For forty years Berkeley activist Michael Rossman collected political posters, amassing likely the largest personal collection in the US. Michael was an amazing and generous guy, almost every trip I took to California for the past decade included a visit to his Berkeley home, plants and dogs taking over the place except for the pristine poster room, a sanctuary from the chaos in the rest of the house. Michael had built beautiful custom wooden cabinets to hold the hundreds of folders of posters he had collected, and he would pull them out one by one, showing off favorites and discussing his cataloging system.
Although I miss those trips (Michael died in 2008, RIP), archivist Lincoln Cushing has taken on the enormous task of organizing the collection (Michael had dubbed it the "All of Us or None Archive"), digitizing much of it, and working with the Oakland Museum to preserve it and make it accessible to the public. The initial fruits of their collective labor have ripened, and about 1,500 posters (maybe a 10th or less of the entire collection!) are up on the Oakland Museum website, and can be viewed HERE. One of the most important aspects of this is not just access to the images, but the thorough and largely thankless job Lincoln has taken on of finding out as much info as possible on each poster, including the artist, printer, year, and sometimes additional context. This material is invaluable to researchers and other poster artists trying to understand their history!
I've been meaning to repost this for weeks, so better late than never. I stumbled across this short article on and set of images by the Deterritorial Support Group, a London-based artist/hacker grouping making graphics for the student/austerity protests in the UK a couple months back. The article is on Dazed online, and well worth taking 5 minutes to check out HERE.
Groups & Spaces is an online platform that gathers together information on people making art in groups and collaborative situations, groups that run art spaces, and independently run artist spaces and centres. The site serves as an opensource portal for artists, educators and citizens to learn more about these working methods and connect with resources in their area. The platform aims to facilitate dialogue about community engagement, collaborative practices and provide educational resources for new audiences.
Groups and Spaces is framed as a dynamic learning resource, providing a unique visualization of how art spaces and groups engage communities. In so doing, the Groups and Spaces site provides an evolving database of techniques and strategies in which to draw from and potential partners to collaborate with. From organizations, collectives, collaboratives and projects to artist run spaces, the practices and inspiration these models provide are invaluable in addressing emerging social issues and the need for collective action. Groups and Spaces in this sense builds a bridge between aesthetics and community engagement by providing a platform for restorative social practice.
If you are want to see some of the freshest artwork by artists from around the country who are dealing with the subjects of immigration, xenophobia, borders, and pro-migrant activism - then DON'T MISS the 1-day only show in Los Angeles, California - this Friday, July 29th @ 6 pm.
The SOUND STRIKE Presents: A Pro-Migrant Art Exhibit
Friday, July 29, 2011, Starting @ 6 pm
SEIU - 828 West Washington Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015-3310.
I recently got the word from PM Press that I'm designing two covers for reprints of C.L.R. James books. It's quite an honor, as James is one of those interesting figures of the 20th century Left that has both contributed significantly to the theory of revolution and liberation, but has also been present and involved during many political upheavals, including Detroit in the 40s and 50s as the foundation for the Black workers' struggles to come in the 60s and 70s was being laid, and again in West Africa during decolonization in the late 50s and early 60s. Although much of his political thought evolved from Trotskyism, he split with most of its doctrinaire tenants and mined it for deeper liberatory potential, particularly for the Global South and African diaspora.
Although I'll be doing covers for State Capitalism & World Revolution and
A History Of Pan-African Revolt (both co-publications betweeen PM Press and Charles H. Kerr), my eyes were first opened to James through reading his seminal study of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins. James articulates that one of his reason for writing this book was deeply partisan, to show that Black people could carry out a successful revolution. His book and his reasons for writing it have been deeply influential to my understanding of history and how it can be written.
I got a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to paint a big mural on the Citybikes Annex building at 8th and Ankeny in Portland; here's a picture of the projection and tracing crew! For more images of the design, go here.
Late Friday night we put the almost-finishing touches on our installation for the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial at the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University. The Biennial is spread across five venues and the whole summer - we're part of an exhibition focusing on collectives, curated by Astria Suparak and including subRosa, Transformazium, Temporary Services, and the trio of Lize Mogel, Sarah Ross and Ryan Griffis (more info on all of that here).
My friends out in Los Angeles are putting together another great LA Vs. WAR event this coming September. Growing out of the Yo! What Happened to Peace? exhibitions that traveled the world over the past decade, LA vs. War is a print show and multi-media event, and they need a little help to make it work. They've set up a kickstarter campaign, check it out HERE.
Kewana Duncan, a Maori filmmaker, put this short video together based on the first few days of the Emerging Indigenous Voices artist residency. Much love to all the artists involved in this amazing project.
We're part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial, and our installation is going up at the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University this week! The whole deal doesn't open until September 16, but we're running full steam working on it right now! More info about our arm of the Biennial here, and tons of more installation photos are uploaded every day here.
For the next week I'm in Pittsburgh helping Justseeds install our piece in the upcoming Pittburgh Biennial, so unfortunately I don't have a ton of time for the next couple weeks blog posts. I'm going to keep these pretty brief, and build up some energy and research for the weeks to come!
This week I've got a couple odds and ends, including a nice postcard from Eberhardt Press I recently dug out (to the right; if you want to see the rest of Eberhardt's books, check out the posts HERE), and handful more covers from New Century Publishers, to follow up on last weeks post (see HERE).
There has never been a movement for social change without art and culture being central to that movement. Music, graphics and the written word are powerful living reminders of struggles for worldwide peace and justice. When it comes to immigrants, much of the public dialogue is laced with myths, stereotypes, hate and fear of the unknown. But there is tremendous power in using human stories to give fresh dimensions on reality and dynamically reframe the immigration debate while stirring emotional resonance in people. Art can play in key role in sharing these stories.
In a recent session at Netroots Nation, I organized a panel with Ken Chen of the Asian American Writer's Workshop, Gaby Pacheco of the Trail of Dreams, and Javier Gonzalez of The Sound Strike. We discussed how a growing movement of writers, artists and musicians around the country are advancing cultural organizing and building a cultural, pro-migrant front.
I recently authored an account of the November 2010 Justseeds-IVAW street art action in Chicago for the Spring 2011 issue of The Veteran, a publication by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Check it out here.
Also, keep an eye out for a number of new collaborations between Justseeds and IVAW that are in the works, including an "Operation Recovery" booklet and our third portfolio project War is Trauma that is scheduled to be released in the late Fall and will feature over 30 prints by Justseeds artists, IVAW artists, and five invited guest artists.
Raoul Deal, a Milwaukee-based artist and long time friend to Justseeds, just completed a massive 40" x 60" woodcut based on the May Day parade/Immigrant Rights March in Milwaukee a few months back. Deal is currently working on an extensive series of woodcuts that address border and immigrant rights issues. I will post more images as they arise.
Our friend Brett Story is coming to NYC next week to screen her new film! Come check it out!:
$6 / DCTV & Red Channels Members
$8 / Shooting People, DocuClub, NYWIFT, IFP Members, and students with ID
$10 / General
you can see a trailer and get more details HERE.
These photos are from Pete's installation at Astrix Gallery, Milwaukee, WI.
One of the most frequent questions I get when I lecture in universities around the country is: "What Art School did you go to?"
I actually did not attend art school, in fact I didn't finish college. I left the University of California Berkeley after 3 years of study because I did not find that a college education was truly fulfilling me. I didn't know how to explain it then, but I believe that at age 20, I was in search of creating something that incorporated my many identities, something that I could really feel passionate about.
Attention Fellow Visual Artists:
Are you a visual artist that fights for Human Rights? Do you have art work about migrants, immigration, day laborers, DREAM Act students, borders, raids, anti-militarization of the border, coming out undocumented, or any other issue related to migrant rights?
If yes, than keep reading...
A couple months back I was browsing the shelves at the awesome Book Thug Nation bookstore in Brooklyn and I came across a nice paperback copy of Julius Fuchik's Spanish Civil War book Notes From the Gallows (to the left). The cover is fabulous, a three-color print job used to strong effect with yellow overlapping red to make orange, and black outlines pulling everything together where necessary. Aaron at Book Thug told me he had seen other nice looking books from New Century Publishers (who put out the Fuchik book in 1948), and that sent me on the hunt.
There is very little information about New Century online, but I can deduce from what they have published (William Z. Foster, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn) that they were a post-war Communist Party, USA front publisher. I tracked down another dozen books that appear to have been put out by the same New Century between 1946-1963 (there are a number of other non-commie NCP's out there), none have as nice a cover as the Fuchik, but there are some other nice ones. Like most CP books, as far as I can tell none of these give info for the cover designers, but the Fuchik cover has the signature "Nydorf" in the top right corner. This may be Roy Nydorf, a painter that I think was associated with the CP. If anyone has any more info on New Century or Nydorf, make a comment below, or send me an email.
I was recently commissioned by the Portland chapter of Veterans for Peace to design some images for their convention in August: It was a fun assignment. These linocuts will be made into polymer plates and letterpress printed on Combat Paper. Click through for all three images, and see them here on Flickr.
After two years in development, Emerging Indigenous Voices: A New Generation of Artists (EIV) is finally convening in San Francisco. Bringing together seven faculty artists (including me) and thirteen emerging artists from throughout the Fourth World, EIV will spend the next two weeks collaborating on print and mural projects around the San Francisco Bay area. Over the course of the next year, EIV will continue collaborating through an online interface before getting together for another five weeks in Hawai’i. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting connections in Indian Country.
I will be delivering a lecture Monday morning entitled 'Indigenous Visual Sovereignty: Contemporary Native Art History'. Stop by and say ‘sup if you are in the area. I will around SFSU for ten days before heading to New Mexico to teach a seminar called ‘Native and Latina/o Perspectives on the Southwest’.
Robert Tillman from Printeresting, one of our favorite blogs, spent a week in Pittsburgh in July.
He just put up a bunch of posts about the print places he visited while he was here, including Artists Image Resource (AIR), Tugboat Printshop, and Justseeds.
Check out his photo tour of our flatfiles HERE
And if you are in Pittsburgh, check out While You Were Out, Tillman's show at Future Tenant (which he printed at AIR), through July 15th.
I finally made the trip up to the Museum of Modern Art for German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse. The exhibition will only run until July 11th. The Neue Galerie has offered many opportunities to view Expressionist works, I was fortunate to attend the Otto Dix and Brücke exhibitions there. The current MoMA exhibit has a variety of mediums but most interestingly, to me, are the portfolios and books. I enjoyed seeing Kandinsky, Beckman, Grosz works and how incredibly printed all these works are. An exhibition should be dedicated to the master printers and print shops of this period.
The two artists I was most excited to see were Otto Dix and Kåthe Kollwitz. The German Expressionists have had strong influence over many Justseeds artists, as well as our projects. The War (Der Krieg) Portfolio by Otto Dix is an incredibly dark and visceral depiction of the destructiveness of battle. Drawn from his memories of World War I is the fear and horror that soldiers, dead or dying, experience. According to the MoMA's website the publisher, Karl Nierendorf in Berlin,
circulated the portfolio throughout Germany with a pacifist organization, Never Again War, though Dix himself doubted that his prints could have any bearing on future wars. Despite the intensive publicity, Nierendorf sold only one complete portfolio from the edition of seventy.
OPENING THIS THURSDAY-Staring at the Cracks art installation by Erik Ruin with Brett Story and Dan Blacksberg at 4212 Chestnut, West Philly (below Scribe Video Center).
(see below the jump for preview pics)
I'm very excited to have a new studio, which will also be the home of Interference Archive, but between packing, moving, building shelving, and regular freelance work, I haven't had a minute to think about book covers in the past couple weeks. Over the next couple weeks I think I'll just be pulling together small little pockets of covers I've collected over the past couple years.
While doing research for Signs of Change, I came across an English language publication produced by FRELIMO, the liberation movement of Mozambique. It appears that Mozambique Revolution was FRELIMO's English organ of communication with its support and solidarity movement. This is just a smattering of covers—9 total—while the publication was monthly and ran from 1963-1975. There's some pretty interesting and smart design here, which like many 60s and 70s movement publications, seems driven in part by the technological limitations of producing quick and inexpensive output at high volume.
This just in from the California Department of Corrections:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 1, 2011 - San Francisco, California
Liberated Ads Salute America Following the Death of Osama bin Laden
The California Department of Corrections (CDC) has unveiled a new campaign of bus shelter ads to celebrate America's assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Released prior to July 4th, a total of ten ads in MUNI bus shelters throughout San Francisco were apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged without incident. The ten liberated ads represent each year in the long decade spanning the declaration of the War on Terror by President Bush and the eventual demise of al-Qaeda's elusive leader.
Joining in celebration with millions of US civilians after the demise of bin Laden, the red, white and blue advertisements not only pay patriotic tribute to our country, but also celebrate the unsung history of American assassinations.
With 1.8 billion dollars spent at the fair, Art Basel recorded its highest gross of sales in its 43 years.
In the context of this any meaning of Art is lost on me. It appears that the ruling class needs to find new objects to invest in.
Philip Hoffman, chief excessive of the Fine Art Fund Group who were selling pieces at the fair, said that "With currency volatility, cash earning next to zero and inflation at 4.5 pct in London, a lot of people are looking at art right now as a safe haven for their money..."