60-Foot Golden Rule

This piece was made in response to the premise of the Super Santa Barbara show set forth by Warren Schultheis and by the proposed Measure B in the fall of 2009.

60 Foot Golden Rule Installation at CAF

60-Foot Golden Rule, 2009
Imitation gold Leaf, wood, acrylic paint, and hinges
Dimensions Variable depending on installation (Stretched out it measures 60′ x 1-1/2″ x 3/4″)


This sculpture integrates the current building height limit measurement of 60 feet, which is being challenged for reduction by measure B, with an ethical standard of measurement the Golden Rule, commonly known as “do unto others as you would have done to you.”

Similar variations on this statement exist and their translations speak to the greater complexity of the issue by alluding to  neighbor, measure, and imposition.
“What you wish your neighbors to be to you, such be also to them.” – Sextus the Pythagorean
“Woe to those . . . who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due” – Muhammad
“ Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” — Confucius, Analects XV.24 (tr. David Hinton)

These translations become interesting when we consider one of the major financial supporters of measure B is a Texas developer named Randall Van Wolfswinkel, who has benefitted from building housing developments in Texas.

The gold leafed reclaimed and distressed boards show a golden, yet weathered rule. It’s been used, it’s been abused, and yet is endures. It demonstrates work to compromise and work to maintain the golden rule as the “gold standard” of ethics. There is a less attractive red side that’s left exposed on the underneath and  is covered by the gold on the remaining three sides. The distressed nature of the wood reminds us of architecture and materials.

All quotes,  Ethic of reciprocity , Wikipedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_reciprocity)

Since the making of this piece, Measure B was voted down by the citizens of Santa Barbara and the 60-Foot height limit stands.

Printed Toile Politics

Re: SBMA “Slave to Fashion: Yinka Shonibare and Printed Textile History” talk by Starr Siegele, Adjunct Curator of Prints, Allentown Art Museum, and Independent Scholar. Printed toile was mentioned with stories of the plight of the slaves. Abolitionists used them as curtains, bedding, wall fabric to comment or make a statement. How subtle this was – a beautiful house decoration with a political statement. It made me wonder why this type of commentary went out of style?  Are we a society of no comment, because we “tastefully” use solid colors, stripes, or bucolic scenes? I’d like to see this type of in-home commentary come back in style.  In looking for a example of the printed toiles mentioned during the talk, I found a contemporary designer named Sheila Bridge who created a new toile Harlem Toile de Jouy. I see it as one next step in the dialogue of this tradition through the control of imagery. Sheila Bridge’s Harlem Toile de Jouy A funny personal side note to my comments is that solids, stripes, etc could be commentary in my house since I have an abstract agenda. : )