Abbas to Yuki: Writing Alongside Exhibitions is an anthology of essays published alongside exhibitions that have taken place at CCA Wattis Institute, a contemporary art center and research institute in San Francisco, between 2014 and 2019. Authors include exhibition curators Anthony Huberman, Kim Nguyen, Jamie Stevens, Leila Grothe, and Jeanne Gerrity, as well as guest curators and some of the exhibiting artists. The essays discuss the work of artists such as Abbas Akhavan, Adam Linder, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Carissa Rodriguez, Diamond Stingily, Ellen Cantor, Henrik Olesen, Howard Fried, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Josephine Pryde, Julia Heyward, K.R.M. Mooney, Laura Owens, Nairy Baghramian, Sam Lewitt, Wang Bing, Yuki Kimura, among many others.
Ordered alphabetically instead of chronologically, without installation images, the volume does not document an exhibition program as much as it anthologizes and celebrates the wide range of voices and forms of writing that have accompanied exhibitions. Readers are not only introduced to the work of a broad and diverse group of artists from around the world, but are also introduced to writers and their writing: different types of tones, flavors, and approaches that often venture away from predictable institutional formats in order to explore more subjective, narrative, and personal ways of sharing a perspective about an exhibition.
While most exhibition-related publications prioritize the image, this book highlights the written word and the diverse range of narrative styles and approaches it can take, especially when placed alongside exhibitions. Gerrity, Grothe, Huberman, Nguyen, and Stevens each have highly distinctive and developed voices, and the deeply poetic essays written by artists, such as Melanie Gilligan or Diamond Stingily, add additional layers to the volume. By presenting curatorial essays as independent and stand-alone pieces of writing, separate from exhibition documentation, Abbas to Yuki: Writing Alongside Exhibitions is a unique contribution to the growing literature around art writing, art criticism, curatorial studies, and the history of exhibitions.