Leslie Labowitz Starus
SPROUTIME IS NOW, 1980–2023
Mixed media installation; tent, banner, signs, soil, seeds, greens
Stemming from the idea of ‘Peace Economy’ — a movement towards peaceable policies and actions, SPROUTIME IS NOW is a call to join a movement where life and the Earth are honored and valued. SPROUTIME is a social sculpture that is part of a decades-spanning practice of Labowitz Starus which merges her artistic practice and her organic foods business of the same name. Since 1980, multiple iterations of the work have been installed in various contexts, always utilizing materials from the business owned and operated by the artist, which focuses on the cultivation and sales of sprouts, greens, and other organic foods. The blocks of soil and plant matter arranged by the artist in the installation are leftover 'root mats,' or trays of greens that have been cut and sold. The roots have been intertwined into the soil and put on top of the installation, ultimately breaking it down into compost. These roots become a symbolic statement on regenerative healing and the interconnection between us and our origins.
Leslie Labowitz Starus is an artist/entrepreneur. She is best known for her feminist performance work on violence against women. As a Fulbright scholar in Germany she worked with Joseph Beuys. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Since 1980 her art/life performance SPROUTIME exists as a business and a metaphor for her personal exploration of life, death and regeneration. Survival on a global scale and the effects of war and food security on the environment and human life preoccupies her today.