Photos: Paul Davis

Love for Love series, 2012-15

Love for Love is an ongoing project that engages love as a social-political strategy. The work features short poems and evocative fragments of language written by “voices less heard” in the community—individuals from the food bank, homeless shelter, refugee center, and prison. The word love is complicated and abstract; it’s so often co-opted, and difficult to take seriously. So the participants wrote about love without using the word love itself.

Originally the project was commissioned for a traveling exhibition entitled More Love: Art, Politics and Sharing since the 1990s at the Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and curated by Claire Schneider, featuring such artists as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Tracey Emin, Janine Antoni. For the exhibition, a grid of hand-rendered drawings and a trough containing campaign-style buttons invited visitors to “take what you need.” Individuals participated in the piece by accepting buttons, wearing them, noticing the sentiments of other buttons being worn, and looking for signs posted in and around Chapel Hill.

When the exhibition traveled to the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, TN (2013-14), Sale invited ten men on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison to help “transplant” the project. An artistic process that the men and Sale developed together has become the organizing focus of subsequent iterations at the Idea Museum (2014) in Mesa, AZ and at Ronald Feldman Gallery (2015) in New York, NY.

With nearly 50,000 buttons gifted to the viewing public in four cities, the project series cast a vast conceptual net within an expansive circuitry of art and activism. The series has emerged as a justice project, a social political campaign to foster dialogue, promote awareness of less visible segments of society, and invite inclusion and tolerance. The project received support from a North Carolina Arts Council Project Grant and was developed with the support of artist residencies at Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Amherst, VA, and at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Love for Love: Collaborator and Participant Feedback Meeting with artist Gregory Sale

Project Iterations

Love for Love Nashville

Love for Love NYC