Bread Into Roses

"Take What You Can't Get"
ABC No Rio

Exhibition taking place in various public locations throughout the city as well as being documented online


"Bread Into Roses" is a poster reimagining the Arts programs of the Works Progress Administration within a speculative future. Space and the planet Mars are the setting, with material support provided by a fictive Galactic Federal Arts Project to the (also fictive) Mars Artist Initiative. The featured project is a collaborative envisioning of a literal “body” of artistic production, blossoming forth with roses of beauty.

The title is an adaptation of the famous rallying cry "Bread and Roses", used by both suffragettes and the labor movement in the early 20th century. While this phrase is commonly held to mean a fight for both fair wages and dignified conditions, we revised this slogan to imagine life outside of the dictates of productivity. We see fiscal support as fertilizer for a radically different society that values joy, play and beauty over productivity and the work ethic.

By constructing this fantastical narrative, we imagine an alternative past in which the far-reaching economic support of The New Deal was not dismantled by McCarthyist fears and neo-liberal policies. We also cast a light into a future where these progressive programs have grown even larger, integrally reshaping the values of our society.

In using Mars as our location, we give a nod to a whimsical and creative government program not often associated with the fine arts - the space program. If the seemingly irrational urge to send humans to Mars is something worth funding, then surely our daily creativity and whim should be as well.

Since this exhibition is happening outside of a fixed gallery context, we invite any member of the public to post our poster in a space where it is accessible to the public. If you would like to participate, please download the pdf, print it out and put it up. Feel free to #breadintoroses and @artcodexstudio and show us how it looks.

Download PDF