Jeremy Fish’s The Ghosts of the Barbary Coast

Jeremy Fish’s latest solo show recreates a San Francisco saloon from the 1850s at FIFTY24SF.  The exhibit includes a repurposed 100 year old redwood fence, 500 pounds of solid wood from Indonesia and enough saw dust to take a little piece of the show with you via your sneakers when you leave. It’s been a decade of Bay Area living for me. What began with a dot com bubble now closes with an economic recession. But California has a really unique way of rising from the ashes–and that’s what The Ghosts of Barbary Coast is all about.

Jeremy Fish clearly did a lot of research into what types of people came out to California, and specifically San Francisco, during the gold rush. The crazies and the adventurous are the core of the show, and indeed, they are still heartily represented in today census. In Ghosts, Jeremy draws parallels between the “modern and OG San Francisco.” As any innocent bystander who has inadvertently wandered into the Folsom Street Fair can tell you, San Francisco has its share of bears. In this great studio visit video from San Francisco’s Fecal Face, Jeremy describes the gold rush era bar scene as having actual chained bears whose paws would be dipped in beer, bestiality with boars and people who would eat garbage and take beatings for money. Hmmm…except for the animal abuse, seems the same to me.

The Ghosts of Barbary Coast is currently up and runs until December 30th, so check it out. Whether you’re an SF resident or just passing through, there’s really a lot to learn in this nontraditional art show. Pieces start at $500 for acrylic on photo and go up to $6,800 for acrylic on wood. If you’re far from the Bay Area, take a look at the photos and video below. As they said during the gold rush, it’s never too late to “see the elephant” (which translates in modern parlance to “chase the dream”).