With Midterms Approaching, Artists Take Creative Action at CCA

Sharon Daniel, Detail of 'UNDOING TIME: Amends | Civil Death,' 2016–present. (Photo by Josef Jacques)

With the Nov. 6 midterm elections less than two weeks away (DON’T FORGET TO VOTE), a sleek show at California College of the Art’s Hubbell Street Galleries reminds audiences that all good art is political.

Take Action features 12 Bay Area artists and collectives who’ve long been working in the arena of political art, surfacing truths about the ways our government and its policies affect (or restrict) everyday lives. The show is part of CCA’s involvement with For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative, an artist-run project promoting civic participation, discourse and direct action.

Installation view of 'Take Action' at CCA Hubbell St Galleries, 2018.
Installation view of 'Take Action' at CCA Hubbell St Galleries, 2018. (Photo by Josef Jacques)

That last point—direct action—is key in a show with an imperative for its title. The exhibition opens with a wall of cards with suggestions of easy ways to do something—like donating time, energy or skills to just causes, calling representatives or viewing other politically minded art.

Similarly, several of the installations provide takeaway materials or hands-on activities for visitors—the most enjoyable of which is 100DaysAction's cardboard version of the Oval Office, in which the public can sign their own executive orders (and be photographed in the process by an "official" press secretary).

Perhaps the greatest form of inspiration is the art itself: all the artists in Take Action present work that results from thoroughly questioning what it means to be an engaged member of society, or as the exhibition puts it, "a creative citizen in your community."

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'Take Action' is on view at CCA's Hubbell St Galleries (161-131 Hubbell St, San Francisco) through Nov. 16, 2018, with public events throughout the run. Details here.

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