Street Signs and Solar Ovens: Socialcraft in Los Angeles
Craft and Folks Art Museum
Los Angeles CA
October 20th to December 31st, 2006

Pariticipants include:
Edith Abeyta, Steven Anderson, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Mike Blockstein, Chris Burnett, C.I.C.L.E., Code Pink, Center for the Preservation of Democracy, Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Sandra de la Loza, Sam Durant, Eric Einem, Karl Erickson, Fallen Fruit, Finishing School, Gaian Mind, Fritz Heag, Laura Howe, Karen Lofgren, Kelly Marie Martin, Matrushka Constructions, Jennifer Murphy, Nico of Teocintli, Christopher Nyerges, Path to Freedom, Beth Peterson, Sheila Pinkel, Julianna "JP" Parr, Oliver Ressler and David Thorne, Oscar Sanchez, The Arroyo Arts Collective, The Phantom Street Artist, The South Central Farm Support Committee, Christina Ulke, Votan, Allison Wiese.

poster by Steve Anderson, tom McKenzie and Jill Newman
In response to the environmental, political, and social questions of our time, this exhibition offers an insight into how Southern California individuals and communities creatively take action to defy the notion that a socially conscious lifestyle is out of reach. The resulting creations are expressions of both function and artistry that offer inspiration for proactive living.

Located at the crossroads of grassroots activism and personal creative expression, the term socialcraft suggests the crafting of a society as much as it describes the making of objects. Rather than focusing on a singular protest tradition, we chose to exhibit a variety of items and approaches typically not seen together. By inviting a diversity of artists, activists, and community organizers to participate, we offer a glimpse of the spectrum of activities that contemporary folk engage in when crafting a better world at home and in the streets.

Some of the exhibition pieces are symbolic; they represent a position, an idea, a statement. Other objects are tools used by individuals or communities to renegotiate the ways in which we interact with each other or with the natural world. Some objects are meant to be marched with the masses and later appear on TV and internet. Other pieces are designed to reflect the private choice of a socially conscious lifestyle. Whether for public display or personal use, all of these works dream toward a more just, peaceful and livable community.

This show was partially inspired by With thanks to Greg Shollete's Dark Matter essay.

Exhibition Catalog

The catalog for the exhibition was a collection of 1 to 4 page "how-to" descriptions created by each exhibition participant or collective. The catalog was produced DIY style, photocopied on the museums copier.

Here are some of the catalog how-to's:
How to make a bamboo bike trailer,
How to do laundy by hand, Path to Freedom
How to make your own laundry soap, Path to Freedom
How to make a deconstructed t-shirt, Matrushka
How to improve street vending rules, Mike Blockstein


Exhibition Views

Exhibition Entrance with knitted flag by Lisa Anne Auerbach, lampshade and collage by Christina Ulke and solar ovens by Christopher Nyerges and Eric Einem

cardboard tank made to be dragged to protests by Oscar Sanchez.
Exhibition Parade of mannequins included clothes by Matrushka Constructs, t-shirts by Votan, CICLE.ORG and Nico of Teocintli, knitwork by Lisa Anne Auerbach
Teatro Campesino outfits made by the South Central Farm Support Commitee during their campaign to save the south central farm
Whiskey Still built by Allison Wiese

Large scale puppets By Jennifer Murphy and Arroyo Arts of several puppets hanging from the ceiling.

10 things to make with a soda can by Chris Nyerges
Latch-hook rug by Karl Erikson
Code Pink pink slip in the museum courtyard as the band plays during the event's opening party. Nearby hangs a knit sunshade of recyled garbage bats by Edith Abeyta and the LA Needle Exchange and a banner by Davide Thorne and Oliver Ressler
View of the pirate radio kit donated by Chris Burnett and Lisa showing off one of her sweaters.
Shirts by Matrushka (front) and Nico in Teocintli (back) in front of a tag by The Phantom Street Artist (right) and Mike Blockstein's installation view (left).
Path to Freedom's purchased hand-powered washing machine with the grey-water hose-hack that leads to a garden plant. Displayed above was a clothesline. The craft on display here is both the greywater system and the commitment to a low-inpact lifestyle (human-powered washing, solar powered drying).
Path to Freedom's bike powered blender
Path to Freedom's hand powered kitchen devices
Path to Freedom's preserves resting on the exhibit's kitchen shelf. Also in this kitchen area were their hand tools (see above), preverves from Fallen Fruit and Fritz Haeg's edible estates project, and series of handmade ceramic dinner plates and photo quilt from Edith Abeyta's Apple Pie Sunday Project among other things.
Journal editors (and a crying baby) amidst the parade.
Note's babmbo bike cart behind us.