details, Marcel Duchamp Étant donnés 1. La chute d’eau, 2. Le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas), 1946-66

(above) pictured thru the peepholes by Sandrow (2018) and the locked door (below, left).

In Response(mounted), Hope Sandrow exhibits photographic installations which investigate Man’s passive nature to an endangered environment. Sandrow explores this subject through a study of our relationship to water, in-disposable garbage, and an evolved insect life which has adjusted to make a home within deteriorating conditions. Sandrow’s images juxtapose items of found plastic garbage such as bottles, egg cartons, and Styrofoam containers with human subjects, whose fragility is threatened by the eternal nature of material which will never decay. Other photos confront the fact that while our ability to survive in this man made climate is in jeopardy, insects have adjusted in a Darwinian manner to further dwell and reproduce.                                                 

Sur Rodney Sur, 1989

Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés was the art historical and personal reference for this series, viewed (installed 1969) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The naked woman pictured in Duchamp’s surreal tableau assumed personal context months later. When behind a closed door Sandrow was similarly poised but on an examining table of the assailant (family doctor William Most, Note 1).

From the Museum’s windows, Sandrow enjoyed views of the inaugural Earth Week celebration (1970) and attended events in Fairmount Park (Note 2).

As a high school freshman, Sandrow had joined the emerging environmental movement in which her mother’s mother and father involved her (and nominated Sandrow as Miss Cleaner Air Week). Why, from an early age, assault on her body linked to that on earth, air and water.

And like then, at this time of Sandrow’s mounted response (exhibited in a solo show at Gracie Mansion Gallery 1989; Grey Art Gallery 1991), secrecy enshrouded violence against women (Note 3). No legislative protections in place from gender, race and age discrimination. Her colleagues and dear friends suffering multiple, heartbreaking, fatal secondary illnesses caused by the Aids virus (Note 4). Free speech (Note 5) under attack as was the National Endowment for the Arts.

The in-disposable garbage documented in her photographs were a result of the Reagan/Bush administration elimination of federal regulations. The EPA's budget and oversight dramatically reduced to promote “economic” activity. Reagan refused renewal of the Clean Air Act; appointed known anti-environmentalists to key positions to stop oversight including of toxic compounds. Such as those used by Bark Frameworks, in framing Sandrow’s new series Cycles exhibited (1988) at Gracie Mansion Gallery and other venues: Bark’s “secret” formula” bleached portions of the white framed silver prints, to literally disappear (Note 6) while on view. A loss that precipitated Response (mounted).

copyright © 2021 Hope Sandrow all rights reserved

Note 1:  “He was active until he died,” said his wife Winifred.”He loved his patients … they were his friends.”

Note 2: Earth Week, April 16-22, originated in Philadelphia in 1970. “The first Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Earth Day also led to the the passage of the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. “

Note 3: experienced by one in four American women; and most of those seeking safety with their children in the NYC Catherine Street Family Shelter where Sandrow conducted art workshops. At the time shelter residents labelled “welfare queens” by the Reagan/Bush Administration.

Note 4: The Reagan/Bush administration stated AIDS the punishment for a lifestyle they claimed a choice not sanctioned by their religious faithful. Sandrow a member of Visual Aids.

Note 5: Sandrow as a member of Coalition for Freedom of Expression.

Note 6: Bark Frameworks refunded framing expenses July 3, 1990, admitted their responsibility.


Medium: Mixed media assemblage: (exterior) wooden door, iron nails, bricks, and stucco; (interior) bricks, velvet, wood, parchment over an armature of lead, steel, brass, synthetic putties and adhesives, aluminum sheet, welded steel-wire screen, and wood; Peg-Board, hair, oil paint, plastic, steel binder clips, plastic clothespins, twigs, leaves, glass, plywood, brass piano hinge, nails, screws, cotton, collotype prints, acrylic varnish, chalk, graphite, paper, cardboard, tape, pen ink, electric light fixtures, gas lamp (Bec Auer type), foam rubber, cork, electric motor, cookie tin, and linoleum