Round 1: Daria Martin / Alexandre da Cunha / Ryan Gander / Shana Lutker / Tim Lee / Annette Kelm / João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva / Ulla von Brandenburg / Gareth Moore / Roman Ondák / Valérie Mréjen /
Passengers is a permanent but constantly transforming exhibition of emerging international contemporary artists, none of whom have ever had a solo presentation in an American public art institution. The gallery is divided into two separate spaces, one of which features a group show of 11 artists, and the other a solo exhibition. At the end of each month, the solo artist will leave the exhibition completely, an artist from the group show will move into the solo space, and a new artist will be introduced into the group show. By September 2008 the group portion will have changed entirely from its original incarnation in September 2007.
The novel format of Passengers offers a new concept for exhibition making. It is part of a shift in programming at the Wattis that attempts to rethink the traditional ways in which art institutions organize exhibitions—as static presentations lasting several weeks or months—and to reevaluate the ideas of time and transformation with respect to exhibition practice. Over the coming years, the Wattis is also presenting a permanent exhibition featuring the artist Tino Sehgal, which will eventually include all of Sehgal's works to date presented one after the other, as well as Americana: 50 States, 50 Months, 50 Exhibitions, which runs through 2012.
Passengers is specifically designed to allow emerging artists to enter the Wattis Institute program quickly, and the exhibition will adapt according to developments in contemporary art practice. Its title is inspired by the way in which many artists and curators, working in a globalized world, pass through places and become witnesses of our time. Passengers now forms part of this journey, functioning as a vehicle by which artists can come to San Francisco. In this first year they will be visiting from countries as diverse as Portugal, Brazil, Slovakia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Costa Rica as well as the United States—before moving on.