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Queen's Nails: Sell Your Debt - Claire Fontaine (Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill).
Comment by AB: The idea for Paris artist Claire Fontaine's exhibition is compelling enough-- conceive an installation that exemplifies America's pawning it's wealth, world standing and good credit in order to continue spending way beyond it's means. To accomplish this, she hangs a red, white and blue neon sign in the gallery's front window that reads "SELL YOUR DEBT," and on the back wall, constructs a map of the United States entirely out of matches, approximately 40,000 of them.
In a fit of creative fervor, the night before the opening, Fontaine lights the matches as a symbolic allusion to our country going up in smoke. And that's exactly what happens. The map goes up in so much smoke that neighbors call 911, five fully loaded fire engines appear on the scene, firemen hose down the space, chop out sections of the ceiling in order to vent the smoke, and do whatever else is necessary to squelch any possibility of the fire spreading-- even though no one was ever in danger and the fire was basically out by the time they got there. But this is San Francisco, buildings are really close together, and nobody takes any chances, especially our exceptionally professional and dedicated firefighters.
The upshot? The story is all over the local news, tonight's opening is still on, the interior of the gallery is off limits, everyone's milling around outside, peering through the front window at the aftermath, and discoursing on various aspects of the mishap at hand. Meanwhile back at City Hall, the Fire Department is taking up the matter with the District Attorney's office in order to determine whether charges should be filed. Hopefully, all will be resolved without any undue detriment to those involved. Stay tuned for developments....
Claire Fontaine art installation at Queen's Nails.
Collaboration between Claire Fontaine and the SF Fire Department.
Vented ceiling c/o SFFD - Claire Fontaine art show at Queen's Nails.
Plein air - Claire Fontaine art show at Queen's Nails.