In early March, Haight Street received a call that Mari Tepper was in danger of losing her work due to a fire in her living space. Mari Tepper - a native San Franciscan - is a central figure and prolific storyteller promoting cultural change. Her lifelong commitment to social justice deserves our attention, and we cannot allow such an important piece of our city’s narrative to lose decades of work, which is why Haight Street Art Center has stepped in to support Mari Tepper and to provide a space for her work to be on view.
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The Haight Street Art Center serves San Francisco’s thriving poster art and artist communities with education and cultural development programs, and exhibitions. Drawing upon music, art, social and political counterculture history, we provide a space that bridges communities through social activism and artistic expression.
As the first comprehensive survey of San Francisco-born artist Mari Tepper, Laying it on the Line explores the artist’s lifelong commitment to social justice and equal rights, whether it’s to celebrate one’s sexuality or advocate for access to housing and mental-health care. Best known for her “Hallelujah The Pill!!” poster of 1967, as well as a pair of rock posters she designed for Bill Graham in 1968, Tepper’s drawings, works of graphic art, and sculptures of the last half century reveal an artist who is not afraid to speak her mind via the tools available to her at the moment, from ultra-fine Rapidographs to sculptural bread dough. Running like a thread through all of Tepper’s work is her fascination and facility with line, in which figures are suddenly animated due to what sometimes seem mere squiggles from the end of her pen. In short, an appreciation of this important artist is long overdue; the Haight Street Art Center is proud to reacquaint—and even introduce—audiences to Tepper’s unique and singular body of work. Laying it on the Line, opens June 18th.