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Mom and Kids Need Help

Josh Greene
American, b. 1971

Mom and Kids Need Help I, 1997
Gold framed, marker on cardboard

SSWB 3743

Conceptual art emerged in the 1960s and 70s in reaction to the high prices and preciousness of other art forms. Early Conceptual artists created art out of ideas and knowledge and did not rely on traditional materials requiring specific skills. More recently, Conceptual art has turned in a socially engaged direction and Josh Greene is this variety of artist. His projects unfold over time and with a variety of participants. In one project, he wrote to French artist Sophie Called and asked to borrow her bed to help him get through a break-up. In another piece he acted as an unlicensed therapist within an office constructed in an art gallery and saw clients for varied amounts of time.

For the two-part piece shown here, Greene purchased over twenty signs from street people in Seattle and framed a selection of them. Subsequently, he hired graphic artists to create new designs for the original signs, in editions of prints which he distributed in Seattle. Ultimately the original signs and the new prints were exhibited at the Greg Kucera Gallery. Although not designed to effect social change or attached to any organizations acting on social issues, the public exposure to the original signs in a gallery, or as prints, would remind viewers of the problems of homelessness. In a project called Service-Works, Greene donated the tips he made working in a fine restaurant to artists with ideas worth funding. Describing his motivations for that project he said "I am most interested in funding small projects that may involve exchange, interaction, storytelling, and problem solving." Viewers of Mom and Kids Need Help, may interact with the situation presented and endeavor to do problem solving of their own.

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