Chris passed along this link to The Citrus Report which spoke of an article in Artnews.
This following article by Carolina A. Miranda, I have plenty to say, but its Halloween and I'm going out. Check back for comments.
Street art—including stickers, posters, murals, graffiti, and even 3-D sculptures—is making its way into mainstream galleries and museums by Carolina A. Miranda
In 1989 a lanky 19-year-old working at a Rhode Island skate shop created a mug shot–style sticker of a seven-foot-tall, 500-pound French wrestler named Andre the Giant. As far as stickers go, it was pretty crude. A hand-stenciled image of his face was accompanied by the inscrutable phrase “Andre the Giant Has a Posse.” The artist ran off 100 copies of the image and got to work pasting it all over Providence. Once he had the city covered, he moved on to Boston, New York, and the rest of the eastern seaboard. “Andre” materialized everywhere—stop signs, pay phones, airport bathrooms. A startled patron at an Athens, Georgia, diner found the wrestler’s sleepy visage staring back at him from the inside lid of a coffee creamer.
For Shepard Fairey, the work’s creator, the thrill of perplexing the public with a mysterious slogan (is it a band? is it a cult?) was the beginning of a prolific career making street art—the catchall used to describe not-always-legally-installed stickers, posters, stencils, murals, and 3-D sculptures. His works—which bear a signature mix of Constructivism, Art Nouveau, and punk graphics—have papered back alleys and water towers from Melbourne to Barcelona. They have been featured in gallery shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin.
On Wednesday we headed way up the mountain that rests on the side of Ecatepec, winding around crazy narrow roads and huge speedbumps. The speedbumps up here are almost like hills, a good foot high so you have to drive at them on a 45 degree angle in order to not bottom out, and even then, there's a loot of scraping of car on pavement. We arrive at a community center in Ostor, which is pretty high up, above the smog line, with the sun beating down on us hard. The weather hadn't been so great up to this point, so it didn't even cross my mind to put sunblock on. That was a huge mistake, by the end of the day it felt like a chunk of my nose had melted off.
As we're pulling our gear and posters out of the cabs, a large crew of kids, all between 6-10, great us. Kids here are different then kids back in the States. They don't seem to be afraid of much of anything, and they carry themselves different, they seem much more self assured, but not in some macho aggressive way. They rolled up on us and wanted to shake all our hands, they introduced themselves and then asked what our names were and where we were from, and then once the formalities were out the way, they wanted to play. Here we were in their playground, so they expected we were going to deliver! We handed out posters, which immediately got rolled up into play swords and the fighting began, a dozen kids chasing me with newsprint sabers, until my asthma kicked in and I just couldn't run anymore.
This was one of the most fun spots we worked in, covering a large 12 foot wide by 25 foot high wall with posters, and then spreading around the sides and edges of the community center. The kids climbed around with us and played until most of them got bored and moved on, except one 8 year old named Jesus, who attached himself to me and intently watched as a started pasting Celebrate People's History posters around the edges of the center. He would pull out posters and hand them to me, and we'd talk in broken Spanish about the colors of the posters, what he enjoyed doing, etc.
Pretty soon he got bored of just choosing the posters, and took over the whole operation, carefully pulling a poster out, rolling paste on the wall, lining the poster up evenly with the previous one, and pasting over it, sealing it down.He must of pasted a couple dozen posters, it was pretty amazing, it's hard for me to imagine a kid in US having that kind of attention span.
3/4 of the way through pasting the walls in Ostor a red pick-up truck sporting the logo of the PAN (the right-wing party in Mexico) pulled up and 3 guys jumped out. A heated argument sparked up between our handlers (at least nominally representatives of the ruling PRD party, put really community activists and organizers inspired by La Otra Compaña) and these PAN goons, who were pissed that we were putting up posters with left political content. They were threatening the community center, saying that it would lose all its funding. They weren't violent, but definitely aggressive, even going so far as to threaten the elderly community women that were watching over the center and giving us instructions as to where we should paste and paint, and where not to.
Ostor was also the first spot we went to that had a fair amount of existent graffiti, but almost all of it seemed like gang markings (the "South Central Boys" seem to have strayed pretty far from Los Angeles) or random tags. My favorite was FLOYD written in giant pink letters, begging the question of whether some confused parents had named their poor kid Floyd, or somehow lost-in-translation that name had taken on a rough edge and became "hard," or maybe it was simply an ode to oddball British rock music in visual pun form.Either way, it seemed to be the one marking we covered over that anyone noticed, with a gang of older kids congregating as we were leaving, asking each other "What happened to Floyd?"
Off we went back to Xalostog, for an opening of the Yo! show, a stencil workshop, and another olfactory dose of the animal rendering plant. We rolled up and the walls we had pasted in the entryway had dried, and looked great. The center was really pleased with them, and planned on leaving it up for as long as it lasted. Unfortunately it wasn't just the community that showed up for the show and workshop, three cops were there too, one with an M16!! John Carr put it best, "What the hell is a cop with a machine gun doing in an art show called Yo! What Happened to Peace????"
Aside from the cops, who beyond the guns spent a chunk of the time harassing Melanie and Geraldine, the event went great. The workshop was really fun, almost entirely populated by 8-12 year olds and their parents, none of whom had ever cut a stencil before. There was also a crew of teenagers, young graffiti writers, who wanted to hang out and see what they could learn. Language made it hard to communicate, but they seemed cool and interested, and I gave them copies of Stencil Pirates. I ended up giving away a lot of books over the week, because people often didn't have much money on them (or much money period), but wanted to know where to get the books. In the States I'm used to just giving people a web address to go buy them, but in Ecatepec that just led to glazed over stares. I don't think a single one of these kids had a computer, never mind an email address or regular access to the internet.
Most of the younger kids struggled with cutting the stencils, but a good chunk were successfully able to carve their names out of the cardstock, and immediately got to painting them all over the place. We didn't suspect such a young group, but they ended up being able to handle sharp blades. The only one to cut themsleves was one of the older kids! It was awesome watching brothers and sisters helping each other, and kids struggle but succeed at their first spray paintings.
As if we hadn't already crammed enough into a day, we rushed out from Xalostog back to D.F., to the Museo de la Ciudad. Favianna had been invited at the last minute to be on a panel with Jorge from Komal Collective and Joaquin from the Ecatepec Ministry of Culture. I'm still a little fuzzy on the exact details, but sometime in the past month, Komal and other adherents to La Otra Compaña had worked with some of the more radical people in the Ministry of Culture to get the government (I believe the government of the State of Mexico, which includes Ecatepec and part of Mexico City) to pass a bill stating that Art is a Human Right that Must be Accessible to All. Part of this event was to celebrate and announce that, but also to strategize how to enforce it, how to make the government actually fund the arts for the poorest sectors of society.
For being last minute, there was a great turnout of 60 or so people. In addition to Favi speaking, Jesus, Bobby and Sombre set up live screenprinting, Alex and I wheatpasted on 4 or 5 4x8 sheets of plywood lined up, and Reed did live video-mixing of footage he had shot of the trip, art from Reproduce & Revolt, and live camera of the screenprinting. Jesus printed a poster design of mine, my "Free the Land" print I flattened to 1 color and changed to say "Tierra y Libertad."
Just a reminder that we'll be at the Prints Gone Wild print fair this weekend! So come by and say howdy and look at the art, or even buy some if you are so inclined. It's cheap.
Sat Nov. 1st 6pm-12am Opening reception/party
Sun Nov. 2nd 12-6pm Fair is open all day
213 n 8th St.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211
Bill Daniel has a new photo and video installation up at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers called The Great Depression which is part of his Sunset Scavenger project. The gallery space has been transformed into a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie, with projected video, large-scale still photography and several interactive installations complete with hobo shack. The show will be up until Jan. 10, 2009.
Sunset Scavenger is an on-going project exploring images and themes of social and environmental collapse in the last decades of the petroleum era. It's also the name of a '65 Chevy sailvan, and the video show that is projected on its sails, and the coast-to-coast tour that will bring the show to your town. The sailvan -- a 2-masted gaff-rigger schooner-- functions as tour vehicle, as well as projection screen. The video program is a 2-projector documentary-essay on low-down survival strategies in a world of ecologic and economic collapse.
Sunset Scavenger tells the real-world stories of ascendant down'n'outers and their earnest lessons of self-reliance in the face of civil decay. See and hear the anchor-outs, rubber tramps, off-the-gridders, desert rats, and punk river rafters that are today's true cultural vanguard.
This low-budget, non-linear, semi-documentary epic and morally beneficial apocalyptic allegory features the Abandoned RV starring in a hastily revised New Urbanism, and is supported by the surprise comeback of Advanced Woodworking and Basic Piracy. Here's what happens when there's more cars than houses, more bad weather than gasoline, and more poor people than cops.
The next stop on the trip is the city center of Ecatepec, where we meet four members of the local graffiti crew the Komal Collective. Komal Collective formed in 2006 as a response to the Zapatistas' La Otra Compaña, and the call for self-organization in many areas of society. The members of Komal are individual artists, focusing on stenciling and political graffiti, but they are also organizers, trying to bring together and politicize different elements of the street art scene in Mexico. Their stencils dot the walls of Ecatepec, and many surprisingly engage me, unlike so much of the street art that just seems to add to the heep of messaging already saturating NYC streets. Komal also recently organized a large scale museum exhibit of street art from artists all over Mexico called Las Calles Están Diciendo Cosas (The Streets are Saying Things).
I barely got a chance to make any sense of D.F. before we had to rush off to Ecatepec, which is no easy task. Although just above Mexico City, for some reason it was so difficult to get to, which each day bringing new routes, some taking 20 minutes, others 2 hours. We would pile into 3 or 4 taxis, or take 3 or 4 different subway trains, only to emerge in a location that ultimately didn't seems that far away. The trip was always beautiful, with Mexico City unfolding before us, covered in graffiti and amazing hand-painted signs. Almost every square inch is decorated, and not by Photoshop or Illustrator, but by human hands. The landscape seems crafted by hands of all different sizes, giant hands to mold the cinderblock sprawl, tiny hands to paint the smallest details on signs for food, she repair and photocopies. Although massive, the scale of life seems so much more manageable than in the US, I can see how each piece was constructed by a set of hands not all that different than mine.
Although they are advertisements, and operate just like corporate billboards in New York, I can help but fall in love with the giant sales pitch texts painted along the sides of the road. Each letter two feet wide and four feet tall, the names of Rock en Español bands stand tall like straight letter grafitti pieces, competing with throw-ups and tags, and time itself, as the walls crumble under the paint. We speed through Ecatepec and every inch is filled, with ramshackle buildings and texts of all sizes. The only space that escapes total saturation are the tops of the hills and mountains in the distance.
Our first stop is a community at the upper edge of Ecatepec, down a dirt road to a community center called the Centro Cultural Ricardo Flores Magon. The community just celebrated their 14 year anniversary, having started as a group of about 500 people with no place to live, squatting their land, building rudimentary structures, fighting with the government, constructing solid cinderblock dwellings, and now fighting to get utilities and city services. Although still living in a deep level of poverty, the people we met seemed really committed to their community, and embedded in a larger context of struggle for the improvement of everyone's lives. Although not all anarchists, they chose to identify with Ricardo Flores Magon because of his role in the Mexican Revolution and his organizing of the working class in urban areas (as opposed to Zapata and Villa's primary rural terrain of struggle).
We hung an impromptu show on the walls of the center, and gave a brief talk about what we all do in the US. It was strange talking about Justseeds and trying to building a self-sustaining artist network in the states in the context of a community that had literally built itself out of ground. The privileges we have here made me feel like our struggles seem somewhat trivial in comparison. But the community seemed appreciative of our words and art, and we got a tour of the area, looking for walls we could paint and paste on, and brainstorming ideas for public art. Unfortunately because of the size and sprawl of Ecatepec, and a fair amount of disorganization, I never made it back to this community before the trip ended. Some folks did make it back tho, and did a silkscreening workshop, printing Zapatista t-shirts and leaving the screens with the cultural center so they can keep using them.
I show up in Mexico City on Friday, October 3rd. This is one day after the 40 year anniversary of the Tlatelolco Massacre, a national day of mourning and anger. The day before tens of thousands had filled the Tlatelolco Plaza (and other parts of the city) in memory of 1968, and by night the city had erupted in violence, with sporadic rioting, street fighting and window smashing (there is a great slideshow of photos here). I arrived to photos of punks attacking cops on the covers of all the newspapers. This is my kind of town! On further exploration it is pretty unclear what really happened, as there are stories of the cops paying street kids to run crazy, and the mainstream news coverage was filled with stories of how restrained and well behaved the police were, as if the entire incident was a well managed photo-op.
But street fighting isn't the only action in Mexico. For over two months the teachers in Morelos have been on strike, and increasingly teachers, and workers in other trades, have been holding solidarity strikes in states across Mexico. This includes the mobilization of teachers in Oaxaca, and a march of members of the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca), which formed out of 2006's popular uprising in Oaxaca, to Morelos to support the teachers.
The day I arrived right-wing tabloids pulled a trick from Paul Revere, and screamed from their mastheads "The APPO is Coming! The APPO is Coming!," as if that was a bad thing. Few seemed that concerned, the vast majority of Mexico's population is either struggling working class, poor or even poorer, and most seem to identify with the recent popular revolts in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Atenco.
The last time I was in Mexico City was back in 2002, and it definitely has changed. The city center has been seriously gentrified and deeply changed. Five years ago the area around the Zocolo (the massive public square in the middle of the city) was filled with people trying to sell anything and everything you could imagine, from bootleg cd's to the rubber feet on kitchen appliances. People, never mind cars, could barely manouver through the rows of stands and blankets filling almost every street. Now the streets are mostly clear, with cabs and cop cars (always with their lights flashing for no apparent reason) zipping around, each looking for action in their own way. The Zocolo had been filled with hundreds of tents, with people selling books, camping out in protest, doing educational activities. Punk kids hanging out by the giant flag pole had pointed me in the direction of UTA, the anarchist bar and social center. Now that's all gone. The Zocolo itself is clean and nearly empty, venders are pushed to the edges, their goods homogenized to lowest common denominator tourist shlock and weird religious knicknacks.
Carlos Slim and his cronies seem to have pretty successful killed off autonomous life in the center of Mexico City. It is still beautiful, but seems empty and hollow, like an ancient building with all the original stone and woodwork, but abandoned by its residents. The entire area used to be covered by posters and graffiti, Declarations from the walls called to stop the privatization of the electric utility, or the overthrow of President Fox, or support for the Zapatistas. Now the blank walls simply cry "No Anunciar" -Post No Bills.
There are still some pretty great cultural venues in the center. The National Palace houses some of Diego Rivera's most impressive murals, and Bellas Artes does the same for David Alfaro Siqueiros. We also stumbled upon a small art center off the Zocolo which had two great photography exhibits up, one of images of opposition to the coup in Chile in 1973, and the other of Mexico 1968. The images were powerful, and the politics very direct and upfront. Mexico is so different that the US in this respect, while our country does everything possible to bury our history of radical political activity, Mexico revels in their history, centering it in the national identity.
Two months ago or so, Favianna Rodriguez (co-editor of Reproduce & Revolt) asked me if I wanted to take a trip to Mexico City with a crew of artists. My answer, of course, was Hell Yeah! So starting on Oct. 3rd, a dozen of us headed to Mexico to take part in the Festival Internacional de los Nuevos Vientos (Festival of the New Winds) in Ecatepec, a sprawling, metastasizing municipality on the northern edge of Mexico City.
I'm not sure I fully understand how this trip came about, but here's the basic gist. Favianna (and other artists she works with, like the Taller Tupac Amaru) have been visiting Mexico City on and off for years, and one of the things they've been involved in is El Faro, a series of community centers spread across Mexico City that have a huge amount of art programs organized for and often by local youth. This includes silkscreen studios, block printing, murals, graffiti, etc. The founder of El Faro, Benjamin, is a 68er. In Mexico this means you participated in the student protests in 1968, and survived the Tlatelolco Massacre, where the government attacked and slaughtered hundreds of students and their supporters.
Recently the PRD (Mexico's left-liberal political party) came to office in Ecatepec. Once elected, a portion of the left-wing of the PRD left Mexico City and headed north to Ecatepec, seeing the possibility of more change there than in the old city. Ecatepec is almost defined by change. With over 2 million people, it is the most populous municipality in Mexico, and it is growing every day. Although at the center it seems to be a fairly typical, if poor, sprawling urban landscape, the closer you get to the edges the less stable the development. The city appears to spill out and up the mountain, with tens of thousands of single story, one room cinderblock homes, rebar poking out the top, waiting to be used to stabilize a second floor to be built on the roof. And beyond the cinderblocks are even more homes, constructed out of cardboard, corrugated steel, and other found materials.
Favianna's friend Benjamin headed up to Ecatepec too, and ended up the Secretary of the Minister of Culture. Benjamin's main platform has been Art is Human Right that Must be Accessible to All, and to that end he has been encouraging the development of local cultural centers in dozens of Ecatepec barrios, as well as organizing large scale free festivals that bring in thousands of international artists to share their skills with the city. This program has uneasily dove-tailed with groups of Ecatepec activists and artists organized since 2006 as part of the Zapatista's La Otra Campaña, or Other Campaign. We met dozens of people that came out of La Otra Campaña in Ecatepec, who are trying to use the left government programs as a launching pad for more radical activities.
Our motley crew walked into this context. We are all artists currently living in the US, the majority Latina/os, with a couple Filipina/os and gringos thrown in for good measure. Here's the roll call:
Favianna Rodriguez, Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes from Taller Tupac Amaru in Oakland; Maria Beddia and Bobby Nicholson from the Bay Area; Josué Rojas, muralist and journalist from the Bay Area; Geraldine Lozano, Reed Rickert and Sal, all videomakers, photographers or documenters from the Bay. John Carr, Contra One and Werc from LA and the Yo! What Happened to Peace? crew; Cece Carpio from NYC and Trust Your Struggle, and Me.
In her dream job as curator of the Labadie Collection of Social Protest Literature at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Julie Herrada has curated a timely new exhibit. The Whole World Was Watching: Protest and Revolution in 1968, Selections from the Labadie Collection provides a snapshot of a complex and pivotal year in American history, highlighting protests against the Vietnam War and the draft, the highly fractured Presidential election and the violence that erupted outside the Democratic Convention in Chicago against anti-war demonstrators, and the activities of student and other protest groups such as the Ann Arbor-founded Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, the White Panthers, and the Yippies. The exhibit notes the women's movement and international matters such as Prague Spring and the May Paris uprisings.
The exhibit is on view in the Gallery (Room 100) at the Hatcher Graduate Library. A related display of original record albums and political buttons from the University of Michigan's Special Collections Library is also exhibited in the Special Collections Exhibit Room located on the seventh floor (same building). Julie has also launched an online exhibit guestbook that visitors can write their 1968 memories in. An afternoon panel discussion featuring activists from the era and a live performance in the evening by Country Joe McDonald will take place in The Gallery on November 13. The exhibit runs until December 19.
The Ann Arbor Chronicle ran an article about the show on Wednesday.
Long-time friend and collaborator of some of us Justseeders Todd Chandler has recently released a teaser clip of his current film project Flood. Flood was shot cinema verite style during the travels of Swoon and co.'s Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea. Members of the raft trip and his bands Dark Dark Dark and Fall Harbor make up the cast. Some of the shots are quite striking, looking forward to seeing this project develop. Check out the Flood website here.
Since the weekend I've been wanting to write a post about heading up to the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) protest outside the final presidential debate last week at Hofstra University (about an hour outside NYC). I took the train out their with my friend Emily in order to show support for IVAW, who I think have been doing some of the most interesting and innovative protesting against the Iraq War, and in general, since the war started. One of their main tactics has been using their uniforms and status as veterans as a tool, to be able to enter certain spaces, speak to certain audiences that would otherwise be closed off, etc.
At the protest, we saw the beginnings of the limitations of this tool. Not only where six IVAW members arrested, but one was trampled by a horse and sent to the hospital. No media was there to cover the event. I couldn't quite come up with the right words to describe the experience, but Emily has just sent out a really clear and well written email that describes what happened, so I'm going to just repost it here. Please, Please, Please, check out the video here.
I just wanted to draw your attention to this video, particularly these video stills, that i shot during the Iraq Veterans Against the War protest at the final U.S. presidential debates, last Wednesday, in Long Island, NY. The video is extremely disturbing and clearly shows Iraq War Veteran Nick Morgan at the moment when his head was crushed to the sidewalk under a police horse. This story has been completely ignored in the media. He was legally, peacefully and standing on the sidewalk when the event occurred.
The still images speak volumes to this moment in history, please look at them and please get them to people (journalists, activists, veterans) who can use them! - http://www.flickr.com/multiplefronts
The video is on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlI7tQCqwbU (watch in high quality)
Video links and more information are posted at - http://www.iwitnessvideo.info
Last Wednesday October 15th 2008, former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan, a 24 year old veteran of the US war in Iraq, was nearly killed by riot police, his face crushed under a police horse, during a peaceful protest outside the final US presidential debates.
Morgan is a native of Annapolis, MD who spent four-years the US Army and one year in Iraq. He was a participant in the Winter Soldier hearings and is an active member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), a national organization of 'Global War On Terror' veterans who had come to the Presidential debates in Long Island, demanding that veterans' concerns be heard during these nationally televised dialogues.
The IVAW had previously announced, sending a letter to CBS, that two veterans had prepared one question each for Obama and McCain, to be asked during the televised debate. They had also announced that if they didn't receive a response by 7pm on the night of the debates, that those veterans would enter the debates anyway, in an attempt to be seen, if not actually have their voices heard.
On Wednesday, as the sun was going down, the veterans waited for a response with a crowd of civilian supporters. When no response came from CBS, Obama, or McCain by 7pm, they led a march peacefully to the gate of the debates. Seven veterans were arrested while attempting to enter the gate of the national debates.
Nassau county police immediately began pushing the crowd of media, veterans and supporters backwards and across the street, charging riot cops and horses into the tightly packed crowd. One officer, Officer Quagliano was seen by many witnesses to be driving his horse backwards, in circles and out of control, repeatedly antagonizing Nick Morgan and a group of Iraq War vets who were peacefully holding the front of the line. The IVAW veterans are committed to non-violence and committed to protecting 'civilians' that come out to support them. Video shows him swiping Morgan and veteran Carlos Harris with the head of his horse just a few minutes before trampling them on the ground.
Tonight is our Provo event at the Signs of Change exhibition here in NYC (see announcement here), and Arthur Magazine was nice enough to post an announcement for it...but they also included a short video pieces about the history of the Provo White Bicycle Plan which I hadn't seen before, and attach here for y'all:
Cannonball Press and Supreme Trading proudly present the 2008 version:
PRINTS GONE WILD 4!!
The fourth ever annual vernacular printacular mega-hairy Brooklyn affordable print fair. (OK, we did one in St. Louis too)
The ORIGINAL AND ONLY 50 bucks and under American print fair.
Sat Nov. 1st 6pm-12am Opening reception/party
Sun Nov. 2nd 12-6pm Fair is open all day
213 n 8th St.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211
The Amazing Hancock Brothers McGregor, TX
Yeehaw Industries Knoxville, TN
Howling Print Studios Brooklyn, NY
Tugboat Press Pittsburgh, PA
Bikini Press Minneapolis, MN
Justseeds Brooklyn, NY
Sean Star Wars Laurel, MS
Kayrock Screenprinting Brooklyn, NY
Space 1026 Philadelphia, PA
Purgatory Pie Press New York, NY
Drive By Press Madison, WI
Isle of Printing Nashville, TN
Cannonball Press Brooklyn, NY
After last year’s incredibly successful fair, Brooklyn’s own Cannonball Press has again assembled an extraordinary menagerie of graphic artists under one roof, who will be present, displaying their prints, and selling them for $50 or less for two days only.
Long-time champions of the affordable art cause, Cannonball Press has brought together these great artists as part of New York Fine Art Print Week so that New York can have a chance to see first-hand the incredible resurgence in affordable fine art printing that is happening across the country.
An entertaining sideshow will take place during the fair, featuring traditional Mexican music from Grupo Diamante Norteno, “deathgrass” titans the Black Death All-stars, a print-o-centric fashion show, emcee David Rees (of Get Your War On fame), a performance by the Amazing Hancock Brothers, and on-the-spot printing with Drive-By Press, which operates a mobile press out of the back of their van.
The best affordable art in town, guaranteed.
The AK Press blog, Revolution by the Book, just posted a review of Realizing the Impossible written by Alan W. Moore, a long time NYC radical artist, theorist and teacher, who was also one of the founders of ABC No Rio! Here's the first couple paragraphs of the review, and the rest is here:
The artist in capitalist society is necessarily a revolutionary. S/he is as well necessarily an entrepreneur. Between these two positions lies a wide gulf in understandings. The artist must strive to change society according to a vision, because s/he does not fit. Creativity is not an absolute good and value in this society, and the artist is absolutely committed to creativity. Still, the artist must survive, and so must do what that requires.
What is that? What is longed-for utopia and what is impinging reality? The divide between our dreams of a perfect world and the realities of our lives, between what is necessary and what is desired has shifted. The Wall is gone; new walls are a’building. The organizers of the Documenta 12 exhibition recently proffered the assertion, “Modernity is our antiquity.” In finding new coordinates for radical position-takings today, we are continuously picking through those ruins for stuff we can use.
Realizing the Impossible bespeaks an exciting upsurge of attention to a world of dynamic committed artistic practices, past and present. It is largely a book on contemporary art, concerned first with explicating artistic practice now and in the postmodern past.
Dara and I were excited to have Kei and Illcommonz from Tokyo visit us in late September for the opening of the Signs of Change exhibition here in NYC. They have both been involved in actions and movements included in the show, most recently the organization against the G8 summit in Japan. Kei is also connected to the Japanese anarchist archive CIRA Japan, who lent us a handful of Japanese anarchist posters from the 60s-80s for the the exhibition.
While they were here we weighed them down with posters and propaganda from the US, much of it for Tokyo's infoshop Irregular Rhythm Asylum, which is largely run by Kei. I'm excited that Kei has created a small exhibition of my posters, which is being held at the 3rd annual Tokyo Bookfair, which is put together by a handful of DIY, punk and anarchist shops, zines and distros. They are also showing Dara's video Tactical Tourist, a 15-minute look at the Barcelona squatting scene in 2006.
Our friend Bill Daniel has a new show opening tomorrow night in Pittsburgh. Check it out:
Pittsburgh is in many ways a small town. I went to a University of Pittsburgh Street Law class last night to show-and-tell rad youth printing projects to possibly incorporate into the curriculum they are writing for high school students. I met and talked at length with education professor Noreen Garman. She mentioned that a piece she wrote defending Bill Ayers would be in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today. I was forwarded the unedited version, which I am including here. It's a smart assessment of the 1960's and talks much of the possibility within all people to change. I was really moved by it.
Possibility is indeed the secret heart of time.
William Ayers and the American Character
Noreen Garman and Anna Klaman
University of Pittsburgh
October 13, 2008
November 5th will bring a merciful respite from the incessant drumbeat of political campaigning and a new administration turning toward the challenges of the future. Unfortunately we are left with some unsavory residue, including a worn cardboard image of Dr. William Ayers, a ‘60’s anti-war activist. Through a major strategy, headlined as the Obama/Ayers Connection, the McCain advisors, with half truths and specious lies, managed to frame Dr. Ayers, as an unrepentant bomber. Over the past weeks Bill Ayers has become a generic synonym for “terrorist,” a political brand name used by the Republican campaign to question Obama’s judgment and character. Obama admitted that he served on community committees in Chicago with Dr. Ayers, a university professor and community organizer, but that he was only eight years old when Ayers engaged in activities with the Weather Underground. The various media continued to report, hourly, the McCain strategy. It was heightened by candidate Palin’s shouts at her rally, that Obama “is palling around with terrorists.” The liberal media lapped up the strategy, reporting McCain ads and speeches where both Palin and McCain worked the crowd as they invoked the rhetoric of fear and nativism. Chris Mathews, Frank Rich and others chastised McCain by claiming his strategy had gone from tough negative campaigning to inciting vigilantism. Sadly, however, the unyielding McCain strategy, accusing Obama of radical associations, and the liberal media’s counter to the accusations, continued through the final debate.. All parts of the national and local media have been relentlessly using the Bill Ayers brand and, as such, instantiating Dr. William Ayers as the “unrepentant domestic terrorist” that represents the worst of the ‘60’s.
What is clear in the popularity of the William Ayers brand is how difficult it has been for the country to come to terms with that time in history. The 1960s were the best and worst of times. They were difficult in that a generation of Americans had to redefine our sense of what it meant to be at war. Our fathers gently laid upon our shoulders the heroic memories of their service in World War II—a legacy characterized by equal parts of honor and pride, grief and horror. They bequeathed to us their strong sense of nobility for having defeated an evil of such proportions that it defied the very essence of what it meant to be human. We grew up viewing our nation through their eyes, where the forces of good triumphed and fascism crumbled when faced with the light of righteousness.
Yet, in the Viet Nam War era, everything was different. Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers revealed that we were the aggressor, rather than the peasants of North Viet Nam as we had been told. For many of us, who were studying in universities in the late 1960s, the potential for evil emanating from what Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” led us to explore Marxism as a kind of utopian antidote to the excesses of consumer society. We believed that those who resisted imperialism in Southeast Asia were fighting for their freedom; and the nation our fathers had taught us to revere seemed to be on the wrong side of a war of liberation.
Making and selling t-shirts is a giant pain in the ass. On and off for the past 10 years I've been designing and making shirts, usually finding friends to do the actual printing (because I hate silkscreening shirts: it's difficult, toxic, and to me completely unrewarding). I've finally given up. No more shirt making for me. Instead, I've farmed some of my designs out to AK Press, who are manufacturing, distributing and directly selling many of my designs. Now you can get my Autonomy, Chemicals Make Our Lives Better, and Zapatista designs from them. In addition, they've created a new shirt out of my Anarchy Hands print. Check it out here!!!
Here's some flicks of an evolving roller piece on a building on 3rd Ave. in Brooklyn, down the street from my office/studio.
The Paper Politics show is currently hanging at the Dowd Gallery at SUNY-Cortland in Upstate New York. Andrew Mount, the director at the Dowd sent me these great photos of the show installed. Seems like it's made some ripples up there, upsetting some students who actually asked the administration to remove some of the prints! I'm heading up to Cortland to do a curator's talk on October 28th. Info and directions will be on their website.
Signs of Change Dutch Provo Event!
Friday, October 24, 2008, 6-8pm
at Exit Art, 475 10th Ave, NY, NY
PREMIERE SCREENING of Dutch Provo Footage
Premiere screening of newly subtitled short films and footage of the 1960s Dutch Provo movement, and book release of Richard Kempton’s Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt (in collaboration with Autonomedia Press).
Speakers include: Jordan Zinovich, Lindsay Caplan, and Janna Schoenberger
About the Book:
Provo staged political and cultural interventions into the symbolic
and everyday spaces of Holland from 1962-1967. In this first
book-length English-language study of their history, Richard Kempton
narrates the rise and fall of Provo from early Dutch "happenings"
staged in 1962 to the "Death of Provo" in 1967. This is the fourth
book Autonomedia has done on Dutch social movements.
About the Video:
This compilation of Provo footage, newly translated and subtitled by
Janna Schoenberger and Dennis de Lange, includes scenes from the early
happenings, Dutch political life, and interviews by key members of
Provo - including an interview held with Robert Jasper Grootveld on
his houseboat in Amsterdam.
Jordan Zinovich has been associated with Autonomedia since 1986, and
is currently a senior editor. He has been working on Provo for years,
and since 1997 has been going repeatedly to Amsterdam to meet with
members of Provo. He will discuss the renaissance of Provo going on
Lindsay Caplan is a member of the Autonomedia editorial collective,
and a doctoral student at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research
focuses on the intersection between art, aesthetics, and social action
- an arena in which Provo is an essential and exciting example.
Janna Schoenberger is a doctoral student at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
She received her master's degree in Art History from Utrecht
University in the Netherlands where she lived for three years. She is
currently working as a translator for the upcoming exhibition "In and
Out of Amsterdam 1960-1975" at the Museum of Modern Art.
Autonomedia is a small non-profit publisher of books and digital
material that investigate the liberatory impulse by way of radical
politics, philosophy, arts, history, and other categories of thought
and action. We have operated as an all-volunteer editorial collective
since 1983, and are based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With more than
100 titles in active distribution, and 6-8 new books each year,
Autonomedia provides an autonomous media zone for radical art and politics, and seeks to transcend party lines, bottom lines and straight lines. We also
maintain the Interactivist Info Exchange (info.interactivist.net), an
online forum for discourse and debate on themes relevant to the books
we publish. www.autonomedia.org
Back in the Summer Labor Fest 2008 was held in San Francisco, and Graphic Work: Imaging Today's Labor Movement was hung at an SEIU labor hall as part of the festival. Graphic Work is a collection of contemporary labor posters curated by Zoeann Murphy and myself originally collected and hung in NYC back in April 2007. Art Hazelwood helped set it up in the Bay Area, and sent these photos along:
Stumbled across a fairly new project the other day, the
Radical Activism Visual Archive (the visual memory of radicality). An interesting ongoing blog/collection of political art images, posters and ephemera collected by Alexis Desgagnés, a Montreal-based academic researching political graphics. None of the images are commented on, simply collected and shown, with an option for viewers to comment.
Due Oct 21 (by email or mail) - see below for full submission information
Union Square Park's historic Pavilion is threatened by plans for a privately run, upscale restaurant. We believe that our precious public resources should stay in the hands of the people and that the pavilion should be committed to public use. We invite artists to participate in imagine public uses for the pavilion by making a black and white 11 x 17 illustration either in advance of or at our Oct 23rd rally at Union Square celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Pavilion's designation as a National Historic Landmark. For more context please see: Union Square, Then and Now
PARTICIPATING COMMISSIONED ARTISTS
Artwork by the following artists are producing commissioned illustrations:
Steve Lambert, Carolyn Ryder Cooley, Chris Rubino, Steve Marcus, Joan Linder
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
The general public is invited to submit drawings will be selected by a jury that consists of:
Martha Wilson - Executive Director of Franklin Furnace
Dara Greenwald - artist, activist, and co-curator of Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures from the 1960s to Now currently on view at Exit Art
All drawings produced at the Oct 23rd at the temporary Drawing Station in Union Squares south end from 4-6 pm will be made into hand held signs to be carried at the rally at 6 pm.
Up to 6 drawings will be used in a calendar entitled Parks for People 24/7 that illustrates year-round alternate uses of the parks pavilion. Our goal is to invite citizens to consider alternate year-round uses of the park and let the BID know that the general public will not accept a compromise on their right to public space the public wants PARKS FOR PEOPLE 24/7. This calendar will be published at the end of November. At that time, it will be hand delivered to those corporations, the judge who issued the temporary injunction on the pavilions reconstruction, and elected officials (including Mayor Bloomberg) currently in charge of Union Squares privatization. The calendar will also be sold at a low-cost, the proceeds of which contribute to the ongoing campaign to save Union Square Park.
Selected drawing will also be featured on various groups websites involved as organizers such as Pond: art, activism, and ideas (www.mucketymuck.org), Reverend Billy & The Church of Stopshopping
Participants who prefer to send drawings in advance should send work so that it is received by Oct 21st, 12 pm in one of the following formats:
By email: email@example.com File formats: outlined PDF with images embedded, hi resolution JPEG, TIFF, BMP, etc. Digital files should be no more than 4 Mb.
By snail mail:
The Immediate Life, Box 1556, New York, NY 10013
from 4-6 pm at the Drawing Station that will be temporarily set up at the South End of Union Square Park
Zolo Agonia Azania, a political prisoner in Indiana and an amazing painter, illustrator and collagist, has finally been taken off death row!!! On the eve of his third death penalty trial, the State of Indiana finally abandoned their 27 year campaign to execute Zolo. They dismissed all death penalty charges and agreed to have Zolo sentenced on his 1982 murder and robbery conviction. It looks like with good time credit, Zolo will now be released from prison in 7 years. He will be immediately released from death row. Also, under the terms of the agreement he will be allowed to challenge his 1982 convictions in federal habeas proceedings.
We have featured Zolo's art here before, and hopefully now he will be make more great work.
Here is Zolo's statement:
i am glad that the State has finally offered me this opportunity to plan a life on the outside. i can use that freedom to work for justice for others, and, of course, to establish a way of sustaining my life on my own.
i feel that God has given me many gifts; and with these gifts then i would be able to take care of myself and do good for others. i have matured in many ways over these stressful 27 plus years. i see things quite differently now than in that early stage of my life.
i still resolutely maintain my innocence. By this agreement the State gives up the death penalty request. My next course of action will be to go on into the federal court system to expose the many injustices. i will continue to contest my innocence in the murder. i am angry over the numerous ways that i've been mistreated by the judicial sanction system. i was illegally placed in this untenable position by the Indiana Supreme Court when they took back my dismissal of the case for fast and speedy trial violation, and authorized the prosecution to retry me for the death penalty for the third time! Nonetheless, i will continue to contest my innocence in this murder. i am angry over the numerous ways i've been mistreated by the system that some call justice--a term of relativity. Therefore, the protracted struggle continues!
Zolo Agona Azania #4969
Indiana State Prison
P.O. Box 41
Michigan City, Indiana 46361-0041
October 9-30, 2008
Lawton Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
A group exhibition guest curated by Faythe Levine featuring artists working at the intersection of craft, activism, feminism, enviromentalism, DIY ,street culture and creative reclamation in order to build communities capable of intervening in the world around us.
Work featured by: Kate Bingaman-Burt, AMy Carlton, Cinnamon Cooper, Betsy Greer, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Jennifer Marsh (International Fiber Collective), Cat Mazza, Handmade Nation, Lisa S olomon, Stephanie Syjuco and melissa Vogley Woods.
For those in New York City, the CUNY (City University of New York) Social Forum is happening this weekend. You can check it out here. There's a ton of activities around education and social movements.
This fall i'm hitting the road for a two month tour with a full Justseeds print show, accompanying the Gadabout Traveling Film Festival, and the indie-punk band Halo Fauna. We left yesterday and will be traveling into december, going coast to coast with a show almost every night. I brought with me a piece or two by each Justseeds artist, as well as a handfull of my own. Everything is for sale and most things are affordably priced. Odds are we're coming to a town near you so come check us out. The films are totally amazing, the music is fantastic, and the prints look great!
Click below for a full write up and our tour dates!
ABC No Rio, long time NYC art space, punk venue, Food Not Bombs kitchen, zine library and all around Lower East Side community center is trying to raise money to build a new ABC No Rio!!! At the end of high school I used to come down NYC and go to hardcore shows in the basement of ABC, checking out bands like Born Against, Rorshach, Go!, Bad Trip, etc., trading zines, buying records from Neal Squat or Rot, getting big aluminum tins of rice and beans from across the street, ABC seemed like the epicenter of early 90s NY punk scene. Only years later did I learn more about it's history, coming out of the political art scene in the late 70s/early 80s, connected to art groups like Colab, Political Art Documentation/Distribution, Group Material, and World War 3 Illustrated. As long as I remember the front of the building has been adorned with murals by Seth Tobocman, Sabrina Jones, Fly and Christopher Cardinale.
On Wednesday October 22 they'll be holding a gala and benefit auction at The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts (172 Norfolk Street). The event will include a benefit auction of works by artists such as Lady Pink, Seth Tobocman, Anton Van Dalen, CRASH, Claes Oldenburg, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Bullet Space, Chris Stain, Swoon and many others. You can see the works being auctioned here.
Fundraising Push for ABC No Rio’s Building Fund
at The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts
Wednesday October 22, 2008, 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Ticket prices begin at $75
Here's a link to a great little video about the art of LeRoy Johnson and Theodore Harris. Pretty compelling stuff, evokes Romaire Beardon and social realism thrown into a dada blender!:
Amos Kennedy, Jr. is an amazing letterpress printer based in Alabama. I was introduced to his work while living in Chicago, show-card posters a la Hatch Show Prints, but often with a political edge, and biting racial commentary. Amos has a great piece about Rosa Parks in the Paper Politics show. He just got a big write-up in the Tuscaloosa News, and it's well worth a read.
Our friends Alixa and Naima (Climbing PoeTree) will be coming to Portland, OR tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 15th) with their 2-womyn show Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages In Water, as part off a 50-city national tour.
Pacific Northwest College of Art
1241 NW Johnson St., Portland, OR
Wednesday, October 15, 2008.
doors open at 6:30 pm,
doors CLOSE/show starts at 7:00 pm!
THIS IS A FREE EVENT!!!
Artists Image Resource
Seventh Annual Benefit
Open House Celebration
Saturday, October 18
518 Foreland Street Northside
$10 donation for all-day activities
If you are in Pittsburgh this weekend, check out this amazing print resource. AIR has directly supported Justseeds artists and Pittsburgh activists over the years, including Josh MacPhee and myself. Their weekly Open Studio program has facilitated hundreds of folks in learning to print. I have been volunteering and printing there for almost a decade! These all-day benefit parties are always lots of fun.
For this all-day, all ages event, AIR will open its studios, workshops, galleries and archives to offer:
* Hands-on demonstrations of print-making processes;
* An exhibition of works produced by established and emerging national and regional artists;
* raffles of the exhibiting artist's work;
* original print editions for sale;
* food & drink from area restaurants
* music, performance & dancing!
Hands-on activities include papermaking, monoprinting, letterpress printing, screenprinting, digital portraits and more.
Traversing the I-5 corridor between Portland and Seattle I usually find reason to make a stop in the small town of Centralia. The first time I ever made the visit was to see the Mike Alewitz mural (more on this soon). This time going through I decided to stop by Richart's house and get a tour of his ongoing art project.
Richart, in his mid 70's now, has been working on building structures and sculptures covering the entire expanse of his yard for over 25 years now. On this occasion a visit to Richart's turned into a couple hour tour and discussion with him about his daily work and ideas for upcoming pieces. Covering topics from Judy Chicago's Dinner Party, to his visions of Maasai warriors, and the rain's aesthetic effect on the styrofoam forms that are incorporated into much of his work I left enlightened and inspired.
here's some more pictures
Posted below are a few images from the install, a statement about the project, and details about the opening. Also, you can check out more images from the install on my new flickr account.
"War Fair: Occupation Games for Citizens and Non-Combatants"
Over the past 16 years, I have worked with my father as an electrician at the county fair in my hometown of Jefferson, Wisconsin. My relationship to the fair and its motley assortment of demolition derbies, farm animals, carnival barkers, the God Mobile trailer, and cricket spitting contests is complicated, ranging from fondness to repulsion.
I am drawn to the chaos and the scrappy order of the fair-especially the signs and carnival games hand-crafted from common materials. But I am disturbed by the increasing military presence, with Army recruitment tents and displays of child-sized Hummer vehicles presented as lighthearted county fair entertainment.
My experiences at the fair have influenced me to create a carnival game and series of drawings that comment on war as spectacle and war as participatory game. War Fair transforms the viewer into a game player and asks, “How real does something have to become before you will not play (pay) anymore?”
The Institute of Visual Arts (Inova) at the UWM Peck School of the Arts opens an exhibition of work by the seven artists who received Greater Milwaukee Foundation's Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists in 2007.
When: Friday, October 10, 2008; reception 6-9 pm; gallery talk at 6:30 pm
Where: Inova/Kenilworth, 2155 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Who: Gary John Gresl, Mark Klassen and Dan Ollman (Established Artists)
Annie Killelea, Faythe Levine, Colin Matthes and Kevin J. Miyazaki (Emerging Artists)
Inova will host an opening and reception to honor the Nohl Fellows on Friday, October 10, from 6-9 pm. Inova curator Nicholas Frank will give a gallery talk at 6:30 pm.
Ten additional events have been scheduled in conjunction with the Nohl exhibition, including artist talks and presentations, screenings, a game night and other events orchestrated by each of the seven participating artists. All of these events are free; while most are in the Inova/Kenilworth gallery, some events occur offsite.
An exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase in the gallery during the opening and throughout the exhibition.
Inova/Kenilworth will be open on Gallery Night and Day, October 17 and 18. Gallery hours are Wednesday & Friday-Sunday, noon to 5 pm and Thursday, noon-8 pm.
Over at the Swoon installation there will be an artist conversation preceded by selections from our buddy Todd Chandler's film Flood. Todd shot a bunch of footage aboard the recent Swoon junk-raft collaboration, Swimming CIties of the Switchback Sea.
Recently, Justseeds has completed a portfolio project for the Critical Resistance ten-year anniversary conference in Oakland, California that took place on September 26-28.
The project involved twenty artists from the US, Canada and Mexico who each created an original print that either critiqued or addressed alternatives to the prison-industrial complex. Each artist pulled 100 prints and the amazing JS crew at the Portland distro assembled the portfolios and created the covers that are displayed in the photos.
The point of the portfolio project was to donate work and to share graphics with groups working against the prison-industrial complex. In the end, each portfolio included the 20 prints plus a cdr with copy-right free TIFF files of the images (plus other anti-prison images from the recent book Reproduce and Revolt (edited by Favianna Rodriguez and Josh MacPhee.)
Justseeds donated the bulk of the portfolios to Critical Resistance and 30 other groups who are organizing against prisons.
In late November (once the groups have already had the opportunity to possibly use them as a fundraising device) Justseeds will have a limited number of portfolios for sale on our site.
Much thanks to all the artists and the organizers who donated their time and energy to the project. A number of plans are set for the prints to be exhibited in the late Fall/early Winter and we will keep you posted when dates for the shows are announced.
I'm stuck on the couch, on what must be the most beautiful Fall day in NYC, with a busted up ankle. Instead of catching up on the daily confusion on the daydreams that make Neoliberal Capitalism work, I took a glimpse at my pal AnomalousNYC's flickr page.
As per usual for Anomalous, some of the imagery was about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.More surprising/infuriating is the news he posts below the image.
The London Review of Books
If you live in an American swing state you may have received a copy of ‘Obsession’ in your Sunday paper. ‘Obsession’ isn’t a perfume: it’s a documentary about ‘radical Islam’s war against the West’. In the last two weeks of September, 28 million copies of the film were enclosed as an advertising supplement in 74 newspapers, including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. ‘The threat of Radical Islam is the most important issue facing us today,’ the sleeve announces. ‘It’s our responsibility to ensure we can make an informed vote in November.’ The Clarion Fund, the supplement’s sponsor, doesn’t explicitly endorse McCain, so as not to jeopardise its tax-exempt status, but the message is clear enough, and its circulation just happened to coincide with Obama’s leap in the polls.
The Clarion Fund is a front for neoconservative and Israeli pressure groups. It has an office, or at least an address, in Manhattan at Grace Corporate Park Executive Suites, which rents out ‘virtual office identity packages’ for $75 a month. Its website, clarionfund.org, provides neither a list of staff nor a board of directors, and the group still hasn’t disclosed where it gets its money, as required by the IRS. Who paid to make ‘Obsession’ isn’t clear – it cost $400,000. According to Rabbi Raphael Shore, the film’s Canadian-Israeli producer, 80 per cent of the money came from the executive producer ‘Peter Mier’, but that’s just an alias, as is the name of the film’s production manager, ‘Brett Halperin’. Shore claims ‘Mier’ and ‘Halperin’, whoever they are, are simply taking precautions, though it isn’t clear against what. The danger (whatever it is) hasn’t stopped Shore – or the director, Wayne Kopping, a South African neocon – from going on television to promote their work.
More below, and even more news on AnomalousNYC's photo-thread
If you are in NYC this weekend, please check out rarely screened social movement films and videos as well as the Signs of Change exhibit on Saturday at Exit Art (it then closes down for a week). The screenings in Sun/Mon are at 16beaver.
Josh and Dara and maybe more Justseeds members will be there too. There will be snacks on Sunday/Monday, discussion, and hanging.
There are many films - so check out the descriptions here:
A couple weeks ago in Buenos Aires, street artists Semsei and Cabaio of the street art collective Vomito Attack and two guest artists painted large murals as part of "la semana de arte," an annual city-sponspored week of free art events. The paintings were done at the Centro Cutural San Martin, a large cultural center in the Congreso neighborhood. On one side of the wall, during the painting Cabaio's bright collage of intricately cut stencils attracted passerby to have a closer look: a tiger mixes in with some people walking, some people (of completely different proportions) dancing, a face, some dots, a fish- well, you must look at the pictures on Cabaio's blog, because words just don't cut it.
On the other side of the wall, Semsei and Dani's painted letters spelling "Argentina" become more disturbing on closer inspection, with nearly pornographic leaflets wheat-pasted inside each letter, turning Argentina's mid-section into a series of butts. A 4-minute youtube video of this will surely make you scared of Buenos Aires traffic, as Semsei risks his life for his art by crossing the street while filming. A slick campaign poster is pasted at the end of the wall which reads: "VOTE PODER - CORRUPCION - MENTIRAS" (Vote Power, Corruption, Lies) and goes on to list all of the promises of the new political party: more hunger, more poverty, more death, more ignorance, more illiteracy, more fraud, more violence.... so many promises! The poster ends smugly with "VOTE P.C.M., MAS REAL". Semsei gave me a copy of this offset-print poster, which, while it's not actually growing mushrooms, smells a little fishy. One wall panel makes reference to New York's Splasher, while another displays a frightening large pile of meat, cut out from grocery store ads. Semsei's use of varied materials, text without images, and his intentionally shocking, sarcastic style remind me of U.S. artist Glenn Ligon. However, Ligon's work revolves specifically around the theme of race, gender, and sexuality in the U.S. More examples of Semsei's work can be seen at http://streetfiles.org/search/emesis and http://vomitoattack.wordpress.com/.
This show also includes the work of BsAs street art collective Run Don't Walk, who are some of the folks that run the fairly new Hollywood in Cambodia gallery. More on that later.
Here's some filcks of the mural Chris, our carpenter savior Nick, and I constructed and painted for Creative Time's Democracy in America.
We went, it rained, we tabled, people went home with bad-ass radical art (good job Microcosm). Was hosted by Gaia and had my first experience with the BPD at a college party (which makes one really feel their age-30!) Eric had some respiratory thing then got pink eye, he gave a presentation of Realize the Impossible, sold some stuff, then we went to our respective homes, and hope to do it again next year. Thanks Baltimore!