San Francisco

Jo Hanson

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Jo Hanson’s Crab Orchard Cemetery is about the discretion of dealing respectfully with the unknown, as well as being an experience of memory filtered through historical re-creation. The work radiates a very gentle aura. The cemetery itself is built from Styrofoam slabs cut with hot wire, silk-screened to appear like gravestones; a backdrop around the room is formed by two layers of ceiling-to-floor transparent film, with images of trees and mountains. (Hanson also made rubbings from real gravestones: they are immediate, sensuous drawings which belie their somewhat grave origins.) Next to some of the “stones” are plastic flowers (fake bouquets which look like the real thing, which were fake to begin with); one has an American flag that looks as if it’s made of dried cake icing. An accompanying tape recording of wind, owls and crickets starts out rather busily with the early morning; the

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