Saturday, February 7, 2015

Janet Delaney at the de Young, Tribal Art, Big Crow Studio and more...

 This weekend's Bay Area art events have a mix of the ethnic, the poetic, social commentary through photography, the Middle East through the eyes of Arab women and artists doing it for themselves - all the things that make "Bagdad by the Bay" so unique.

 Do you want to know one of the main reasons San Francisco has so little affordable housing? Are you curious at all about what happened to the gritty, working class neighborhood south of Market St. or "South of the Slot" as natives called it.

 Look no further than Janet Delaney's exhibit at the de Young Museum. In the 1980's, redevelopment moved like a fire storm through San Francisco's oldest, most affordable and most working class neighborhood, mowing down everything that was old in favor of expensive high rise condos, expensive and for the "elite. "

 The "redevelopment" destroyed a close knit working class neighborhood and forced the closure of 80 Langton Street, just the first of a long line of local art centers that have disappeared in the following decades.

The hard scrabble neighborhood provided services and shelter for the homeless and beggars who now sleep on our streets, a visible sign of the social upheaval that is still changing San Francisco beyond recognition. Delaney documented the destruction and death of the old social contract which has been replaced by an administration catering to the 1%, for the 1% and by the 1%.

Seeing her photos was very emotional for me- that was my old stomping grounds back in the day. Now it's all gone and what it represented - the SF Bohemian life that I came here for - is disappearing. I also couldn't help but compare her powerful photos with the bunch of chi-chi s&*t that Wilsey's son had on display about 2 years ago - neoptism and little taste compared with the work of a enormously talented artist and social activist. No wonder Wilsey's son's photographic possessions looked so hollow. They were empty of both passion and meaning.

 Quote from Delany: "I was really intending for this project to express what was happening at the time, but also have a long-term impact,” says Delaney. “It’s a way to remember the practice of acknowledging our value, to honor what we were as San Franciscans.” - See more at:

KQED article:
Janet Delaney: South of Market: Photographs and ephemera. Through July 19. De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. (415) 750-3600. All images @Janet Delany

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