Lexa Walsh At The Guardhouse: Mourning Song

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FOR-SITE presents Lexa Walsh At The Guardhouse: Mourning Song, a new installation inside The Guardhouse at Fort Mason Center For Arts & Culture (FMCAC), on view from June 22, 2024 to September 8, 2024. The installation is free and open to the public, viewable through the windows 24 hours/day. The Guardhouse is located at the main entrance to FMCAC.

The free public opening reception happens on Saturday, June 22, 2024, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (remarks begin at 12:30 p.m.).

Free Admission

The installation by artist and cultural worker Lexa Walsh at The Guardhouse, entitled Mourning Song (2024), invites viewers to reflect on individual and collective grief, loss, and mourning while witnessing the horrors of war. The artist responds to the military origins of Fort Mason, an active military outpost from 1850-1962, by dressing the guard station with an installation of ceramic, textile, and mixed media works resembling medals, plaques, and other service decorations. Playing on the word “decoration,” the artist incorporates components of domestic and bodily adornment into her ceramic sculptures, such as tassels, belts, and bling. Many of the pieces are physically connected through dark chains and braided hair—elements of Victorian mourning jewelry. These oversized awards are impossible to wear, much like the weight and burden that war creates.

Emanating from the walls of The Guardhouse is a sound collage incorporating excerpts from Walsh’s ongoing interviews with veterans as well as civilians. During her conversations, Walsh uncovered the many nuances between people’s experiences and the complexities of war. This installation poses open-ended questions about who is valued, creating a space on this former military site to foster dialogue, community, and healing.

ABOUT THE ARTIST. Lexa Walsh makes context-responsive, multifaceted projects, exhibitions, objects, and publications about power and value. As a long-time Oakland, CA-based artist, now working out of the Hudson Valley, NY, coming of age in the Bay Area post-punk cultural scene of the 1990s largely informs Walsh’s work. She has exhibited and performed internationally for more than 25 years at public spaces and institutions, both large and small, including the de Young Museum, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Exploratorium, Kala Art Institute, Marin MoCA, Oakland Museum of California, SFMOMA, Walker Art Center, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

About FOR-SITE. Established in 2003, FOR-SITE is dedicated to the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place. For more information, visit: FOR-SITE.org.

About The Guardhouse Program. The Guardhouse Program is designed to serve three artists annually, directly supporting the year-round creation, presentation, and understanding of art about place. Each artist activates the former military guard station with a temporary art installation responding to the natural and cultural significance of the site and its surrounding area. The Guardhouse Program launched through an open call for proposals in 2023.

Lexa Walsh At The Guardhouse: Mourning Song is presented by FOR-SITE in partnership with Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. The Guardhouse Program is made possible thanks to generous support from the ARB Fund.

Image Credit — Photo by Dan Nelson

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