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Houses of the Holy: Al Farrow’s Sculptural Provocations

December 2018

As a symbol of power, the White House has been a site of protest from almost the time it was rebuilt in the early 19th century. Anyone who has witnessed or participated in the yelling and sign-waving that takes place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — especially in the Donald Trump era — will testify to the cacophony of sound and noise directed at the neoclassical building.

What Al Farrow has constructed is a kind of silent protest. But because it’s an Al Farrow work, The White House is both a resounding sculptural feat and a resounding cultural commentary. Farrow’s White House isn’t white. It’s a de-scaled replica weighing almost a ton that’s coated in a color that — let’s put this kindly — resembles that of a lightly colored bowel movement. In other words, shit. The White House doesn’t advertise its color scheme on any accompanying text. It doesn’t have to; art-goers who visit Farrow’s new sculpture and exhibit at the Museum of Craft and Design can make that connection for themselves. Maybe they won’t see fecal matter. Maybe they’ll see layers of pollution. Or soot. Or the color of corruption. But one thing that Farrow hopes they see is a building stained by both major political parties, not just the current occupant’s. Read Jonathan Curiel’s full article in SF Weekly here.


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