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1220-B Linda Mar

Pacifica, CA 94044


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Apolitical Be Political

curated by Bill Gallo


July 30 - september 12, 2004


Reception: Friday, July 30, from 7:00 to 9:00pm


The Art Guild of Pacifica presents a controversial exhibition of timely social commentary with “Apolitical Be Political” in the aptly titled “West Wing” Gallery. Curated by Bill Gallo, the exhibition will feature diverse points of view by artists engaged in current issues. As a tongue-in-cheek nod to the divided country – the left side of the gallery will feature politically charged art, while the right side of the gallery will present artwork with no political content. The exhibition promises to be ripe with humor and strong political messages.

Bill Gallo

An Interview with Bill Gallo, Curator:

SAC: Tell us a little about the concept behind “Apolitical Be Political”. How did the idea evolve?

BG: The concept evolved around an idea of Jerry Barrish's that it would be a great year to do Pacifica's first political show. The apolitical was added out of a desire not to exclude anyone from being able to show.

SAC: There seems to be a range of work including overtly political statements, humorous, and even abstract images. How did you curate the exhibition with such diversity?

BG: Like curating any show, you find elements that work together (size, shape, color, theme etc.) and group with appropriate bridging elements to tie it all together. I admit it was my trickiest one yet.

SAC: I’m curious to know if you planned to have the exhibition open the same week that the 2004 Democratic Convention was taking place in Boston?

BG: Actually, I believe it was originally planned to take place during both the republican and democratic conventions, at least until the republicans moved their convention back five weeks.

SAC: How do you feel this exhibition comments on the political climate in our country today?

BG: Like our current political climate today: it is eclectic and passionate.

An Interview with Charlotte Seekamp, Artist:

SAC: Your work in "Apolitical Be Political" is called "Anti War Medal". Tell us a little about the symbolic elements in your piece.

CS: All are Vietnam war era items. So far, it doesn't seem like there are any new icons that symbolize the current war in Iraq. And I have always thought war is senseless. So I used what I still had. The brass(?) peace sign was my mother's necklace that she wore for years.  My mother was an art major and an activist, so it is good to have something of hers in one of my pieces. The next piece is a POW-MIA bracelet that started being produced around 1970. The bracelet has a name of a military person who was either a prisoner of war or missing in action and the date that he went into that status.  I wore that bracelet for about 2 years until it broke in half shortly before the end of that war.

Charlotte Seekamp
SAC: Where did you get the silver bracelet engraved with the words "Capt. Ralph T. Browning, 7-8-66"?

CS: I am not exactly sure what organization put these bracelets out.  I first heard about them when Sonny & Cher on their T.V. show said that they each wore a bracelet as concern for the lives that were being affected by the Vietnam war. Shortly after seeing that a friend at my high school, who volunteered with an anti war group, had a few for sale (they were like $2) and I bought it from her and wore it until it broke, shortly before the war ended.

SAC: What is the story behind the medallion that says "war is not healthy for your children and other living things"?

CS: It was from an organization called "another mother for peace" and they put out jewelry and cards and posters with this symbol that says "war is not healthy for children and other living things" In later years I came to find out that Donna Reed was one of the mothers who helped start that organization which campaigned for an end to US involvement in Vietnam.

SAC: The yellow ribbon is a powerful symbol of support. Do you have any personal associations with the ribbons used in your work?

CS: I so hated that "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" song, its boring and too sappy, but I used the yellow ribbon to attach the POW-MIA bracelet because (as you say) yellow ribbons have become such an accepted and powerful symbol for support & wanting a safe return. From a purely artistic view, it added a different variation from the Red, White & Blue ribbon that I used to attach the other elements, which I thought would make the piece more interesting.

SAC: You seem to be a great believer of artists as activists. How do you think artists empower people to act upon issues of local and global concern?

CS: For artists, I think it is one of the ways we know best for expressing our feelings.  This is one of the first times I have created a piece of artwork specifically for a show, but I did it because I feel very strongly that starting a war in the Middle East was wrong. As far as encouraging other people, I really think it is mostly mega famous celebrities of the performing arts who are more often able to use their talent and craft to project their viewpoint. And it works ­ I have Dixie Chicks CD's!

SAC: How do you feel this exhibition comments on the political climate in our country today?

CS: I think it shows that a lot of people in the Pacifica area have great concerns about the policies the current administration has foisted upon the people in this country. And I am one who thinks these policies have made this country much less safe!

John Andreas

JT Morrow