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Text: Fight and Flight Crafting a Bay Area Life

Digital Catalog

April 15 – September 10, 2023


Jacqueline Francis
Ariel Zaccheo

Fight and Flight: Crafting a Bay Area Life is generously supported in part by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Anonymous.

The Museum of Craft and Design’s exhibitions and programs are generously supported by the Anonymous, Windgate Foundation, and Grants for the Arts.


By design, this exhibition presented shared conversations that were already underway—about San Francisco Bay Area artists’ work, cultural community building, and professional careers. As curators, Ariel Zaccheo and I knew the story outlines, and in many cases, the particulars because we know the participants. Our ties to them are institutional and informal: they are past or current colleagues, former classmates or students, or friends of friends. During our studio visits–some in person, others virtual–with artists, we learned more about their practices, from sourcing materials and stitching techniques to working with foundries and enlisting volunteer help in order to meet project deadlines. We heard about the mingling currents of their everyday lives, too. Studio sublets. Researching colleges with high school age children. Landing public art commissions. Filling the dishwasher at home. Day jobs. Applying for artist residencies and grants. A landlady with a soft spot for creatives who doesn’t raise the rent much. Favorite clubs and bars. The next exhibition. Counting the reasons to stay in the Bay Area and the reasons not to. The takeaway: we–artists and everyone else– act and make things happen in the porous ground of existence.

An exhibition is the culmination of planning efforts to display art work, yet Fight and Flight can’t be the last word on the Bay’s cultural landscape and traversing it. Wherever we do it, engaging art is like going for a walk— good for body and mind. Artists put things together for us to experience in the permitted ways, and our interpretations are the fodder for conversation while we are with the art object, right there and then (and maybe, later as well). But what else do we do “because” of art and “for” artists? Curating sets up a problem for the public to consider. Writing puts artworks into critical contexts and situates artists into historical narratives. Buying and collecting art are customs under scrutiny, but unlikely to be abandoned anytime soon because it is the way that markets support artists and establish value to their production. What are the other ways to contribute to and replenish culture that provides us with so much? 

Ask artists. Although many state that they prefer to let their work speak for them, they have opinions that they readily share in written statements, social media, posts, and public lectures. This catalog provides our curatorial take on the import and impact of their creative labor and projects. We hope it piques reader curiosity and generates more questions that can be put to the artists. Reach out to them via their individual websites and through their gallerists. Join us at the Museum of Craft and Design for walk throughs of Fight and Flight with participating artists. Bring your appreciation and uncertainties, and everything in between. The artwork merits it; there is no exhibition without active audiences. 

– Jacqueline Francis

Adia Millett, Quilted Ancestor (Sun), 2022
Alexander Hernandez, Light as a Feather and Seven Minutes in Heaven, 2022
Cheryl Derricotte, The Geography of an Artist, 2023
Jenifer K Wofford, Battlefield III (Choices), 2023
Libby Black, The Build Up, 2021
Michelle Yi Martin, Godwit, 2023
Related Tactics, The future now, 2023
Woody De Othello, tomorrow always never is, 2023
Adia Millett, Portal to Stillness in Motion, 2023.
Angela Hennessy, Bearings, 2021
Craig Calderwood, Emotional Support, Hornet’s Nest, 2022
Lauren Toomer, Ground, Land, Road, 2022
Liz Harvey, Yellow Shift, Blue Shift, and Red Shift, 2022
Nasim Moghadam, Fabric, 2021
Richard Jonathan Nelson, Hearing hooves the five winds lead to distraction, 2023
Ala Ebtekar, Luminous Ground, 2017-present
Cathy Lu, Nüwa’s Hands, 2022
Erica Deeman, Being, 2023
Leila Weefur and Margaret Tedesco, Palms in the Fog, 2023
Michelle Yi Martin, Petaled Cosmos, 2023
Ramekon O’Arwisters, Mending #37, Cheesecake #14, and Cheesecake #11, 2019
yétúndé ọlágbajú, i love the ghost in your eye, 2023
Charlene Tan, Research and Remembering: Reptile Ube, 2023

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