When do politics become personal? For the artists now on view in two exhibitions at San Francisco's Museum of Craft and Design, the answer is: everyday.
In “Art and Other Tactics: Contemporary Craft by Artist Veterans,” military vets going back to World War II grapple with their experiences in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, and beyond in an array of craft media. The exhibit's thesis: creativity as a tool for rehabilitation, transformation, and as a powerful antidote to the lasting effects of crisis and war.
(Drew Cameron, Combat Paper Project)
Drew Cameron, a young SF papermaker who served in the US Army from 2000 to 2006, is among the exhibit's featured artists. Cameron works with the local Combat Paper Project, a group that teaches hand papermaking by using the uniforms once worn in active duty to create original works of art. “Reshaping that association of subordination, of warfare and service, into something collective and beautiful is our inspiration,” Cameron says.
In a tandem exhibit, "Without Camouflage," glass artists Dafna Kaffeman and Silvia Levensen seek to achieve a similar sense of elevated community, channeling their political life experiences into healing works.
(Silvia Levenson's Strange Little Girls)
Levenson’s eerily precious Strange Little Girls series draws on her childhood spent in exile in Italy—her family had been forced to flee Argentina in 1981, under the reign of dictator Jorge Rafael Vela—to articulate feelings of alienation and estrangement. Meanwhile, Kaffeman comments on the social and political complexities of life in Israel via her poetic environmental sculptures—hand-embroidered Arabic and Hebrew texts framed by lampworked glass flora and insects.
Sept. 25, 2015 through Mar. 27, 2016; Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 Third St. (Dogpatch), sfmcd.org