Close Cover Before Striking

From the Tenderloin Museum:

Join us for the opening reception of our new art show: Close Cover Before Striking. Artist Alexander von Wolff reignites the nearly extinct culture of the matchbook by enlarging and restoring vintage matchbooks of local San Francisco venues past and present. Blown up to over 10 times their original size, these tiny pieces of nostalgic ephemera become pieces of artwork in their own right as they offer a glimpse into the historic heart of San Francisco.

This event is part of The Match Book: Tenderloin Historical Ephemera Project a multi-faceted project that also encompasses the publication of The Match Book: Vintage Matchbooks from San Francisco’s Tenderloin, an artfully designed history book of the Tenderloin featuring the matchbooks of local businesses and cultural institutions.

Through the everyday act of picking up a matchbook and striking a match, one is transported to another place and time; the past is remembered through a pedestrian interaction with a tangible object. Matchbooks are emblems of local culture: accessible, utilitarian ephemera that functioned as the chosen form of advertising for small businesses in an era before plastic lighters and health concerns about smoking. These ritual objects exist at a fascinating intersection of material culture, local history, and design art; matchbooks (and other local business ephemera) are striking populist artifacts that serve as portals to places and people in a neighborhood’s past. The Match Book: Tenderloin Historical Ephemera Project presents an illuminating new perspective on the Tenderloin’s often overlooked history, enriches the detail and depth of the neighborhood’s narrative, and ignites the Tenderloin community’s historical imagination.

Tenderloin Museum
398 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94102