Philadelphia Daily News: Utopian Benches Invoke Free Speech and Communal Discourse

December 6, 2011

The Philadelphia Daily News featured Arcadia University Art Gallery’s current exhibit, Francis Cape: Utopian Benches, on Dec. 2. In her review Roberta Fallon calls the work “deeply engaging” at a time when the Occupy protests are claiming their own free speech and communal discourse.

Cape made his benches before the Occupiers got started. But he was already a socially aware artist: In 2010, he put a 1972 trailer home under the High Line park in Manhattan to make a point about trailer parks not being parks and trailers not being homes. The artist is very much engaged with ideas surrounding social justice, income inequality and communalism. "We should return to utopian times," Cape said. "Capitalism is about rugged individualism; in communalism, we're all in it together."

"The idea of shared property galvanized him," Torchia said, as did the knowledge that what weakened communities in the past was the American concept of property ownership. In the small takeaway book Cape researched for the show, he writes, "Perhaps current disgust with money and politics will lead a new secular communal movement."

Read the full story.

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Photos by Lindsay Deal ’13

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