500 Capp Street tells the story of David Ireland’s house, a rundown Victorian in the Mission District of San Francisco that the artist transformed into an environmental artwork, taking the detritus of his restoration labors as well as objects left behind by previous owners and refashioning them into sculptures.
Constance M. Lewallen begins by recounting the history of the house from 1886, when it was built, until Ireland acquired it in 1975. She then details Ireland’s renovation and continuing engagement with the site that served simultaneously as his residence, studio, and evolving artwork; the house’s influence on his own work and that of artists who followed him; and its relationship to other house museums.
An introduction by Jock Reynolds, who was close to the artist for many years, chronicles the social scene that developed around 500 Capp Street in the 1980s. The book also includes a 1983 article on the house by renowned poet John Ashbery.
500 Capp Street is essential reading for anyone interested in the artistic and cultural history of the San Francisco Bay Area and the California conceptual art movement.