After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city applied to the United States Department of the Interior to gain water rights to Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite Valley. This provoked a seven-year environmental struggle with the environmental group Sierra Club, led by John Muir, against mayor and then senator James Phelan. Construction of the dam was finished in 1923, forever altering the landscape.
For two months we activated the gallery space, working four days a week on new products labeled with re-examined stories.
Located at the Montalvo Arts Center, a historical site at Villa Montalvo, California, this project presents to the public a souvenir shop that is a "front" for re-examining the complex issues of commerce, empire, and the repackaging of historical narrative. Rough-hewn display tables hold an array of strange and contradictory products such as bottled water ("Hetch-Hetchy Elixir"), false precious stones ("Genuine Faux Fool's Gold"), as well as salvaged remnants of other artists artworks. Viewers are able to peer through and walk around the lattice-like sales counter made of recycled pallets, to see the production space where everything is explicitly made.