Josh Faught

Untitled from BE BOLD For What You Stand For, BE CAREFUL For What You Fall For, (site-specific installation of three works at the Neptune Society Columbarium) 2013; Hand-dyed, handwoven and crocheted hemp; indigo; cochineal (made from ground-up bugs); weld flowers; wool; cedar; greeting cards; sequins; lamé yarn; Nine to Five (VHS); Clockwatchers (VHS); pretzels (plastic); pins; scrapbooking stickers; Halloween decorations; fake flowers; metallic cheerleading pom-poms; engraved stone; and a jar with the "ashes of telephone solicitors"; Commissioned by SFMOMA, courtesy the artist and Lisa Cooley, New York; photo: Ian Reeves

Josh Faught: BE BOLD For What You Stand For, BE CAREFUL For What You Fall For

Mining rich histories of craft, Josh Faught creates sculptures that pair traditional textile and homespun techniques, such as loom-weaving, knitting, and crocheting, with everyday objects that reference domesticity and often feature political slogans and elements of kitsch. His assemblages typically start with raw fibers that he hand dyes with organic materials, such as ground-up cochineal bugs, or covers with artificial substances like spray paint or nail polish. His labor-intensive sculptures draw on histories of gender and sexual politics, precariously balancing an urgent sense of anxiety with a nostalgic view of the present.

Faught's BE BOLD For What You Stand For, BE CAREFUL For What You Fall For (2013), a constellation of handwoven sculptures, responds to the historical importance and emotional resonance of the Neptune Society Columbarium, a repository for cremation urns in San Francisco's Inner Richmond neighborhood. Housed in a 19th-century neoclassical building, it is the only nondenominational cemetery within city limits and is home to more than 8,000 inurnment niches. It is the final resting place for many generations of San Franciscans, including cultural figures, artists, and other notable residents. Faught, based in San Francisco, is particularly interested in the ways that the Columbarium reflects the historical presence of the queer community. His installation is inspired by the visual language of the memorials that pay tribute to the deceased. These often include flowers and photographs augmented by holiday decorations, personal items, and lighthearted knickknacks. Incorporating similar sentiments of remembrance and humor, his sculptures are embellished with objects such as plastic snacks, activist buttons, and greeting cards. For the artist, these materials represent forms of emotional support.

Sited throughout the Columbarium, his installation includes two freestanding works of crocheted and woven yarn on wooden armatures and one large textile consisting of strips of loom-woven fabric that engages with the central rotunda. For this commission, he restricted his color palette to hues that artist and designer William Morris articulated in the early 20th-century Arts and Crafts movement, such as cochineal pink, indigo blue, walnut brown, and weld yellow. "Each of these natural dyes has a somewhat fugitive quality, which extends to some of the thematic narratives in the content of the work around transition and time," Faught explains.

Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, courtesy the artist and Lisa Cooley, New York; with special thanks to the Neptune Society of Northern California


Download a PDF of the exhibition catalogue essay and conversation with the artist. The full publication is available for purchase at the SFMOMA MuseumStore.

Visit Information

1 Loraine Court
San Francisco, CA 94118




Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

To schedule a free group or individual tour of the Neptune Society Columbarium with caretaker and historian Emmitt Watson, please contact the main office at 415.771.0717.


The ground floor of the Columbarium is wheelchair accessible; upper floors are accessible via stairs only.


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Major support for the 2012 SECA Art Award: Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, David Wilson is provided by SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art), an SFMOMA art interest group. Generous support is provided by Carlie Wilmans. Additional support is provided by the SECA Circle of Friends.