Bonnie Ora Sherk and A Living Library Receive International Recognition at Venice Biennale 2017

Venice Biennale 2017

Bonnie Ora Sherk and A Living Library (A.L.L.) have been recognized and featured in one of the most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions in the world, The Venice Biennale 2017. The 57th edition of La Biennale, also known as the Olympics of the Art World, opened on May 10, 2017 and will continue through November 26, with an estimated attendance of more than 500,000 visitors. A Living Library is exhibited as a part of Bonnie Ora Sherk’s installation Evolution of Life Frames: past, present, future, in the Arsenale in the Pavilion of the Earth, dedicated to the environment, ecological, and communitarianism movements one of the nine themed sections of the exhibition curated by Christine Macel, also Chief Curator of the Pompidou in Paris, France.  Additionally, Bonnie Ora has been invited to return to Venice and La Biennale to give a public talk on her work on October 7, and then will give another public talk and workshop on A Living Library in Zurich, Switzerland on October 12 and 13th at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste / ZHdK.

Her two-part installation in La Biennale also features Crossroads Community (the farm) — a pioneering collaborative artwork involving urban agriculture, multi-arts, and environmental education — that resulted in Potrero del Sol Park, adjacent to the Chavez/ 101 Freeway Interchange. From 1974 to 1980, Sherk was the Founding Director and President of Crossroads Community (the Farm) which has been recognized as one of the first Alternative Art Spaces in the United States. Her installation includes the original drawings she made for the Park. A video featuring her and her way of working has been published on the official website of The Venice Biennale 2017.


As Founder and Director of Life Frames, Inc., the non-profit sponsor of A Living Library, Sherk has been relentlessly working towards raising awareness about the importance of ecological green space with integrated education of natural systems, and encouraging participation from all sectors of community with each local Branch Living LibraryA Living Library, or A.L.L. for short, links local resources and systems - biological, cultural, and technological – resulting in place-based, ecological transformation of communities and schools with integrated community programs.

Partnering with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Bonnie Ora and Life Frames developed A Living Library Nature Walk,  that has emerged as a powerful and successful prototype for connecting communities in the Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in San Francisco. The project aims to expand and interconnect the eleven neighborhoods of the Watershed that includes Bayview, Bernal Heights, Crocker-Amazon, Mission, Noe Valley, Potrero Hill, Portola, Sunnyside, Excelsior, OMI, and Glen Park through new, narrative resilient landscapes.  Further, it plans to transform the two neglected and flooding freeway interchanges of the Watershed — Chavez/101 and Alemany/101 — into Northern and Southern Gateways to the Watershed.

Since 2002, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has been collaborating with Bonnie Ora on the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk. Congratulating A.L.L. on its recognition at La Biennale, Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, SF Rec and Park, said, “The Living Library Nature Walk showcases how parks can connect our communities, as well as the innovation of sustainable landscapes that can tackle many environmental challenges including climate change, wild habit restoration and so much more. The fact that this project and the associated SF parks will be on display to receive international recognition, is a testament to Bonnie’s commitment to the coalescence of arts and nature.

While improving the beauty and health of the public realm of each neighborhood, A Living Library also provides multiple learning opportunities for communities and schools with hands-on education about climate change, flood mitigation, watersheds, natural systems, native species, green skills job training, environmental justice, and ecological transformation.

Sherk describes A.L.L. as “Cultivating the Human and Ecological Garden”, a planetary genre meant to be created in diverse communities of the world, and interconnected through Green-Powered Digital Gateways, so that the diversities and commonalities of cultures and ecologies can be shared. She views the recognition of A.L.L. at La Biennale as a wonderful opportunity and honor, and looks forward to extend its reach locally and globally.

References: http://sfrecpark.org/press-release-sf-rec-and-parks-partnership-with-bonnie-ora-sherk-and-a-living-library-receive-international/ Venice Biennale 2017 Venice Biennale 2017 Venice Biennale 2017   Venice Biennale 2017 Venice Biennale 2017 Venice Biennale 2017