Boats in the parking lot circa 1971 - Photo by Mari Eliza
Changes in the Landscape - Today at Project Artaud
When you look at the city of San Francisco in 1970 and compare it to 2011, you see a tremendous amount of change in actions and attitudes. All the former peaceniks are now grandparents, with dreams of retiring soon. The city is filled with a much less political populace who are much less concerned with changing the world than surviving in it. A lot of dreams have evaporated. Those of us would stayed at Artaud and witnessed the shift over time can be in awe of our perseverance and grateful for the work of those who helped us through the trails and errors of our ways. We somehow managed to survive in spite of ourselves. Some are artists, some were when they arrived, but retired from the field, others never were.
With interviews, images and historical documents we trace our progress from innocent hippies intent on becoming artists, through multiple hurdles of bureaucracy, to our legal status as proper landowners in a class A city. The story unfolds as we look at the lives of the residents and the impressions they left as they followed their own personal journeys. We investigate various the various art forms, aesthetic tastes, and political concepts that we shared and fought over. Science is always at our side as we struggle to maintain the property both public and private.
All things have a beginning a middle and an end. The Artaud story began in 1970, when actor/director Joseph Krysiak packed his wife and cat into a truck and moved to San Francisco in search of a new stage. After looking around town for a while, he happend upon an ad for a warehouse in the Mission. He answered the ad the rest is history.
Art in Artaud is a story about the artists and art of the people who passed through Project Artaud. Some came for a short while and moved on, while others put down roots and stayed for the rest of their lives in studios they created from the greasy oily floors of one of many of the dirty dingy old American Can Company buildings that were abandoned during the late 20th century.
They came for a number of reasons. The earliest residents immediately morphed into designers and builders, acting out their secret architectural fantasies. The early years were growing years for many who arrived with a youthful curiosity and desire adventure.
Anyone who really wanted a cheap place to live in peace soon left for that reality. It took a lot of nerves and solid determination to endure some of the stress and strain that was heaped on by the city and the neighborhood. The Mission district was in many ways one big gangsta hangout. The hood has changed with age, as have we all.