Check out a great new article on IMPEACH by Paul Schmelzer, HERE.
Welcome once again to Sounds of the Week, a sampling of music Justseeds artists are listening to. For this entry Pete has rounded up some pleasant sounds for you to enjoy.
I just returned from traveling in Guatemala and Mexico for a month. I'm always incredibly excited by the hand painted signs. I really appreciate how unique each letter, no matter how well crafted or scratchy they can be. It's refreshing to see since I come from a city with mostly digitally printed advertising, billboards or vinyl cut signage.
I have revived this short lived photo series from four years ago to share the few photos I was able to snap while walking or through van windows while we traveled.
These are from Panajachel, Lago Atitlan, Guatemala.
Just wanting to direct people's attention to the fundraising efforts of an incredible freeform radio station, WFMU, out of Jersey City, NJ.
They broadcast in the NYC metropolitan area and online at wfmu.org. It's been exposing me to audio culture for almost twenty years and keeps me company in so many ways. They've built an impressive digital archive of all their programming of the last 15 years and maintain a blog about the obscure you never knew you wanted to know. The content is a wormhole that you could spend the rest of your life falling into, and I hope you do.
If you've got some scratch to give, they are all listener supported and will use it towards programming for the next year. They'll appreciate it and I will appreciate you.
Pledge now, they have until this Sunday to reach their goal
Thx Edward Snowden.
In November, while touring London with comrades from Interference Archive, we stopped at Bookmarks, a nice-sized bookshop run by the Socialist Workers Party (which is a sister organization to the International Socialist Organization in the the U.S.). They have a nice, cheap, used pamphlet section, with rows and rows of old leftist publications. I found some great stuff, including a small cluster of 1980s pamphlets put out by the SWP themselves. All were designed by Roger Huddle, who might have been their in-house designer for the decade. Huddle has a website now (HERE), and it looks like he still might be an SWP member. He was also part of a design group called Artworkers. The designs for the pamphlets are great examples of a neo-Constructivism, and appear to borrow heavily from the book designs of two other British leftist designers: David King and Richard Hollis. King is the more obvious influence, as Huddle shares with him a love for heavy black lines and sharp angles as dominant visual elements.
We can actually see the style evolve by looking at the first and then second edition of Missile Madness by Peter Binns. The first, published in 1980 and here on the right, boxes the object of study—the mad missile— between two sets of titles. The top left frame is created by text in bold boxes, author and publisher; the bottom right is created by interlocking of the title and subtitle at a 90 degree angle. The title smartly nestles into the subtitle, rather than simply sitting on top, and then the two words of the title read away from each other. This is a nice touch, not effecting readability but adding to the sense of a topsy-turvy world. Finally, the use of color is great, the red and green merging to create the almost black of the missile.
Signal:03 got a really nice review a couple weeks back on Dubdog.com. Check it out HERE. And you can always pick up a copy of Signal from us HERE. And keep an eye out for issue #4, it should be out in a month or so!
[image of screenprint by Medu Arts Ensemble, Botswana]
In this week’s show an homage to women everywhere, a look at the trolls from the Men’s Rights Movements and how the Gulabi Gang in India who are beating down rapitsts with big ass sticks. On the music break, Bambu with “The Queen is Dead.” Our featured guest is journalist Dawn Paley, talking about her book “Drug War Capitalism”
I just returned from traveling in Guatemala and Mexico for a month. I'm always excited about the hand painted signs cos appreciate how unique each letter is, no matter how well crafted or scratchy they can be. It's refreshing to see since I come from a city with mostly digitally printed advertising, billboards or vinyl cut signage.
I am reviving this short lived photo series from four years ago to share the few photos I was able to snap while walking or through vehicle windows during our transport. This is for all the other typography and hand painted sign geeks out there. Enjoy.
My first installment aren't the best flicks as they were shot through the window as we traveled from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan.
Dignity: Power from the Bottom Up.
WolfPatrol.org is having an online benefit for their organization which "works on the ground to document and report on wolf hunts and illegal poaching, in the face of the removal of federal protection for these important and vital predators in North America."
Our own Mazatl has a huge and beautiful print in the show, check it out at their website.
Hello there buddies!
After a long hiatus, I am reviving my Rad Teen Print of the Week series as Rad Post-Teen Print of the Week, to share the amazing work from university students and other post-teens that I've been working with here in Toronto. I first forayed into this zone a few years ago with Lauren Jurysta's Free Pussy Riot silkscreen, HERE
This first print comes from Tetyana Herych, a four-color risograph print on the subject of palm oil and its impacts on orang-utans and other members of rainforest ecology. Doritos being a popular snack that uses extensive amounts of palm oil, Tetyana remixed the packaging to remind consumers of this impact.
Global Corporate Fascists.
For its inaugural exhibition at the new 511 Gallery at the new campus flagship, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, PNCA is pleased to present Gathering Autonomy: Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, the first retrospective exhibition of this print cooperative that produces graphics for activist organizations around events or actions.
Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative is a decentralized network of 30 artists committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance. With members working from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Justseeds operates both as a unified collaboration of similarly minded printmakers and as a loose collection of creative individuals with unique viewpoints and working methods. The Cooperative produces collective portfolios, contributes graphics to grassroots struggles for justice, builds large sculptural installations in galleries, and wheatpastes on the streets.
We're moving forward with the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum over in Matewan, WV. This community-driven, people's history museum opens to the public on May 16 (in the midst of the annual Matewan Shootout reinactment!). There's still work to be done getting the building, and our exhibits, in order - but we're moving quickly, and it's invigorating watching it all come together.
Last month several of us took on the task of cataloging the collection of board member Kenny King. Kenny's been scouring the known battlefields where skirmishes occurred during the Mine Wars era (~1912-1921) and picking up whatever artifacts he finds. His collection is the foundation upon which our burgeoning museum is built, and I was personally very excited to catalog and photograph his extensive collection - the first time his work has ever been assembled and documented in full. Below are some choice images from last month's work, all of which will be on display when the museum opens in May...
Peace, Unity, and Having Fun.
This past weekend was the big annual church book sale in neighborhood, and I found some great books, including a mini-collection of mass market paperbacks from the 1960s about Latin America. I'm behind on my research on the longer form posts I've got in the works, so I'm just going to share these four books this week. All are written or edited by Western writers, and like the content, the covers display different outsider perspectives on the nature of Latin America in the 60s. And although none are specifically about Cuba, they were all published in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, and display an attempt to either communicate or capitalize on the fear of revolution from the South that spread through North America at the time.
First is the one on the right, the anthology Social Change in Latin America Today (Vintage, 1960). The cover is by veteran designer Paul Bacon, who has designed over 6,500 book covers! The type treatment does little for me, but I love the illustration. A map of South America (not exactly Latin America, but oh well...) is entirely composed of squiggly arrows, some spiraling inward, some shooting outward. It's extremely simple, but the red, green, and black add some complexity, as well as possible political and social overtones. One can imagine the red sections, all with arrows spreading out, as the export of communism.
Wisconsin is in pretty rough shape right now, Gov. Scott Walker with the Koch Brothers backing him is cutting essential funding across the state, pushing privatization of everything possible, and the Republicans are fast tracking a right-to-work bill this week. In addition to all of that fun, on the down low there is a massive environmental disaster ramping up across the state. Pipeline L61 owned by Enbridge Energy already exists, and is getting upgrades that will up its pumping capacity from 560,000 to 1.2 million barrels of crude oil daily, that's 1/3 more than Keystone XL would. Only a Dane County (Madison area) zoning committee is holding up the process for the permitting of a pumping station.
In this sedition we look at the economic clusterfuck enveloping the globe, the mega drop in oil prices and the political party that has the left screaming like Justin Beaver fans.
The nice people at Portland Rising Tide asked me to design a t-shirt logo for them- and the above graphic is what I came up with. Fossil fuel exports are ramping up in the Pacific Northwest, with new plans for increased movement of Tar Sands oil, Wind River Coal, and a propane export terminal in the works. Portland Rising Tide is pushing back against these dirty, dangerous, and just basically stupid expansions in creative and powerful ways.
Thank You Snowden!
Back to Africa this week. I've got a massive backlog of African publishers I want to cover, but tracking down information about them is often difficult, as most no longer exist, and very few have any internet presence at all. (I wish this was a project I could afford to run out to the library to do more hardcore research, but as a labor of love, it's tough to find the time!)
This week lets look at Spro-cas, founded in 1969 by the South African Council of Churches and the Christian Institute. Its initial form, Spro-cas 1, stood for Study Project on Christianity in an Apartheid Society, and it was directed by Peter Randall. Randall was a white liberal with strong anti-apartheid sympathies, and he pushed Spro-cas to struggle against the limits of apartheid society, but still attempted to stay within the realm of the "reasonable," and thus be taken seriously by white people in South Africa. Later, Spro-cas 2 was formed—Special Project on Christian Action in Society—which was intended as the action wing of the organization. One of the primary activities of both wings was publishing, and between 1969–1973 they collectively put out about two dozen publications. Half of those are here in this post.
After San Francisco’s new mayor announced imminent plans to “clean up” downtown with a new corporate “dot com corridor” and arts district—featuring the new headquarters of Twitter and Burning Man—curators Erick Lyle, Chris Johanson, and Kal Spelletich brought over one hundred artists and activists together with neighborhood residents fearing displacement to consider utopian aspirations and to plot alternate futures for the city. Opening in May 2012, the resulting exhibition, Streetopia, was a massive anti-gentrification art fair that took place in venues throughout the city. For five weeks, Streetopia featured daily free talks, performances, and skillshares while operating a free community kitchen out of the gallery.
Welcome back to Sounds of the Week!, the musical musings of members of the Justseeds artist cooperative. For this installment I asked fellow seeders for the sounds that inspired them in 2014, not necessarily things that were released in 2014 but sounds that caught their attention or were the soundtrack to their work.
Here's the last Best of 2014 list, this time from Mary Tremonte!
This week I'm going to go through the second half of Little New World Paperbacks, roughly in order of their issue number. The last number I've found is LNW-39, although it's possible there are more and I just haven't been able to track them down. This week and last I've shared cover images for 25 of the books, so at least fourteen more are out there. I've also been able to build close to complete bibliography, filling in the blanks from the book lists on some of the back covers. That's at the end of this post.
To the right is the cover for Gil Green's Revolution Cuban Style (LNW-21). It's one of the nicer covers, drawing graphic elements from multiple political posters of the time (this was released in 1970). The image of a Viet Cong in the background is drawn for an anti-Viet Nam war poster, and the image of Ché in the front is a variation on a image by one of Cuba's well-known poster artists, Raul Martínez. The use of the poster images is interesting, because it suggests a play on the word "style" in the title, although I doubt that was intentional. But typical of the Communist Party USA, they still botched the attempt to be culturally relevant, using Martínez's pop style, but in muddy browns and greys, instead of bright pinks and oranges.
Justseeds will be tabling at Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair!
January 30 – February 1, 2015 Please come visit us in the
XE(ROX) & PAPER + SCISSORS area with other folks in the "FRIENDLY FIRE" zone where Artists and Activists converge in a selection where the political meets the personal, curated by Printed Matter’s Max Schumann.
From the early 20th century through the early 1960s, one of the largest Left organizations in the US (if not the largest) was the Communist Party USA. The propaganda wing of the Party created multiple publishing arms, including New Century Publishers (which I featured HERE back in 2011) and the still-publishing International Publishers. International was by far the largest operation, and in the 1950s and 60s they spun off a paperback imprint called New World Paperbacks. I started looking at this on this blog way back in 2010 (see HERE and HERE). Well, in the four years since I've been collecting more New World books, and in particular have had an eye towards an imprint of that imprint: Little New World Paperbacks. In 1964, New World spun off its own series of mass market paperbacks, a format that at the time was hugely popular in publishing. Most US mass markets were sold at newstands and on racks in grocery stores, so they were designed to appeal to a broad audience of people that wouldn't go into a book store. Because of this, they tended to have lurid covers, with full-color paintings (which would eventually evolve to photographs) of crime, sex, romance, and early self-help. Giant titling fonts and eye catching graphics were also popular.
It's possible that's what Little New World (LNW) was going form but if so, they missed the mark, widely. The first title in the series, William J. Pomeroy's Guerrilla and Counter-Guerrilla Warfare has a very staid, almost clinical, cover. While the title is bold and yells out "GUERRILLA WARFARE!", the rest of the cover is so clean and precise that it almost takes away any potential edgy appeal of the giant type. The mechanical bulls eyes and full sans serif treatment make this look more like a government report than a pop expose. Sadly their is almost nothing about LNW I could find through basic research, so the motivations of the publishers remain pretty opaque. Was this an attempt to popularize Communist ideas to a broader audience? Was guerrilla warfare chosen as the topic of the first book because of its potential gritty, fringe appeal? Or did the publishers just want to make a book that fit in the reader's pocket?
Wheat paste found in Pittsburgh, PA, picture taken last November.
Last summer I was in lower Manhattan and had 6 hours to kill before a meeting Washington Heights. l took the opportunity to visit the Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson murals painted in 1938 at the Bronx Post Office. As part of the New Deal in the 1930s the Works Project Administration commissioned artists across the country to paint murals in public spaces, especially in post offices. Shahn stated that this particular mural was to show aspects of the rest of the country to New Yorkers. They depict working people, cotton pickers, welders, and weavers, amongst others. The mural is centered around an image of Walt Whitman pointing to one of his own poems on a chalk board.
Rockwell Kent has been a big influence on more than a few of us here at Justseeds. He was a prolific draftsman whose illustrations dominated book design and advertising in the first half of the 20th century (see Josh’s posts about this, here). He was also a master printer, a socialist, an explorer, a raconteur, a cad, and (by my aunt's account) a bit of an egomaniac.
In the 1920s, Kent bought land in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and built a farm and a studio there. My family is from this area, and I am from nearby Plattsburgh, where Kent was something of a local celebrity and personality. Consequently, I grew up looking at his art without knowing anything about him- and two pieces of his are seared into my brain from early childhood. One was a reproduction of a beautiful painting that my aunt has in her kitchen, of a deer running through a mountainous landscape.
Continuing with some of our "Best of" lists, we have a list from Josh, and surprise, surprise... its a book list!
So from Josh MacPhee: 10 Best Crime Novels I Read in 2014:
...and for this installation of Best of 2014 Sounds of the Week we have Roger Peet, who generally can be counted on for a great taste in music: