Lexa Walsh

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Lexa Walsh is an interdisciplinary and socially engaged artist based in Oakland who works to create a hospitable democracy and platforms for multiple voices. Walsh has lived, worked, exhibited and toured internationally. She has been cultural worker in the Bay Area for many years and worked as a curator and administrator at CESTA, an international art center in Czech Republic. She co-founded and conceived of the all women, all toy instrument ensemble Toychestra. She was Social Practice Artist in Residence in Portland Art Museum’s Education department. She was recently the Community Artist in Residence at Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL and an Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. She organizes Oakland Stock, a micro-granting dinner series for artists’ projects. She is currently excited about an upcoming collaboration with her brother, painter Dan Walsh, at Williams College Art Museum in 2016.

Artist Statement

I work as anthropologist, archivist, chef, collaborator, experience maker, explorer, facilitator and participant. The essence of my work is situated in performance and direct engagement, creating platforms for multiple, often unheard voices to build a hospitable democracy.

In these participatory public art projects, I bring together members of the public to share stories through conversation, meals, song and scholarly play. These experiences are often the works in themselves, though sometimes there are resulting audio, photo, print, text, web or installation works. These site-specific social interactions, platforms, observations and interpretations (sometimes misinterpretations) investigate elevating everyday activities into tools for community and relationship building, place and space making, resource sharing and institutional critique. The work addresses subjects such as radical hospitality, generosity and reciprocity, ritual and inclusion, labor, identity and democracy.

Mapping the Archive uncovers the history of the Bay Area’s rich Post-Studio art practice and the social, economic, educational and related phenomena that fostered it. It also looks at how this history is (or is not) being archived. Professionals and laypeople alike helped develop this crowd-sourced record. The ethics of the sixties, of artist run spaces, of DIY and so much more fed the development of this practice.

Exhibited Work

Presentation of Mappingthearchive.com


About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.