Lauren Bartone isn’t attached to traditional map making. While she does spend her fair share of time studying maps, her recent work, The Take Out Project, retranslated cartography from a visual capture of space and geography to a display of food justice and socioeconomics. Bartone collected discarded food trash – paper plates, take-out containers, plastic bags – and repurposed them into map markers. Just as importantly, the artist engaged the community’s participation. Instead of a street name, you might find the local Farmers Market on the map by locating the blue mushroom container, purchased from the market by a community member that morning. A man harvests vegetables from the community garden, then contributed the bag used to carry them, which is then placed on the map to represent the garden. Bartone’s map shows us what people are eating in which neighborhoods and how food access is distributed throughout the region. Through it, we can gain a new understand of the place we live in and, indeed, redefine space.
In February 2015, Bartone will take up residency at the de Young museum where she will continue to explore this idea of repurposing discarded paper trash to represent a place – this time, the museum and its environs, in A City in Maps.
Streetcolor covers bike racks, objects, and walls with her hand-knit graffiti. Too eccentric for her hometown of Rochester, N.Y., she migrated to the Bay Area, leaving behind a rigorous, technical training in ceramics to take up sculpting and painting in knits and felts. In addition to knitbombing, Streetcoor creates large urban textile installations that cover buildings and towns.
In December, as de Young Artist-in-Residence, she will take up feltbombing people and composing tactilely rich paintings that exercise the pliability of her handmade felt.
Streetcolor derives inspiration from Hockney’s drawings, Diebenkorn’s layered surfaces, Thiebaud’s patterns, Stella’s dimensionality, Chamberlain’s confidence, and ceramist Betty Woodman’s boldness and rhythm. She has been delving into the museum’s Explore the Art function to study working proofs for Wayne Thiebaud’s Steep Street and, her favorite, Touched Red by Diebenkorn. For an artist whose canvas is often architecture, Streetcolor loves the museum building itself. “It makes my mouth water to walk around the outside and look at the metal patina.”
“I am grateful for all of the great art I’ve seen over the years. It’s like eating a great meal. Looking at lots of art is really critical for being able to make lots of art.”