R O U N D W E A T H E R
Randy Hussong Now and Then
January 20 - March 23, 2024
Reception: Saturday Jan. 20, 3 - 6 PM
Viewing Room (forthcoming)
Round Weather presents Randy Hussong Now and Then with an opening reception Saturday January 20th from 3 to 6 pm. Like a volume of New and Selected Poems, the show traces through lines as it ranges from Hussong’s abjectly majestic Tethered Objects made during grad school in 1977 to his current soul-demanding work based in unhoused encampments and their relocation and reconfiguration.
In between and amid many local and national exhibitions, Hussong ran the experimental artist space Jet Wave, curated the Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth retrospective at New Langton Arts, received the James D. Phelan Art Award for Printmaking, and was at the influential heart of the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley for nearly thirty years, earning the Distinguished Teaching Award.
The show begins with an embracing critique of spectacle in which big cardboard boxes screen printed with arena-scale speakers sit between the towering sneaker prints of NBA DNA, powertool-carved woodcut prints of bomb-like shuttlecocks, and a reredos-and-Rorschachesque amalgam of hands held aloft by smartphones. Five other captivating sculptures and series also grace Round Weather’s ground floor, but after the staircase’s redacted newsprint, Here and Now’s core is the next level of new prints and sculptures addressing with empathy the material spectacle and human spirit of homeless encampments. Hussong employs the reiteration of printmaking and a seriously playful combination of found objects and trash, breathing new life into the abandoned, echoing the habitual repetition and makeshift resilience living in the encampments themselves.
Hussong writes, “Anger, sadness and frustration have driven the need for this work to come into being. Entire city blocks of cobbled together structures of discarded materials fill numerous streets and freeway underpasses delineating the unhoused. Encampments are representative of decline–of individuals and society. In viewing the work, one must think of failure, of mental illness, of poverty, of addiction and the lack of solutions.” Now and Then argues with itself: the ingenuity and brave determination evinced by unhoused encampments and Hussong’s miniature mirrorings suggest qualities needed to find solutions. The show asks, "Whose song is Hussong singing?" The song of the socially abandoned? The insensitive privileged? The sensitive hopeless? Of Alan Shapiro, who in his poem “Sunflower” writes, “Did I say sunflower? Say, instead, don’t-ever-mess-with-me. Say there-is-nothing-I-won’t-do-to-live”?
Randy Hussong and Round Weather offer visitors an opportunity to donate to Youth Spirit Artworks, which provides transitional housing, arts training, and wellness support to unhoused youth in Alameda County. At a time many feel hopeless and unable to impact the climate crisis, 30% of proceeds from artworks sold in Randy Hussong Now and Then will be donated to the nonprofits Elevate (which promotes equitable building decarbonization and workforce development), Evergreen Action (which focuses on influencing national climate policy), and Third Act (which builds a community of Americans over the age of sixty who protect our environment and democracy).