Lisa Kokin turned to shredded money – literally – but there was an artistic method to the madness.
Kokin, a longtime Bay Area artist, decided to create art made with money, thread and wire. That work, dubbed Lucre (the title is a pithy reflection on the corruptive power of money), hits the walls of the Seager Gray Gallery at 108 Throckmorton Ave throughout April with a reception on Saturday, April 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and a gallery talk with Kokin at 3pm on Sunday, April 22. The exhibit is accompanied by a color catalog with an essay by Renny Pritikin, chief curator at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
“One finds inspiration in the most unlikely places,” Kokin wrote on her website.
Kokin has long been known for her ability to combine meticulous process, limited materials (mostly thread, but in this case thread and shredded money) and astute social commentary into works that seem nearly impossible to accomplish. She used currency that had been previously shredded, acquiring it in bags ordered online from the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.
“No one values money in this impotent state,” she adds. “It no longer has the ability to poison relationships, influence elections, create privilege and misery and threaten democracy. Stitched together with metallic thread into textile fragments or wrapped around wire and made into crowns, the material is re-contextualized with a new value and purpose. When sliced-up and decontextualized, money is really quite mysterious and beautiful.
Some of the larger wall works in the show reference President Donald Trump’s plan for a border wall, made of money both literally and figuratively. Works like (De)portable, Wall and Beyond the Pale are all various representations of a fence or wall. As noted in Pritkin’s essay, “On a further level, it (Beyond the Pale) also invokes the artist’s Jewish heritage as the Pale was the part of 19th century Poland/Russia/Ukraine where Jews were not permitted to live.”
The 411: Artist Lisa Kokin shows her Lucre work at the Seager Gray Gallery at 108 Throckmorton Ave throughout April with a reception on Saturday, April 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and a gallery talk with Kokin at 3pm on Sunday, April 22. MORE INFO.