ILLEGAL

 

Trevor-Paglen-NSA-Dagger-Complex-Griesheim-Germany-2014 copy

Photo by Trevor Paglen, NSA Dagger Complex, Griesheim, Germany, 2014, C-print, 91.4 x 121.9 cm, 36 x 48 in

 ILLEGAL

OPENING NIGHT,  6:00 P.M.-9 P.M., FRIDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2017
THE LUGGAGE STORE Gallery
1007 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
With special surprise DJ’s.
http://www.luggagestoregallery.org/
(415) 255-5971
Weds-Sat 12-5pm

The exhibition is about artists who have had to dance around, skirt or break the law to express themselves and make their work. During these critical times, we expect and believe that more and more artists will be faced with more and more laws and regulations affecting free speech and expression.

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Murals by GIRLMOB

The exhibit will consist of photo documentation, written, videotaped and oral stories, reenactments, ephemera, sculptures, legal support talks, a confessional and more.

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SOME OF THE ARTISTS IN THE EXHIBIT:

Anonymous
Ant Farm/Chip Lord
Eliza Barrios
Monica Canilao & Xara Thustra
Judith Donath
Cheryl Dunn
Dustin Fosnot
Kat Geng
Matt Gonzalez
Chad Hasegawa
Ivy Jeanne,
Chris Johanson
Paul Kos
Pipe Lewine
Gabby Miller
Girl Mobb & Danielle O’Malley aka Filthcakes
Negativland
Mark Pauline, Ken Goldberg, Judith Donat & Eric Paulos
Trevor Paglen
Michele Pred
Ragi da Lawyer
Rigo 23
Rudy Rucker Sr.
Sham Saenz
Dave Schubert
Ivory Serra,
Yarrow Slaps
Kal Spelletich

Michelle Pred 1 copy

Michelle Pred

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Title: ILLEGAL

Concept: Kal Spelletich

Curatorial Team: Kal Spelletich, Darryl Smith, Alicia McCarthy

We believe that during such preposterous times this exhibit is even more vital, essential and significant than ever.

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Artists Survival Techniques and The Law.

Friday Dec. 8, 7 P.M., 2017

A performative talk with real life advice from Ragi da Lawyer & Matt Gonzalez:

A wide ranging conversation with two lawyers. Each whom have dealt with a myriad of legal issues with and for artists. Including their how to survive tips and stories of those who made BIG mistakes.

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Below is a partial list of artists and their encounters with the law. The exhibit isn’t just about people who have been arrested or broken the law. It is about the elaborate dance artists do AROUND the law to make their work.

Anonymous managed to poignantly (if unintentionally) raise awareness about the threat of infrastructure insecurity by activating San Francisco’s air raid sirens on Halloween night 2011. Emergency systems get hacked all the time. This one just happened to wake people up.

Chip Lord/Ant Farm fed workers in a corporate cafeteria and were arrested.

Chris Johanson worked as a graffiti artist briefly early in his career, his goal now is to topple the system that exploits the planet.

Judith Donath, Mark Pauline, Ken Goldberg & Eric Paulos built a gun that destroyed American dollars by a remote control system operated by the audience.

Paul Kos and Mel Henderson were arrested for spelling out the word ATTICA in lights on a hillside in Newport Beach, Ca.

paul kos show arrest copy

 

Trevor Paglen- Sometimes, American military police would ask to see my photos. Once I showed them what I had taken and they asked me to delete a photograph. I said no. A jurisdictional issue arises when photographing NSA bases in Germany. Signs on the fences warn that photography is forbidden, but that’s not true. A US military officer has no legal power over a German national standing on German soil outside an American military base – nor, for that matter, over an American national on German soil, as in my case.

Michelle Pred’s Wage Gaps series includes cut up dollars. The $Bills are cut to the exact percentage that women make according to their racial background compared to a white man. Defacing American Currency is against the law.

Ivory Serra has been researching the Port Chicago disaster for over a decade. He was approached by the Fed security and forced to delete images he took of the port but had a film camera he took photos with that the authorities didn’t find.

Rigo23’s statue of Leonard Peltier was illegally moved from the campus of American University after receiving death threats.

Kal Spelletich is constructing a DJ Booth/Pirate Radio station for the exhibit. Kal has been skirting and breaking the law for decades, be it through pyrotechnics or exhibiting in illegal venues since 1981.

Ivory Serra Port Chicago copy

Ivory Serra-Point Chicago

It is almost impossible systematically to constitute a natural moral law. Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil. – Anatole France (1844-1924)

 

There are some classic, even historic examples of this practice.

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog stole a 35 mm camera from the Munich Film School. In the commentary for Aguirre, the Wrath of God, he says, “I don’t consider it theft—it was just a necessity—I had some sort of natural right for a camera, a tool to work with.”

Gordon Matta Clark

A 1976 show at the Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies in New York featured the work of lots of aspiring young architects, whose designs offered idealized visions of space and the cityscape. This was, of course, the general goal of architecture as a discipline, but Matta-Clark, with his sense for realism, contributed images of vandalized project buildings in the Bronx with their windows blown out. Window Blow-out represented a truth that was largely avoided in conceptual architecture. This juxtaposition was pushed further when Matta-Clark broke into the gallery and shot out several of the windows with an air rifle. Not to mention the countless buildings he dissected and cut up.

 

Terry Fox
http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/about/aboutnotedetail.php?Nickname=TXT0011­­ The most infamous piece in the show was Terry Fox’s Defoliation, performed on opening night. To express his anger over the U.S. military’s scorched earth policy in Vietnam, Fox used a flamethrower—the type used in Vietnam to cremate plants—to burn a section of star jasmine plantings on the Berkeley campus.[3]

“This was my first political work. I wanted to destroy the flowers in a very calculating way. By burning a perfect rectangle right in the middle, it would be like someone had destroyed them on purpose. The flowers were Chinese jasmine, planted five years ago, which were to bloom in two years. It was also a theatrical piece. Everyone likes to watch fires. It was making a beautiful roaring sound. But at a certain point, people realized what was going on—the landscape was being violated, flowers were being burnt. Suddenly, everyone was quiet. One woman cried for twenty minutes . . . . So, then, the next day, when these people came to have their lunch there, it was just a burned-out plot, you know. I mean, it was the same thing they were doing in Vietnam, but you burn some flowers that they like to sit near.”

Survival Research Laboratories
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_Research_Laboratories

Leonardo da Vinci
He is well known for his anatomical sketches of the human body. He would dissect dead human remains and then draw what he saw.

Dissection was completely illegal unless one was a physician, which da Vinci was not. It is believed that da Vinci would get a grave robbers, and eventually a hospital director to get him cadavers to study. da Vinci hid all of this anatomical drawings and kept them secret because of the illegal nature of what he was doing. He was able to identify not only muscles and bones, but also their functions in the body, which was an incredible breakthrough. Leonardo was detained and questioned for this research for his art.

“What is tolerance? — it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly — that is the first law of nature.”  (Voltaire)

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Halloween night, October 31, 2011.
San Francisco’s air raid sirens suddenly started up and ran for several minutes. Rumors spread for some time that someone hacked the system. The cities and nation’s security, election software, passwords and half of the countries social security numbers get divulged in hacks. “It’s a safe assumption that everyone’s Social Security number has been compromised and their identity data has been stolen,” says Jeremiah Grossman, the chief of security strategy at the defense and threat monitoring firm SentinelOne. “While it may not be explicitly true, we have to operate under that assumption now.”

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For The Exhibit ILLEGAL.

Often one sees no other answer but to break the law. This is an exhibit about artists that work while embedded within a system that provides no outlet for them. This is done for various reasons, some art is considered illegal just by making it, desecrating the American flag or obscenity. Other times artists shop lift or acquire materials by spurious means (often called obtanium here in San Francisco). Some artists steal ideas of forge artworks. There is a place artists often land where they see no way to continue with their work without breaking the law. Often artists start their career breaking the law as a way to lash out at a system that negates their existence and leaves no place at the table for them.

I was inspired to be an artist by the space left open for ambiguous work that aren’t shoe-horned into a fixed category. A field that is open to just about anything, unlike most careers. I have absorbed by the writings of Paul Virilio, Hakim Bey, Walter Benjamin, Kathy Acker and the work of DaDa, The Diggers, Fluxus, Yippies, anarchists and punk. I have always been intrigued by work that doesn’t fit into strict hierarchical categories of art, political actions and play. Where in society are we free to experiment with media, thought, actions, economics, human rights, public and private space, disparity in all areas of society and object making? Art.
With the outbreak of fake news we aspire to make some real news.

The exhibit will consist of photo documentation, written, videotaped and oral stories, reenactments, ephemera, sculptures, legal support talks and more. There is a broad spectrum of mediums, ages, genders and practices represented from Ant Farm and Paul Kos to young graffiti artists GIRLMOB to Xara Thustra’s radical gender crushing outspoken divinity.

A catalogue will document the exhibit including 4-6 essays by scholars and artists, documentary texts, art projects and photos.

Thanks,
Kal Spelletich

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