Next month the Metropolitan Museum in New York will present the first American retrospective on the art of Gustave Courbet in over 30 years. Courbet was a quintessential 19th century rebel who pioneered Realism in painting. He often made France's poor and working class citizens his subjects, and his frank depictions of sexuality shocked the genteel art world -- the Emperor physically attacked one such painting with his riding crop.
He was also an avid participant in the Paris Commune, helping topple the Place Vendôme Column and its statue of Napoleon, saying:
Inasmuch as the Vendôme column is a monument devoid of all artistic value, tending to perpetuate by its expression the ideas of war and conquest of the past imperial dynasty, which are reproved by a republican nation's sentiment, citizen Courbet expresses the wish that the National Defense government will authorise him to disassemble this column.
Alan Antliff discusses Courbet's revolutionary politics in his book Anarchy and Art. Proudhon called Courbet's The Stone Breakers (pictured above) the world's first socialist painting. A few years before the Commune, Courbet wrote:
I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty.'
Courbet was arrested shortly after the fall of the Commune, and spent his final years in exile. Anyone interested in the origins of radical art should try to check out the Met's retrospective: it opens February 27, and runs through May 18. See also the New York Review of Books recent review of the exhibition catalog, The Born Rebel Artist.
I've just been so impressed with all the work of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) lately....Here's another amazing project, Combat Paper. Working with artists in Vermont, IVAW members have been cutting, cooking and beating their old combat uniforms worn in Iraq into pulp, and then turning them into paper. The paper is made with watermarks, and then when it is still wet, it stenciled. Check out the video:
IVAW have dozens of videos of their actions up on their site, definitely check them out.
Hands down, the Iraq Veterans Against the War(IVAW) are doing the most kick ass political and cultural work in the US today. For a year or so they have been organizing a series of actions under the title Operation First Casualty, the first casualty of war being truth. Fully geared up Iraq War veterans have been descending on cities across the country and performing military actions on the street. This video gives a hint at how intense this is:
In addition IVAW is gearing up to hold their Winter Soldier tribunal March 13-16 in Washington DC. Here's what they have to say about it:
Winter Soldiers, according to founding father Thomas Paine, are those who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours. With this spirit in mind, IVAW members are standing up to make their experiences available to all who are concerned about the direction of our country.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time America has needed its Winter Soldiers, in 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
Check out the IVAW website for more information, and definitely pass it on to anyone you know who is a veteran or is currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
My old friend Mathew Curran is having a stencil art show down in Raleigh, NC on Feb. 1st. I haven't heard from him in awhile, but last I checked, his stencil skills were quite impressive. If you're in the neighborhood, check it out!
A beautiful new poster from my favorite Portland wheatpaster, this one is up near Portland State University.
I found these engraved brass cobblestones on sidewalks throughout Cologne, Germany, when I lived there a few years ago. The stones are memorials to residents of buildings that were displaced during World War II to concentration camps. I saw the artist responsible for this intervention, Gunter Demnig, speak at our infoshop back in 2001. The name of the project, Stolpersteine, translates to "stumbling stones." Demnig has by now installed more than 12,000 stones in roughly 270 German towns and cities since 1996. This piece, in its subtlety and intimacy with everyday behavior, brings the sometimes abstract death and horror of the Holocaust to the concrete reality of the individuals who were destroyed.
For more information, there is a great article in Smithsonian magazine that you can check out here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/stolpersteine.html
If you've only got 3 minutes to look at the internet today, definitely check out this video of a performance that the arts group triiibe did at the January 27th, 2007 demo in Washington, DC against the war in Iraq. Yes, it's a year old, put it is well worth it! I could say a lot, but I think it is just better to go to www.triiibe.com and click the top button labeled "movie." They've been doing similar performances in other locations as well, here is a video from one at Boston Common.
Check out this amazing poster project that celebrates radical queer history. The posters were created by the Chicago group "Chances Dances" and each poster features a portrait, a quote from the person celebrated and a brief bio.
The Chances Dances website notes that “These masks portray a selection of radical queers and allies, some from the past and some from the present, some recognized and others hidden. We hope their lives and work will inspire current and future generations to SUMMON A NEW QUEER REALITY! We offer these masks as symbols of power through knowledge and community through history! Please pass it on!”
Posters can be downloaded at their site and include posters of:
* Pedro Almodóvar
* Gregg Araki
* James Baldwin
* Sadie Benning
* Claude Cahun
* Jackie Curtis
* Angela Davis
* Vaginal Davis
* Leslie Feinberg
* Michel Foucault
* Jean Genet
* Felix Gonzalez-Torres
* Audre Lorde
* Harvey Milk
* Cherríe Moraga
* Mimi Nguyen
* Adrienne Rich
* Marlon Riggs
* Sylvia Rivera
* Bayard Rustin
* Annie Sprinkle
* Urvashi Vaid
* John Waters
* David Wojnarowicz
for more info: http://www.chancesdances.org/pride07/masks.html#_self
Hey folks! Check out this collective based out of the Northwest!
It's called the Racoon Collective!
The Raccoon Collective thinks highly of doing the following things: * Uniting the ARTS across Olympia in order to secure artist resources. * Supporting the DIY arts and radical arts projects by fostering networking in North Cascadia (PDX,OLY,SEA). * Getting artist of all mediums together to meet one another, collaborate, and skill share. * Supporting groups that work on social or environmental justice. * Collaborating with other collectives around the country with similar values.
We discovered a free and easy way to make temporary graffitt. (It's like henna tattoos). We had pieces of snowy ice that we drew on the street with. Fun!
Last week there was an encuentro in Oaxaca that was attended by many organizations of the APPO (Popular Assembly for the People of Oaxaca) and others struggling for justice in southern Mexico. What follows is a demonstration held, demanding justice for political prisoners, many of whom showed leadership during the social uprising in 2006.
In spanish here.
Many artists have been involved with the recent social movement in Oaxaca, creating posters, graphics, imagery, and as seen in the above video, painting messages in the streets during demonstrations. Their markings leave an ephemeral, yet longer lasting, memory of the demands made during the protests. The slogans and demands painted on the walls remind the tourist heavy city of Oaxaca about the injustice the population faces.
Not only are demands for the freedom of political prisoners David Venegas and Isabel Almarez expressed, rescinding the bus fare increase, the profit of banks and frivolous businesses, and labeling police as assassins were also painted on appropriate targets.
Nancy Davies explains on NarcoNews
The range of protests includes: removing price increases for basic foods such as tortillas, and for gasoline; freeing political prisoners; returning the disappeared alive; canceling changes to the national social security institute (the ISSSTE); protecting streets in the center of the city; rescinding the increase in bus fares; and handing the schools still held by the breakaway teachers union Section 59 (promoted by governor Ulises Ruiz, who the teachers and APPO tried to force out of office in their 2006 uprising) back to Section 22.
The causes of the discontent and poverty in Oaxaca remain and so tourists passing by can expect to be reminded despite the "cosmetic changes" tried in the past.
My friend Stephanie has created an amazingly interesting and weird new project by opening a factory in Second Life! In an attempt to raise serious issues about the intersection of 3d web environments like Second Life and World of Warcraft and our real world economy, she's created the Double Happiness Jean factory, the first virtual sweatshop. It's a little hard to wrap your head around, but they are selling real world jeans (that you can wear) that are digitally printed onto a special fabric, but in order to have the jeans produced a number of people need to be "working" in Second Life. A half dozen people need to literally be simultaneously online and pressing buttons on virtual machines in order to make the virtual conveyor belt run, and for the jeans to be produced (printed out) in the real world.
These workers actually get paid in Lindens, the currency that is used in Second Life. They are paid 200 Lindens an hour, which is about 90 cents. Word is that this is good pay in the virtual world. People talk a lot about how Second Life and other virtual worlds allow for all kinds of experimentation that is difficult or impossible in real life. But can we seriously talk about something being different or alternative when the same exact capitalist social relations that exist in our first life are reproduced in Second Life? What does it mean that people who spend hours and hours in virtual worlds, I would assume in part to escape the problems, pressures or seeming limitations of their real lives, go to work in a virtual factory in order to be able to buy virtual clothes and code scripts to be able to perform virtual sex acts on other avatars?
I feel like I hear more and more about protests, strikes and other activist actions within Second Life, but I'm still unsure as to what they all add up to. There is an excitement and buzz around these things, it seems largely because they are new, but do they challenge any power in a real way? Are the virtual offices of a company a site where they are vulnerable? Is anything actually created there that can be stopped or blocked? Are companies dependent enough on their virtual presences that disrupting them has a real world effect? I guess I don't really know, but I'm very skeptical.
Just got a note from Mad One in Pheonix, AZ. He's curating a street art sticker art show in Phoenix and is looking for stickers to be sent in from far and wide. You can contact him here.
Send your art in!!! Support the sticker art movement!
MAD INK DESIGNZ
305 S. Mckemy st.
Tempe, AZ 85281 usa
There are some super rad art history books out there that aren’t frequently taught in art history classes. Lots of them aren’t even known in the radical art circles within which we traverse. In the course of preparing a class entitled ‘Horizontality + Creativity: Art as Social Justice,’ I have come across a bunch of these super rad books.
This just came through the inbox from the Wouter Osterholt en Elke Uitentuis in the Netherlands, seems like a cool project:
Speaking Through Walls
We're looking for people that can help us finding political/revolutionary murals for a project called 'Speaking Through Walls' that will be presented during the art exhibition 'Ground', September 2008 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
The murals can be made by professionals, amateurs, protest groups, schools, government, children, etc. For us it's more important to find murals that tell a story about situations of social injustice within your county than the esthetic beauty of the painting. Do you know any murals in your surrounding that would fit within our project and would you like to help us out? Please contact us and give us as much information about it as possible.
Seeing Nicholas' post of that Chicago project reminded me of this- one of my favorite street art projects in Detroit- or ever, really.... This is, I believe, the old United Artists theater building downtown. Some artist(s) painted almost every window with these amazing figures in a unique style. Also a smattering of more traditional graffiti and politico scrawl. All, sadly, long gone by now.
Anyone with more information about this or the artist(s) involved, please please leave a comment!
Photo by my sister, Rebecca Reuland.
I found this in the Bulletins on our myspace page...
I'm (finally) going to gather up all the postqueer contributions to put together a zine. Since PQP is an open platform, the zine will be, too, so I want to extend some advertising space in the back for fellow glue stick jockeys/paginators/queer zinesters, other queer-based projects, and businesses.
If you have a zine or project and would like to have an ad in the zine, get in touch. Sizes are 2.75" x 2.75." You can email them to me ( info at postqueerproject dot com), if they're saved @ at least 150dpi, as a .jpg, .eps, .tif, or .pdf. Or, of course, mail to PQP / PO Box 22474 / Oakland CA 94609
Free, of course... but even better if you're willing to trade ad space and/or forward this to all your zine-making friends and cohorts.
Let's shoot for a January 31 deadline, but contact me as soon as possible.
01/26/2008 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Many contemporary artists are using craft to make diverse and timely political statements. Because creating crafts is so often social and communal, they can play a vital role in the public sphere. The speakers examine the role of craft in forming national identities, especially in times of political turmoil or war; notions of patriotism; feminism and the domestic sphere; and unconventional economic models. Five artists will present projects and discuss their work. By linking the act of production and handmaking in the public realm to ideological issues of agency, participants ask how art makes political subjects. Panelists include Liz Collins, artist/designer; Sabrina Gschwandtner, artist/curator; Cat Mazza, artist/activist; and Allison Smith, visual artist. Moderator: Julia Bryan-Wilson, art historian and critic, University of California at Irvine.
This program is presented concurrently with the release of the February issue of Modern Painters magazine, within which a roundtable discussion by the panelists is featured. Participants of this program have also collaborated on a large-scale knit banner to be unveiled at the event. Following the panel discussion, audience members are invited to an informal craft reception in which panelists will present tactile examples of the materials, machinery, and processes they use in their work.
This lecture is co-sponsored by Modern Painters and Artists & Audiences Exchange, a public program of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
$8; free to all students and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with ID
Box Office Information:
In person purchases can be made at The New School Box Office at 66 West 12th Street, main floor, Monday- Friday 1:00-7:00 p.m. The box office opens the first day of classes and closes after the last paid event of each semester.
For events scheduled during the summer term, the box office will open one hour before each event. During this period only, reservations and inquiries can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 212.229.5488.
I recently came across an amazing project in Chicago that has been ongoing since July of 2004. All of the windows of the top 3 floors of the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative building contain a photograph of US soldiers who have died in Iraq. The installation is incredibly powerful and reminds one of the terrible costs of war.
The Facade Project is created by Carrie Iverson with the support of the CPC and she writes, “The installation will be ongoing until the troops currently stationed in Iraq return home.”
To see the project in person visit the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative at 4642 N. Western Ave.
On line it can be viewed at: http://www.chicagoprintmakers.com/docs/gallery/facade.php
Check out my friend Jean Cozzens and the website she is working on! She makes gorgeous prints and also has done some rad collaborative work- like building cardboard cities in galleries and libraries with children large and small!!!! http://www.secretdoorprojects.org/
I am blessed by a gigantic network of people that span the whole world, practically all continents included. There's even the Anti-Santa from Antarctica that once subletted my ro- (I dont live in a full room). Yet he totally trashed it left beer bottles under my bed, soiled my sheets, gave away all my records, never did the dishes, and moved onto the couch when I came back. Practically like most traveling oogles that end up crashing at your house. (I'm sorry to all whom I was that vagabond)
As for other folks I've been fortunate enough to meet, whose work I admire, have politics and compassion I have affinity for, there's Armsrock from Denmark,
and Basco in Santiago, Chile.
They are incredible people, both with their own perspectives on politics, and differing motivations for making street art. I only put them together in this post because of the impression they have made on me.
GIve em a look.
Photo taken by me, in Santiago, Chile
A nice short interview with political poster archivist and artist Lincoln Cushing just popped up on the PLAZM magazine site. It's definitely worth the quick read, check it out here, and below is a short quote:
"It seems that you have been busy with research into Chinese political posters from the GPCR, and the survey of the archives of Inkworks Press, the worker-owned cooperative press in Berkeley. Are there any other historical poster movements that you've become interested in lately?
I’m interested in ALL of them lately, especially the connections between them and the gaps in scholarship. The sad fact is that we really know so little about these poster movements. Few people are aware of the numerous poster workshops that sprang up in the U.S. right after the 1970 National Guard murders at Kent State and Jackson State. Even “iconic” poster history is barely scratched – who knows that the art students who made the Paris 1968 posters were, in fact, screenprinting for the first time? They hadn’t been taught this technique in school, but it was the right medium for the moment. I didn’t know this until a colleague, Gene Marie Tempest, conducted some interviews with participants in 2007."
Lincoln also has his on site, Docs Populi, which has a huge collection of information and images on the history of political graphics, from Chinese and Cuban posters, to the cultural production of the labor movement, to the history of the use of the graphic fist in US political movements.
A very cool little video about these kids recent show in Paris, check it out here.
The 3rd Annual Memorial Bike Ride went as planned on Sunday, January 5th.
There were around 250-300 cyclists that attended the rides that eventually converged on City Hall, in Manhattan. Attendees included people unfamiliar with any of the deceased to parents and family members that had lost loved ones.
I'm proud of all the folks that have been involved in sustaining the Ghost Bike project and organizing the memorial ride. Thanks for keeping the memory of fallen cyclists alive.
Those whose honor we rode for yesterday were:
Juan Solis Franco Scorcia David Smith
Elijah Wrancher Habian Rodriquez
Carolina Hernandez Mark Grichevsky
Jeffrey Moore Anthony Delgado
Luis Ramos Craig Murphey Sam Hindy
and 9 Unkown Cyclists
Here are a few images from the Paper Politics exhibit in Whitewater, WI (October 18- November 17, 07). I have been working there part time and was consistently blown away by how many people were at the show, taking notes, and spending a lot of time with the work.
I would stop in the gallery a few times a week and there were at least 10-15 people viewing the show at all times.
Paper Politics had such a dramatic impact on a number of the students I spoke with.
This Sunday, January 5th, will be the 3rd Annual Memorial Ride & Walk for people that have been killed by cars on the streets of NYC. Many pedestrians and cyclists pass away each year in NYC without any acknowledgment, the ride is to honor the deaths of the people who have died in the last year as a result of accidents with automobiles.
This year's annual memorial ride has three starting locations in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. If you can't make it to a starting location, please feel free to join us at any stop along the route posted below. If you don't want to ride a bike, there will also be a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to honor all pedestrians killed in 2007. All rides will converge in Williamsburg and then meet the Memorial Walk at City Hall to participate in a 5:00 rally and press conference. See Ghost Bikes for more details.
The tentative schedule is as follows: