Terrance Graven

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Terrance Graven is a San Francisco artist whose installations often incorporate sculptural elements, performance art, costumes, sound pieces, and theatrical lighting. He uses unconventional materials such as, bread, blood, mold and bacterial cultures, salt, spoiled milk, medical tubing, fingernails, brightly-colored cough syrups, thick medicinal ointments, gold, cremation ashes, and dead flies.

Life and career[edit]

Terrance Graven was born June 3, 1966 and raised in a northwest village in Antwerp, Ohio, as the oldest of three children. In 1984, he studied with an Individualized Major at Indiana University and in 2004 continued his education, culminating in a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University (Honors Program and Dual Emphasis: Sculpture and Painting). He also studied privately at Michael Markowitz Art Studios.

In 1990, he was a principal performer for Harupin-Ha, the first Bay Area Butoh troupe, headed by Koichi and Hiroko Tamano. He also trained with Yumiko Yoshioka, Akira Kasai, Anzu Furukawa, Yuri Nagaoka, and Diego Piñon.

In 1992, he formed COLLAPSINGsilence Performance Troupe, which was active for thirteen years. They were a movement-based group, who choreographed all of their original works and collaborated with live musicians such as Sharkbait, Hollow Earth, Haunted by Waters, and Mandible Chatter. The troupe designed and fabricated all costumes, props, puppets, and site-specific installations. In 1996, they were featured at The International Performance Art Festival.

After working as a veterinarian technician for three years, Graven currently supports his art career by working in the film, television, and advertising industry as a production designer, art director, project manager, set builder, prop master, model maker, and fabricator. In advertising, he has worked with large companies such as Nike, Apple Computers, Google, Toyota Motors, Chevron, Geico, and others. He specializes in building miniatures and stop-motion animation and has worked for Skellington Productions, Phantom Investigators, Hatching Beauty, and others.


In 2009, he exhibited a solo show at David Cunningham Projects Gallery entitled "TEMPVS". According to writer Traci Vogel of the SF Weekly, "In his performance work, Graven visits territory pioneered by the Viennese Actionists and feminist artists such as Carolee Schneeman, who claimed the body as a canvas. There is a fertile aesthetic intersection with Graven's installations, which hew closely to a Victorian Memento Mori ("remember death") sensibility" [1] Terrance Graven states that before the exhibition, he placed an advertisement requesting memento mori donations. He was invited into strangers’ homes wherein they shared personal stories about their deceased loved ones. Afterwards they gave contributions in the form of cremation ashes and other relics. These were placed at the bottom of a sculpture with a rotating tripod.[2]

In 2014, he was chosen to be featured in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' triennial "Bay Area Now 7", which garnered considerable press coverage, including a review by San Francisco Chronicle's Kenneth Baker[3] and the San Francisco Arts Quarterly.[4] Graven created an installation and intervention that directly engaged the museum staff in a series of experimental trust exercises. In one of his undertakings, he met with YBCA's accountant requesting a blank check. With the staff member in attendance, he destroyed the check by repeatedly submerging it in one of the museum's 5 gallon buckets of black paint. All the materials used in the art piece were acquired from the museum on site, which included brass art-hanging-hardware with nails, Durabond joint compound (5 min set), Westpac Fast Set Patching Compound, Fix-It-All, drywall, YBCA hammer, latex paint-covered paper (blank check from YBCA, 24-page printouts of email correspondences between museum and artist to establish trust, photocopy of driver’s license and social security card, photocopy of I-9, and photocopy of W-4), mason line string, labels with thread, numbered gallery pins, striping tape, painter's tape, furniture wrap, plastic drop, paint, graphite, and ink.[5]

He has been a guest lecturer-instructor at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Douglas and Sturgess, Jon Sims Center for the Arts, Yugen Theater, and the Harvey Milk Institute.

He has exhibited in shows at David Cunningham Projects Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, De Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 111 Minna Gallery, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, and others.

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2009 TEMPVS, David Cunningham Projects Gallery, SF
  • 2009 Ashe, Theatre of Yugen, SF
  • 2000 Cir, Museum of Exotica, SF
  • 2000 Cir, Luscombe Gallery, SF
  • 1999 Light, ODC Theater, SF
  • 1999 Maiden, Jon Sims Center for the Arts, SF
  • 1998 Sonic Net, Transmission Theater, SF
  • 1998 Sonic Net, Intersection for the Arts, SF
  • 1997 #88, Transmission Theater, SF
  • 1996 Hibakusha, 111 Minna Gallery, SF
  • 1995 Chatter, 7 Hz Collective, SF
  • 1995 Cyanosis Benefit, Ghia Gallery, SF
  • 1995 Wired, Bimbos, SF
  • 1994 Float, Espace, SF
  • 1994 I and Me, On Broadway, SF

Selected Group and Collaborative Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2016 What Is, Was, Epperson Gallery, Crocket, CA
  • 2015 Postcard Project, D. W. Williams Gallery, Las Cruces, NM
  • 2015 Reverie, Campovida Gallery, Oakland, CA
  • 2014 I dream of..., Artik, Civil Academy, and Incline Gallery; Freiburg and Berlin Germany, and SF
  • 2014 Bay Area Now: Invisible Labor, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF
  • 2014 100 Performances for the Hole, SOMArts Gallery, SF
  • 2012 One Million Bones, The National Wall, Washington, D.C.
  • 2012 Flux Tableau, Rockwell Studios, Sausalito, CA
  • 2011 10th Anniversary of 9/11, Bay Area 51, SF
  • 2011 Chain Letter, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 2011 Division of Labor, The Lab, SF
  • 2011 Nothing to Stand On, The Lab, SF
  • 2011 Oil Disaster Response, The Foster Collective, Big Media IMC, Carbondale, IL
  • 2010 Shadowshop, Stephanie Syjuco, SF Museum of Modern Art, SF
  • 2010 Bodies in Space(s), Madrone Art Bar, SF
  • 2010 9/11 Memoriam, NOMA Gallery, SF
  • 2010 Black Lab, The Lab Gallery, SF
  • 2010 Oil Disaster Response, The Foster Collective, Chicago & Huntsville, AL
  • 2010 The Junk Mail Show, Soap Gallery, SF
  • 2010 Eidolon (Illusion, Delusion, Allusion), Climate Gallery, SF
  • 2010 100 Performances for the Hole, SOMArts Gallery, SF
  • 2009 From Ancient to Present, De Young Museum, SF
  • 2009 Ghastly, Heather Ciriza, K Gallery, Alameda
  • 2009 Uncanny Valley Initiative, Honey McMoney, SF
  • 2008 Monster Drawing Rally, Southern Exposure Gallery, SF
  • 2008 Show #14, And/Or Gallery, Kristin Lucas, And/Or Gallery, Dallas, TX
  • 2007 Travel Advisory, Slower Faster, Seasonal Fruit, Kristin Lucas, Postmasters, New York, NY
  • 2007 Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive, Kristin Lucas, Postmasters, New York, NY
  • 2007 Green Room, Ilana Crispi, Ruby’s Clay Studio and Gallery, SF
  • 2007 Monster Drawing Rally, Southern Exposure Gallery, SF
  • 2006 Human Pixel Project, Peter Smuts, Venice, California
  • 2006 Independent Media Virus & Triage Clinic, Kristin Lucas, NPR Radio, Artist’s Television Access, SF
  • 2006 3rd Annual ArtSFest – Spectra Ball, Regency Center, SF
  • 2005 Dry Run, Kristin Lucas, Exploratorium: McBean Theater, SF
  • 2005 Mona Lisa Postcard Project, Works Gallery, Michael Rosenthal, San Jose
  • 2004 Sleep Here, 21 Grand, Oakland
  • 2004 Stillwell Show, Fine Arts Gallery of San Francisco State, SF
  • 2002 Grand Opening, Art 21 Gallery, Palo Alto
  • 2001 Refraction, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Garden, SF
  • 2001 Investigations, Build Gallery, SF
  • 2001 The Cave, Theatre of Yugen, SF
  • 2000 Live Art Lab, The Lab, SF
  • 1999 Flames to Fire, Anon Salon, SF
  • 1997 The Apparatus, Venue 9, SF
  • 1997 Pins and Needles, Intersection for the Arts, SF
  • 1996 Together, Brady Street Dance Theater, SF
  • 1996 International Performance Art Festival, Grand Ballroom, Cleveland
  • 1996 Hell Yes, Hell No, SOMArts Gallery, SF
  • 1996 Beyond Belief, 111 Minna Gallery, SF
  • 1996 Myth, Magic, and Mayhem, Stanford Univ. Sculpture Garden, Palo Alto
  • 1995 Waters, Transmission Theater, SF
  • 1995 Asian American Performances, Randall Museum, SF
  • 1995 Out There in Here, SOMArts Gallery, SF
  • 1994 Primal Edge, SOMArts Gallery, SF
  • 1994 Survival Research Labs: A Calculated Forecast, 3rd Street Warehouse, SF
  • 1994 The Animal Dreams Project, Project Artaud Theater, SF
  • 1992 Cosho, Luggage Store Gallery, SF


  1. ^ Vogel, Traci (July 15, 2009). "Good Mourning". SFWeekly. 
  2. ^ Graven, Terrance. "Terrance Graven". TEMPVS. 
  3. ^ Baker, Kenneth (July 18, 2014). "Bay Area Now 7 Review". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  4. ^ Lutz, Leora (September 30, 2014). "Bay Area Now 7". SFAQ. 
  5. ^ Graven, Terrance. "Terrance Graven". 

External links[edit]

  • Terrance Graven Art Website [1]
  • Terrance Graven Employment Website [2]