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Allison Smith, Stockpile, 2011-13. Unfinished wood and mixed media. Courtesy of the Artist and Haines Gallery. Installation view of Labour and Wait, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2013.
Labour and Wait
July 2 – September 22, 2013

This exhibition features the work of artists who bring 21st-century urgency to 19th-century principles of virtue through work and craftsmanship. Inspired in part by developments that stem back as far as the Industrial Revolution, the presentation examines contemporary culture’s obsession with authenticity, the hand-crafted, and the politics of manufacturing and labor. Works in the exhibition date from the late 1980s to the present, a period in which artists turned from industrial fabrication and a seamless aesthetic to hand-made or "do-it-yourself" sensibilities.

Labour and Wait is organized by Julie Joyce, Curator of Contemporary Art, and features artists/artist collaboratives from Europe, South America, and the United States, many which are under-represented in museums on the West Coast. Artists include Tonico Lemos Auad, Andrea Bowers, Colin Darke, Wim Delvoye, Theaster Gates, Dewar and Gicquel, Fischli and Weiss, Tim Hawkinson, Josiah McElheny, Grayson Perry, Mika Rottenberg, Mika Rottenberg and Jon Kessler, Allison Smith, Ricky Swallow, David Thorpe, and Jane Wilbraham.

To view the full Press Release, click here.

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Related Programming

A series of artist demonstrations highlighting handcrafted technique and design in conjunction with the exhibition. Finished goods are available for purchase.

Aymar Ccopacatty, Early Trash Weaving, 2007

Sunday, June 30, 12 – 5 pm
Aymar Ccopacatty: Weaving Recyclables
Aymar Ccopacatty learned the traditional textile art of the Aymara from his Peruvian grandmother. Using recycled plastic, he collages and weaves new objects such as blankets and hats. Plastic bags currently make up his primary medium, as he hopes to shed light on the ways these discarded items impact the environment.
SBMA Front steps


Saturday, July 27, 12 – 5 pm
Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft Happening and Pop-up Shop
Tanya Aguiñiga is a Los Angeles-based designer and artist born and raised in Tijuana. Her award winning work is informed by border experiences: the interconnectedness of societies and cultures. Her accessories, furniture, and site specific installations translate emotions and stories through form, color, and texture.
SBMA Family Resource Center


Jane Wilbraham, Index, 2010-11. Sycamore. Courtesy of Hales Gallery, London. © Jane Wilbraham

Artists' Panel: Colin Darke, Allison Smith, and Jane Wilbraham
Sunday, June 30, 2 – 3:30 pm
Hailing from Derry in Northern Ireland, the San Francisco Bay Area, and London respectively, these artists featured in the exhibition discuss their work and share their views on craft and labor in contemporary art.

Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members



Studio Sundays on the Front Steps
Sundays, 1:30 – 4:30 pm
Visitors of all ages are welcome to participate in this hands-on workshop with SBMA Teaching Artists on the Museum’s front steps. Each month explore a different medium, including clay, metal, ink, wood, photography, and paper, and gain inspiration from works of art in the Museum’s permanent collection or special exhibitions. In the event of inclement weather, activities will be moved inside to the Museum’s Family Resource Center.

All participants receive a Free Family Pass to the Museum.
Front Steps of the Museum

July 14
Graphite and Watercolor
Jane Wilbraham's Crushed

Find the beauty in small-scale natural elements in unexpected urban locations and draw from weeds, leaves, shells, and other found objects from Santa Barbara's streets, then add a watercolor wash.

August 11
Unfinished Wood
Allison Smith's Stockpile

Build a multistoried sculpture from various shapes of unfinished wood and mixed media objects inspired by Allison Smith's Stockpile..


Summer Artventure Camp
July 15 – 19 & August 12 – 16
At ArtVenture Camps children spend their day immersed in hands-on art making, cultural history, and creative problem solving. All camps include a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to learn about and be inspired by original works of art. The Museum's exceptional team of Teaching Artists include painters and sculptors, a children's book illustrator, a ceramicist, a graphic designer and an art historian who are all experienced art educators.

Do It Yourself: Transforming Craft into Art
Ages 5 – 12, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Take a step back from technology and focus on transforming traditional crafts into larger scale works of art with contemporary twists. Take inspiration from the Museum's special exhibition Labour and Wait and use "do-it-yourself" fun to grind pigments, mix paints, and re-purpose fiber arts, found objects, and more.

SBMA's Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, 1600 Santa Barbara Street
$215 SBMA Members/$250 Non-Members
Click here for more information or to register online, or contact Rachael Krieps at 884.6441 or


Production still for In the Best Possible Taste - Grayson Perry, Courtesy of Channel 4 UK

Public Lecture: Grayson Perry
Sunday, July 28, 2 – 3:30 pm
The Turner Prize-winning British artist makes a rare and highly anticipated appearance. He will discuss his vibrant works, from ceramic pots to tapestries, featuring epic narratives drawn from an array of ancient and contemporary sources.

Mary Craig Auditorium


Sketchbook Project
Thursday, August 1, 5 – 7:30 pm
Brooklyn-based Sketchbook Project comes to Santa Barbara through a collaboration of the Santa Barbara Public Library, Santa Barbara Arts Commission, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The Sketchbook Project is a global, crowd-sourced art project fueled by participants who purchase sketchbooks, fill the pages, and return them for inclusion in a traveling exhibition and permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library.

Visitors are welcome to check out one of the over 4,700 sketchbooks for free. Museum teaching Artists will be offering art activities inspired by the Labour and Wait exhibition.

Museum Back Plaza



Family 1st Thursday, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Bring the whole family and enjoy 1st Thursday together in SBMA's Family Resource Center located across from the Museum Café on the Lower Level. Museum Teaching Artists will assist families in creating special exhibition-based art projects. Afterwards, enjoy selected galleries until 8pm.

August 1
Labour and Wait
Patterned Paper Lanterns

Construct a William Morris plant-inspired standing paper lantern after David Thorpe's Quiet Lives.


Summer Art and Writing Academy
Monday, August 5 – Friday, August 9, 9 am – 3 pm
During the SBMA Art and Writing Academy, participants spend a full week immersed in hands-on art making and expressive exploration. Past participants have called the Academy a "Creativity Camp" because it offers a rejuvenating experience in an atmosphere where creativity, studio art practices, personal writing, and fun combine to create an enriching week for participants of all levels of experience with art.

Projects are based on works of art from the SBMA permanent collection and exhibitions. This year's Academy features the Labour and Wait exhibition, which explores contemporary culture's obsession with the handcrafted and "the secret messages of artisanal longing." This presentation is an artist's dream—combining handcrafted inspiration and the application of various techniques using interesting and unusual materials. All projects include an art-making studio component and often a writing invitation (text may be incorporated into the artwork).

Session topics and art-making activities include pen and ink sketching, painting in watercolors, acrylics, and pastels, and multi-media projects that incorporate printmaking and collage

Luria Activity Center
$310 SBMA Members/$315 Non-Members (includes all art supplies)
For more information visit


Fallen Fruit: Public Fruit Jam
Saturday, August 10, 1 – 3 pm
Join us at SBMA for a collaborative event in which the citizens come together for a communal jam-making session. Bring along your home-grown, self-picked, or public fruit (any combination is ok) and any clean, empty glass jars you have. No one is turned away. At the end everyone will leave with a jar of communal jam. If enough people bring a surplus, even the empty-handed will leave with jam. Pots of fun for all!

Museum front steps


Craft Happy Hour featuring Fallen Fruit and Bottle Tones
Saturday, August 10, 3 – 6 pm
Inspired by the Labour and Wait exhibition and informed by the desire to embrace the artisanal, this summer evening celebration invites the community to create, sample, listen, eat, drink, and even taste locally-sourced neighborhood infusions with the critically-hailed collaborative Fallen Fruit. Featuring craft beer, demonstrations by local spinners and fiber artists, art activities, interactive sonic sculpture by Bottle Tones, movement vignettes by Strange and Elegant Choreography, Found Objects Sets and Leonard Cohen Covers by Members of String Theory—all in the spirit of Do-It-Yourself. For more information visit our blog.

Food by Arlington Tavern, beer from Telegraph Brewing Company and wine from The Brander Vineyard available for purchase. Must be 21 or over to attend.

Museum back plaza
$10 SBMA Members/$12 Non-Members (includes Museum admission)


Wim Delvoye, Installation of 23 Circular Sawblades, 1989. Enamel paint on sawblades and wood cabinet. Collection of Laura-Lee W. Woods © Studio Wim Delvoye, Belgium.

Craft Matters: Julia Bryan-Wilson and Jenni Sorkin
Sunday, September 22, 2 – 3:30 pm
Leading scholars on craft in contemporary art, Julia Bryan-Wilson and Jenni Sorkin discuss the rise of the phenomenon of craft in contemporary art and its future. Bryan-Wilson is Associate Professor in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley and Sorkin is Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at UC Santa Barbara.

Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members


Free Family Guides
Guides inspired by Grayson Perry's Map of Truths and Beliefs are available in the exhibition and at the Visitors Services Desks.


Family Resource Center Installation

Through September 22
The Family Resource Center is transformed through the vision of artist Allison Smith, whose work is featured in the new exhibition Labour and Wait. Inspired by the Do-It-Yourself and craft concepts implicit in the exhibition and in keeping with the interactive elements of her own work, Smith centers the space around a cumulative sculpture, made from pieces of unfinished wood furniture and designed as a kit for visitors to assemble. Instead of utilizing step-by-step instructions on how to construct objects, visitors are free to use their creativity to connect and reconnect, mix and match, and juxtapose the pieces into a larger aggregate sculpture using a system of simple holes and connective rope. The walls of the space echo factory instructions with charts for knot tying and other tasks, as well as questions and quotes, inviting visitors to think about where and how things are made and the cost of labor in the broadest sense. The Family Resource Center also acts as a host to SBMA's of WORK/SHOP series—where artisans are on hand to demonstrate and sell their craft—as well as 1st Thursdays, special exhibition related family art activities, and free Labour and Wait family scavenger hunts.

Family Resource Center


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