SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

La Mamelle Arts Center, 3r Floor, 70 12th Street at Market

Exhibition: Edited by Fire (3rd November-15th December 1978)

Reset map




Doug and I are driving back from work, Monday night, drinking beer and talking about art ideas to come, things yet to do. We park in front of Doug’s house, full of enthusiasm and after a visit from the muses, we’ve just had the art idea of the century. Fred and Barney are back, Doug yells, bursting in through the front door. Diane and Kit and the kids are there waiting for us. Something horrible has happened, Diane says. Doug thinks his mother has died. Diane tells us the studio is on fire. It’s been burning since four o’clock. Didn’t you hear it on the radio? No nothing, we were talking the whole time. Five alarm fire, they have the boats down there. Every engine from that part of the city. Back up units from San Mateo. It’s gone, it’s all gone, we saw it on the news. Doug and I look at each other, laughing nervously. What else can you do? None of the slides and tapes are down there, just the flat work, props from old performances, mementos, eight years of drawing, writing, documentation. And the new art is down there too, getting eaten by the flames. […] then Wednesday we go to the pier with a ladder and climb up under the roof […] Then, somehow, the whole thing shifted in our brains, because some of the burned items looked so amazing, so vivid, so transformed and abstract. Maybe the first thing was the melted mask, or the blackened cowboy boot, or one of the photos of John Dean, his face twisted and bubbled in the burned emulsion. And then one thing after another […] They began to look incredible to us, and valuable and worthwhile and interesting, and then, yes, finally, they began to look beautiful […]

Out of the debris we assembled our show at La Mamelle, and called it Edited by Fire. The work was done by Diane Hall, Doug Hall and Jody Proctor (collaborating at T.R. Uthco) from 1970 to 1978. The November 3rd opening was highlighted with a bar tending performance by artist/filmmaker William Farley. (Proctor 1979: 27)

Curator(s): T.R. Uthco (Diane Hall, Doug Hall, Jody Proctor).

Participants: T.R. Uthco (Diane Hall, Doug Hall, Jody Proctor).