5+5: Sarah Lacy. Punter of Patriarchy. Truth Teller. Chairman Mom.
Today’s 5+5 guest is the inimitable Sarah Lacy, a globetrotting, dragon-slaying, movement-leading, truth-telling journalist, feminist and mother-of-the-year. (Every year, really.) It’s kind of hard to fathom a single endeavor ever embodying all her ambitions, but her latest venture, Chairman Mom comes awfully close. On the brink of launching publicly, CM has the lofty—and much needed!—goal of redefining what it means to be a working mom, at all stages of life.
Sarah also happens to be an avid collector of art in general and 20x200 art in specific. She’s got so many of our editions sprinkled throughout her home, and she frequently gifts prints to her friends and family. I’m so grateful for her unwavering support, both as a collector of our art AND as someone who’s been in my corner personally as I faced the myriad obstacles and indignities one encounters as a woman in tech.
Peruse Sarah’s print picks and Q+A below, then head over to our Instagram feed, where we’re hosting a very special giveaway. Five lucky collectors will be selected to receive a signed copy of Sarah’s recently published and much acclaimed book The Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug AND a 20x200 gift card for $60. Who doesn't love free art + lit? – Jen Bekman
5 Perfect Picks
1) Lolie, Jumping on the Bed, 2013 by Winky Lewis
Jumping on a bed is the most bad-girl, luxurious, devil-may-care thing I can imagine. It is undisputedly fun, but I am incapable of doing it with abandon. I broke my collarbone when I was three jumping on a bed and one of my first memories is clutching my stuffed lamb (Lamby!) and crying at the pain. My poor kids hear this story every time they even get the glint in their eye to jump on a bed. Evie tries to come up with ways that she can essentially jump on a bed and convince me it's another verb she's doing. So when I saw this picture I was like "Yes! When I'm finally convinced the apocalypse is coming THIS is what I'm going to do! This and eat a lot of ice cream!"
2) For a richer, fuller life wake up and read, a 20x200 Vintage Edition
We just bought this one! My boyfriend, Paul, and I have written more than half a dozen books between us and read dozens of books a month. My mom was a literature teacher and my dad was a philosopher so I grew up in a house of words too. And my son has recently become obsessed with reading, wanting to go to the library nearly everyday this summer. I think words are the most amazing superpower that exists. And for me this drawing captures it: I read it, it swirls around in my head, and then goes into my heart. This poster could be our family crest. Also, yeah, the graphics and font and colors are great. But my reactions are always more emotional to art than critical.
3) General Store Interior, Moundville, Alabama by Walker Evans
I grew up in Memphis and spent many summers driving through rural and small town Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida to visit relatives-- all seven of us crammed into one station wagon, me baking in the humidity and heat in the back. I just look at this and feel my home, my childhood, I hear my dad's accent and think about my grandfather getting perms because he liked the women down at the salon touching his hair. I know, kinda creepy, but that's the South for better or worse. There are very real reasons I am not raising my kids in the South, but I think if you are FROM the South—the real South—it is always a part of you. My first days back in the South I feel like a goldfish that has been poured from a plastic bag back into its tank. I can breathe deeply in a way I can't in California. I feel complete and at home and me. And then in a week, I'm invariably reminded why I can't live there anymore.
4) A CBS Special Presentation by Hollis Brown Thornton
OMG. Talk about nostalgia. We had no cable TV growing up, and Saturday Morning Cartoons and the CBS Special Presentation were the best entertainment got. I hadn't thought about this logo for decades but I can literally hear and see the animation when I look at this print. It was a special time in media when this logo could have so much mass resonance for millions of people. Something my kids will never have in the same way. Now, I've made a career based on the explosion of media and the Web, but this piece feels like an honoring of the time I grew up in a very personal way.
5) Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint, Saturday evening, outside Clarksdale, Mississippi - and - A Negro going in the Entrance for Negroes at a movie theater, Belzoni, Mississippi (pair) by Marion Post Wolcott
I own these too. You already know from #3 why I find images of the Mississippi Delta so emotional and evocative. I find the resonance of these hard to put into words. Scenes like this were all around me as a child, and it's how I learned about the world and equality. I grew up amid far more diversity than my kids experience on a daily basis in San Francisco, and yet, I grew up hearing everyday racism and hate spoken all around me everyday too. This pair of prints represents the pain and culture that have come out of the South's racist past, that both continue to be with us today. And they need to continue to be with us: As constant reminders, warnings, and frankly, an embarrassment of what my forebearers allowed happen.
5 Q's + 5 A's
1) What's your favorite museum?
I have no idea what it is called but I was jetlagged in Moscow once and went to a museum that had one of the most fantastic photography exhibits I've seen. It had an amazing Lee Friedlander exhibit, and it also had the Pieter Hugo Nigerian hyena pics, which have always captivated me. I once got charged by a baboon in Rwanda, so the ones with the guy sitting with the baboon's hand on his leg totally freak me out. I kept running in and out of the gallery to look at them and escape them. With the woozy jet lag, freezing cold outside, and the fact that I was a sleep deprived new mother, it was an intense experience.
2) What's your most coveted coffee table book?
Eli—my six year old—wants to be an animator and he recently BEGGED me for a coffee table book of old Disneyland and Disney World posters. He promised to do any chore I could think of for as long as he needed to. We pore through it regularly, talking about the color and the imagery and how screen prints work. He's even started recreating some of the paintings on his easel because we love them so much.
3) If you could be reincarnated as an artist, who would you want to be?
Banksy. Because he makes constant commentaries on society via different media and gets to be famous and anonymous all at once.
4) You've got $5m to spend on one piece of art. What would it be?
This is so outside my realm of possibility, it might as well be $100 m. in which case I'd say Andy Warhol's Eight Elvises. They seem to go up in price by $20m to $30m *per* additional Elvis. That would make a single Elvis depicting about 1/3 of his body in my price range. So, that. If it exists. I'll take that for $5 million.
5) You've got quite the art collection! We know you have tons of 20x200 art in the mix, but what's the deal with that cool mural in your dining room? Can you tell us more about the artist and the work, and why you decided to have it painted directly on the wall?
Yes! It's local San Francisco artist Brian Barneclo. I was gazing at one of his murals once and my (now ex) husband Geoffrey Ellis (who is also an artist) was like "I bet he could come paint a wall in our house!" We reached out and we were in luck-- he was between projects. He came and camped out in our house for two weeks-- the same amount of time he worked on the massive mural by the 4th and King Caltrain Station. He eavesdropped on a lot of conversations in the house and worked in little subtle things about our lives—Easter eggs we found later. From my bedroom, I still wake up and see the silhouetted image of me, riding through the neighborhood, ready to take on her day. We were so enthralled by the whole thing we gave him total creative freedom, any colors he wanted, any images he wanted, and said "JUST PAINT IT ON THE WALL!" In retrospect, I wish we'd put it on panels because it is my most beloved piece of art and I would hate to ever leave it. My brother painted a mural of a world map for Eli's room that I was smart enough to put on panels! We are going to redo part of the back of our house, and I want more murals by San Francisco artists in there! Let me know if you guys recommend any! My daughter loves those blue bears all over town.
The 411 on Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy is a journalist and serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. She has been covering technology news and entrepreneurship for twenty years. She founded the investigative tech news site Pando.com while on maternity leave in 2011. In 2017, she launched her second startup, Chairman Mom, Inc., aimed helping professional moms empower other working moms. She lives in San Francisco and is the mother of one Disney Princess and one feminist badass.