Alexandria Pembleton: The Mating Project

This was Ali Pembleton's website created for her 2008 The Mating Project

I'm hoping to find someone that is intelligent, honest, sweet, fun-loving, energetic, easy-going, adventurous, fit, healthy and passionate. I am looking for a best friend. Someone that is organized, but can occasionally be spontaneous. She must have good values and a positive outlook.

anonymous personal ad

At the heart of my work is the idea of establishing relationship: relationship with participants, viewers, friends & family…with anyone who is interested in an interaction, dialog or communication. I look to attain an opening for engagement in creating new bonds and strengthening old. I am interested in creating a conversation about what holds import in our shared contemporary culture and experience. Trying to prompt an exchange that removes the traditional boundaries imposed by the institutional system or other accepted norms in order to question what it is that brings us together and share intimacy.

Does this locate itself in the space between ironic cynicism and naïve optimism? It’s a place of contradictions and ambivalence and failure and hope against failure and reaching out beyond loneliness and isolation and the destructiveness that is also part of relations with other; of the profound difficulty in connecting, repairing, loving. I wonder if those difficulties are not what we need to overcome in order to love, if they are what make love so meaningful. I wonder whether minimizing those contradictions and difficulties, is to minimize love itself.

With the mating project, I am specifically exploring ways in which we look to meet romantic partners in contemporary times.

Examining ideas of dating (online etc.), celebrity, the marketing, branding and objectification of self that have become part of modern dating culture. How does our status impact our desirability and how do we transcend accepted fields of status and power created by existing in a meritocracy based on economics? How do we meet new people and expand the boundaries wherein we find romantic partners? How may I do this in such a way that I am questioning and critical and still optimistic?

I just received an email from a friend who said that I should really click on the link in the body of his message. I was curious. However I first must finish my most important task of the day-trying to find the best luxury round bed for a big dog for my parents' new home. They have an Azawakh, a West African sighthound who originates from the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Tall and elegant the Azawakh excels as a companion, and guardian. My parents adore Fawel, but are dismayed at the large dog beds they have for him. My mother said they look so out of place in their new classically decorated home. I fortunately found an e-commerce site, GoodNightDog that sells round dog beds covered with traditional high end decorator fabrics. Great. I order the large size round dog bed in a beautiful blue toille print. It should coordinate perfectly with their traditional decor in the living room. If they like the dog bed I will order another one in a lovely chinoiserie print for their bedroom.. With this search and purchase now completed, I then turned to my email and started reading about Ali Pembleton and her 2008 The Mating Project.

Ahh. I now understand why my friend sent me the url. I was writing a dissertation on exactly this subject of exploring ways in which to meet romantic partners in contemporary times. What do you think about Ali Pembleton's project. Did she succeed or was the journey more important than the destination?


"The predominant impulse behind our desire to rise in the social hierarchy may be rooted not so much in the material goods we can accrue or the power we can wield as in the amount of love we stand to receive as a consequence of high status. Money, fame and influence may be valued more as tokens of-and means to-love rather than ends in themselves."

I am exploring ways in which we look to meet romantic partners in contemporary times. Examining ideas of dating (online etc.), celebrity, the marketing, branding and objectification of self that have become part of modern dating culture. How does our status impact our desirability and how do we transcend accepted fields of status and power created by existing in a meritocracy based on economics? Beyond financial assets, what is considered valuable, what capital do we each carry inherently? Physical attributes, cultural knowledge, intellect and education...what of kindness, honesty, compassion and other personal values?

By increasing my visibility in a culture obsessed with media, do I increase my chances to find true love and create a family? Do au courant methods of meeting people make us disposable; another product on a shelf with endless possibilities? How do I create a buzz around myself in such a way that I become a desirable life partner, someone with whom a man would want to raise a family? Are these fundamental desires or are we, as humans, differentiated from other species because we can and do override them?

Are wealth and power ends in themselves or do we hunger for them in order to be relished more by feel loved?

To be considered for a date with the artist please contact Ali

"Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier. Social subjects, classified by their classifications, distinguish themselves by the distinctions they make, between the beautiful and the ugly, the distinguished and the vulgar, in which their position in the objective classifications is expressed or betrayed."

(Pierre Bordieu)

Monkeys with status have food, power and sexual magnetism — everything the others crave. The impulse to look at these "celebrity" monkeys was so strong, it superseded thirst.

On average, the monkeys would forego eight to ten percent of their juice allotment if the researchers let them view the faces of powerful males or a female's derriere.


Testimonials for Ali Pembleton

I'm hoping to find someone that is intelligent, honest, sweet,
fun-loving, energetic, easy-going, adventurous, fit, healthy and
passionate. I am looking for a best friend. Someone that is
organized, but can occasionally be spontaneous. She must
have good values and a positive outlook. Most importantly, I'm
seeking someone who believes, as I do, that finding the perfect
person to share life's adventures with makes all the difference
in the world.  I don't have any baggage and you shouldn't either.
anonymous personal ad


To Whom it May Concern -
I have known Ali for almost a year and could honestly say that
she's a CATCH!
She's funny, smart, beautiful, talented, funny and extremely fit.
The first time I met Ali I was harfing down a burger while she
was delicately dipping into a bowl of soup.
She explained to me that she does special things for people
she admires but does not know personally - like sending a
homemade dinner to their dressing room, or knitting their
babies little blankets. 
I find this practice extraordinarily lovely.
While gracefully sipping her last spoonful of soup she told me
about her recent ulta-marathon experience. 
Ali runs - and runs - and runs.
She runs races.
She runs to stay fit and peaceful.
She runs a race against cynicism.
She runs a race toward all this is beautiful.
She runs a race to find the perfect partner.
Can you spread joy like Ali does?
As I swallowed my last bite of burger I realized that Ali is the
kind of person that anyone would be lucky to know.
I left our lunch evaluating my own ability to make the world a
better place through simple acts of kindness and generosity.
My actions seemed somehow lacking, so now I try to tell people
how much I appreciate them.
Thanks Ali.
I hope you cross the finish line and find the most perfect person
waiting for you there!!!
Meg Schiffler Curator, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery


Ali is:
But most of all...
Uniquely Ali
Ali is...
Prime, grade A wife material
She cares extremely for those she loves
And she constantly shows this in her attention, affection, and
Ali brightens the lives of those around her
She is a grounded free spirit
She illuminates her world
Ali will make a lasting impact on the art world
She is not afraid to take risks
Ali is beyond an amazing cook
She pours her heart into the food she makes
And the art she creates
And the relationships she cherishes
Ali is truly one in a million
Get your ass in gear and get Ali in your life
Act now, supplies are limited
To one
Jason, ex-boyfriend, ceo
Ali is the most generous person that I know,
sometimes in the most absurdly beautiful ways. 
Have you ever had the birthday cake of your
dreams made for you from scratch?  Ali does this
regularly for her friends, family and lovers. 
She is always there with a smile, a shoulder to
lean on, an ear to listen, food to fill your
belly or stories to make you laugh.
Ali brings people together.  She creates
community. Either offering her home to friends in
need or just having us all over for dinner
together - she is the hub around which several of
us are happily joined. 
As a yoga student, Ali is focused and
determined.  She knows when to laugh and when to
maintain polite decorum.  Sometimes her
spontaneity gets the better of her - I've known
her to run out of a yoga class to write down an
epiphany or moment of insight.  Some great art
ideas have been born on her yoga mat.  A favorite
trait is her natural curiosity and unquenching
thirst for knowledge - be it about yoga or
science or human nature or art or language or
travel or...
Ali brings out the little kid in those around
her.  I have fond memories of being dog piled and
having rasberries blown on my belly.
Ali is creative and helpful.  I've seen her drive
two different friends in need long distance on
two separate occasions - even when they had a
car.  Instead of handing them a map, she offered
them companionship, support and safety in their
time of crisis.  I don't know a lot of people who
would do that - including myself.
I love that Ali is willing to change.  She
accepts her humanity and that of others.  So you
are allowed to make mistakes - again and again. 
Ali is truly a beautiful spirit.  She has
enriched and brightened my life.  We've grown as
friends together and apart - sometimes by
challenging each other, other times just by
listening.  Because of Ali, I am more playful and
engaging with strangers.  I can look at the
bizarre circus of humanity with some amount of
curiosity rather than disgust. 
Empathy makes her a great listener - she also has
the skill to be objective and rational. 
Most importantly, Ali is just plain FUN. 
Michelle, Friend, yoga instructor


I acquired this rare being by marriage and I
strongly encourage you to do the same. If you are
a man who recognizes quality, and who would value
more than anything a woman who took you out of
yourself, showed you new worlds, and propelled
you into new adventures, Ali is the one for you.
Janet, step-mother


Ali is one of my favorite people.  She is like
a sister to me.  I love spending time with her, it is
enriching, and we always have fun and laugh.  She is
playful, lighthearted, and forgiving.  Ali is generous with
giving comfort, love, beauty, art, food, and elegance to the
world.  One will never meet anyone else like her.  Personally, I
look up to her
authenticity, and the way she continues to broaden her
outlook on humanity and the universe as a whole.  I
treasure my time and conversations with Ali. I see her
as being totally devoted to fulfilling her dreams, and
helping herself as well as others to live good lives.
Ali is a naturally beautiful,
creative, compassionate, talented ,grateful, diverse,
and understanding woman who balances true strength
with tender sensitivity. I am blessed to have her as
my employer, friend, and sister.
Donna, friend


I've known Ali since she was born.
She is hard working and dedicated. She is intelligent and has a
great deal of drive.
Her tastes are refined.
She's as courageous as anyone you will ever meet. 
She's been many places and has many fine tales.
Lee, brother


Ali is a woman of the highest caliber. She is an excellent cook
who enjoys being a hostess and making a warm, festive home.
She has vitality and verve and her presence fills a room with
the electric sparkles of her energy. The music of her laughter
and her witty and humorous words keep everyone around her
engaged and entertained. She has a radiant loving energy that
penetrates those closest to her with warmth and compassion.
Even strangers that have the luck to interact with her in public
are struck by her friendly spirit and willingness to engage in
conversation. She is a joy to behold as she moves through the
world with grace and beauty, bringing love and light to all that
are in her path.
She would be a great match for a man who has a solid,
masculine presence, that could balance her dynamic, feminine
spirit in strength and endurance. There is nothing diluted or
weak in Ali, she is a full strength woman with an abundance of
rich, womanly qualities to warm and soothe the dating-weary
man. Her embrace will be the one that will call you home after a
long days work and melt your tension into a buttery bath of
domestic bliss, hot sex and down bedding. 5 stars!
Kaibrina & Sky, friends


We’ve known Ali since birth, which puts us in a
unique position of giving an overall view that is
not biased by being family members.  She was born
into a wonderfully offbeat family but she cried
all the time.  Moving on to childhood she became
quiet and adorable.  She drew lots of pictures. 
In her teens she left home (I mean disappeared)
and roamed the world.  She was gutsy and
adventurous.  She lived in Zimbabwe, Kenya and
Namibia.  She put her many artistic skills to
work, painting and recreating indigenous
jewelry.  Back in the USA she blossomed into a
talented artist and alluring woman.  So I guess
we would sum her up as follows:
Very talented, adventurous, good-looking, sexy,
well-dressed, warm, fun to be with gal who is
comfortable any place in the world
Leonard and Linda ,family friends




California College of the Arts, M.F.A., 2006
California College of Arts and Crafts, B.F.A., 2000

2006 “Sycophant” Hooper Gallery, San Francisco, CA
“Material World” Alliance Francais, San Francisco, CA
“CCA Graduate Exhibition” CCA, San Francisco, CA
“Virology” Lobot Gallery, Oakland, CA
“Geographic Premonitions” Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
“Banner Project” Berlin, Germany
“Chain Letter” High Energy Constructs, Los Angeles, CA
“Gift” 301 Bocana, San Francisco, CA

2005 “Tate Modern Project” Tate Modern, London, England
“Venice Biennale Project” Arsenale, Venice, Italy
“Preciousonian Econmony” Playspace, San Francisco, CA
“the gates” Central Park, NY
“mom’s show” GC1, San Francisco, CA

2004 “Frenzy II” Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA
“In the street knitting project” San Francisco, CA

2002 “No War” Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA
“Some Other” Logan Galleries, San Francisco, CA

2001 “Reconstructing Reality” Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA
“ Only Because I Love You” Nexus Gallery, Berkeley, CA
“Pacific Rim Sculpture Members Show” 600 Townsend, San Francisco, CA
“Post-postcard” Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
“Interesting, but is it art?”  The Second City Council, Long Beach, CA
“Texas National 2001" Stephen F Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX
“Bay Area Selections” Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
“Fresh Visions, New Faces” Facere, Seattle, WA
“C18H24O2" Emeryville, CA

2000  “Beliefs, Faith & Religion” The Second City Council, Long Beach, CA
“Untitled” Nexus Gallery, Emeryville, CA
“Tenuous Doctrine” Isabel Percy West Gallery, Oakland, CA
“Tenuous Doctrine” Beta Building, San Francisco, CA
“Graduation Show” Oliver Art Center, Oakland, CA
“Eclectic”, Irwin Center Gallery, Oakland, CA

1999 “Doll Show”, Isabel Percy West, Oakland, CA
“Get Your Daily Dose of Fiber III”, Glass Case Gallery, Oakland, CA
“Get Your daily Dose of Fiber II”, Irwin North Gallery, Oakland, CA
“Gala”, Beta Building, San Francisco, CA
“In The Palm of Your Hand”, Fine Arts Gallery, St. Louis, MO

1998 “Get Your Daily Dose of Fiber”, Irwin South Gallery, Oakland, CA
“1998 Student Metal Arts Show”, Irwin Center Gallery, Oakland, CA
“Dreams and Daydreams”, Lily Pad, Oakland, CA

1997 “Core Show”, Irwin North Gallery, Oakland, CA

Awards and Honors     
Best of Show, Second City Art Council, Long Beach, CA, 2001
Honorarium Awarded by Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA, 2001
Bachelor of Fine Arts with High Distinction, CCAC, 2000
Commencement Speaker for Fine Arts, CCAC, 2000

David Buuck, ‘Geographic Premonitions’ at the Richmond Art Center, Artweek,
February 2007
Monique Beeler, Artists Interpret Sept. 11 at Oakland Art Gallery@ Oakland
Tribune, CA, November 30, 2001
Texas National Catalog, Department of Art, Stephen F. Austin State University,
Texas, August 2001
Westbrook, Lindsey, ABay Area Selections,@ Critics Choice: Art, San Francisco
Bay Guardian, CA, June 27, 2001
Djurklou, Alessandra, ABut is it unconventional art?,@ Press Telegram, CA, May
18, 2001
Gottlieb, Shirie, ABreathtaking - inside and out,@ Press Telegram, CA, November
13, 2000
The Year in Pictures@ Life Magazine, National, June 1986

Maurizio Cattelan
Matthew Barney and Bjork
Jason Rhodes
David Wilson (Museum of Jurassic Technology)
Christo and Jeanne Claude
Suzanne Baizerman
Viola Frey
Barbro and Bernard Osher
Ed Ruscha
Judy Timken
Phyllis Wattis
Professional Experience
Owner/Director, Mochita, 2002-present
Intern, The Luggage Store, 2001-2003
Curator and co-ordinator, In The Street, 2001,2002
Teaching Assistant, Textile Printing, CCAC, Kathleen Larisch, 2001
Teaching Assistant, Fiber Sculpture, CCAC, Carol Beadle, 2000
Co-teacher, Young Artists Studio Program, CCAC, 2000
Developer and Co-Teacher, Art From Other Cultures, Arts Far West, 2000
Teaching Assistant, Mechanisms, Susan Wood Onstadt, 2000
Teaching Assistant, Forging, Olle Olls, 2000
Teaching Assistant, Bowl-making, Olle Olls, 1999-2000
Teacher, Ovamboland Development Foundation, 1996-1997
Owner, African Eclectic, International Buyer & Salesperson/
Designer/Fabricator/Employer, 1993-1997
Healthcare Worker, Extended Program of Immunization, Unicef, 1991-1992