SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Sidewalk at 500 Capp Street at 20th

David Ireland, Reconstruction of a Portion of the Sidewalk at 500 Capp Street (1976)

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The first work that honored his identification of the ordinary as an idea for art was the repair of the sidewalk outside 500 Capp Street in 1976. His preparation of the site, mixing and pouring of concrete, and subsequent restoration of the sidewalk were recorded on video by the artist Tom Marioni in order to document an event that would disappear underfoot. The work came about as a result of Ireland’s annoyance when, as a new homeowner, he was called upon by the city to repair the sidewalk at his own expense. Ireland’s profound sense of irritation at having this responsibility impinge on his studio time goaded him into questioning whether there was any difference between an artist’s and someone else’s repair of the sidewalk. The attitude brought to the activity, he concluded, determined whether it was art or not. (Gross 2003: 155)

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