott
Constable and Ene Osteraas-Constable
Saturday, March 23rd
Meet at Museum at 10:00 am

Right of Common:
A rug performance with the international art collective Raketa.
In their performance "Right of Common" Raketa will unfurl a giant rug, a portable park.
The public is invited to help transform an urban site into public space
through activities open to one's imagination.
Saturday, April 13th, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Co-sponsored by Empire Waste Management and
featuring Cycler, the robot made from 100% recycled materials.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by Banana
Republic and the LEF Foundation.

Founded in 1985, the mission of the Sonoma County
Museum is to provide cultural experiences for the
enrichment, enjoyment and education of Sonoma
County residents and visitors through the preservation
of collections and the presentation of exhibitions and


The Sonoma County Museum presents Utopia Now! (and Then)
February 08, 2002 bonga February 09, 2002
February 14, 2002 bonga February 19, 2002
February 20, 2002 bonga February 22, 2002