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A0021 – Smith, Cries of San Francisco

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The Cries of San Francisco (2011) was a sculptural installation and series of public events that took place at Southern Exposure gallery and in the streets of downtown San Francisco. The project, organized by Allison Smith, gathered together nearly 70 San Francisco-based artists and craftspeople to perform as peddlers. On Market Day, they roved a three-block radius around Mint Plaza and Market Street, calling out to sell their wares and garner participation from passersby. Goods ranged from the object-oriented to the ephemeral: artist Amy Keefer offered golden bars of pain-relieving soap as Alchem-Amy; the collective Art for a Democratic Society presented The Class War Store, selling wheat paste and “readymade tirades”; Pete Hickock used the moniker OffsetLIFE to vend countermeasures for carbon footprints. Smith played the Town Crier, donning a blond beard and a bell. Her project drew together the historic market and the soapbox, with participants’ proclamations containing elements of self-promotion and protest. The right to speak freely was held in concentrated solution with the demand to market oneself, foregrounding questions of value.