A few photos of the Celebrate People's History Art Sow that was up in Milwaukee at Astrix Gallery last month.
This weekend, with crucial assistance from Shaun Slifer and Kevin Clancy, I put up some prints on the Murphy building in Sheraden. A post office, corner store and laundromat in front, the back side of the building that faces the busway is all boarded up.
The main prints in this piece are large, brightly-colored silkscreen prints of the herons I drew for Third Termite to letterpress print for Outpost journal. We also incorporated baby hawk patterns and some outtakes of the "We're All In This Together" worms that Josh MacPhee printed while he was in town in April.
I was surprised to learn that Memorial Day was formerly called Decoration Day and was first observed on May 1, 1865 by recently freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina who were honoring those fallen in the battle to end slavery. This puts a social justice spin on a holiday that has morphed into flag waving, sales, barbecues, and the kick-off to summer.
Historian David W. Blight writes that in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War and the ruins of Charleston "Thousands of black Charlestonians, most former slaves, remained in the city and conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war...The largest of these events...took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the planters' horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of exposure and disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand. Some twenty-eight black workmen went to the site, re-buried the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, "Martyrs of the Race Course."
Welcome to part two of my series focused on the Portland, OR printer and publisher Eberhardt Press. Over the past 7 years Eberhardt has developed a series of signature stylistic flourishes that are often very effective design-wise, and highlight the synergy between content, design, and production that a joint designer/printer/publisher can bring to a book project. As an example, the Midnight Notes pamphlet, Towards the Last Jubilee! (to the right is the pamphlet cover below the dust jacket, which can be seen below) successfully pulls together Charles Overbeck's (the principle behind Eberhardt) use of metallic inks on black paper, dust jackets on pamphlets, and strategic use of spot colors.
The dust jacket is a strong use of black and red, lots of negative space, and a type treatment that works graphically, references Modernism, but is also creative and a bit quirky in its own right. The text completely dominates the cover, wraps around from front to back, but the creative repetition of both "30" and "MN" allows for the jacket to work as a whole, or simply as a front cover. Below the dust jacket is a clock striking midnight, the silver on black evoking the shimmer of moonlight. But the clock isn't ornate or romantic, it's clean and utilitarian, midnight is a fact, not an event.
Gil Scott-Heron, one of the great poets and musicians of our time, passed today. Few artists could fuse politics, social justice, and the language of the street as well as he could. He inspired us and will be missed.
Direct action gets the media coverage. Yesterday, Greenpeace activists brought much needed local and national media attention to the Fisk and Crawford power plants in Chicago by hanging a banner off the tower of the Fisk plant and rappelling off the Pulaski Bridge, near the Crawford coal plant, and dropping a banner that blocked coal barge traffic on the river.
This action is civil disobedience at its finest. As a part-time resident of Chicago this issue hits close to home and was the topic of my print and sign project (in collaboration with the Rain Forest Network) that I created for the Justseeds RESOURCED portfolio project. Below is a link to a five-minute film that documents the June 2010 action and discusses the issues behind the campaign to close down Fisk, Crawford, and ALL coal-powered plants.
Justseeds "Resourced" Portfolio is on display in Providence RI. The show is reviewed here:
Here's a new project: a bushmeat food-cart. The project is called Viande de Brousse, the French translation of bushmeat, meaning simply wild meat hunted from the forest, or bush, as it's referred to in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. I (Roger) and my colleague Ryan Burns have built a small mobile food-cart which will be selling the severed hands of Chimpanzees to the horrified public in Portland, debuting at PLACE gallery downtown next month. This is the result of years of attention to and research in the history, economy and environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo is a vast pentagonal tranche of Sub-Saharan Africa, and has been a grim laboratory of capitalism's extractive priorities since Belgium began its colonial project there in the late 1800's. The stories of Congo's debasement and butchery at the hands of the Belgians, the Americans, the Chinese, assorted homegrown tyrants and the murderous throngs of small armies that swarmed through it during the African World War of the 90's-early 00's are woefully underreported. The history is nearly invisible. This is our attempt to dig our fingers into that steaming pile and pull it reeking into the light.
Our friend and collaborator Laura Scheinkopf is putting on this benefit tomorrow for the March on Blair Mountain. Come check it out!
Tuesday, May 24
@ The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue, between Bond and Hoyt
High Peaks, Low Coal
New York Loves Mountains hosts a screening of the new documentary Low Coal, an exploration of the sacrifices made by Appalachian communities living with deep mining and Mountaintop Removal. The film's director, Jordan Freeman, along with former union coal miner and environmental activist Chuck Nelson, will be present for a talk-back after the screening. The discussion will be followed by a concert featuring local musician Morgan O'Kane (who played the score for the film).
Funds raised will be directed towards the March on Blair Mountain, a unifying rally in West Virginia from June 5-11th, 2011, which calls for historical preservation of Blair Mountain and an end to Mountaintop Removal.
This year commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest open class war in U.S. history, when 10,000 coal miners rose against the rule of the coal operators and fought for the basic right to live and work in decent conditions.
For more information visit www.appalachiarising.org.
After looking at one of the anarchist presses with the best cover design of the 1970s and 80s, I wanted to look ahead and see who is doing something comparable today. The two largest contemporary English language anarchist publishers are AK Press and PM Press, and both have some great covers, but both also work with many different designers and put out over 20 titles a year. There is little design consistency in their output. Maybe in a future post I'll pull out some of my favorites from those two, but for now I want to hone in on a smaller project, a publisher with a more consistent and evolving design sense.
Eberhardt Press was begun in 2004 by Charles and Esther. Eberhardt is not only a publisher, but also a printer. They started on a Chief one-color offset press, and have graduated to a 2-color Ryobi. Charles runs the shop solo now, and does a lot of job work (other people's jobs that he prints) to keep it running, but over the past 7 years has designed, printed, and published a small catalog of specifically Eberhardt Press titles. Although diverse, these publications retain certain design elements that are distinctly Eberhardt, a rare treat in the 21st Century!
Digging around on the web I found this great image of a keffiyeh by Noah Scalin on his site Another Limited Rebellion. The image is Creative Commons licensed (Non-Commerical, Share-Alike) so I thought I'd re-post it. You can download the high-res by clicking HERE.
(I am tardy on posting this and my attempts to find out what happened yesterday (with the two prisoners potentially being released) has been, so far, fruitless. I am posting this because the situation in Japan is dire, and I think it's important for us to keep aware of what's happening there in regards to anti-nuclear organizing and resistance.)
Statement by the Rescue Committee for Crackdown on 5.7 Anti-Nukes Demo!!!!!
On 7th May 2011, more than 15,000 protesters joined “May 7th, No Nukes Demonstration!!!!!”, which was held at Shibuya, Tokyo. The march was fabulous, as a diversity of participants gave their voices of “no nukes” to be heard. However, the police hindered the demonstration in deploying large amount of riot police which divided the demonstrators into smaller blocks. Due to riot police interference, it took three hours for all the demonstrators to start walking under the rain. Riot police often stopped the march by surrounding the marching blocks. A list of malicious acts committed by the police would be endless.
Many of participants reported on the internet how riot police were evil to the protesters. If there were no police interference, the protesters would have fully enjoyed freedom of demonstration.
This looks promising. Although I don't generally trust major art institutions to do right by political engagement, any look at labor and class seems a step in the right direction:
The Georgia state motto is "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation." It should now be "Ignorance, Injustice, and Extremism" after Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 87, an Arizona-style anti-immigration bill that will empower the police to investigate the immigration status of "suspects." The measure also sets new hiring requirements for employers and penalizes people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants in Georgia.
The graphic is free-to-use to any-and-all social justice groups and stands in solidarity with migrant workers and the people of Georgia who are resisting this bill.
Justseeds' friend and proprietor of Garage Collective, Jared Davidson has recently completed his manuscript for Remains to be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill's Ashes in New Zealand. Although not out yet, this amazing book studies the IWW in Aoteroa and looks specifically at what happens to Hill's ashes once they were shipped following his execution in Utah.
Jared asked me to do the cover illustration, which I happily obliged. Keep your eyes open for this which should be released by Rebel Press in the near future. Also, keep your eyes to Justseeds for this print becoming available for purchase.
Many Justseeds followers may already know about New Harmony, Indiana. But before showing work there, I knew little about this community which was founded in 1814 as a utopian socialist society. As someone interested in local radical histories, I am glad to say that I get to show work in this important early-nineteenth century site of American radicalism.
If you happen to be visiting the town, also stop by New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art where EA$T/WE$T: A Global Look at Capitalism is currently on exhibit.
Here's the second half of the remaining Cienfuegos Press covers. The image to the left is the cover of Towards a Citizens Militia. It seems so audacious now (and maybe did back in the 80s, too), but as the title says, this pamphlet purports to illustrate "Anarchist Alternatives to NATO and the Warsaw Pact." That's right, anarchist counter-military strategies to neutralize multi-national military organizations! I've always loved the simple black and green illustration and the type, particularly the letter arrangements in the subtitle.
Wisconsin residents are all too aware of how the Koch Brothers have backed Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his assault on all things public. Readers might recall the brilliant prank phone call where the Buffalo Beast pretended to be David Koch and talked candidly for 20-plus minutes to Walker about his "Reagan air traffic controllers moment" against the school teachers and nurses of Wisconsin.
Well, Koch has been punk'd once again. Wednesday night, activists in New York City targeted the David H. Koch Theater, home to the New York City Ballet and Opera, and projected images and films and pasted a large sticker on the exterior wall of the theater as a large group of protesters gathered outside.
Viewing this action from afar I cannot help but make the connection to Vietnam-era protests for the "I bought this theater so I could hide my evil deeds" slogan is straight out of the playbook of the Guerrilla Art Action Group (GAAG) and the Art Workers' Coalition. Both groups consistently targeted elite cultural institutions in NYC (the MoMA, Whitney, Guggenheim,and the Met) to expose the corporate and military influence of the Board of Trustees.
I've got two show up in Portland right now; if you are in town you should go and check them out! The first one is at Land Gallery, at 3925 N. Mississippi Ave. That one's closing this Sunday, so hurry! It's a nice space and I have packed it with prints. The other is at Extracto Coffee, in Northeast at 2921 NE Killingsworth. It's up until the end of May! Also, next month I'll be hanging the big anti-LNG blockprints at the Fresh Pot on Mississippi at Shaver, and will be debuting the Bushmeat Foodcart at Place gallery in the weird art zone in the Pioneer Place mall (!). More updates soon!
a project of Miller Schulman, one of the rad teens I have the pleasure to work with...
Print Haiti: Fine Artibonite Prints from the Hangar Prosthetics Clinic, Hopital Albert Schweitzer, Deschapelles, Haiti
OPENING:May 14th, 7:00-11:00pm
Brigadoon Art Salon
1033 S. Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15221 in Regent Square
On display will be original screen prints made by patients and their families at the Prosthetics Clinic at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, located in Deschapelles. Many of the artists are amputees as a result of the earthquake of February, 2010. Subjects include reflections on Haitian life and culture, responses to the earthquake and to the ongoing problems of AIDS and cholera, but the exhibit is ultimately upbeat, joyous and colorful; you’ll even find a mango or two in the prints.
Screen printing is a relatively new art medium for Haitians, but luckily Miller Schulman and Erin West, trained at CAPA and at Ellis, with some help from AIR (Artist Image Resources) and with backing from local arts stores and organizations, were able to bring supplies down to Deschapelles and instruct both youths and adults in the fine art of screen printing.
There will also be a representative selection of vintage Haitian prints and paintings in the show.
Most prints will be available for purchase, with all proceeds to benefit Hospital Albert Schweitzer.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
11am, music begins at noon
Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center (8371 N. Interstate Ave.)
$8 - $100 sliding scale for admission to rock show
$1 pancakes, $1 coffee, $1 juice
For more info contact Vanessa Renwick.
On Sunday, May 22, 2011, musicians Stephen Malkmus (of the band Pavement) and Rebecca Gates (of the Spinanes) will each perform sets at the Rock & Roll Pancake Breakfast Benefit for Dara Greenwald. The event will take place at Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center at 8371 N. Interstate Avenue. A pancake breakfast will be served beginning at 11:00am until 2:00pm, with musical performances beginning at noon. The cost of admission is a sliding scale fee of $8 - $100, with pancakes, coffee, and juice available for an additional $1 per item.
Josh and I are giving a talk tomorrow night at Microcosm in Portland, 636 SE 11th, 7PM!
Hope to see you there!
I recently got an email from the folks at the Chicago PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) Teaching Collective, and they've just put out a great zine called The PIC Is... The zine is a solid introduction to what the PIC is, how it functions, and how it effects different communities. There are about a dozen fabulous illustrations inside, all by the artist Billy Dee. It is well worth checking out, whether you are an organizer, educator, or just someone who wants to learn more about how prisons work in our society. You can download the zine for free HERE.
Thursday, May 12, 7:30pm
@ No-Space (formerly called The Change You Want To See Gallery)
84 Havemeyer St, at Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
With the wave of opposition to austerity measures in the UK, many new creative political groups and projects have appeared. Not only the high-profile actions of UK Uncut, but others such as the University of Strategic Optimism, Arts Against Cuts, Precarious Workers Brigade, the Really Free School, and the Free University of Liverpool.
This informal talk will present stories and films from recent groups and activities that experiment with new creative approaches to activism’s materials and performance. From the Book Bloc’s very literate means of protecting crowds from police batons, to The University of Strategic Optimism’s critical theory lectures in high-street banks; from Liberate Tate’s oil spills inside the Tate galleries to encourage them to drop BP sponsorship, to the Space Hijackers driving a tank into an arms fair, and the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination's reverse-engineering of hundreds of bikes into a swarming mass of direct action machines.
Gavin will introduce some of these groups and activities, tell some ridiculous stories of general trouble making and daring misadventure, show some videos and do his best to answer any of your questions.
Many folks are gearing up for the June 4-11 March on Blair Mountain. The excerpt below came down the wire from organizers, along with this awesome new print from Providence-based artist Noel'le Longhaul (see a full view after the cut). People interested in attending the five-day march, or just attending the rally and day of action after the march, can find significant details here.
"Ninety years ago, in 1921, thousands of coal miners marched from Marmet, West Virginia to Blair Mountain in Logan County. They were West Virginians from a variety of backgrounds, standing up against coal companies for their freedom and basic human rights. They tied red bandannas around their necks and marched to throw out local politicians who had aligned themselves with coal companies. They marched because they were dying from unsafe working conditions, because they were being cheated out of their rightful pay. They marched because they were being denied the right to join a union, because their families were living in terrible conditions and dying from ill health, because coal company thugs subjected them to violence, because the companies and state government were taking away their basic civil liberties.
OK, now turning the corner on the follow-up posts and into new material, this week I'm going to look at the covers of the British anarchist publisher Cienfuegos Press, which existed from the mid-70s through the early 80s. About half of their covers were designed or illustrated by the Italian artist Flavio Costantini, and I featured all these covers back in posts #6-8 (see HERE, HERE, and HERE). I've tracked down most of the rest of their covers, and will spread them out over this week and next. In general Costantini's work was the best, and gave the press a real consistent feel that I still associate with late 70s UK anarchism, but there are some gems in the other covers. Case in point is the cover to the left, for Marcus Graham's anthology culled from his publication MAN! The figure at the top has seemingly pushed open the visual field on the cover, revealing a giant swath of pitch black, with the title illuminated in red. The bold confidence of creating an almost entirely black cover is impressive. I believe this is only the second book published by Cienfuegos, in 1974.
My friends Bettina and Devon in Chicago have recently released a new album as Teko Sãso, a 2-piece anarchist folk death metal band! Their first record, 11/11, is based on the story of Haymarket and the Haymarket martyrs in Chicago. They just got a great review on Foxy Digitalis (HERE), and you can download the record (for free or a donation) on their site HERE. Or listen below:
It's been a little while since I posted a collection of reviews and such, so here's a recent batch, plus some old ones that slipped through the cracks:
2) Daniel Tucker wrote a great review of Signs of Change in AfterImage magazine. They only have an excerpt on their site, but he has published the review in it's entirety HERE.
4) Kari O'Driscoll wrote a review of Signs of Change, also on the Elevated Difference site. She says, "Signs of Change is both a coffee table book and a full-color history lesson. For those who prefer an alternative to a boring textbook, this book is the ticket." Read the rest HERE.
5) Jason Urban posted a rave review of Signs of Change on Printeresting! He says, "With the current state of political upheaval and the growing strength of grassroots opposition in the Middle East, it might be a good time to visit the role of graphics in people’s movements. Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee do just that in Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures from 1960s to Now. . . . It functions as a short but thorough encyclopedia of people’s political movements." Read the rest, and check out the photos, HERE.
My old friend Chris from the 56A Infoshop in London recently sent me these great photos of a sticker intervention in Lisbon, Portugal. Like most of the rest of the world, Portugal is rushing to privatize all of its resources and services, including the post office. These stickers were plastered on mailboxes in the city, mock stamps declaring "No Privatization of the CTT (Portuguese Postal Service)."
I just finished hanging a window installation of my Queer Scout prints, embroidered patches, and bear hankies at 5013 Penn Ave in Pittsburgh, where it will stay on view for for the month of May. Many thanks to Lisa Toboz & Jeff Shreckengost, who live/work in this lovely storefront, and especially to Lisa, who curates the windows of Studio 5013 for First Fridays Unblurred events on Penn Avenue.
Please join us on Friday, May 6th for an art show and film showing. We are exhibiting all 69 printed posters from the Celebrate People's History poster series, curated by Josh MacPhee since 1998.
Then we will show As Still As Horses, a short film by local filmmaker Israel Vasquez (with a short Q and A), and then Exit Through the Gift Shop, a feature film by the street artist Banksy.
This event is free, all ages, and BYOC (Bring your own cushion)!
6 - 8 pm -> Art show
8 - 10 pm -> Film showing
3410 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15201
Please park bikes and enter around back! We hope to see you there!
Click on the above image for a closer detail of the show.
Every week I have been making a drawing of one of my favorite scavenged objects. It is a nice way to think about all the amazing things you can get for free while scraping by to pay bills.
Click on post to see the whole image.
Hey friends! Come check out this screening we're doing!
Red Channels and Spectacle Theater present:
(dir. Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg,1929, 120 minutes)
silent film with live score by Silver Process
screened with short Hay! Market Research (dir. Dara Greenwald, 2003, 3 minutes) to commemorate the Haymarket Riot
Wed. May 4th, 9:30 PM
at Spectacle Theater
124 South 3rd. St. (off of Bedford Ave.), in Brooklyn
Set during the Paris Commune of 1871, Louise, a clerk in a fancy Paris store becomes politicized and joins the Communards...
From Screenslate, "...New Babylon manages to capture the spirit of a Lautrec image brought to life. The depictions of Paris cabarets and communes account for the most startling mis-en-scénes in all cinema, and from the smoke-filled dancehalls to rain-soaked executions, it’s difficult to imagine Moulin Rouge and Blade Runner without it. But beyond mere aesthetics, New Babylon an incredibly moving and sophisticated political film, one that sidesteps the contemporary polemics of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Vertov et al and addresses workers’ struggle through the 1871 Paris Commune...though Shostakovich created a score for New Babylon‘s initial release, The Spectacle features a live score by The Silver Process tonight. Sacrilege, but it should be noted the conductor at the original 1928 performance was so wasted and confused by the unorthodox instrumental combinations that it was a complete disaster. So really, this can only be an improvement."
In a true story, David Lester's graphic novel The Listener reveals a tragic act of spin doctoring that changed the course of history. Complacency, art and murder collide in Hitler's rise to power in 1933, and in the artist Louise Shearing's search for meaning in the art of Europe after the fictional modern death of a political activist.
Tens of thousands of people marched this past Sunday in Milwaukee for the May Day / Immigrant Rights parade. The important rally was organized by Voces de la Frontera and the AFL-CIO. Below are some photos from a day that was truly inspiring.
Here's the last of the B. Traven covers. This week I've rounded-up 33 covers, so I'm going to forgo much of my witty banter and pretty much just dump all the covers below. Enjoy!
The cover to the right is one of my favorites of the batch, a really nice 1973 edition of Bridge in the Jungle from Barcelona, published by Circulo de Electores. The watercolor, patterns, and nice thin sans serif type makes for a more subtle and open design than most of the heavy-handed Traven covers (which are usually appropriate, given Traven's writing style).
After the break are a couple Italian editions of Bridge in the Jungle, both by Longanesi. The first, from 46, is a bit romantic for my tastes, the second, from 52, is a bit more interesting, with the Mexican figure being swallowed by the jungle.
For those of you in and around New York City, I will be giving a talk this Friday at the Gustav Heye Center, the NYC branch of the National Museum of the American Indian. My talk, 'Against Hybridity, Against Globalization: An Indigenist Provocation on/as Contemporary Art', is part of the symposium Essentially Indigenous?. My session is scheduled for 9:15-10:45 on Friday morning.
The symposium is FREE, but please register in advance.