Radiation Risk Reception Area was an exhibition featuring central Texas artists’ responses to the Crisis Evacuation Instructions contained in Austin’s telephone directory. The exhibition was organized by Women’s Public Art (WPA), a project of Women & Their Work. It was exhibited at the Dougherty Cultural Arts Center.
The 11 members of WPA created a “reception area,” a locale designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to which Austin residents were directed in the event of a nuclear attack. This reception area was an environmental sculpture. Other artworks in acrylic, ceramics, plastic, and mixed media portray artists’ creative responses to Austin’s designation as a “high risk” area.
“The works are loosely based on four themes,” said Rita Starpattern, Director of Women & Their Work. “The devotional or religious icon; games and toys; burning and cooking; the pseudo-scientific.” Works were submitted by central Texas artists on a call-for-entry basis.
The exhibition opened on the same day as an international peace march in New York at the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament, which over 100 Austin residents attended. Throughout the nation, visual artists and performers will be presenting programs in support of a nuclear arms freeze.
WPA, a project of Women & Their Work, was a group of eleven women artists who worked collaboratively to present innovative and experimental art to the public. WPA deliberately echoed the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, when artists, writers, and historians were hired by the federal government to create and document American culture.