I'm going to try to be a little less complete-ist than I've been in the past, hopefully making these posts a bit easier to compile. To that end, this is hardly the complete output of Ramparts Press, but a dozen covers I've found over the years. They published at least double this amount, likely even more. While a fair amount of information about the Ramparts magazine is available (see HERE), I've found very little about the book publishing wing, and I have little knowledge about who the editors were, who decided on design, etc, etc.
Before I was noticing publishers much, I stumbled upon a copy of Majorie Heins' Strictly Ghetto Property, which is a great, and possibly the only, history of Los Siete de la Raza. Los Siete were a group of seven Chicano youth, mostly activist college students, framed for the shooting of a police officer in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, the book has long been out of print, and although you can find copies online, the only one I've ever seen in a used bookstore is the one I bought a decade ago in SF (at Dog Eared I believe, back when they were cheap!). I've always loved the cover, designed by someone using the pseudonym MEAT (!), which falls right into the visual trajectory of Chicano printmaking. I have no idea who MEAT is, but the graphic could sit comfortably next to early work by Rubert Garcia, Malaquias Montoya, Juan Fuentes, or any of the Bay Area printmakers of that era.
Join me at the Oakland Museum of California for the public unveiling of Reflections of Healing, a large-scale art installation created by artist and educator Brett Cook with participation from the community. The installation, which will be visible from across Lake Merritt, features portraits of notable Oakland healers, who through practice or legacy demonstrate healing in their work. I am honored to be one of the people selected whose teen portrait will be included in this project. Join the celebration on 12th Street/Lake Merritt Boulevard in the parklet between the Museum and the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, and enjoy food trucks, music, wellness activities, art making, and more during Friday Nights @ OMCA. The celebration is Free to the public.
I wrote this article for Bitch Magazine in the leadup to the recent People's Climate March, thinking about futility and frustration and the reasons we do the work we do.
If I were making a list of things that felt absolutely futile to protest, I'd put climate change at the top. And if I were making a list of organizations that have failed in their efforts to get the world to care about climate change, I'd put the UN near the top, too.
But this weekend, I’ll be part of the People's Climate March, America’s largest ever climate-related protest. The gigantic rally on Sunday rally in New York City is targeting the international bigwigs in town for the UN's Climate Summit. I’ve spent the week in a warehouse in Brooklyn, along with many, many other people, making arty props and propaganda for the event. Sometimes, this work doesn't seem to make much sense.
We'll be there! More information here...
An in depth look at the events that unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri following the police murder of Michael Brown, a black teenager. Also features an exclusive interview with former Black Panther, Ashanti Alston, about the state of black “America”, abolishing penile power and taking care of your peeps in the muthafuckin resistance.
Scanlan's Monthly was a New Left political/counter-cultural magazine that ran for eight issues and less than a year, March 1970 to January 1971. It was co-founded and co-edited by Warren Hinckle III and Sidney Zion. Hinckle had been an editor at Ramparts, an extremely influential New Left monthly that grew out of the Catholic left in the early 60s, and went on to become the Time or Newsweek of the 60s and 70s social movements. I'll be discussing Ramparts more next week, when I start looking at the covers for their publishing imprint.
Like Ramparts, Scanlan's was intended to be a relatively slick and cleanly designed magazine, as opposed to the much scrappier underground press that was dominant at the time. There is not a lot of info online, and the old issues are difficult to track down at any affordable price. The focus was on muck-raking journalism rather than the music and drugs that were at the core of many other publications. Supposedly the title comes from a pig farmer, and Scanlan's was one of the first places to publish Hunter S. Thompson's more "gonzo" stories.
I recently completed the poster to promote the first ever Howard Zinn Bookfair that will be held at San Francisco’s Mission High School on November 15th 2014. It is a celebration of the books that make us rethink our roles in the world and connect people with hidden histories...
A number of venues have been collecting the posters and graphics produced in solidarity with Gaza over the past couple months, and I thought it would be cool to share some of the links. All of these include posters created by Justseeds artists and friends:
The French newspaper l'Humanité has been publishing them in the paper, and collecting them online HERE.
Print Magazine published a collection online HERE.
Handala Has a Posse is a more DIY affair, a great tumblr of Gaza images, HERE.
(the image to the right is my poster "Toward Freedom" published in l'Humanité)
The ongoing blog series where I ask Justseeds members for five things that have been inspiring them lately. This one from Josh MacPhee in NYC:
The People's Climate March - billed as the largest climate march in history - is days away - this Sunday, September 21st in NYC. The Flood Wall Street action takes place the next day on Monday. On Tuesday the UN meets and is dedicating a full-day discussion to global warming. Demonstrations are taking place in hundred, if not thousands, of cities across the world on Sunday in solidarity with the People's Climate March.
To get the word out on the PCM a number of us in Justseeds created free downloadable graphics. We also coordinated with 350.org a 30-host wheatpasting action across N. America where hosts put up 4'x6' images by Favianna Rodriguez, Josh MacPhee, Chip Thomas, various collage elements, and their own work. Last week I posted the first installment of some of the photos that hosts sent me. Here is the second installment.
I worked on this mural last week in order for it to be ready for today, Mexican Independence Day. I teamed up with graffiti writer "Homie" who did a super clean job on the lettering. Banner reads Howard Zinn's quote "There is no flag big enough... to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
I just got some photos from this past weekend's opening of the first annual Screenprint Biennial, in Troy, NY. My ______ Manifesto diptych was included, which I'm really excited about. There's a couple more photos if you click below, and you can find more info on the Biennial HERE.
For the first four weeks of looking at the output of Curbstone Press, I broke the books into semi-distinct categories: Roque Dalton and Curbstone's origins, Claribel Alegría and other Latin American Literature, the Art on The Line series, and the crossover with Danish artists and writers. This final week is everything that fell through the cracks.
While the above makes up 80% or so of Curbstones early output (I'm really only looking at 1975-1995 in these posts, but Curbstone continued to publish, and still nominally exists as an imprint of Nortwestern University Press), there were other interests as well. I assume because of physical proximity, it appears that the editors were in close contact with socially-engaged poets who taught at the University of Connecticut. Richard Schaaf was one of those, and his 1975 poetry collection Revolutionary at Home must have been one of Curbstone's first books. The cover is really charming, with Schaaf pictured up on a later tuckpointing a building (maybe his home?). The image brings forward the multiple possible meanings of the words in the title, both "revolutionary" and what that entails, and "at home."
Well hello again friends, Sounds of the Week is back, even if only for a brief moment, (hopefully I'll find time for this more often). I've been stuck on some new music that I felt compelled to share so here goes:
Justseeds colleagues Katherine Ball and Artur Van Balen have been busy warming up for the big People's Climate March on the UN that's happening the 21st of this month. Their most recent action: a Carbon Bomb, blown up near West Point Military Academy, that draws attention to the little-discussed fact that the US military is the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet. Forget all your efforts at minimizing your impact- the real problem is the massive military machine that is currently revving back to life for a new involvement in Iraq and Syria. There'll be more actions like this coming up, including an effort to Flood Wall Street! Click through for more on the Carbon Bomb project.
Opening: Thursday, September 11, 7-10pm
Exhibition runs: September 11 – November 16, 2014
Interference Archive presents Self-Determination Inside/Out, a comprehensive exhibition and public program series featuring the cultural materials produced by incarcerated people and their allies. Ranging from the Attica Rebellion to political prisoners, AIDS education to prisoners-as-laborers, the struggles of incarcerated women and queer people to the current wave of hunger strikes in prisons and detention centers across the country, these materials fundamentally recast the history of the prison-industrial complex. The exhibition shows incarcerated people not simply as the objects of state repression or social justice activism, but as active initiators and leaders in the critique of “criminal justice”—and other forms of injustice—in the U.S. Through publications created on the inside, posters, ephemera, audio recordings, film and video, and a schedule of public programs, Self-Determination Inside/Out highlights key moments in struggles for justice in the prison system. Organized by Molly Fair, Josh MacPhee, Anika Paris, Laura Whitehorn, and Ryan Wong
photo of Richmond, VA action.
On September 21st during the People's Climate March tens of thousands of people will march through the streets in NYC to demand climate justice on the eve of the UN meetings.
To get the word out about the march and climate crisis issues in general a number of us in Justseeds have created images for it. We created a series of 11"x17" offset posters that can be downloaded here. We also collaborated with environmental groups - specifically 350.org - on a much larger project. This Summer and Fall I helped co-coordinate a 30-host wheatpasting action across N. America. Three 4'x6' images by Favi, Josh, Chip were printed in Toronto by Jesse, Mary, and others. They also printed collage elements and then mailed the prints to hosts across N. America.
Photos are rolling in left and right that document these local art actions. Here are a few:
Somewhere in the late 1970s the editors at Curbstone must have crossed paths with a figure involved in political culture in Denmark. A series of poetry chapbooks by Danish authors co-published by Copenhagen's Augustinus Press came out from around 1979 into the early 1980s. However little info online there is about Curbstone, there is even less about Augustinus. I do know that Curbstone at certain points received funding from the Danish Augustinus Foundation, but I can find no evidence of a press connected to the foundation. Whatever the Danish intersection, it must have lead to an overlap with the Danish Left, as important political and cultural figures such as Palle Nielsen (one of Nielsen's projects was discussed in depth in Realizing the Impossible, the book I co-edited with Erik Reuland about art and anarchism) and Dea Trier Mørch, who was discussed in the first blog entry about Curbstone (HERE), and had her own post back in 2010 (HERE). She was also a key member of Rode Mør, the Danish communist print collective which is featured in Signal:02 (HERE).
In 1986, Curbstone published a translation of Ivan Malinowski's poetry volume Fugue. It is designed and illustrated by Trier Mørch, and her work is an integral part of the book. The titling on the cover is in classic Trier Mørch "font," as this is how she often hand writes text. Her images on the inside fill almost as many pages as the poetry, and although mostly small print/sketches of quotidian things, they carry a sincerity, weight, and beauty.
In the weeks leading up to the recent Justseeds retreat in scenic McMinnville OR, Mazatl and I painted a mural on the front of the Alleyway Bar on Alberta St. in Portland. Our subject: wolves, and one wolf in particular- the wolf known as OR-7, now referred to as Journey in recognition of his incredible traverse of Oregon and California during 2012 in search of a mate. When he stepped into California, OR-7 was the first wolf in that state in nearly one hundred years. His voyage and his determination are great symbols for the efforts to return wild wolf populations to the West, and in turn to help to bring back some of the stability and biodiversity that top predators create. In lands ravaged by industrial forestry, agriculture, and development, wolves are messengers of the wild future that hopefully lies beyond the bad ideas that settler capitalism has imposed on this landscape. There's still a long way to go- but the news that OR-7 recently found a mate, and has produced a litter of pups, is another reason to cheer. For a wilder world!
(Click through for a couple more images)
Today is September 1st, 2014, and marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon in a Cincinnati zoo. That last bird, named Martha, represented the culmination of an unimaginable feat: the final destruction of what had been the most populous species on the planet. When we think of Passenger Pigeons, we recall stories of them blackening the skies, of masses of them snapping the groaning trunks of great forest trees, of storms of swirling birds battering themselves to death against the barns and walls erected in their flight paths by the burgeoning settler society that was at the same time hunting and eating them to extinction. It's a truly unpleasant reminder of what we, as a species under capitalism, are capable of when we really put our minds to it. Are we capable of anything else?
Martha is on display at the Smithsonian museum in DC until September, as part of an exhibit on multitudinous extinct birds entitled Once There Were Billions. Probably worth checking out!
I made a print about the Passenger Pigeon, pictured above, which you can check out here.
In 1981, Curbstone Press began publishing a series of small pamphlets of critical non-fiction writing by international practitioners of political art. This series, entitled Art on the Line, ran for seven years and consisted of six booklets. The first in the series is Roque Dalton's Poetry and Militancy in Latin America. The basic design is the same as the following five publications: medium weight Helvetica type announces the title in black, and the author in a spot color (in this case, orange); the series title/logo runs along the bottom along with the issue number; and the only graphic element is an unattributed illustration of a cartoon man exhorting through a bullhorn. The books are small, 4.125" wide by 6" tall, thin, and easily slip into a pocket. They all have french folded flaps, the front flap blank except for the call "To the song of resistance only revolution does justice." The back flap lists other titles in the series.
This post is part of an effort to do online studio visits with every member of the Justseeds collective. I've asked people to describe their current studio set-up and also to describe what an ideal set-up for them would look like. But I haven't had a response in awhile, so this is a studio visit, today, with myself!
Curbstone was not just an independent poetry press, but it's core mission was political, to publish and bring awareness to culture as a tool of struggle in Latin America. One of the most beautiful covers published was to an anthology entitled Quechua Peoples Poetry, translations of dozens of poems originally composed in the language of the Indigenous peoples of the Andes. The cover is a wrap around set of images and texts designed by Judy Doyle and James Scully, with strong photo-based illustrations of Andean life offset by the title in bold, powerful red type. The long-format French Folds make for a long, landscape surface, which looks great when completely unfolded.
The folks at Franklin Street Works commissioned artist David Horvitz to create a mail art call for Zanna Gilbert and Brian Droitcour's exhibition "It Narratives: The Movement of Objects as Information" opening next month. Here is the email he sent out this morning. You have until 6:57 am tomorrow to RSVP. Please distribute!
"This is being sent at 6:57am EDT in Brooklyn, New York.
It is the morning.
I have been asked to create a mail-art call for an exhibition taking place September 6 to November 9 at Franklin Street Works in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. In the tradition of mail-art calls the call is open to anyone. All works must be submitted through the postal mail. All works will be hung in the gallery. Every artist’s name will be listed in the exhibition, and on the gallery’s web-site. A digital catalog will be made documenting all the received artworks..."
Canadian magazine the Peak has their September issue out and it's articles are complimented by some artwork of Justseeds' members. You can read the issue below.
More photos of the 4' x 6' prints that Jesse Purcell has been printing in his Toronto studio and that I have been helping to co-organize with the People's Climate Art group to help get the word out about the People's Climate March in New York City on September 21st. Last weeks post focused on Josh MacPhee's and Favianna Rodriguez's images. This post highlights Chip Thomas's image and the collage elements.
Expect to see these images to go up in a week or two in Providence, Richmond, Baltimore, Portland (Maine), Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Detroit, Houston, Mexico City, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, the Navajo Reservation, Milwaukee, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, Iowa City, Boston, the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, and in New York City by four different hosts.
I was in a used bookshop in Denver in 1995 and I was looking in the poetry section for some reason. I have no memory as to why, I had never really read poetry, and had the same general ignorance of it as most of my youthful U.S. peers. In middle school everyone in my class had to memorize and publicly recite a poem, and while some industrious students reached for Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe, I accepted my limitations and committed a five line Shel Silverstein ditty to memory (I still remember it!). So, yeah, I have no idea what I was doing in the poetry section, but a shiny silver spine caught my attention. And then the red flags on the cover cinched it. What a cool idea, covering a book with images of May Day posters! If the wrap around photo of a wall of posters wasn't enough, the simple, clean, tall sans serif of Roque Dalton's name sealed it. Plus there was more than one poem inside about leftist guerrilla struggle, something quite exciting to my 20 year old brain.
It turned out that Dalton was familiar to my then roommates, as was the press that translated and published all of his work, Curbstone. Curbstone was a small press which began publishing poetry in 1975. The founders were Alexander Taylor and Judy Doyle, and their first book was Santiago Poems by James Scully (see below)
Inspired by the directorial cue—”Lights, camera, action!”—award-winning poets Cathy Linh Che, Jess X Chen and Paul Tran embark on a cross-country extravaganza to read from their first and upcoming books.
From New York City to Seattle, these fearless poets combine the ferocity of oral history, spoken word, and Asian American poetics to extricate new narratives of trauma, exile, colonialism, and love in the aftermath of war.
Their poems turn from anger to sorrow, mercy to compassion, the erotic to the crowning of one’s own life. Nothing is spared or unexamined. Here is a desire to witness and write it all.
Here's my final entry in the Foreign Languages Press series (not that there aren't plenty more books put out by FLP—thousands, actually). You can see the other posters HERE. I saved my favorite for last: Exploring the Secrets of Treating Deaf-Mutes. The cover is stunning, a stylized portrait of a young Red Guard puncturing himself in the back of the neck with an acupuncture needle. The concept behind the pamphlet is just as stunning: Chao Pu-yu, an acupuncturist with the Chinese People's Liberation Army, has discovered how to cure deafness through his earnest study of the works of Chairman Mao! I think this publication can speak for itself, so I've scanned the entire Publisher's Note for you to be able to read, and included multiple page spreads. Read on, and learn how Chao Pu-yu stuck it to the imperialist doctors and "authorities."
The excellent environmental news site Mongabay.com has a new journalism initiative, and it's producing some fascinating work. A recent post examined the potential linkages between the trafficking of great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos) and the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. It's an interesting view into the near-invisible underworld of environmental crime- export permits for bonobos, a species found only in DR Congo are found in Conakry, Guinea's capital, and dead bonobos are found in Chinese and Armenian zoos. The Ebola Zaire virus that's causing this growing epidemic is a pathogen native to DR Congo, and hasn't been previously found in West Africa. Although highly speculative, writer Daniel Stiles uses information gathered by legendary wildlife crime investigator Karl Ammann to make a compelling case for the connection. It's worth a read!
"August 6th 1945 was the day that the US air force dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, striking Hiroshima and killing up to 160,000 of the city's inhabitants, most of whom were civilians. The mortality rate continued to rise for months from radiation and disease but the primary cause of death was from burns. Daniel Garcia's artwork for this 1971 OSPAAAL poster is sombre and thought provoking, making use of the partially obscured face of a young Japanese citizen and burnt paper to remind the world of the horror of that day. "
This week in “It’s the End of the World as we know and I feel fine, a look into Israel’s racism, riots in Paris in solidarity with Gaza, resistance to oil and gas infrastructure in Turtle Island, including actions in Utah, Vermont, Washington, 6 Nations and Unist’ot’en, the defense of Pizzeria Anarchia in Austria, PETA’s latest asshole move, new music by Rob Hustle, and an interview with Doug Gilbert on his book the “I saw fire”.
1. Ariel Sharon must die!
3. Turtle Island blocks oil and gas
4. PETA – Pretentious Egotistical Totalitarian Assholes
5. No Pizza No Peace!
6. Mi’kmaq Warriors almost free!
7. ***MUSIC BREAK – Call the Cops – Rob Hustle ft. Liv ***
8. The cops are not part of the 99%, interview with Doug Gilbert on his book the “I saw fire”
One of the main things that Foreign Languages Press books have in common is covers that attempt to meld the pastoral (peasants and peasant society) with the industrial (and technological), brought together through a third force, the Chinese Communist Party. The heft given to each of these elements changes with each title, but the formula is basically the same. Taching: Red Banner on China's Industrial Front focuses on industrial progress, but the fields in the foreground of the cover design remind us of the peasant origins of contemporary China, and the glowing red sun rising on the horizon reminds us who is responsible for this great technological feat—the Communist Party. The author of this pamphlet is anonymous, and if that wasn't enough of an indication of its clear roll as propaganda, the initial dozen pages of photographs illustrating happy workers making glorious progress seals the deal.
Feminist organizing around reproductive rights has been one of the most deeply important issues to me throughout the last 15 years. Many of my own artistic endeavors have centered on this work and I've been inspired, educated, and influenced by the work of writers and organizations working on reproductive and gender justice. The first time I heard the term "reproductive justice" was through reading "Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice" by Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, Loretta Ross, and Elena R. Gutiérrez which was released in 2004.
Miriam Zoila Pérez just wrote a letter (posted on the Colorlines website) to the NY Times regarding their recent article about the history of using the language of "reproductive justice" rather than "pro-choice" which I am reposting below.
Here's the letter Miriam Zoila Pérez wrote.
I started compulsively drawing patterns after visiting Palestine last Spring. The visual landscape was full of them, beautiful geometric designs covering walls and floors, inside and out. This poster uses one of these patterns I drew out of inspiration. Here is a link to a high-res downloadable version at 11"x17": DOWNLOAD. Feel free to download and use in support of Palestine.