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Monday, June 13, 2011

Art, Performance, and Odd Wares Rise Above Mid-Market Din in 'The Cries of San Francisco'

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Peter Max Lawrence of the Paper Waster Press lives up to his business' name. - LARISSA ARCHER
  • Larissa Archer
  • Peter Max Lawrence of the Paper Waster Press lives up to his business' name.

You don't have to pick a special day on Market Street to be yelled at by strangers. And it's not that unusual to encounter those in odd outfits trying to sell you objects and services of ostentatious uselessness. But Saturday, the "Cries of San Francisco" put on by

Southern Exposure offered a witty and sometimes touching variant on an old theme based on The Cries of London, Francis Wheatley's seminal 18th-century oil paintings depicting London's street sellers.

click to enlarge Cries of London: Strawberries - LARISSA ARCHER
  • Larissa Archer
  • Cries of London: Strawberries

While the original criers sold necessities such as fruit, hardware, and furniture repair, and advertised their wares by "crying" over the marketplace din, the crowd at Mint Plaza adopted a tongue-in-cheek attitude toward what constitutes "necessity." Peter Max Lawrence sat at the Paper Waster Press, doodling on a stack of 8" by 10"s. Some drawings he sold. Most simply alighted from his desk and blew about the plaza. The efforts put forth by Lawrence and others were skillful and impressive, and the only drawback to the larger spectacle was an undercurrent of smart-alecky dismissal of what were identified as society's serious problems.

click to enlarge Walking Wounded augmented clothing by adding various wounds. - LARISSA ARCHER
  • Larissa Archer
  • Walking Wounded augmented clothing by adding various wounds.

Liz Collins of Walking Wounded would knit or weave a flesh wound and graft it onto your otherwise unblemished clothing. Veronica Graham, Camoufleur, constructed slabs of paper-and-cardboard camouflage to render you unrecognizable against the cityscape.

click to enlarge Veronica Graham demonstrates camouflage customized for invisibility against Market Street's sidewalk, the Ferry Building, and Mint Plaza. - LARISSA ARCHER
  • Larissa Archer
  • Veronica Graham demonstrates camouflage customized for invisibility against Market Street's sidewalk, the Ferry Building, and Mint Plaza.

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Larissa Archer

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