Michele Pred: Amendment
February 7 — March 16, 2013
On February 7th, a show of new work, entitled “Amendment,” by San Francisco-based artist Michele Pred, opens at Nancy Hoffman Gallery. This is the inaugural presentation of works in which Pred utilized birth control pills as material and palette, her comment on attitudes toward women since the ‘60s, particularly in the arena of birth control and reproduction. The exhibition opens on February 7th and continues through March 16th.
Pred’s work has consistently focused on aspects of contemporary society, plumbing its “artifacts” for materials, never settling for conventional artist’s tools. Her earlier work was composed of objects confiscated at airport security checkpoints, this body of work was titled “Homeland Security.” Certain images have become iconic for Pred: the American flag, hearts, targets. The potency of the American flag as “insignia” on a pink purse from the ‘60s needs no words, it tells the full tale. New in this body of work is the artist’s sourcing material through the internet and social media. The birth control pills are obtained through social networking and crowdsourcing. Pred exercises the same diligent research she has exercised over the years to create her work. In tandem with the sculptures and wall pieces, Pred created a “costume” and performance piece entitled “Miss Conception.” For this performance, she wears a 1960s era pageant dress of bright green garnished with rhinestones and birth control pills, an embroidered sash that reads "Miss Conception," her sash made by the same company that provides sashes to the “Miss America” annual pageant, a scepter with birth control pills and a crown sparkling with rhinestones and pills. Pred engages with her audience via dialogue about reproduction and passes out cards with common misconceptions about women, beauty and reproduction, beliefs people have mistakenly held which she debunks, all the while smiling serenely.
Pred writes of this body of work:
“I use expired, unwanted and placebo birth control pills as an expression of my frustration over the continuing and growing impediments to fair, safe and affordable access to birth control and other women’s services in the United States. This body of work is also a response to the many negative attitudes toward birth control that have stubbornly persisted since the pill became available in the early 1960s.
“Since May 2012, I have acquired approximately 17,000 pills, mostly through crowd- sourcing on Facebook and Twitter and thanks to various media outlets that have published my quest. I acquired the early ‘60s era purses and hatbox via E-bay.
“A large part of my art-making process lies in the research, the countless personal interactions, and places I go. For this project, I have spoken with and visited numerous women’s clinics, public health clinics, pill recycling drop-off areas, and drug manufacturers. I have traveled to pick up large boxes of pills and found very
small packages in my mailbox. Each encounter helped shape my views and vision for the piece.
“Finally, this body of work is rooted in my formative years growing up in Berkeley, California during the ‘70s, where I was exposed to the women’s movement. It is also a continued homage to my father who inspired the feminist in me at an early age.”
Her work has been shown at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, New York; Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Ohio; California College of the Arts, Oakland; di Rosa Preserve, Napa, California; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; The Hearts in San Francisco Project, California; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Museum of Contemporary Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco, California; Napa Valley College Art Gallery, California; Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University, California; National Institute of Art & Disabilities (NIAD), Richmond, California; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; Newcombe Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana; Omi International Art Center, Ghent, New York; San Francisco State University Gallery, California; Sonoma Museum of Visual Art, California; Textile Art Center, Brooklyn, New York; and abroad at BildMusee, Umea, London Gallery West, University of Westminster, Middlesex, England; Sweden; Kulturheset, Stockholm, Sweden; Millesgården Museum, Lingingo, Sweden; University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee, Scotland; and UTS Gallery, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
Pred’s work is included in the collections of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii; di Rosa Collection, Napa, California; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; and The 21C Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.
Michele Pred was born in San Francisco and is of Swedish and American heritage. She received her B.F.A. with distinction from the California College of Arts and Crafts and a certificate in French Language from University of Sorbonne, France. She has received a grant from The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, San Francisco and was prizewinner at Close Pegase Winery, Sonoma; and Sanchez Art Center, Oakland, California. She was designer of the first annual Webby Award, San Francisco.
The artist resides in Oakland, California.
ARTIST TALK: Saturday, February 9, at 4:pm, as “Miss Conception.”
For additional information and/or photographs, please call the gallery at 212-966-6676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org