I'm Kenney Mencher. I'm an artist who left a tenured professorship in 2016 to pursue making art full time. This blog is about art, art history, with a emphasis on human rights. I make homoerotic art featuring bears, otters & other gay wildlife.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Director's note on the Ghost Ship fire, and an invitation to join us this Friday.
Support Those Affected by the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire
As the names and numbers of the dead from the Ghost Ship fire are announced, the devastation gets deeper and more overwhelming. Please consider supporting relief efforts – these two funds seem to be actively and thoughtfully working with all involved to responsibly allocate your donations:
Fire Relief Fund – donations will go toward funeral, medical, and health-related expenses for victims and survivors
Residents' Support Fund – donations will go to the former residents of the Ghost Ship, directly funding supplies and materials needed to support their livelihood
If a space is needed for a memorial gathering or fundraiser, please send us an email, call 415-863-2141, or feel free to drop by during office hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 6 PM. We would like to make Southern Exposure available.
On Saturday, we awoke to the news that a catastrophic fire ripped through the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland where musicians and artists – friends counted among them – had gathered for a concert. As I write this, the death toll has climbed to 36 and is expected to rise. A wave of grief, tenderness, and shock ripples through every form of communication I’ve read in the past three days. It will not subside soon; it is present in my words to you here.
A criminal investigation is already underway into the illegality and fire code violations of the live-work spaces occupying the warehouse. But even in mainstream media accounts such as the New York Times, the large-scale displacement of artists in the Bay Area is held out as an underlying cause of the fire. Artists cope with precarious housing because economic violence inflicts precariousness upon them.
The idea that Southern Exposure is yours to claim takes on new meaning in the wake of this tragedy and the precariousness that caused it. We strive to be a place that defies the economic violence that so indifferently devalues and eradicates the work of artists. We seek to be a place where artists find welcome and unfettered expression. We hope to be a place that they can reshape in their own image.
With those goals in mind, we extend several invitations at once: Please join us this Friday for the opening of a powerful new exhibition. Please stake your claim in Southern Exposure. Please support our friends and their loved ones in their time of grief. Please know how dear you are to us. We are everything we are because of you.
With gratitude and care,
Patricia, on behalf of the staff and Board of Southern Exposure