A globe-trotting work of art is coming to the Hammer — and visitors are invited to contribute to its evolution.
Over the course of four marathon days — from Thursday, March 21, through Sunday, March 26, — the Domestic Integrities project will be in the spotlight in the Hammer Museum lobby along with a collection of items that local residents have harvested, foraged, scavenged or found in their environment.
The centerpiece for this exhibit on which these objects will be displayed is a large, traveling handmade circular rug composed of interwoven fabrics that volunteers and museum visitors will be able to add to. Los Angeles–based artist Fritz Haeg will be working with them to crochet into the rug discarded clothing and other textiles. Visitors to the rug will be invited to take off their shoes and make themselves at home, to sit down and inspect, touch, taste and smell that day’s various Domestic Integrities.
"Domestic Integrities presents visitors with a unique opportunity to contribute to the making of a work of art," said Allison Agsten, curator of public engagement and director of visitor services at the Hammer. Museum visitors will be invited to bring fabric that can be integrated into the rug.
The project embodies the theme of seasonal growth; seasonal vegetables and brown leaves reminiscent of fall will be presented on the rug, along with edible and medicinal plants and herbs fresh from the artist’s garden. Other offerings of produce and herbal tea infusions will find their way onto the rug.
Domestic Integrities surveys local and seasonal patterns and rituals of interior domestic landscapes as well as the ways we use what we resourcefully find around us to artfully make ourselves at home, according to Haeg on his website. The rugs themselves serve as a platform for these patterns. Displays of table décor and food arrangements will be beautifully constructed to represent the colors and textures of the seasons and the different cultures that grow and serve the foods.
Various "editions" of the spiral-stitched circular rugs have traveled extensively. The American rug started at Mildred’s Lane in Pennsylvania and then went to the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From there, it will be coming to the Hammer. After it leaves UCLA, it will be continuing to the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, in Lincoln, Mass. Other destinations include the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the UC Berkeley Art Museum.
The European edition of the rug has hopped from Budapest to London and Vienna before it arrived for a yearlong installation at the Pollinaria in Abruzzo, Italy.
Agsten said she hopes that the presentation of this work will encourage visitors to consider their own personal environments and engage in new ways with art and the museum.
For information on how to contribute clean discarded clothing, textiles, linens, towels and sheets, see the Hammer website.