Mean and Sneaking
A curatorial project by Vicki Sher
“Some of you, as we all know, are poor, find it hard to live, are sometimes, as it were, gasping for breath….It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live…always on the limits …a very ancient slough….”
Henry David Thoreau: Where I have Lived and What I have Lived For, Economy
"Mean and Sneaking" is taken from Thoreau about the state of living on the periphery; needing to make promises that can’t be kept, scrounging, borrowing, and removing oneself from the mores of the conventional social order. The artists in this exhibition borrow select pages from Thoreau…using what they can find at hand, at home and around to make a living and art. They are awake to the potential of found and conventionally wasted material presented by a society relatively unconcerned with its excess. To Thoreau they say “Thanks!” for validating and poeticizing life away from the rat race, the scrappy persistence and all, but “No thanks!” to the lonely and unsociable attitude. Their life on the outskirts is festive, filled with gift giving and celebration.