The Free Republic of California Activation

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Santa Barbara (MCASB) is pleased to present an exclusive preview of an agitprop clothing collection by Los Angeles-based conceptual artist Cole Sternberg on March 12th from 12 - 4pm.

The wearable collection is an extension of his ongoing art project, The Free Republic of California, which posits a new theoretical framework for an equitable, functioning government through an imagined Californian nation—one with its own constitution, ideals, and now clothing line. Through The Free Republic of California, Sternberg addresses concepts of human rights, the environment, democracy, and freedom. In partnership with MCASB, LUM Art Magazine, and the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, Sternberg’s work is a natural addition to a larger conceptual art movement that aims to create a more equitable arts ecology on California’s central coast.

The clothing collection connects Sternberg’s highly theoretical text around government logistics and legalities to wearable imagery that is more easily accessible. In this way, these wearable art pieces become a symbol that anyone can wear to show support for the shared vision of a more functioning and equitable government. By utilizing common items, such as hats and sweatshirts, Sternberg invites people to take part in his project on a real, physical, everyday level.

The event will include an activation featuring Sternberg’s new collection as well as his piece ‘The Constitution of the Free Republic’. Local arts workers will receive stipends to participate in the performance, acting as models and information sources, marching through MCASB at selected moments during the event to present the clothing and provide pocket versions of the Constitution to attendees.

A preview of The Free Republic collection debuted at Frieze Los Angeles on February 16–19, 2023 in the non-profit section in partnership with MCASB, the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, and LUM Art Magazine. The booth featured limited editions and books, as well as unique artworks and artist-designed merchandise. Proceeds were shared amongst the institutions and with the artists. The non-profit section of the fair featured five LA-based organizations who link art and social justice, honoring each organization's work to make Los Angeles a more equitable community.

The entire collection will drop online simultaneously to the performance piece on March 12th at 12pm PST.

Cole Sternberg is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. His practice contemplates humanity’s existential quandary: that of being hopelessly destructive, yet forever and inevitably linked with nature. Through varied media (including painting, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, film and writing), Sternberg positions the aspirations of humankind against the dominant and regenerative forces of the environment and the arbitration of time. For the artist, the conclusion is unavoidable. Human enterprises -- art, language, history, law, and republic -- are ephemeral / illusory endeavors that attempt to reflect, parallel, and challenge the ascendency of nature to no avail. His works are held by major collections throughout the world, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA), the American University Museum (AUM) and Deutsche Telekom.

  • March 12, 2023
  • 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm


The main galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

653 Paseo Nuevo
Santa Barbara CA, 93101

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