In And Out Of The Box

Posted by: Isis

From fine dining, to crafts, coffee, markets and even magazines, it may seem as though the San Francisco “pop-up” has exhausted its options. Then again, maybe not…

The latest SF pop-up endeavor is tapping into an entirely new vein. This is a pop-up museum, instigated by the Museum of Craft and Design. Curated by Mariah Nielson, the action is transpiring in the formerly vacant lot at the corners of Hayes and Octavia in Hayes Valley.

The lot now houses Proxy SF, the dedicated space for rotating vendors and other happenings established by local architecture firm Envelope A+D. The museum will consist of three interactive installations by four local artists. Viewers are invited to partake in the installations to repurpose the space and to exercise their perceptions of what defines space and use. In a time where one can obtain a permit and schedule their “pop-up” into the busy infrastructure of the city, one has to ask, have we lost the identity and charm of the original pop-up, the ones born out of necessities like lack of space, recognition, or funds?

Graffiti art, underground restaurants and other surprises used to thrive on the clandestine spontaneity that brought them into initial popularity and that seems now to have faded. Without a doubt, art in any form is better than no art at all, but is it possible that the pop-up has fallen victim to the jaws of gentrification and normalcy that have claimed so many pools of creativity and inspiration?

As the “pop-up” enters the mainstream, that spontaneous charm that attracted us in the first place is sacrificed. The term “pop-up” has lost its meaning, its thrill. It has become a gimmicky catch phrase intended to gain attention without giving due credit to the risk-taker, the inspired individual who will stand alone, and against all odds create. The pervasive nature of the contemporary pop-up defeats its own purpose. It makes it even harder for the true underground, such as vendors at the Underground Farmers’ Market (which was recently shut down by the health department), to find a presence within the confines of the system. It is in the interest of maintaining a dynamic city that we take nothing for granted and never lose sight of the truly independent, small-scale, spontaneous establishments that gave rise to the definitive “pop-up.”

With this paradox in mind, take a walk down Hayes St. check out the nifty activities of the “museum”, such as the delicate series of ceramic containers by the local makers of New Factory. Whether you’re sick of the “pop-up” or not, support your local artists and explore what you can do to enliven your community. You can even hammer in a nail or do some planting. Sculptor Andy Vogt is currently transforming the space through salvaged wood. Jesse Schlessinger will collaborate with other local artists to create a plant-based installation while architects Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson will work to “create an environmental seating installation.” The Hayes Valley pop-up museum is one of three that the Museum of Craft and Design has undertaken around the city.

A series of summer talks and meet-ups kicks off this Saturday, August 6th with a discussion led by Andy Vogt on reclaimed wood titled Transparency and Impermanence featuring proxy project architect Douglas Burnham, and MCD curator Mariah Nielson.

Museum of Craft and Design at Hayes and Octavia Streets
July 17, 2011 – October 15, 2011
Open Monday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

Free for members of MCD
$3 suggested donation for the general public
Free for children under 12

Place-Making Program of Installations:

Andy Vogt
Sunday, July 17, 11 AM – 5 PM

Jesse Schlessinger
Sunday, August 21, 11 AM – 5 PM

Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson
Saturday, September 17, 11 AM – 6 PM

envelope a+dmuseum of craft and design