A free, web-based publication critically engaging the work of Bay Area Conceptual artist David Ireland and his home at 500 Capp Street through essays, writings, and dialogues
When The David Ireland House in San Francisco was forced to close its doors to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its team of Artist Guides set out to devise a new and accessible way for the public to experience Ireland’s home-turned-sculpture-turned-historic house at 500 Capp Street. The group of eight working artists, who in normal times lead tours of The House, turned their attention to a web-based writing project, The Cabinet, with the intention to (re)illuminate the cracks, connections, and concerns of his legacy.
The Cabinet launched on The House’s website this week at 500cappstreet.org/the-cabinet/ with a collection of personal reflections and essays by five of the Artist Guides, with more to follow.
Bells Howard contributes There is a Terrible Heaviness of Life in All Things Animate and Inanimate, a piece illustrated with their own sketches that explores the relationship of memories, intimate spaces, and inanimate objects. In it, Howard provides intriguing examples from The House such as the hundreds of glass jars Ireland captured memories and moments in, from the remnants of birthdays past, to dust from his front stoop.
Sam Claude Carmel reflects on the past and present of The House’s unique Accordion Room in A Palate Cleanser from the Outside World. Camile e. Messerley shares thoughts on artists who seek meaning in our surroundings in Interpreting The House as it Lives. And Justin R. Nagle explores Ireland’s often stunning use of unremarkable colors in Institutional Green: Materialized, Sensorialized.
William Moncayo turns his attention to the special solo exhibition of the work of Felipe Dulzaides, There is no such thing as a perfect circle, open only for two weeks before the lock down, but still installed at The House in anticipation of re-opening. In his essay Returning Full Circle, Moncayo details the forms and lines of Dulzaides’ work.
“This free web-based publication is intended to reach a broad, diverse audience, with a range of familiarity with Ireland and contemporary art,” says Cait Molloy, Director. “It is a new way to ‘see’ into The House through the eyes of our Artist Guides. The Cabinet so beautifully showcases their creative voices and the in-depth research and thinking they have been doing both in The House and collectively through writing prompts, group discussions, and editing consultation with advisor and curator Constance Lewallen. We are thrilled to share their unique perspectives in writing with the public and to expand the dialogue about Ireland’s work beyond the walls of 500 Capp Street.”
Says Howard of the experience, “All of the Artist Guides here have touched the same walls in the House, but the difference between what caused our hands to stop and feel deeper, the things we’ve decided to explore on our own, is what readers can find in The Cabinet. It’s sentimental, it explores, it has helped me also see the house through multiple sets of eyes.”
Plans for The Cabinet include the addition of writing by outside artists and scholars, and archived articles about Ireland dating back to the 1980s. New content will be released on a quarterly basis.