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SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

University Art Gallery, Berkeley, 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

Terry Fox, Defoliation Piece (17th March 1970)

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The first performance I did as an art performance was at Berkeley in 1969 [sic], for The Eighties show at the old Berkeley Museum. It was the defoliation of jasmine plants […] It was specifically designed for the people that I knew would be there […] They were extremely rich people, who obviously supported the war in some way or another. The garden was one of their favorite places to eat lunch. If you went there on a normal day there’d be two or three very rich looking people sitting around having lunch – having their bottle of wine there, because it was beautiful; it smelled really good, it was real quiet, a wonderful place. […] It was a garden – it wasn’t very big, it was like, eight feet by eight feet, and I burned a square – I burned the whole thing with a flame thrower, and it just left a slight border of these plants, and they ended up having to dig them all out – it destroyed them. So then, the next day these people came to have their lunch there, it was just a burned-out plot, you know, I mean, it was the same thing they were doing in Viet Nam. Nobody would get excited about napalming Viet Nam, but you burn some flowers that they like to sit near, and it’s like - (Fox 2000: 81)