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privation and excesses | 1989

Capp Street Project
San Francisco, California

Ann Hamilton - privation and excesses

Materials: pennies, honey, sheep, two mortar and pestles, teeth, a felt hat, a gesture, hands wrung in honey


Open to the street, a display of 750,000 pennies, laid by hand, leaching honey at the edges, the scent of copper and honey faced by the smell and gaze of three sheep, a figure seated, hands wringing over a hat filled with honey, two mortar and pestles grinding, teeth and pennies.

The budget for this project, $7,500, was obtained in the denomination of 750,000 pennies. They were laid into a skin of honey to define a 45'x32' rectangle on the floor. Facing this display a side room housed 3 sheep, a person sat dipping and wringing their hands into a felt hat filled with honey and two motorized mortar and pestles ground elements that make reference to human systems: one abstract and one biological. One ground a bowl of pennies; the other, a collection of human teeth.

At the completion of the project, the pennies were cleaned and counted, and then used to cover the expenses of the project. The remaining money was donated to fund a symposium supporting the collaboration between artists and educators in the San Francisco Public School System.


Ann Hamilton - privation and excesses

Photo credit: Ben Blackwell, Bob McMurtry


page breakRelating Readings:
· Solnit, Rebecca. "Ann Hamilton: privation and excesses." Artweek vol. 20, no. 14 (April 8, 1989): 5.
· Nobles, Barr. "700,000 Pennies--It's Art." San Francisco Chronicle (March 25, 1989): C3.
· Ketcham, Diana. "700,000 Pennies for Her Thoughts." The Tribune (March 28, 1989): C3.
· Hamilton, Ann. "Ann Hamilton: A Text for privation and excesses." Artspace vol. 14, no. 1 (November/December 1989): 59.
· "Pennies from Heaven in Sea of Honey." San Francisco Chronicle (March 25, 1989): C3 & C8.
· Morris, Gay. "Ann Hamilton at Capp Street Project." Art in America vol. 77, no. 10 (October 1989): 221, 223.
· "Capp Street Project." Flash Art (January-February, 2003, Volume XXXVI, No. 228): 44.






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