Street Work

For the world traveler, street vendors sell personalities as much as products: the Chinese shoe-repairman with the treadle sewing machine and tire scraps for soles; the Moroccan poet who slings steamed snails; the Jamaican DVD pirate with a circus-worthy spiel. Part craftsmen, part businessmen, part showmen, they turn a trip through the mercado, the palengke, or the Mission into an adventure. Yet, as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to operate outside a system dominated by Wal-Mart and agribusiness, degraded shadow economies have taken hold, from the surrogacy trade in Africa, which turns women into breeding farms, to the “white lobster” hauled up in nets along the Mosquito Coast, which turns fishermen into cocaine dealers. For the exhibit “World-Wide Hustle(rs),” artists Angela Angel and Robin David bring together 80 pieces of work that draw on true stories from scavengers, vendors, villagers, and peddlers from around the world. Expressing the dangers and delights of third-world entrepreneurship, it includes photographs, murals, films, paintings, and mixed-media installations that give way to the authentic scents, sounds, and flavors of S.F.’s finest street wares, including Filipino comfort food from Adobo Hobo and Wandering Kusina; empanadas from Chile Lindo; spring rolls from the Lumpia Cart; and whatever grand concoction inspired Soul Cocina this week. Hot ritmos tropicales will be served up by the wandering DJ collective La Pelanga as Cohen Alley is transformed into an open-air market.

A reception for “World-Wide Hustle(rs)” starts at 6 p.m.
April 16-May 16, 2010

 
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