The Lab (organization)
The Lab's logo, designed by Colpa Press
|Location||2948 16th Street, San Francisco, California, United States|
|Type||Non-profit visual and performing arts space|
The Lab believes that if it gives artists enough time, space, and funding to realize their vision, the work they produce will change the way we experience the world. These are often small propositions that (like all great art) challenge the familiar ways we perceive value, and so it seeks out extraordinary artists who are underrepresented as a result of gender, class, race, sexuality, or geography, and whose work is not easily defined and therefore monetized. As a site of constant iteration and indeterminacy, The Lab is, above all, a catalyst for artistic experimentation.
The Lab is W.A.G.E. Certified. W.A.G.E. Certification is a program initiated and operated by working artists that publicly recognizes non-profit arts organizations demonstrating a commitment to voluntarily paying artist fees that meet a minimum standard.
Founded in 1984 by Alan Millar, John DiStefano, Laura Brun and other art students from San Francisco State University, The Lab was a site for interdisciplinary artistic production. The Lab (née Co-LAB), located in a two-story building at 1805 and 1807 Divisadero Street, featured a black box theater upstairs and a gallery space downstairs. Early presentations included music shows by radical groups such as Rhythm & Noise, Minimal Man, Hüsker Dü, and Z'EV; exhibitions of works by experimental artists Dana Fair, Peter Edlund, and Mark Durant; and performances by luminaries Elbows Akimbo, Mary Trunk and Scott MacLeod, among many others. In 1985, Co-LAB renamed itself as "The LAB" under the auspices of Alan Millar's non-profit The•art•re•grüp, Inc.
In 1995, The Lab relocated to the historic Redstone Building in San Francisco’s Mission District. A hub for political organizing since 1914, the Redstone played a significant role in the General Strike of 1934 and unions occupying the building have successfully advocated for expanded rights for African Americans, women, and Chicano workers. With a nod to this rich history, in 1995 The Lab partnered with Aaron Noble of the Clarion Alley Mural Project and the Redstone Building's still-active union and non-profit occupants on a series of murals in the building's main atrium, which were dedicated upon completion by Mayor Willie Brown.
Since 1984, The Lab has hosted performances and projects by Cluster, Jack Smith, Nan Goldin, Lynn Hershman Leeson, My Bloody Valentine, David Wojnarowicz, Nayland Blake, Christine Tamblyn, Lutz Bacher, Orlan, Lydia Lunch, Karen Finley, Kevin Killian, Sapphire, Negativland, Carl Stone, Koh-i-noor, The Billboard Liberation Front, Survival Research Laboratories, Mike Kelley, Barry McGee, Carrie Mae Weems, Barbara Kruger, Xylor Jane, Bill Orcutt, Malcolm Mooney, Kathleen Hanna, Jello Biafra, Flipper, Fred Frith, Rhys Chatham, Nao Bustamante, Rebecca Bollinger, Bruce Conner, Paul DeMarinis, Elbows Akimbo, Felipe Dulzaides, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Beth Lisick, Alan Millar, Trevor Paglen, Rex Ray, Lise Swenson, PrOphecy sun, Alice Notley, and many more.