Eight years of research and writing has led to my first book -A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements - being released today. The book is part of the People's History series that was initiated by Howard Zinn through The New Press - a non-profit press in New York City that has a long-standing reputation of publishing books on contemporary social issues.
My study on a people's history looks at US art history and specifically activist art. Not social practices. Not the "political art" found in galleries and museums. Rather, it focuses on movement culture and the activist art that emerges out of social justice and economic justice movements. My aim was to research the past from the conquest of the Americas to the present, and to look at the role of activist art in various movements, be it the early labor struggles, the women's suffrage movement, the IWW, the artist's unions during the 1930s, the art created inside the Japanese American internment camps, the photography of the Civil Rights movement, the street art employed in anti-nuclear movements, and numerous other examples.
I wrote a foreword to this great book! The second edition just came out on PM Press, and it's well worth taking a peek at it HERE. Plus if you're in Melbourne (where the editor and designer live), check out the big book launch party! More info past the break...
Justseeds will be at the Pittsburgh Zine Fair
Sunday September 22
the Union Project.
801 N. Negley Ave
Come check us out!
New hankies for your Fall Fashion, small prints and publications, stickers and smiles.
Plus I smuggled in some Maple Bacon potato chips. If you ask we'll give you a tasting. Offer good while supplies last.
Five years ago Favianna Rodriguez and I assembled and put out the book Reproduce and Revolt/Reproduce y Rebélate, which still stands as the best collection of contemporary political graphics created by and for activists and artists working in social movements. We're putting the book on sale now for $10 each, half off the cover price! Pick up a copy now for yourself, friend, or organization that could use it. This is a big, giant graphic toolbox in book form, and a must have for anyone creating flyers, posters, or even image-based email-blasts. All the artwork is Creative Commons, and ready to be scanned and put to use. Buy a book HERE.
PUBLIC ACTION, a publications residency at the Student Gallery at OCADU in Toronto, kicks off on Tuesday with a welcome breakfast with our featured artists in residence, Paul Kjelland, Leila Pourtavaf, and Agata Mrozowski.
Interested in Publication?
Have a book you’d like to make?
Want to learn about screenprinting, risograph, publication design and bookmaking?
Care about dissemination of your voice and ideas?
For the month of June, the gallery will be transformed into a publications studio, with access to a variety of reproduction processes including screenprinting, photocopying, and risograph, as well as perfect binding and hand book sewing. Together we will create works that advocate for political agency. Those works may include books, performances, posters, artist multiples, and more.
Tuesday June 4, 10-1, KICK OFF BREAKFAST (potluck)
Food and dreaming and introductions!
Wednesday June 5, 7-9 pm, NIGHT SCHOOL with Paul Kjelland (potluck too)
Food and conversation about Radical Community Organizing!
Toronto, join Fifth Column members GB Jones and Caroline Azar, artists, printers, and zinemakers Shannon Gerard, JP King, Erin Oh, Amy Egerdeen and more, for a weekend of talks, workshops, even a dance party, on feminism and zines.
All events are free or PWYC!
Check out this excellent interview with GB and Caroline, about Fifth Column, queer and feminist zines, and She Said Boom. HERE
Full list of events after the jump:
I always enjoy my visits to Booklyn. I had to deliver copies of Occuprint and the Justseeds Migration Now Portfolio and knew I'd get to stay for more. Marshall Weber, an Artist and Curator at Booklyn is always happy to show me new materials. Here's a sample of what I saw.
Pittsburgh-based author and Justseeds ally Hannah Dobbz just released a damned good book on AK Press: Nine-Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States. She launches her April book tour this weekend, future dates are posted below! I highly recommend the book, and if you can make it to one of these speaking gigs, please do! If you can't buy the book in person, you can grab it online from our pals at AK Press here.
To mark the closing day of the "Posters of Inspirational European Women: Taken from the zine Shape & Situate" exhibition, Space Station Sixty Five will be hosting a collection of resources from other sociopolitical art, poster, zine and publication projects for everyone to explore.
Justseeds is represented with the Celebrate People's History poster series, Firebrands: Portraits of the Americas, and videos of Justseeds artists Melanie Cervantes, Jesus Barraza, Favianna Rodriguez and Mary Tremonte talking about their work.
Remembering Who We Are: Exploring artistic and creative sociopolitical memory, and art in social change movements
Saturday 26th January 2013
Space Station Sixty Five, 373 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PS
A day of presentations, exhibitions, a resource archive, video screenings, discussions, participatory zine-making, and more.
I don't know how they're doing it, but our friends over at PM Press have an exciting 50% off sale on all their titles running until the end of the year (Dec.31)! If you're anything like me, their catalog brings on uncontrollable salivation. Also if you're like me, you still haven't really dealt with holiday shopping (and won't for another week or more). Perhaps this is a good time to stock up on polemics, manifestos, history, pamphlets, theory, and the like?
I'll be tabling at this little zine fair at Xpace today. Free and fun, with DJ's, liquid refreshment, and more...come say hi!
Join Justseeds at Expozine this weekend in Montreal, where Jesse Purcell and I will be holding it down with radical prints, posters, zines, books, hankies, badges and more. We'll have the 2013 Justseeds/Eberhardt Organizers in tow. Pick one up and save on steep Canadian shipping!
This is an interview with choreographer Ken Rinker, which is printed in the hand sewn zine of "This is an Emergency!" a print portfolio on gender justice and reproductive rights.
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
This essay was written by Elizabeth Esris, for the hand sewn zine in "This is an Emergency!"
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
Molly Fair interviewed Virginia Reath RPA MPH. Virginia has spent the last 30 years as a practicing clinician and educator in the field of Gynecology and sexual/reproductive health for women. She is a committed feminist and activist as well as a practicing visual artist. She is at a crossroads creatively and professionally, having recently ended her GYN clinical practice to focus on art making. In the future she plans to open a different model of health practice to provide health counseling and consulting with an integrative approach on a wide variety of women's health concerns.
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
The following essay was written for the anthology Revolutionary Love Letters (Minor Compositions, forthcoming in 2013), edited by Jamie Heckert, who kindly and lovingly gave me permission to share it with you now. I originally wrote my “letter” last April, in the bittersweet time of the spring after Occupy, but recently polished it a bit, following an extraordinary summer of social-movement amour in the streets of Montreal, amid the student/social strike. Perhaps what I want to say about love and transformation lies somewhere in between.
The Shades of Love
When I was a little kid, we had this big weeping willow tree in our backyard, and when it was in full bloom, its slender overhanging branches would form a porous pale-green umbrella arching from sky to ground with expansive space underneath. Open space. Yet delicately screened too.
From inside, seated on the gently compacted earth, you could see outside, softly, through the millions of little leaves playing gaily as the wind touched them. You could look outward through tiny peepholes, which in turn let in winking shapes of light like stars on a crystal-clear night, with each glimmer held in the embrace of the shadows cast by leaf after leaf.
I recently asked my six-year-old bio-niece what she meant by the word love, which she says several times a day to her mom, and she responded matter-of-factly, “Love is all that’s good.” She doesn’t have a weeping willow in her Orlando-sprawl backyard; only crunchy-dry grass and a too-small palm tree and blindingly unmediated sunshine.
Still, maybe my niece is on to something.
Hey buddies, I will be at Canzine this Sunday with a tiny, jam-packed table of Justseeds goods, especially animal hankies, badges, zines, and Celebrate People's History posters. You know, small things!
Check out this sweet profile Broken Pencil did about Justseeds and me in their hype-up for Canzine, right HERE
Canada's Largest Zine Fair and Festival of Independent Culture
Sunday, October 21
918 Bathurst Arts/Culture Centre
918 Bathurst Street
(just north of Bloor)
1 – 7pm
$5 entry includes the fall issue of Broken Pencil
(OCAD students get in for half price, and there might be other deals I don't know about!)
This comic is printed in the hand sewn zine of "This is an Emergency!" a print portfolio on gender justice and reproductive rights. It was originally printed in World War 3 Illustrated.
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
NYC Book Release:
Freedom Through Football: The story of the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls
by Will Simpson & Malcolm McMahon
Tuesday September 25th, 7pm
131 8th st. #4
Brooklyn, NY 11215
The anarchist football team [Easton Cowboys] formed out of a kick-about between a group of punks and kids from St Pauls and in 2012 celebrated its 20th year. Freedom Through Football tells the tale of a journey that has seen them smuggled into Zapatista communities under cover of darkness, play cricket in Compton, South Central LA, and soccer on the dusty pitches of Palestine. Along the way they’ve sheltered asylum seekers from Mozambique, spent an afternoon as uninvited guests at Windsor Castle and been joined by rampageous netballers, can can dancers and an up and coming street artist named Banksy. At times it’s been nothing if not a bumpy ride - as a team and as individuals they’ve had to confront imprisonment, death, drug and alcohol problems and meet them all head on.
This is the world the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls have created for themselves. Freedom Through Football is the guide to this punk and anarchist-inspired, community-minded club that truly is like no other in British sport.
Presented by one of the founding members, Roger Wilson
I thought friends of Justseeds might be interested in the catalogue for 'Lake-Effect: Rurality and Ecology in the Great Lakes.' I have uploaded the PDF for your downloading pleasure. Feel free to send me any ideas or suggestions that you may have for future Lake-Effect projects.
I'm so inspired by this project taking place in Portland, Oregon. Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library for people living outside. It is bicycle with a built in cart that is full books and two street Liberians; Laura Moulton and Sue Zalokar. Patrons are able to check out books with out the usual requirements of an ID and proof of address. They use the old school card with the pocket inside the cover and the patrons return the books when they are able. Those who wish to can be photographed with their book of choice, offer reviews, and contribute their own stories from the road which get shown at www. streetbooks.org.
This interview is printed in the hand sewn zine of "This is an Emergency!" a print portfolio on gender justice and reproductive rights.
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
This interview is printed in the hand sewn zine of "This is an Emergency!" a print portfolio on gender justice and reproductive rights.
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
This print is from "This is an Emergency!" a print portfolio on gender justice and reproductive rights.
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
This interview with Judith Arcana, written by Sam Merritt, appears in the hand sewn zine "This is an Emergency!" To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
“This is an Emergency!”
A reproductive rights and gender justice portfolio
A collection of 17 Artist Prints and 9 Inter-generational Essays
I am pleased to announce the release of a project which brings together the voices and artwork of over two dozen people on reproductive rights and gender justice. This collection highlights the visual art and stories of people most affected by these issues- women, queer identified, and transgendered artists and organizers. Reproductive rights and gender justice are in a state of emergency. This is a collection of responses to this crisis through visual art and interviews.
This interview is printed in the hand sewn zine of "This is an Emergency!" a print portfolio on gender justice and reproductive rights.
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
After a tough two years (and many gentle reminders from the PM crew) Signal 02 is finally finished. Signal is ongoing project between Josh MacPhee and me, with the aim of documenting international art, graphics, and culture tied to social movements around the world.
Signal 01 had six features: Dutch comix anti-hero Red Rat; graffiti artist Impeach; a photo essay on Adventure Playgrounds; the designer Rufus Segar & Anarchy Magazine; the Taller Tupac Amaru; and posters from the propaganda brigades of Mexico in 1968. With issue 2, we wanted to expand the focus a little and try to cover some new areas and struggles. Here are some highlights:
Queering the TreesitRealTree camo hanky collaboration with Shaun Slifer
Here is a sneak peek of the hankies I have been busily designing and printing for the Do Anything exhibition, opening July 13 at Space 4 Art in San Diego. The show is curated by my friend Chris Kardambikis, one of the forces behind Encyclopedia Destructica (who created the Secret Pockets book with me), and features work by individual artists and collectives who focus on do-it-yourself publishing and print projects. Employing alternative methods of production to create and distribute books, zines, and video work, the exhibiting artists work with a variety of themes to actively engage a wide audience. The exhibition takes place at two San Diego locations: San Diego Space 4 Art and Double Break. The show coincides with the San Diego Comic Con.
My long time friend Mike Staudenmaier has a new book out, and has just headed out on tour. Truth and Revolution: A History of the Sojourner Truth Organization, 1969–1986 is a history of one of the more interesting, yet lesser looked at, 70s left groups. I'll definitely be at Mike's talk on Saturday, May 26 at 1PM at The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue (second floor) in Brooklyn (three blocks from the Atlantic/Pacific subway on the B/D/N/Q/R/2/3/4/5).
I also had the pleasure of designing the cover of the book, digging through old STO photos and creating a scrapbook-esque image.
Official book launch for Chris Stain's latest project and Drago's newest title - LONG STORY SHORT - at Wooster Street Social Club in NYC on March 14th, 2012.
Buy the book on dragolab.com:
The new issue of Journal of Aesthetics and Protest is now out in print. It can be read online HERE, but it is always fun to get a print copy, and be able to read it without microwaving your eyeballs with too much computer screen. Plus it is consistently handsomely designed and nice to browse through! Pick up your copy HERE.
We're in the last 3 days now of my Kickstarter campaign to fund a portfolio project i'm curating & publishing on the theme of heresy.
Witches & Mad Prophets will feature offset prints of original work by 13 amazing artists- AMTK, Bec Young, Charlotte de Sédouy, Corina Dross, Dylan Miner, Ian Cozzens, Katrina Avocado, Lee Relvas, Mandy Katz, Santiago Armengod, William Schaff, Xander Marro, and myself. The fundraising's been a runaway success, the band the Mountain Goats tweeted about it, we hit our goal in a day and a half and right now we sit at 240% of our funding goal with three days to spare! There's still 40-something portfolios available for pre-order, so if you want to make sure you get one (for only $40!), get them here! See below for previews and more info...
This Wednesday (tomorrow) is the long awaited book release for Chris Stain's Long Story Short, which has been in the works for over two years. Join us in celebrating from 8-11pm at the Wooster Social Club, 43 Wooster St, Manhattan. (Click on the flyer to the right for a bigger version.)
Every blue moon a truly exceptional book on art and activism is released. The latest one is Art and Social Justice Education: Culture as Commons edited by Therese Quinn, John Ploof, and Lisa Hochtritt. I am still making my way through it, so this post is not a definitive review, simply a first impression. For starters, the book, unlike so many Routledge books is relatively affordable (around $40 for the paperback). Yes, that is high for a paper book, but many Routledge books are over $100 and simply inaccessible to just about everyone besides those who find them hidden away in the stacks of a University library.
So, why should one purchase this book? Simple. The book is written in clear prose, it synthesizes a vast range of activist art being produced NOW, and provides an excellent balance between short biographical essays on activist artists and critical essays in defense of the public sphere (including public education) during an era of right-wing privatization. In short, the book acts as a useful "first text" to those just learning about activist art, while also operating as a text that adds much critical discussion to those already versed in the practice and the theory.
Thread Makes Blanket Press is getting ready to publish their first book, on the New Jewish Agenda! Peep this link to see how you can help. From Ezra Nepon, the organizer of this project:
New Jewish Agenda was a national organization from 1980 to 1992. Their slogan was "a Jewish voice among progressives and a progressive voice among Jews." NJA practiced participatory grassroots democracy with over 45 local chapters. They organized a progressive Jewish voice for every political issue of their decade: working for peace and justice in the Middle East and Central America, Worldwide Nuclear Disarmament, Economic and Social Justice in the US, and they had a powerful Jewish Feminist Taskforce that included work on LGBT issues and the emergence of the AIDS pandemic.
I recently did a big design job for my friend Sean Stewart and PM Press, Sean's new book On The Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. [I did the inside design, not the cover, which was created by Simon Benjamin.] Clocking in at over 200 full color pages with over 125 images and pieces of the dozens on interviews Sean did with underground press veterans, it's a fabulous collection that really captures the aesthetic, feel, and movement of the time in a way no other book on the subject has done.
I'm proud of my contribution, which has gotten some rave reviews, including this by Ron Jacobs in Counterpunch: "Like the papers his interviewees are remembering, the most striking thing about On the Ground is the layout. Even though I know the book was composed on a computer screen, the book looks as if it were laid out via the old cut and paste method by folks possibly stoned on weed and a day or two with minimal sleep—just like many issues of almost every paper Stewart discusses."
I recently designed a new pamphlet about the failures of REDD, the UN's current carbon trading scheme. It is called No REDD Papers, vol. 1, was edited by Hallie Boas, with art direction from Justseeds' member Mazatl, and design by me (Josh MacPhee), and it is going to be mass distributed at the upcoming climate conference in Durban, South Africa. A print edition is being produced by Eberhardt Press, and a free downloadable PDF is available HERE. It includes over a dozen articles about the environmental impact of REDD, with illustrations by a half dozen Justseeds artists, including Melanie Cervantes, Erik Ruin, Pete Yahnke, Roger Peet, and Favianna Rodriguez.
I've been having fun designing a new pamphlet series for the Institute for Anarchist Studies called "Lexicon," which consists of short essays by different authors laying out definitions of political terms. The idea is to help create a baseline knowledge amongst people so that we can have more productive political discussions and actions. The idea was born out of the early days of the Occupy movement, going down to Zuccotti Park and participating in political conversations with total strangers that were exhilarating, but also deeply frustrating, largely because of a lack of common understanding of some of the most basic building blocks of political theory.
I've been getting really into creative pattern generation lately, and the covers of this series are a great opportunity to practice that, and have a good time while doing it! We've got the first four pamphlets written, the first three designed, and a handful more in the works already. The IAS just needs a little cash to get them printed (at a movement printer). There's a kickstarter up and running to fund the first 4 in the series, check it out and support it if you can! Check it out HERE.
Brooklyn based artist Christopher Cardinale presents slides of his artwork and process for the children's book Which Side Are You On? written by George Ella Lyon.
Saturday November 19th, 1pm
172 Allen Street (btw Stanton & Rivington)
This past September, a new bookstore and hub for radical events opened up in Buffalo, New York: Burning Books. Hitting the ground running, they've already hosted a whole mess of intriguing and inspiring speakers and films, and if the local press surrounding the new endeavor is any indication, the organizers are building a venue to keep a serious eye on (see more in-depth articles here and here)...
Here is part 2 of the covers of G.K. Chesterton's 1908 anarchist exploitation novel The Man Who Was Thursday. You can see the first 17 covers from last week HERE. This weeks first cover (to the left) is from the 2008 edition from the Crime Classics series of Atlantic Press. Atlantic is a young UK independent publisher, and this series of books is generally gorgeous. White borders, duotone printing, and the simple sans serif publisher/line/series name at the top set the style, and then each one is illustrated uniquely. A little digging online shows the designer of the series is Wallzo. The Thursday cover is fabulous, and really captures the spooky, underground adventure aspects of the novel I was talking about last week.
A couple months ago I was looking around a great local Brooklyn new/used bookshop, Unnameable, and I stumbled on a book cover featuring an cool looking illustration of a riot scene, an illustration that looked really familiar. It was an image by Félix Vallotton, a late 19th century Swiss avant-garde printmaker with deep sympathies towards anarchism. It turns out that the book was a new Penguin edition of GK Chesterton's 1908 thriller The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (see right).
On the one hand, the image is quite fitting, it is from the period of the book, and could be illustrating a scene straight from its pages. On the other hand, Valloton fell far on the other side of the political fence from Chesterton. While anarchists and police are the subject of the novel, Chesterton shows no sympathies to the rebels. Valloton did quite the opposite, regularly satirizing the police. The placing of the two texts literally on top of each other is a fascinating rewriting of history, both humorous, but also in a way stripping both historical figures/artists of their beliefs, and flattening them out into a period "style."
About a month ago I started getting emails from my friend Charles, who works for the Journal of Palestine Studies. He started digging up old issues of an Arabic language sister journal Sha’un Falastiniya, with amazing covers. According to Charles, "Sha’un Falastiniya (Palestinian Affairs) was first released by the PLO’s academic department. in 1971—in Beirut—called the Palestine Research Center. It was edited for a while by the legendary Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish, before it and its staff were eventually pushed into exile in Cyprus with the rest of the PLO, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It finally stopped publishing in 1993 in Cyprus. It contained political, literary and academic articles, analysis, criticism, and book reviews."
Although I only have these ten issues to draw from, the early issues have a similar vibe to some of the design work in the Cuban journal Tricontinental (produced by OSPAAAL, the solidarity organization well known for its poster design). They are diverse and open in color scheme, and use a lot of found imagery, mixing things that otherwise wouldn't go together (for example, 18th or 19th century landscape etchings with photographs of Palestinian guerrillas!). At the same time the clean masthead and limited palette (most are duotone or tritone, not cmyk) combine with the classical print imagery to generate a very clean, efficient, and almost conservative design.
This week I'm going to jump back to Germany in the 60s and 70s, and look at Fizz, an antiauthoritarian political paper which split with Agit 883. Editors from Agit left that paper in 1971, and produced Fizz, which lasted for 10 issues. Since I don't know much German, my research into this has been limited, but it appears as if one of the main reasons for the split were that Fizz wanted to more whole-heartedly support the RAF. In many ways Fizz looks and feels like Agit, with a head-spinning mix of montage, illustration, news clippings, re-purposed photographs, and other cultural detritus. On the other hand, Fizz embraced more traditional anarchist imagery, with lots of bombs and black and red flags (which is interesting in the context of the split with Agit, as the RAF were far from antiauthoritarian). Each issue also featured a poster in the center, usually honoring a "hero," from Bakunin to Leila Khaled. I believe most of these issues were banned by the West German government. [I apologize for the low-quality images, I had to take them on a cell phone and try to touch them up. Hopefully at some point I'll be able to replace them with better versions.]
About three years back I bought a small collection of cheap, but relatively handsome, UK Anarchist pamphlets under the title New Anarchist Review. They stretched from 1984 into the early 1990s, and were largely composed of reviews and lists of recently published anarchist books, advertisements from antiauthoritarian publishers, and a short article here and there. I was initially drawn to them because they seemed a humble heir to the Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review of the late 70s, which had similar content, but was much more comprehensive and completest.
It turns out that New Anarchist Review (NAR) was published by the same consortium of anarchist groupings that put together the early London Anarchist Bookfair, including the publishers involved in A Distribution (such as Pheonix Press, Freedom Press, and Rebel Press), the Anarchist Book Service, and the anarchist bookshops Freedom and 121 Centre. There is a really nice history of the London Anarchist Bookfair and the New Anarchist Review that you can read HERE. I don't think it is intended to be anonymous, but I couldn't find an author attribution anywhere!
I just got this book in the mail. It is a companion to an exhibition at Monash University Rare Books Library, Melbourne, Australia.
From the dust jacket, " a journey through some of humanity's most inhumane and hypocritical moments. The catalogue provides insights into 77 influential books and works presented in book form, of the past 90 years."
Here's the last batch of Agit883 covers! These all rely on some version of collage and montage, to varying effects...I'm actually up to my neck in a poster project for the Occupied Wall Street Journal, so this week all the covers will go completely without comment! I hope to be back to my usual overly verbose self next week.
This week we've got more Agit 883. Like last week, I'm blitzed with other work and life issues, so I'm mostly going to just let these ride, and speak for themselves. General info: All the covers this week are largely made up of re-used and re-purposed photographic images from other newspapers and sources. Some are used in the celebratory sense of reproducing images of resistance, and others in a critical sense of satirically focusing on people in power.
The cover to the right, for issue #16, is a satirical use of an image from Vietnam, the brutality wrought on children by the war is commented on with the title "International Children's Day."
Here's week three of covers of the German anti-capitalist paper Agit 883. This week I want to look at the covers that use the conventions of popular comic books to convey political ideas. Although there was a huge alternative comics scene that developed in the US in the late 60s, it was often more challenging aesthetically than politically "radical" in content. Outside of Spain Rodriguez and a small number of other artists that did some comics about political histories (such as those in Anarchy Comics), the U.S. was much more counter-culturally identified. It appears as if Agit either borrowed clearly political comics for a number of covers, or had a comic artist in their crew (issue #24 to the left is a good example).
This has been a crazy week, with much time spent at the Wall Street Occupation, so I'm going to leave it at that for now, and mostly let the covers speak for themselves.
Just saw this, Printed Matter is reissuing the amazing book GAAG, The Guerrilla Art Action Group, 1969-1976, which has been out of print for almost 30 years. There was a pdf of this book floating around for awhile, but it is great that it's going to be in print again. I don't think I can describe GAAG better than Printed Matter, so here's their info about the re-release:
Printed Matter is very pleased to announce the reissue of our long out-of-print publication GAAG: The Guerrilla Art Action Group, 1969-1976: A Selection, first published in 1978. The book serves as the primary text to the significant work of the activist artist group GAAG (Jon Hendricks, Poppy Johnson, Silvianna, Joanne Stamerra, Virginia Toche and Jean Toche), both as a document of the group’s ideological and logistical concerns, and more broadly as a historical record for 52 of the many political art actions they carried out through the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Guided by their belief that art and culture had been corrupted by profit and private interest, GAAG formed in October 1969 as a platform for social struggle. Their work asked how artists could work effectively towards meaningful change, most often through direct provocation and confrontation—symbolic, non-violent actions staged in protest and ridicule of the ethical failures by the art and media establishments, as well as the US government. Their activities defied the brutal, close-minded workings of an artistic/political system that traded in dirty money, served the elite, established a trivial cultural canon, and perpetuated bloody wars abroad.
Those of us who normally run the shipping department here at Justseeds will all be in Europe for the next 3-5 weeks for a number of events and a little bit of exploring. We've hired our friend Artnoose to keep the whole dirigible in the air in our absence, so if you order something from our store in September/October, she'll be packing it (wholesale customers should be the only people who may have to wait longer than usual)! Artnoose is a Pittsburgh-based printer known mostly for her bi-monthly letterpress zine Ker-Bloom!, which she's been doing for the last 15 years. She also does custom letterpress invitations through Deep Ink Letterpress. If you're in the Pittsburgh area on Sundays, stop in to the office (we're open 2-6pm) and say hello! In the meantime, we sat down for a silly, Tigerbeat Magazine-inspired interview with Artnoose right before we left - read below...
Here's week two of covers from the German 60s/70s publication Agit 883. Last week (HERE) I looked at the covers of the first 13 (of 88) issues, and broke the covers roughly into four different design types. This week I'm going to look at some of the covers that fall into type 1: variations on the singular illustration or editorial cartoon as central graphic element.
Issue 18 to the right is a perfect example, the large title "Kollectiv" and the illustration of 9 people—represented as camels—fill the cover. Not exactly sure of the context of the image, but possibly the 7 tethered to the Agit logo are cartoons of the editorial staff?
Our friends over at Groundswell Design Collective have been busy, and are part of a group producing a new journal called Scapegoat. The first issue is themed Service, and looks quite good (haven't seen it in person yet), a strong international collection of essays about the intersection of architecture, urban space, design, and politics. You can read a lot more about it over on Groundswell's blog HERE.
A copy of issue 01 can be purchased HERE.
The image to the right is by Frank Chimero, from Scapegoat.
Continuing and expanding on last week's post on the covers of Sabat, an '80s German ultra-left magazine, this week I'm going to go way to the late 60s, and look at some of the covers of one of the publications that was a main organ for the emerging German ultra-left and armed left, Agit 883. Agit 883 published 88 issues between 1969 and 1972. Little is written about it in English, but there is a great book in German about the publication, Agit 883: Bewegung, Revolte, Underground 1969-1972 (Assoziation A, 2006) which includes a CD which contains pdf scans of all the papers, including the covers (which is where the ones here come from). Those scans are also available online HERE. The paper was founded by Dirk Schneider (and possibly others) and had a rotating editorial staff over it's four years of publishing. It began with a Marxist/critical theory bent, but became more anarchist and anti-Leninist over time. It appears that the paper split and eventually ceased publication because of a combination of internal political disagreements and state repression, both largely related to support for the RAF and other armed groups.
I'm not going to show all 88 covers, but I'll look at the first 13 issues this week, and then look at more of the run over the following couple weeks. Like many '60s German counter-culture papers, Agit 883 covers started out as mock versions of existing German publications (this is also true for Linkeck and Fizz, both of which I'll look at in future posts). The cover of issue #1 (left) looks like a more traditional newspaper with a little Dada thrown in, and issue #2 (below) places the Agit 883 logo behind a clipped out title for Die Deutschen Bullen (which itself is emerging from a clip art pile of riot cops).
Next year's Justseeds/Eberhardt Press organizer is about to go to press! This is a cleanly designed, uncluttered, wirebound datebook featuring 12 months of Justseeds art, a lunar phase calendar, notepages, and months-at-a-glance. It will be available in the Justseeds store October 15th, so make sure you don't buy any other organizers before then!
Memorial de Agravios, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2006 brings together the work of 24 photographers who followed the social movement in Oaxaca during 2006 and 2007, along with essays by five Mexican writers translated into English, French, and Italian. A remarkable edition, conceived as an art book is a testimony to the difficult months in which citizens confronted the corrupt administration of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, is an independent work which encourages critical reflection on the violence that dominated Oaxaca during 2006 and 2007.David Jaramillo, photojournalist/activist from Mexico City, covered the movement, will discuss the trajectory of the movement, its current state, and present images of the uprising. Copies of Memorial de Agravios will be sold to benefit widows of this movement
172 Allen St
I think I'll keep exploring the covers of obscure ultra-left political journals for awhile! Although not exactly known for their graphic sensibilities, there are definitely some interesting looking antiauthoritarian political journals out there, including a whole bunch from Germany. Last year I picked up five issues of Sabot: Hamburger Info Sammlung (Hamburg Info Collection), a 1980s squatter/anti-imperialist/autonomen publication based out of Hamburg. It ran for 23 issues from 1985-1989. Because of its support of the armed wing of the German left (RAF, etc.), especially through printing communiques with little or no commentary, the publication was often facing state repression—publishers were arrested and imprisoned,—and it was discontinued after the 23rd issue.
A couple years back on a trip to San Francisco I was lucky enough to check out a then new exhibition entitled Hobos to Street People: Artists' Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present. It was a great show, using the history of American social realist art to illustrate the plight of the marginalized in society. Now the curator Art Hazelwood has new book out which catalogs the exhibition! The book, also called Hobos to Street People, is available from the publisher Freedom Voices, and there are a series of upcoming events celebrating it's release:
September 15, book release party at Alliance Graphics
September 22, Exhibition opening reception at de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University
September 29, Panel Discussion and book release party at de Saisset Museum
More information can be found on Art's site HERE.
Friends and supporters, We are writing to announce our 6th Annual Benefit Book Sale for Daniel McGowan. We've had great success and good times with these book sales in the past and this year will be no different.
Why a fundraiser now? While you may not realize it, life in prison can actually be really expensive. From making overpriced phone calls and e-mail access, to having to buy basic necessities from the commissary at prices many times that of retail, Daniel’s living costs have add up. For that reason, even if you can’t make it to the book sale, please consider donating to Daniel today. Without donations from friends and supporters, Daniel would be unable to buy the minimal goods that provide a small amount of comfort while he is imprisoned. Not to mention the staggering amount of money he still owes for the legal representation during his trial.
The Art Threat blog has a great review of what looks like an amazing comic book called "Kenk: A Graphic Portrait". The subject of the book is a highly unscrupulous Slovenian expatriate in Toronto who ran a bike-shop notorious for the questionable provenance of its stock. An ardent environmentalist and erstwhile disciple of permaculture, Kenk was also an ex-policeman. He seems to be a weird synthesis of contradictory impulses and responses to consumer society: the refugee from a collapsed communism who arrives in the Land of Waste and builds himself a little empire from the cast-off and the un-secured. It sounds marvelously contradictory, morally and economically ambiguous, and sure to inflate the rage-pouches of the righteous! The art is also intriguing, based on post-Yugoslav-era punk-rock photocopy collage traditions; highly contrasted and filthy graphics that echo zine-culture and aesthetics.
I'm trying to decide what feature this week while riding out this hurricane hitting the east coast. Hopefully I'll get this up and posted before the power goes out (if it goes out, seems unlikely at this point).
Given the strange circumstances, I was thinking I was just going to post a handful of cool pamphlets I've picked up over the years, starting with this issue of the Irish political journal The Ripening of Time. This is issue #12 and the only one I've ever seen in person. I assumed that it was one of the dozens and dozens of issues of random political journals I've collected over the years that seem completely lost to history, but it turns out this one was important to people, and a number of different sites have been archiving different issues, and an Irish TV show even produced an episode about it! (you can watch it HERE).
This SUNDAY, August 28th,
...and after that, the Cyberpunk Apocalypse Writer-in-Residence Program and Justseeds present readings by Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela & Adriana Ramirez at 6:30 pm!
Light snacks and refreshments will be provided at Justseeds, more info on the readers and event locations after the cut...
My friend "Ret" has sent me some great covers a couple times now. Originally a couple of B. Traven ones, and now a lot more (plus some Angela Davis covers I'll be featuring in the near future). A couple months back Ret sent me a great folder of a dozen Traven covers I hadn't previously featured, and that's what I'm going to share today. This will actually be the 9th week I've focused on Traven, and with these 11 covers, a total of 159 Traven editions! You can check out all the past covers HERE.
To start out, to the right is an interesting 1971 Penguin edition of March to Caobaland (the same as March to the Monteria, but according to Ret, an earlier translation). It's a great cover, and feels way ahead of it's time, a real slick post-modern mix of fonts, classic design elements, and contrasting color scheme. It has none of the human hand typical of late 60s/early 70s eclectic design (a la PushPin), so seems more late 80s or early 90s.
Hello! I'm Caroline Paquita, a visual artist, musician, bee-keeper, and in general, a maker and “sharer” of things. I live and work out of Port Quincy, in Brooklyn, NY. After many years of self-publishing, I'm officially beginning a small queer, feminist, total-art-freaker publishing house called PEGACORN PRESS. Through your help, I’m hoping to raise funds for new and better equipment to make this easier and all the more possible.
To the left is the cover of Dmitro Bedzik's Underground Thunder. Bedzik was a Ukranian writer and playwright, born in 1898, but I don't think this book was published until 1971. I haven't been able to find much out about it, but it is some sort of historical novel about the Ukraine, and given the block prints inside, it must have some connection to a story of revolution and repression. The cover is really nice, a paper-wrapped hardback, printed in red and black on an unbleached stock. The title is in a clean sans serif Cyrillic font, and the right 2/3 of the page is covered with a powerful red and black block print of emotive working class faces piled up below a banner.
Here's the second part of the Ukranian communist book stash I found in upstate NY. (Part one can be found HERE.) To the left is the cover for a book which is oddly titled Honor and Dignity of Russian Names (Moscow, 1973). The red type has that fabulous Western look, which I would suspect read as something completely different in 1970s USSR. The blue floral fill is very conservative/classical, but the concentric frames around it add a more modern touch. Paired with the patriotic/space program red stripes and stars at the bottom, it all makes for quite a quirky cover.
Below we have the back cover, which lists either the author or publisher, Soviet Committee for Cultural Relations with Overseas Compatriots. The name is stretched and squished line by line into a tight little box of blue type, wrapped up in a frame emanating from a little red star, like the star is exclaiming the words!
Here is a link to check out a book project about the uprising in Wisconsin.
The book is edited by Erica Sagrans.
A couple months back I got to spend an amazingly fun and relaxing weekend at a strange old Ukranian summer camp in Monroe, NY called Arrow Park. It was the first annual retreat of the political collectives Resistance in Brooklyn and Wild Poppies, and although Dara and I aren't members of either, we we're friends and fellow-travelers enough to be able to get away to the beautiful grounds and lakefront of this retreat center frozen in time. It was like walking into a 1970s-preserved camp from the 1930s! At some point the place must of been connected to the Communist Party, either here or in the USSR, as the bookshelves contained a small but interesting collection of Communist literature in Ukrainian, Russian, and Byelorussian, all in Cyrillic characters.
I turned to my favorite Slavophile and Russian language student (and Justseeds member) Alec Dunn, who kindly translated the pile of covers I photographed at Arrow Park. To the right is a simple floral cover that exclaims Great October.
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.
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).
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'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.
For those in New Zealand!
Remains to be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill's ashes in New Zealand—an easy-to-read account of censorship and radical labour during the First World War—will be launched in Christchurch this Thursday June 30 at Beat Street Cafe (Corner Barbadoes and Armagh), at 5.30pm.
I had intended to follow-up last weeks post about Elephant Editions Anarchist Pocketbook series (check it out HERE) with the covers of another of their popular book/pamphlet series, the eight publications printed under the label Bratach Dubh (Black Flag in Gaelic). But, I still feel unhappy with my research, and keep turning up new info and new covers (i.e. it appears that Bratach Dubh was originally it's own publisher, and was folded into Elephant Editions in 1990 when Weir reprinted all of the original pamphlets from the 70s and 80s), so I'm going to wait on that for a couple weeks (If you've got any info on the origins and history of Elephant Editions beyond the basics (see last week's post) please drop me a line!
Instead I'm going to look at the covers of the seven issues of Insurrection magazine, published by Jean Weir concurrently to running Elephant Editions press. To the left is the first issue, which is technically issue #0 (the pilot). The cover is generally unremarkable design-wise, other than the designer was smart enough to not obscure the striking photograph of a Native American (possibly Sitting Bull, but I don't know for sure?).
“There is a restlessness within our souls that keeps us questioning, discovering and struggling against a system that will not allow us space and time for fresh expression....” - Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott-Heron inspires the title of this issue – "Winter In America -- The Reluctant Welfare State.” Scott-Heron, who passed away in late May of this year, used winter as a metaphor to describe the bleak, challenging, and ofttimes depressing period in US history we find ourselves trudging through today. Do not despair. Though winter is hard it is also a time of coming together.
A great need for a joining of forces is brewing and cannot be ignored. Both dominant political parties in the US are forging budget policy that will forever place the burden of a balanced budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable. Corporations plead poverty and policymakers listen, cutting taxes for the wealthy and programs that aid the poor. Many forces are gathering to protect public welfare, but more is needed. While it is sometimes an unsavory or uncomfortable position for leftists in the US to be in, the time to demand more government aid to the poor is now.
Families both rural and urban will bear a large brunt of cuts to social spending. Without assistance many families simply cannot survive. A thoughtful and poignant discussion of families and where they fit in to the movements for liberation and justice takes its rightful place in this issue. As Cynthia Oka and Vikki Law point out, our organizations often miss the mark when it comes to multigenerational organizing both ideologically and practically, as in providing kid and youth-friendly spaces at radical events.
Dove-tailing off of last weeks post on the UK publisher Shortfuse, this week I'm going to start a series of posts on the UK/Italian anarchist publisher Elephant Editions. I believe Elephant Editions was begun in the UK in the early to mid-80s by insurrectionary anarchist Jean Weir. I'm not an expert in insurrectionary anarchist history, but in 1982 Weir began producing an anarchist magazine/broadsheet called Insurrection, which ran for seven issues throughout the 1980s (I will be featuring the covers of this magazine in a future post). Within the pages of Insurrection their is a melange of anti-militarism, critiques of the organizational forms of politics, records of state violence, and a defense of illegalism (for lack of a better description, individualist armed struggle). In addition, Weir translated and published some of the first writings by the Italian anarchist Alfredo Bonnano into English. Elephant Editions as a publisher seems to have begun in the mid-80s as an extension of Insurrection.
Like the magazine, Elephant is a diverse and interesting brew. Their publications fall into roughly three groupings, the early Anarchist Pocketbook series, the Bratach Dubh pamphlet series, and a small collection of other pamphlets and publications. This week we'll start with the Anarchist Pocketbooks.
In January 1994 I made my first visit to the UK and to London. At the time there were two functional anarchist spaces in town that were open to the public: the 121 Railton and 56A Infoshops. At the time I felt like 121 was where all the action was: it was based in Brixton, had an old printing press, a large meeting and event space, a cafe, etc., etc. My memories of 56A are foggier. My main memory was that there was a food coop there, which was decidedly less interesting to me than the 1 quid veggie burgers and Anarchist Black Cross meetings at 121. Turns out 121 was soon to collapse, and 56A has held on and maintained itself as a thriving social centre in South London.
I went back in the Fall of 2007 and ran into Chris, who I had met there almost 15 years earlier. We got to hang out, and he gave Icky and I free run of the 56A archive, which we helped organize. We tried to document material from it that would be useful in a future issue of our journal Signal. Two years later I was back in London, and this time met up with Chris and his mate Mark, who together make up the main major force behind Short Fuse Printing and Bandit Press.
Featuring an array of archival documents and illustrations, Remains to be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill's ashes in Aotearoa (New Zealand)—an easy-to-read account of censorship and radical labour during the First World War—is now available to purchase from Rebel Press. A free downloadable PDF version is also available from Rebel Press.
The book will be launched in Christchurch on Thursday June 30 at Beat Street Cafe (Corner Barbadoes and Armagh), at 5.30pm. Jared Davidson, author and designer of Remains to be Seen, will share a few thoughts on his research, and copies of the book will also be available for purchase.
This week I'm looking at the final bits and pieces from Eberhardt Press. I've got a couple book and pamphlet covers here, and some things Eberhardt printed but didn't design. Also, over the past couple years I've collected a bunch of other Eberhardt printed ephemera which I've included.
No printer in the U.S. can survive on printing political books and pamphlets alone. The way Eberhardt has dealt with this problem is two-fold. Charles does a lot of "job work" or printing for other people, to make ends meet, and has been lucky enough to carve out a very diverse client base which produces much that he is at least sympathetic to. He regularly prints for Microcosm Publishing, he has printed or helped print the magazine Communicating Vessels, he prints Anarchy Magazine for Ardent Press, and he has done a lot of printing for us here at Justseeds, including the calendar we co-published with AK Press and our yearly organizer.
In addition to the job work, Charles designs and prints a wide array of notebooks and cards which he sells. His design aesthetic is strong and unique, a combination of Victorian figures in action (with a steam-punk-y vibe) and naturalistic, graphic representations of animals. The notebook cover to the above left is a good example, a 19th century man experimenting with a light-bulb helmet!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By far the most response to this book cover blog over the past year was to the six-week installment about the covers of the mysterious German-born, Mexican-bound, antiauthoritarian novelist B. Traven (Weeks 14-19, which you can see HERE). Both Jared Davidson (in New Zealand) and "Ret Marut" (thought to be the real name of Traven) emailed me images of the 1974 Panther UK edition of The Death Ship. Ret also sent me a great link to something they wrote on Traven, which you can read HERE. There is also a somewhat "official" Traven site at BTraven.com, which has tons more info on Traven, plus full bibliography, small images of tons more covers, and a collection of his photography.
Spurred on by all the interest in Traven, I've scoured the web and used bookstores trying to find more covers. I've come up with 17 more covers of The Death Ship (all below), as well as about 20 additional covers of other books (which I'll share next week). If anyone out there has even more Traven covers, definitely email them to me! (Images at least 300 pixels in width are preferred...)
So I've got all these Cienfuegos Press and B. Traven covers to follow-up on last year's posts, but I haven't had the time to pull them all together. Instead, for this week, I'm going to take a quick look at some covers for books by Victor Serge. The inspiration for this is the covers created by the UK publishers Writers and Readers in the 1970s (yup, the same Writers and Readers that went on to do all the "For Beginners" books!).
In 1977/78 Writers and Readers published the three volumes of Serge's Victory-in-Defeat, Defeat-in-Victory" cycle of novels about the Russian Revolution. Men in Prison is the first volume, then Birth of our Power, and finally Conquered City. The covers of these three books are simple, and maybe because of that I find them really attractive.
Following up on last weeks post, and some of last years covers that slipped through the cracks, here is a cool selection of New World Paperbacks (NWP) covers. The original NWP posts, including their story and a dozen covers can be found HERE and HERE. Since those posts, I've picked up a half dozen additional NWP books and found a clutch of good images online.
To start with, I found 3 books of poetry, one from 1968, one from 1971, and one from 1982. The first (to the left), The Portable Walter, is definitely designed to appeal to youth culture, and their attraction to psychedelia. The color scheme of pink and purple, and the watery letter forms and shapes are reminiscent of the Haight-Ashbury rock posters so popular in 1966 and 67. It's actually quite suprising to me that the Communist Party would so quickly pick up on the aesthetics of the counter-culture, especially since they were simultaneously expelling young members they felt were becoming to anti-authoritarian. At the same time, there is still something awkward and staid in the cover. The figure, who I'm assuming is Walter Lowenfels, isn't wearing tie-die, or even jeans, but looks like he's at the beach on break from his office cubicle.
Well, I have to say, I'm pretty excited that I've now done a full year's worth of "Judging Books by Their Covers" blog posts! Week 52! In what has otherwise been an insane and erratic year, this blog has been one of the only consistent things in my life. I feel pretty damn accomplished!
As a bit of a celebration, I'm going to chill out for a couple weeks and rather than dig up a bunch of new subjects (plenty of which will be coming during year 2!), I'm going to go back over the past year and fill in some things I missed. Throughout the year, as I've been collecting new covers, I've come across a whole selection of great ones that fell through the cracks. Submitting to my completist tendencies, I'm going to fill in some of these gaps.
I'll start with the prison series, and in particular the political prisoner book covers. While at my friend Amadee's house awhile back I stumbled across a nice UK paperback edition of Angela Davis' If They Come in the Morning, her edited collection of writings about political prisoners from the early 70s. In many ways it echoes the US covers (which you can see in the week 43 post HERE), but the close up on the face with the full bleed is more inviting, and the simple sans serif title in orange and white is efficient and convincing. I think it is the most effective and least dated of the 3 covers.
After filling the last 3 months with two different five-week series (prisons and Kropotkin), I'm ready to jump into something completely different. For the most part over the past year I've been focusing on book covers from the turn of the 20th Century to the 1980s or 90s, so I thought it would be cool to try to look as some more contemporary cover design work.
About 5 years ago a series of books being produced by a small independent publisher from Canada started catching my eye. The series is named Semaphore, and the publisher is small collectively-run press named Arbeiter Ring. The series kicked off in 2002 with a book by Ian Angus, and reached eight titles at the end of last year with Grammar Matters by Jila Ghomeshi. I haven't read all the books (though I have read a couple, and they were quite good!), and the insides aren't my focus here, instead this is a review of the outsides.
Here's the final installment of the Peter Kropotkin book cover series, 19 covers this week, 69 total over the 5 week series. Although what initially drew me to doing these post about Kropotkin was a focus on the all the different representations of his beards, he is actually an interesting subject for this kind of visual inquiry, as his writing has been published by hundreds of publishers in dozens of languages for more than 100 years. I'm sure these 69 books are merely the tip of the iceberg, and some additional research could really illuminate how Kropotkin was represented in different geographies in different time periods, and how those representations related to the design conventions of the day. But that is a project for a different day.
Today I'm going to go through the last of these covers, starting with another one of Kropotkin's popular books, Memoirs of a Revolutionist. I like the 1962 Anchor pocketbook edition to the left for a couple different reasons. First, the simple sans serif text and the almost tourist-like photo of pre-Soviet Russian arabesque architecture are unassuming, it takes a minute to see that the building is actually completely dwarfing the people, and that it would take some serious revolutionary zeal to face off with the power of the Russian Czar and Church, a power literaly inscribed into the landscape. Second, the downplaying of the "Revolutionist" in the title is hard to imagine on a cover made today. This book would be published not by Doubleday or a any major publishing house, but a niche political publisher like AK or PM, who would likely feel the need to play up both Kropotkin as an important individual and his anarchist credentials in order to appeal to their audiences.
Over the next couple weeks I'm going to dig through the rest of the Peter Kropotkin covers I've found. Most are beardless, and many are banal at best, but there are some gems hidden in here. The cover to the right, for instance, is really interesting and strange. A giant generic pink head fills the field of the cover, with a large albatross flying out of the head, out of the person's mind? I'm not sure if the bird is an oblique reference to Mutual Aid, Kropotkin's most influential work, but this is definitely not that book, it's a German edition of his overview of anarchist philosophy and politics. The type is unfortunate, this would actually be an even more challenging and engaging cover if the title was in a cleaner sans serif font and dropped to below the chin, leaving the entire space of the head empty except for the bird in flight.
No more beards, but this week I've found cool old-school Kropotkin covers, 19th Century to early 20th. The one to the left is a great Czech modernist cover for Anarchist Morality, designed by Josef Capek and published in 1919. There is little to the design other than the text, yet it explodes off the page.
Here is the next batch of Kropotkin beard covers. Like I mentioned last week, most covers of books by classic anarchist protagonists seem to focus on portraits, but since most of said dudes lived in the 19th or early 20th century, their are limited photographic or photo-like representations of them, so the same basic images get cycled through over and over again. The cover to the right, for Caroline Cahm's study of Kropotkin from 2002, mixes an often used image with an edgy and well-designed type treatment. Although the time period covered by the book pre-dates the constructivist style by 40-50 years and makes little actual sense in relation to the subject, the cover looks cool, and is far superior to most of the Kropotkin books out there. The actual image of Kropotkin is also nicely distressed, looking almost photocopied, which adds an additional anachronism to the design and a solid post-modern "wink-wink" to the rest of it being out-of-time. The image is listed as being courtesy of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, but the designer is not noted. In addition, and it is hard to see at first glance, the source photo for the cover image is the same one as the cover for the Grove Press edition of Memoirs of a Revolutionist I featured last week.
Given the last 2 months of book covers relating to prisons, I thought it would be nice to take a little break and go off on some tangents. To start, I've been collecting a bunch of classic 60s and 70s anarchist book covers, and some of favorites have great illustrations of the old bearded protagonists of anarchy, so lets take a jaunt through some cool Kropotkin covers. Who doesn't love a big white beard! This first week is my favorite Kropotkin beards, next week I'll tour more Russian facial hair, and then some other non-bearded Kropotkin covers.
The above left is one of my all-time favorites, largely because the illustration is so unique. Anyone with a even a small shelf of anarchist classics at home knows that the same handful of images of Kropotkin, Bakunin, Proudhon, Goldman, etc. get recycled over and over. The source photo for this cover is actually a much used image of Kropotkin (check out next week for many more permutations), but the artist has used some creative license to fabricate a younger Peter, which is rare. The almost regal cross hatching on his balding head makes it look like this image was created to put on currency, but then the duotone black and red in the beard is totally trippy, a seeming product of the times (this edition was produced by Grove Press/Evergreen in 1970). Unfortunately the art and design are uncredited.
So moving on, this is the final entry of the posts covering the covers of prison books. I've missed a lot along the way, and maybe I'll do a follow-up post in the future with some of the gems I skipped over this time through (if you have some handsome looking prison-related books, take pictures and email them to me!).
Last week I looked at the books by and and about George Jackson, the 60s/70s political prisoner par excellence. This week I turn to the closest thing to his contemporary equivalent, Mumia Abu-Jamal. For those that don't know much about Mumia, rather than take the time here, you're better off checking out his backstory HERE and HERE. Mumia was a Black Panther like Jackson, but he survived the original government crackdown on the movement, and was living as a journalist in Philadelphia in the 1970s until he was arrested and imprisoned in the early 1980s.
Toronto Free Gallery and Groundswell present Celebrate People’s History!, a show of poster art created by over ninety artists – including many of Toronto’s own – to document the hidden history of social justice movements. The Celebrate People’s History series is the culmination of 12 years of work, a massive collection of 110 posters, the complete set of which has just been released as a hardcover book by The Feminist Press. The full collection will be on display at Toronto Free Gallery from February 10 – March 19, 2011, and you’re invited to the opening on Thursday, February 10th at 7:00PM.
Taylor Sparrow, a good friend of Justseeds, and the author of the introduction to our book Firebrands, is working on a new project. He's trying to publish a new book on the life and work of Rick Turner, an anti-apartheid and anti-capitalist activist from South Africa. An earlier piece about Turner he wrote can be found HERE. He's got a kickstarter page up, and is less than $500 from his goal. Help him out in the final week of the fundraising! Check it out HERE, and watch his video below:
In many ways the quintessential political prisoner of the 60s was George Jackson. At age 18 he was caught robbing a gas station, and sentenced to an indeterminate period of one year to life in prison. He was politicized while in Soledad Prison in California, and eventually joined the Black Panther Party. Jackson and two other prisoners were accused of killing a guard, and became known as the Soledad Brothers. While in solitary confinement he wrote two books, the first, Soledad Brother, is comprised of letters to his lawyer and became an international bestseller. The cover to the left is the mass-market paperback edition that was very widely circulated. (A slightly different cover was published on a later edition, with two boxes at the bottom, one with the image of Jackson, one announcing new material inside.) The image of Jackson walking cuffed and chained became an icon of the era, not only reproduced on his books, but in underground press articles about him. And notice the stencil font for the titling, near ubiquitous for prison-related titles.
For all in Philly, please come out to these events!
I'm doing two different book release activities, this Thursday and Friday nights:
Thursday, Feb. 3rd, 7-9pm
Signs of Change Book Release
Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South Street
Signs of Change is a visual introduction to the past 50 years of social movements from around the globe. An archive of more than 350 posters, prints, photographs, films, videos, music, and ephemera, the material included and discussed here is from more than twenty-five countries. Surveying the creative work of dozens of international social movements, from the do-it-yourself graphics and media of the 1960s to today's instantaneous digital technologies, it investigates the themes and representations of global struggles for equality, democracy, freedom, and basic human rights.
Join co-editor and Justseeds member Josh MacPhee for the Philly release of Signs of Change along with his other brand-new book, Celebrate People's History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution.
Friday, Feb. 4th, 7-10pm
Celebrate People’s History: peace, justice, freedom, creativity, revolution and love
Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Avenue
The closing event for the Celebrate People’s History art show, as well as a release party for the Celebrate People’s History poster book (Feminist Press, 2010). The posters and book beautifully visualize revolutionary movements from around the world and throughout history: antimilitarism, autonomy, Palestine solidarity, prisoners rights, queer and trans liberation, sustainability, Theater of the Oppressed, universal health care, worker rights and so much more.
We will be joined by Josh MacPhee, the curator of the CPH series and editor of the book; and former political prisoner and CPH poster artist Laura Whitehorn. Local poster artists and activists will also speak about their work in the book.
There is an article about Colin Matthes' Carlos Cortez mural at OnMilwaukee.com:
Mural project is a work of admiration and kindred consciousness
"The campaign increased my desire to make something really graphic with a specific message but it also made me want to focus on something that celebrated something a little more than 'Stop this. Or no that.' I wanted to do something celebratory about someone I admire and don't hear much about and that is how I got to Carlos Cortez," Matthes said.
There is a review of Justseeds book Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas on the ElevateDifference.com by Clarisse Thorn:
I was initially unimpressed by Firebrands, but that was because I approached it wrong. I tried to sit down in my living room and read it cover-to-cover, and that's not what this book is for. It's a pocket-sized compendium of amazing people—people "left out of the schoolbooks because they were too brown, too female, too poor, too queer, too uneducated, too disabled, or because they daydreamed too much." Each firebrand gets a page-long description, a lovely illustration, and a number of suggestions for further reading.
Book Release and event
Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture
Thursday, February 10, 2011, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Parsons The New School for Design
The Sheila C. Johnson Center for Design
Fifth Avenue at 13th Street, Ground Floor, NYC
Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture is both a book launch for Gregory Sholette's new work of the same title, and a concrete application of the principles laid out in the book. The book argues that imagination and creativity in the art world originate and thrive in the non-commercial sector. It examines the political economy of art and business by highlighting interventionist and collective art as the 'dark matter' of the art world. This dark matter is indispensible to the survival of mainstream culture which it frequently opposes.
Now I'm going to move into the next sub-collection of prison book covers, books about political prisoners in the U.S. Officially the U.S. does not acknowledge that it holds political prisoners (PPs), but at last count by the Anarchist Black Cross, a political prisoner support organization, their are over 50 PPs being currently held in U.S. prisons and jails. For those of you asking "What is a Political Prisoner," here is a good definition by Bill Dunne, a revolutionary that has been in prison for over 25 years: "those persons incarcerated as a result of political beliefs or actions consciously undertaken and intended to resist exploitation and oppression, and/or hasten the implementation of an egalitarian, sustainable, ethical, classless society, predicated on self determination and maximization of all people's freedom."
Book Release Party - Friday, Jan. 28th 5-8 pm
The book release coincides with an exhibit of the Celebrate People's History posters and printed matter from a local 1970s printshop in Lawrence, the Kansas Key Printer.
For more info click HERE. And click below for more photos (thanks to Dave Lawrence for his organizing efforts and photo taking)!
About 3 or 4 years after I first got involved in the then-tiny prison activist movement, the movement began quickly growing on college campuses, and a new round of activist, academics, and journalists began writing and publishing on prisons again. Many of these authors were friends or people I had organized around prison issues (Eli Rosenblatt, then director of the Bay Area Prison Activist Resource Center and Daniel Burton-Rose are two of these) or writers that had some experience working within the growing movement (Eric Cummins and Christian Parenti are two of this variety). By the year 2000 there was an entirely new literature about prisons published, with dozens and dozens of titles. There is no way I can look at them all, so I'm focusing on ones that I've read, have a copy of, or have interacted with in some way. The first book, to the right, is by Eric Cummins, and is a good example of the visual look of this new batch of books. The graphic tropes are slightly updated to seem modern, but they are the same old visual tropes: bars, bricks, barbed wire, and that damn stencil font!
The real game changing book for prison studies was Michael Foucault's Discipline and Punish. Interestingly, the covers of the book in English, from the first hardback to the current paperback, don't focus on it's inventiveness or trailblazing qualities, but seem to want to brand it a classic straight out of the box. Over the covers I'm only going to show three, but they are a fair sample of all the English-language editions I've seen. The one to left us the first (I believe) Penguin edition. The classic penguin style laid over the expressionist painting of the prisoners really works for me. I don't have the actual book for this edition, so I am unsure of the painter, but it is almost reminiscent of Van Gogh, and carries with it that sense of being classic. The early American hardback (not shown) and paperback (below to the left) use historical etchings to evoke the classic quality. I do like the inventiveness of the type of the paperback, if it does feel a little dated today. And finally the current American edition, which follows the post-modern style of the entire series of Vintage-published Foucault trade paperbacks. Objects referenced by the text float in a empty space that is given depth through shadow, and then a classic (yup, there's that word again) titling box is laid on top. As a whole series, these are quite nice, even if as a one off this cover doesn't do to much for this particular title.
A few months ago I picked up an amazing book called Print: How Your Can Do it Yourself by Jonathan Zeitlyn. It was first printed in 1974, in the heyday of self-publishing and the alt press scene. I was amazed that the copy I had was the 5th printing from 1992, since this didn't seem like the type of thing that would have longevity. In the introduction, Zeitlyn explains that it is aimed to show various inexpensive design and print methods, and how to establish your own/community press.
Filled with great hand drawn graphics and step by step instructions, it is easy and fun to read. It goes into detail about different print methods including relief, letterpress, photocopy, stencil, silkscreen, offset. It also has info on techniques like jelly pad printing and spirit duplicating, and more. It also explains techniques of design including typesetting, text, layout, gridding, borders and tone. Equally valuable is info on choosing paper, and dealing with "professional" printers, setting up our own printshop, and safety. It also has a helpful glossary of terms.
I first became sensitized to the problems within the U.S. prison system in the early 1990s. A friend brought me to an event in Washington, DC about the political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal (stay tuned, Judging Books #45 will be entirely dedicated to books by and about Mumia). The event (and Mumia's case, more generally) was a great introduction to how the U.S. prison systems sit at the intersection of many important issues in out society, in particular race, class, violence, and political engagement, but also gender, health care, sexuality, age discrimination, and much more. Once my eyes were opened to the basic facts (yup, facts, there's no arguing with them) that the U.S. imprisons more people per capita—by far—than any other developed nation and that percentage-wise the vast majority of those people will be poor and people of color, I started digging around for more info. It turns out that there had been a significant movement to reform/abolish prisons in the 1970s, and a lot of books had come out in the 70s and 80s, but by the mid-80s the Reagan revolution was in full swing, and "tough on crime" was the mantra of most politicians, left, right, and center. For the next couple weeks I'm taking a look at the books from that era that my friends and I were able to track down and read. After that I'll be looking at the next generation of prison books, which started coming out in the mid-90s and my peers began publishing.
The book to the right is the oldest of the books I'm looking at, a nice Penguin from 1962 with a great perspective-heavy view inside a prison.
Check out this sweet lil video that Nicki Sabalu made for Thurston Community Television in Olympia, Wa...they used shots of the covers of both my zine Chick Pea #4 (a split with Simone Roughouser's Risk-Oblivious Youth #1), and Justseeds' buddy Ally Reeves' Another Chance: A Zine About Bioremediation, among others. Nice straightforward definitions and explanation, I think this could be a useful tool for educators.
For the next month of so I'm going to focus on the covers of books about U.S. prisons. Something uplifting for the new year! I first became involved in prison-related activism (including support for political prisoners, whose books will also be featured in the upcoming weeks) in the early 1990s, and slowly have amassed a large collection of books and publications on prison issues (in order to keep this manageable, I've pretty much stuck to books with spines, leaving out pamphlets, magazines, and chapbooks, as well as keeping it U.S focused). In addition, a couple friends have pretty large collections as well, so I've photographed some of theirs (thanks Dan Berger!), and pulled a select few off the web. This week we'll start with prison riots. And the daddy of the modern U.S. prison riot, Attica. Although it had begun to be an issue before, the Attica rebellion in 1971 awoke the American public to the fact that their were serious problems in the prison system, and a slew of both scholarship and sensational writing followed, including a series of reports like the ones to the right and below.
In 1978, just across the border from South Africa in Gabarone, a group of exiled South Africans formed the Medu Art Ensemble. Medu became an armed cultural wing of the African National Congress (ANC) specifically, and the anti-apartheid struggle more broadly. They were composed of poets, playwrights, painters, musicians, dancers, and graphic designers. On top of the production of posters, publications, and theatre perfromances, some of the more militant members also used Medu as a cover to engage in more direct militant aid, sneaking into South Africa to train troops for the ANC military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe.
Orwell was lucky to be published in the UK by Penguin, one of the publishers with the best record of concern for, and investment, in their book covers. The cover to right isn't Homage to Catalonia, but a collection Penguin put together of Orwell's shorter writings on Spain. It carries the silver bottom bar of the 2000-2001 editions of Penguin's Modern Classics series, and one of a series of images/covers designed by Marion Deuchars for Orwell's books on Penguin. The montage of a POUM poster and the back of a man in casual dress carrying a rifle do a much better job at capturing the spirit of Orwell's writings on Spain than the cover I started off last week with (HBJ's American edition of Homage). The poster creates the sense of an urban wall, and the figure gives us more of the feeling of the struggle being more informal, not the rigid battle lines of conventional warfare.
Some great recent press:
1) Peter Linebaugh does a duel review of Signs of Change and Celebrate People's History for Counterpunch HERE. It's a great long-format review, and well worth reading in it's own right. He says Signs of Change is "explosive in its educational impact because of the full, eager, colorful, passionate page designs," and calls it "a massive and beautiful work." !!!
Of Celebrate People's History he says it contains (and shares with Zinn) "an optimistic spirit, skepticism to conventional ideas, a dogged search for the forgotten men and women, and a denunciation at once classic and fresh of that class of people, the possessioners, who control the money, the land, the arms, the images, the knowledge, and the capital of the USA."
2) Publishers Weekly writes up Signs of Change and Celebrate People's History, read it HERE.
4) The good folks at Last Hours in London have posted a nice review of Signal:01, calling it "a vital, fascinating and relevant history of politically antagonistic graphics, illustration and printmaking." Read the rest HERE.
The challenges shaping the life chances of boys and young men of color are well-documented but still shocking. This book draws attention to the urgent need—both economic and moral—to better understand the policy and community-based factors that serve as incentives or barriers to young men and boys of color as they make critical life decisions.
The entire book can be downloaded by clicking here.
The original artwork was developed for a poster about cooking for self determination, which I developed in collaboration with food justice activist, Bryant Terry. You can order an original copy of this poster here on Justseeds by clicking here.
The book to the left is the copy of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia that I grew up with (I think I first read it early on in high school). My guess is that a lot of people seeing this also read this copy, the U.S. mass market paperback published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich under their Harvest Books imprint. The cover was designed by Ken Braren (likely in the 1960s, though I'm not sure), and is strong and striking, yet oddly soulless and hollow feeling. The yellow pulls you in to the bleeding tip of the bayonet, but the best parts of Orwell's narrative are not about hand to hand combat, but the long boring days of waiting in trenches, or the vibrant culture of liberated Barcelona and political struggles between revolutionaries and the Stalinists.
Here's part 2 of the Signs of Change sneek peek! Check out the book HERE.
My new book Signs of Change is launching here on Justseeds this morning, and I wanted to give you all a peek inside!! Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now is a labor of love. Dara and I spent years collected hundreds of posters, flyers, photos, video, film, and ephemera from dozens of radical left social movements around the world, and it's all synthesized into this book! The cultural output of almost 60 movements are explored in seven sections: Struggle for the Land, Agitate! Educate! Organize!, Forward to People's Power! Freedom and Independence Now, Let It All Hang Out, Reclaim the Commons, Globalization From Below. Here's a look at a handful of page spreads. I'll put more up tomorrow...
Come out and celebrate the release of the new book Celebrate People's History! The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution
Thursday, December 2 · 7:00pm - 9:00pm
172 Allen St.
New York, NY
Wanna learn history? Visualize it! Come out for a presentation of Celebrate People’s History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution, edited by Josh MacPhee. Since 1998, Josh MacPhee has commissioned over 100 posters that pay tribute to revolution, racial justice, women’s rights, queer liberation, labor struggles, and creative organizing. The book offers a visual tour across decades and continents of human rights struggles by over 80 artists. "Celebrate People's History" poster artists Christopher Cardinale, Alexander Dwinell, Molly Fair, Sabrina Jones, Mara Komoska, Erik Ruin, and Laura Whitehorn will discuss their work along with MacPhee.
When I was a mini-proto-krusty-skater-travel punk, in the 90's, I went to a handful of DIY punk and hardcore shows. The self-produced culture and autonomy involved always intrigued me. Growing up in NY's Hudson Valley, I would end up in spaces like ABC No RIo for Saturday matinee's or riding in the car for hours to drive another state away for a basement show of touring or local bands.
Plenty of fanzines documented "the scene", provided advertising and promotion of the independent activities, and were outlets for the philosophy of Punk. In the Northeast Slug and Lettuce, with its incredibly tiny print, was a loud voice of the community. I frequently read the columns, consistently about seasonal mood swings, the record and zine reviews, and Fly's comics. The values represented in S&L contributed to my budding anarcho-punk lifestyle. I was humored to learn that Christine Boarts Larsen, S&L's creator, has started an online archive of Slug & Lettuce.
You can search through the countless photos of live bands shot by Christine, from 1998-2006. and you can also catch a glimpse of some earlier artwork by my contemporaries. A handful of Cristy Road illustrations are available as well as my comrade Meredith Stern.
It's entertaining to look back at the images and artwork. To gauge our progression and pay tribute to the culture we created. It's a refreshing reminder that resistance can be fostered in subcultural "scenes". Maybe not evident, in these images, to anon-participating viewer. Yet it was at these shows that I became informed about countless political campaigns which led me many years of different forms of activism, and currently political printmaking!
Some early reviews and mentions are coming in from the blog-o-sphere about Celebrate People's History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution:
Beyond Resistance says "This book is simply amazing," check out their write-up HERE.
CityArts NYC says, "Simply and radically, this book gives voice to the walls witnessing revolution and resistance and so rarely allowed to speak through public political artwork." Read more HERE.
The Library Journal has chosen Celebrate People's History! as one of its picks for Black History Month, more HERE.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian says, "What's special about [Celebrate People's History! is] a proactive focus on history's shining moments, those points in time where people came together and resistence against hegemony held." Read the rest HERE.
Our friends at Groundswell published a nice write-up HERE.
The Bay Area Reporter focused in on the queer contributions to history HERE.
Friends in the Bay Area are putting on a big celebration of the release of Celebrate People's History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution this Saturday!
November 20th, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Center for Political Education
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Favianna Rodriguez and Lincoln Cushing will speak, books and posters will be available, and everyone is going to have a great time! Let's Celebrate People's History!!!
More information HERE.
(The image is of Fernando Martí's brand new CPH poster about Los Seite de la Raza)
On the plane ride back to Providence from Chicago, I dug into my backpack and pulled out the book I have been intending to dive into for years-- Dorothy Allison's "Skin". Years ago I had read her fiction book, "Bastard Out Of Carolina" which was incredible, and I stayed on the lookout at bookstores for her other works. I found "Skin", which I immersed myself in so successfully, I read half the book on the flight home. Dorothy's writing is so fluid, it carried me weightlessly across the sky. It's a series of autobiographical essays, all of which are thoroughly engrossing. I lost myself in the pages, and was completely drawn into her words. She starts with giving a context for her perspective- growing up poor in the South. She writes about her subsequent migration to New York where she finds a radical, feminist, lesbian community. She expresses the mixing of her past and the new life she creates as initially opposing identities. Her description about how we can compartmentalize certain aspects of our self in order to survive, and how that can create a splintering of self, resonated very deeply with me. Her essay "A Question Of Class" discusses in a very real way her attempt to construct a new identity, and to put to the side the experiences she had that shaped her life. I particularly was drawn to several lines in this piece, "Busywork became a trance state. I ignored who I really was and how I became this person, continued in that daily progress, became an automaton who became what she did."
She writes about working feverishly with the radical feminist community- including becoming involved in starting a women's bookstore, editing feminist magazines, and living in a feminist cooperative. She very eloquently expresses the tension between her realities growing up poor, and how that often contrasted with the romanticized perspective of poverty that was envisioned by the middle and upper class feminists around her. Dorothy's description of her path towards writing is expressed in a way that I think resonates with many people (particularly activists) who struggle towards liberating themselves creatively. In her words, "the idea of writing stories seemed frivolous when there was so much work to be done, but everything changed when I found myself confronting emotions and ideas that could not be explained away or postponed until after the revolution."
These writings describe her personal journey exploring her identity, confronting and describing the events that shaped it, and her path to writing and self liberation. For the reader, we may all be carried away with her by the strength of her writing- but also find the inspiration to explore our own identities and liberate our own creative minds. I find her writing to be revolutionary in that her words can be a seed for us to plant on our own path, or be much needed water on a seed we have already planted.
I highly recommend reading this book!
Friends from the US are down in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico right now documenting as much art on the streets as they can get their cameras on. In their words: We are working on a photodocumentary project as part of an collective radical artzine called "Squart". We are documenting street art- stencils, graffiti, murals- that captures an aspect of the uprising. Around every corner is a piece of art with a message whether it is of hope, sadness, resistance or solidarity. Money has media, but people have the streets. Street art gives voice to a people that have been silenced for a long time. Its our objective to capture the meaning and emotion of the movement through the art of this amazing town. We have been using digital photography and film (color and black and white) to capture the art. While street art is our main focus, we have also been taking portraits in an attempt to capture the essence of this multi-faceted place.
Justseeds will be tabling the NY Art Book Fair opening this Thursday. Come check out the RESOURCED portfolio along with Justseeds member's zines and book titles! Josh, by himself, has a great selection of new stuff!
Printed Matter presents the fifth annual NY Art Book Fair, November 5–7 at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. Free and open to the public, the Fair hosts over 200 international presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists and publishers from twenty countries, offering the best in contemporary art book publishing.
The NY Art Book Fair includes special project rooms, screenings, book signings, and performances, throughout the weekend. Other events include the third annual Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference, and The Classroom, a curated series of informal conversations between artists, together with readings, workshops and other artist-led events.
MoMA PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave (at 46th Ave) Long Island City, NY
Thursday, November 4, 2010, PREVIEW, 6pm - 9pm
Friday/Saturday, November 5-6, 2010, 11am - 7pm
Sunday, November 7, 2010, 11am - 5pm
Here are some photos of the RESOURCED exhibit at Marketplace Gallery, 40 Broadway Albany, NY.
The first issue of Signal is out now published by PM Press. Signal is a full color, 140 page book about international political art, graphics, and culture. The first issue contains interviews with the Taller Tupac Amaru (aka Justseeds' members Jesus, Favianna, and Melanie), Johannes van de Weert (of the Rondos and squatter comic Red Rat), Rufus Segar (the brilliant designer behind most of the early issues of Anarchy magazine in the 60s and 70s), and Felipe Hernandez Moreno (a member of one the art brigades of the 1968 uprising in Mexico City). It also contains photos of seditious train graf by IMPEACH and a photo essay on adventure playgrounds.
Justseeds Artists' Cooperative has released the highly anticipated project, RESOURCED, a portfolio of 26 hand-made art prints that explore the devastating effects of resource extraction and environmental devastation. The collection provides a critical look at what people can do in defense of the planet. Graphics have always played a vital and powerful role in exposing injustices throughout history, and RESOURCED follows this tradition, offering urgent messages about sustainability, environmental justice, and clean energy. Included in the portfolio are some of today’s most exciting street artists and poster makers, including Gaia, Chris Stain, Favianna Rodriguez, Armsrock, and others. Artists collaborated with organizations to produce images illustrating topics around environmental destruction, food sovereignty, workers' rights, Indigenous struggles, and examining the effects of mountaintop removal, oil extraction from tar sands, hydro-fracturing, mega-dam projects, mining, over-fishing, and much more.
There's a thoughtful (and critical) review of the Justseeds collaborative book Firebrands on Ernesto Aguilar's blog here.
(It's a great blog too!)
Peter Watkins is one of the more interesting antiauthoritarian political filmmakers of the last 40 years, and his most recent film, La Commune, is screening this Saturday at 16Beaver in NYC. This is a rare opportunity to watch this film as intended: all at once (it's long!) and with a group, with discussion to during and after, and over a meal! Here's the details:
What: Screening, Discussion, and Dinner
Where: 16Beaver Street, 4th Floor
When: Saturday 07.17.10 at 11:30 am
Who: Free and open to all
Wow, when Howard Zinn died, I knew we had lost a champion, but it never crossed my mind that he was the thin line that protected the thousands of people who were freely sharing his insights from A People's History of the U.S. from the hoards of corporate lawyers and other parasites trying to capitalize on his legacy. The folks at the History is a Weapon website, who have for years made available for free a downloadable version of said book (with Howard's consent!), recently opened their mailbox to find a cease and desist letter from HarperCollins, one of Zinn's publishers. You can read all about it HERE. If we want to preserve Zinn's legacy, we need to figure out how to keep his work in circulation and available to ALL, and keep the vampires at bay...
If you live in Detroit (or are visiting for the US Social Forum) come out and help us celebrate our new book Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas, my not quite as new book Paper Politics, as well as other recent radical publishing with AK Press, Autonomedia, the Institute for Anarchist Studies, Microcosm Publishing, Team Colors Collective, PM Press, author Jordan Flaherty and artist Seth Tobocman, and many others.
We're very excited to announce the arrival of our first collectively realized book, Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas, on Microcosm Publishing. The book consists of illustrated profiles of 78 courageous people from the history of the Americas, from Muhammed Ali to Zumbi dos Palmares, from Alberta all the way down to Buenos Aires - distilling the hopefulness and passion of generations of Americans who challenged the tides of oppression.
Twenty Justseeds members contributed beautiful and unique illustrations - papercuts, paintings, drawings, stencils, block prints, and collages. Pete Yahnke's linocut graces the cover of the book, and each profile begins with hand-drawn script by Colin Matthes. Shaun Slifer and Bec Young wrote, researched, edited, organized, and designed the book, with advice on every possible detail from Josh MacPhee, generous copy-editing from Jessie Grey Singer, and indexing expertise from Molly Fair.
The book is $10 and you can get a copy right here!
The building we know and love as ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side of Manhattan is set to be demolished to make room for the new, improved, not-falling-apart ABC, which is going to be built over the next few years. It seems like a great time to look back on the history of ABC No Rio, and thankfully the full text and images of the classic, but out-of-print history of the space, ABC No Rio Dinero, is now online. ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery, Edited by Alan Moore and Marc Miller and published back in 1985 in available to read on thee site 98Bowery.com. Check out the book HERE.
Image: Exterior of ABC No Rio's Animals Living in Cities show with dog stencils by Anton Van Dalen, 1980. Photo by Anton Van Dalen
Our close friend Christopher Cardinale has been working for more than two years on his first graphic novel, and it is finally done and being released! Info below, please come celebrate!
Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush
Christopher Cardinale and Luis Alberto Urrea
Book Release Party
Wed., April 28TH, 7:30PM
126 Franklin St. at the corner of Milton St.
(Two blocks from the Greenpoint Ave. stop on the G train)
I've been really digging designing book covers of late, which has made me look much closer at all the other covers I come across and already have on my shelf. I'm going to try to start doing this weekly blog column (blogumn? is that a term?) sharing cool book covers I find.
For this first installment, I want to share three great covers from a series late-Soviet political books I picked up some years back in Chicago. They are aesthetically amazing, pulling together clean and crisp replicas of different moments of modernist design. And politically, like most late-Soviet material, very strange. It appears that they were produced in 1971 and 72 by the Novosti Press Agency Publishing House in Moscow, primarily to attack Chinese communism, but they are in English, and the text is so dull that they are practically unreadable. I pity the poor Communist Party member that had to read these back in the day. There's definitely no attribution or clue who the designer(s) is, but they were quite graphicly cheeky, with the "white wedge" of reaction cutting through (or infecting?) the red and black circles of Anarchism/Trotskyism/Maoism, and the "falling" Chinese architectural forms of the Peking Divisionists!
Eric "DEAL CIA" Felisbret
Graffiti New York
Contrary to the title, this book isn't just one of the seeming endless herd of books called "Graffiti ______" (insert just about any city name here). Even though it appears that the ability to walk around, take digital photos, and be culturally connected are the only pre-requisites for a street art book deal these days, the likely interesting city/street art books, such as "Graffiti Tulsa" or "Nairobi Graffiti," never get made). But back to the book at hand, Eric "DEAL CIA" Felisbret has set his sights higher, and done the labor and put in the time to produce the rare satisfying graffiti publication. An attempt to update the classic Subway Art, I'm glad he went for the challenge, and appreciate the parts that succeed.
Beginning March 5th, international artists’ cooperative Justseeds presents Bring Down the Walls!, a series of artistic exhibitions and educational events. The series celebrates radical movements that struggle to collapse the boundaries of class, race, gender and generation. The majority of events will take place at two locations, blocks apart on Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia. An Independent Project of Philagrafika 2010, Bring Down the Walls! is organized in collaboration with local activists.
At the A-Space (4722 Baltimore Ave.), there will be an exhibition of Justseeds' recent portfolio Voices From Outside: Artists Against the Prison-Industrial Complex and related materials. This project is a limited edition portfolio of original prints that either critique the prison industrial complex or address alternatives to incarceration. Twenty artists from the US, Canada, and Mexico contributed prints, which were then collated and presented to 50 different groups working on prison related issues. Many organizations have organized exhibits and have used the images as tools for educating and discussing incarceration.
At Studio 34 (4522 Baltimore Ave.) there will be a larger and more varied exhibition of prints from Justseeds members. This show will feature dozens of pieces from over 25 artists from across North America, with bold images addressing topics from personal inspiration to environmental devastation.
Justseeds Artists' Cooperative is a decentralized community of artists who have banded together to both sell their work online in a central location and to collaborate with and support each other and social movements.
More Events below!
Jennifer A. Sandlin, Brian D. Schultz, and Jake Burdick have edited a very impressive study on radical practices in the public sphere which includes essays and interviews from Henry A. Giroux, Grace Lee Boggs, Noam Chomsky, William Ayers, Maxine Greene, Anne Elizabeth Moore, among others. I contributed an essay titled “Permission to Disrupt: REPOhistory and the Tactics of Visualizing Radical Social Movements in Public Space.”
Justseeds members and others will recognize the cover image – a photo of the Street Art Workers (SAW) posters!
The table of contents are listed below.
I've been trying to organize some of us Justseed-ers to start posting top ten lists of various things, I've always thought they were fun to both write and read. To kick it off, here's my list of the best 12 books I read in 2009 (in alphabetical order by author):
1. A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason
2. Penguin by Design by Phil Baines
3. On the Wall by Janet Braun-Reinitz & Jane Weissman
4. Red Star Over Russia by David King
5. Bakunin by Mark Leier
6. Wobblies & Zapatistas by Staughton Lynd & Andrej Grubacic
7. Live Working of Die Fighting by Paul Mason
8. How to Make Trouble and Influence People by Iain McIntyre
9. Manituana by Wu Ming
10. The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
11. You Don't Have to Fuck People Over to Survive by Seth Tobocman
12. Incognegro by Frank B. Wilderson, III
Eleanor Arnason, A Woman of the Iron People (William Morrow & Co, 1991).
It had been a couple years at least since I had read much science fiction before this past year, but my interest was re-sparked when I was invited to the Think Galactic political sci-fi convention this past summer in Chicago. I had never heard of Arnason, but she was one of the invited guests, so I went to the library and picked up A Woman of the Iron People, one of her most popular novels. Wow, what a great book! Like the best Le Guin, Arnason builds a new and interesting world, and instead of wasting it with one-dimensional relationships and dramatic battles, she uses it to explore the implications of very different political, economic, and scientific realities on the fabric of individual relationships and larger social relations. Don't let the terrible cover scare you (Arnason has great stories about the terrible covers her books have been saddled with!), pick this up and give it a read.
My upcoming book collecting all of the Celebrate People's History Posters and then some will be coming out on the Feminist Press in November! If you're in NYC, show them some support and come out by their 40th Anniversary Party (wow, what if Justseeds lasted 40 years, I can't even imagine it!). Info below:
I was given a copy of Studs Terkel's Working: a graphic adaptation by an acquaintance from The New Press, last Summer. I gladly accepted the gift and expressed my intention of sharing my opinion of the book here on the Justseeds blog. There are many familiar contributing artists to the book including Peter Kuper, Sabrina Jones, and Justseeds member Dylan Miner!
In all honesty I have never read Terkels' Working, so this is my first encounter with the material. I am fascinated with people, where they were born, grew up, what kind of formative experiences did they had, etc. I'm interested in the places that shape us into who we are. Like my pal Chris says "everyone's got a story". So I'm curious to hear those of most people I engage with. For those, like me, are not familiar, Working is a collection of accounts, from the 60's, of how ordinary folks in the USA made their living. It is an exploration of what makes work meaningful for people in all walks of life.
While reading the different narratives I found myself realizing that these experiences are not much different than contemporary feelings about work and society. Garbageman, organizers, hooker, and farmworker are some accounts that appear timeless, and would remain so if wages and historical references weren't maintained.
I found Peter Kuper, Ryan Inzana, and Dylan Miner's pieces to be the strongest. Their graphic styles and lettering appealed the most to me. Some accounts feel short, making their inclusion a little confusing. Nevertheless, Working: a graphic adaptation is an indication that Studs Terkel's efforts from the 60's is still relevant and compelling in this new millennium.
There's an interview with Justseeds Member Mary Tremonte over at the Paper Trail Interview series site.
interview with mary mack tremonte
mary is a zinester, deejay, & artist living in pittsburgh. interview originally posted august 18, 2009.
how did you get involved with zines/d.i.y. publishing?
i am one of many women who came of age in the early 90’s and discovered zines through Sassy magazine! i started ordering zines & tapes & records by ladies after reading reviews in there. a crucial discovery was Action Girl, a newsletter of reviews of zines by ladies, i started making my own zine with my buddy leah early on sophomore year (this was 1993). zines gave me a way to connect to like-minded folks in other places—i had a very active pen pal life all through high school, it really saved me from feeling alone and gave me a big outlet for art and ideas.
Read the rest of the interview at Interview series
the paper trail interview series was launched in january 2006, in conjunction with my now-defunct (as of january 2010) zine distro, learning to leave a paper trail. i came up with a fairly wide-ranging set of ten basic questions about zine creation, zine culture, the creative process, history, advice, & philosophies, & started sending the questions around the zinesters i worked with through the distro. they answered & i posted their thoughts on the distro website.
Book artist and print maker Maureen Cummins, who is in the Paper Politics exhibition and book, recently put up a new site of her work HERE. There's a lot of great material up there, and well worth checking out. The image to the left is from her 2000 artist book "Stocks and Bonds."
The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest #7 is out now, and chock full of material that looks both interesting and is by a bunch of solid people that have been friends in past and present. You can read it online HERE, or buy a print copy HERE. Here's the table of contents:
a newsprint magazine working to provide a forum for education, debate, and dialogue around the political issues affecting communities in the Southeast Michigan areahas used Amor Y Resistencia's contribution to the Justseeds portfolio Voices From Outside: Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex
Graphics from Voices From Outside may be downloaded for use by groups working on incarceration related issues at Voices From Outside-Images. Artist credit is always appreciated.
Billy da Bunny, of Loop Zine Distro, has started putting up very strange, yet engaging, video zine reviews on the We Make Zines website. He recently put up a set of reviews that includes my zine Pound the Pavement #8. It's the last zine he reviews, and he says some very nice things about Justseeds:
In case you're not on Facebook(contributing to the demise of flyer and poster promotion) the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative is having an art show and book release party for Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today- featuring political prints by over 200 international artists, edited by artist/activist Josh MacPhee. The event will be today 8-11pm
at Book Thug Nation
100 N.3rd St.
There will be new work by the Justseeds artists on display and for sale, free snacks and drinks.
So come out, wish us a happy solstice, congratulate Josh on another book, meet Icky who's visiting from PDX, buy all your holiday gifts, and check out the Book Thug Nation space so you know where to sell/buy your used books!
I just recently designed a new logo for the Friends of AK Press book subscription program, I think it turned out pretty hot. AK Press is now pushing 20 years of producing and distributing anarchist and left political books, dvds, and cds. Most left leaning people have an AK book on their shelf whether they know it or not.
AK runs a great program called Friends of AK, where you can sign up to get a copy of every AK release. It's like a magazine subscription, but to a publisher. I'm a Friend, and it's great, all the books come straight to my mailbox. Here's what it is in AK's words:
For those in Baltimore and surrounding environs, party with Red Emma's!!:
Celebrate Five Years of Red Emma's at the Red & Black Ball!
December 19, 2009:
7:30PM - 11PM
2640 Saint Paul Street
That's right my fellow mischief-makers: the Red Emma's Red and Black Ball returns again this year on December 19! Join the Red Emma's collective as we celebrate the traditional anarchist gift-giving season with an all-out, over-the-top evening of revelry in your Victorian-era red and black finest! Think Victorian-era dances, parlour games, phrenology, and, of course, spirits to warm your body and soul. Think renaissance festival dress gone anarchist. Think steampunk. Think Alan Moore (V for Vendetta). Live and DJ'd music throughout the evening, as well as performances, games, "etiquette" lessons, phrenology, and more, led by our very own Master of Ceremonies, Ryan Coffman, with the help of a variety of Baltimore favorites! Plus ... freakin' amazing vegan cake. And booze. Pull out that fancy dress you picked up at a thrift store; borrow your brother's tuxedo! Make a mask, or grab one at the door! This is the holiday party you don't want to miss ... come out and celebrate with us!
It all takes place at 2640 Saint Paul Street, December 19, starting at 7:30PM. Tickets are $10-$15 sliding scale, and include food and a free drink. Masks provided for those who need them. Proper attire is NOT required, but isn't it more fun to cobble a costume together? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info ... this event is all-ages, and no one turned away for lack of funds.
Mary Mack's (that's me!) Zine Collection, collected from 1993-present, will be on display in a cozy reading nook at Encyclopedia Destructica Studios. The zines will be available for browsing on Wednesdays 7:30-10:30pm, during Destructica's weekly binding parties, and Sundays 2:00-5:00pm. Learn a variety of bookbinding techniques while putting together Encyclopedia Destructica's publications, or just stop in to nook up and read.
Mary Mack Zine Collection
on view at
Encyclopedia Destructica Studios (clicky)
156 41st St (Lawrenceville)
Wednesdays 7:30-10:30pm (binding party)
now through January
Philly correspondent Theodore A. Harris just sent this along, an great looking event this weekend in Brooklyn:
Howardena Pindell on KARA WALKER - NO / YES / ?
Sat. December 4th
80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY
Professor, artist and activist Howardena Pindell has created a new anthology. Kara Walker-No, Kara Walker-Yes, Kara Walker-? is a collection of essays written by other contemporary artists, educators, writers and poets discussing controversial artist Kara Walker. Whether you agree with Pindell or not, or whether Walker's silhouettes appeal to you or not, this book will certainly begin a
conversation about visual culture in the Black community. The talk features a number of authors and artists including Theodore A. Harris, Ben Jones and Rashida Ishmali.
collage image by Theodore A. Harris.
Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today has just been released by PM Press! A brand new book which collects 200 political prints from 200 different international artists. Loosely based on the exhibition I've been touring around of the same name, this book is jam-packed full of image and text about the intersection of printmaking, politics, and social engagement.
I'm really proud of this one, it's chock full of great writing and art. There are essays by Deborah Caplow (art historian and biographer of Leopoldo Mendez!) and Eric Triantafillou (co-founder of the San Francisco Print Collective), as well as additional writing by a dozen artists in the book about why and how they print, and what it means to them. And the prints are awesome, ranging from street artists like Swoon, Chris Stain, and Sixten, to veteran political artists like Sue Coe and Carlos Cortez. There are gig poster makers like Emek and Seri Pop, and graphic/comic artists like Nicole Schulman and Seth Tobocman. It's all in here! Pick up a copy HERE, and check out some sample page spreads below.
Temporary Services and Half Letter Press have created a website for the project Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics. The site contains a PDF to download. Check it out here:
Art Work is a newspaper and accompanying website that consists of writings and images from artists, activists, writers, critics, and others on the topic of working within depressed economies and how that impacts artistic process, compensation and artistic property. The newspaper is distributed for free at sites and from people throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. It is also available by mail order from Half Letter Press for the cost of postage.
One of my collage images and an essay "United We Consume? Artists Trash Consumer Culture and Corporate Green Washing" is included in the recent book Critical Pedagogies of Consumption” Living and Learning in the Shadow of the "Shopocalypse", edited by Jennifer A. Sandlin and Peter McLaren (New York: Routledge, 2009)
The book is a timely critique of consumer culture, corporate green washing, green capitalism, and privatization, and how educators, scholars, and activists are fighting back. The table of contents is listed in the extended entry.
Join Books Through Bars NYC for a night of bingo, beats, and booze so we can
keep sending free books to incarcerated folks! Featuring prizes from
Babeland, BAM, Film Forum, NY Adorned... and many more!
Friday November 6, 2009
ABC No Rio, 156 Rivington St., NYC
All Ages/ 21 to drink// Free to enter, $1 to play
Books Through Bars is a volunteer collective that sends free literature to
above: collating artnoose's zine ker-bloom
I am doing a zine reading at the Carnegie Public Library on Thursday October 29th with awesome cohorts Leanne O'Connor (New to Everything zine), Artnoose (Ker-bloom zine) and Hannah Bean (Fat Snakes Are Patient zine). I will hopefully have my one-pager and the other ladies will have new zines to share. There might be treats. There will totes def be a zine-reading open mic without a mic after we read. Come enjoy sweet zine culture!
Thursday, October 29th
Carnegie Library Main Branch (Oakland)
free, all ages
Iain McIntyre and Breakdown Press have joined forces to release a book length collection of the greatest hits of Iain's long running zine How to Make Trouble and Influence People. It's fully rewritten, reedited, full of new material, and beautifully designed by Tom Civil (I've had a sneak peak, it looks awesome!). I'm hoping to get some of these babies over here for people in N. America to check out, but in the meantime, have look at the new Trouble website HERE, and Breakdown Press HERE.
“These tales and images also serve to remind us that political activity need not be a predictable and grim slog. As well-resourced as our opponents may be, they are vulnerable to the use of creativity, solidarity, and humour. Indeed, these are often the only tools we have.”
My pal Erok & I sent some copies of Favianna Rodriguez and Josh Macphee's book Reproduce and Revolt down to Chile about a year ago. Like many of the punks I know in Mexico, Chilean anarchists use screenprinting for making lots of patches and stickers. As it turns out a friend of mine just sent me a link to a screenprinting workshop she's been taking classes at, in Valparaiso, Chile. It appears the book is being put to use there!
A new book about zines has been released by the folks who run TTC / Telefon Til Chefen, an art space in Copenhagen.
This 200 pages book consists of material from over 80 zine artist from around the world. Through images and text we present a wide range of artistic and graphic zines and the people behind them.
Celebrate freedom of expression and access to information by reading books that have been challenged and banned for national Banned Books Week, Sept. 26-Oct. 3! For suggested reading check out these lists of top 20th century classics and frequently challenged books in the last decade.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell has been at the top of the list 3 years in a row. Apparently the true story of the two male penguins named Roy and Silo at the Central Park Zoo who were sexual partners and raised a chick together just doesn't sit well with some people. It's been challenged for depicting homosexuality, being anti-family, anti-ethnic (are penguins an ethnic group?), having a religious viewpoint (what?!), and being unsuited for it's intended age group. Check out Justseeds artist Mary Tremonte's poster Roy and Silo:Powerful which also tells the penguins' story.
Erik Ruin will be representing Justseeds at the Radical Bookfair Pavilion as part of the Baltimore Book Festival this weekend. He'll be there all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so visit him and say Hello!
Radical Bookfair Pavilian
Mount Vernon Place
600 block North Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Friday Sept. 25, 12-8pm
Saturday Sept, 26, 12-8pm
Sunday Sept. 27, 12-7pm
it looks like a lot of great stuff is going on in Baltimore over the weekend, organized by the totally awesome Red Emma's crew. Check it out!!!
I went to Peter Kuper's presentation of his recently published book Diario De Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico on PM Press. The event was an opening for Peter's current exhibit up at the MoCCA Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, at 594 Broadway, Suite 401
"MoCCA is pleased to present Peter Kuper's Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico. This exhibition is in conjunction with the release of his book published in a bilingual edition from PM Press in the US and Sexto Piso in Mexico. Diario de Oaxaca is Kuper's chronicle of his experiences in Oaxaca, Mexico during the political uprising of 2006 and its aftermath. The exhibition includes sketches, illustrations and comics, capturing both the light and shadows that defined his time there."
The exhibit is really simple and stark. I started to notice how Peter was using the nationalistic colors of Mexico in the wall text. It then occurred to me that the wall to my right was painted red, to my left, green, and the wall in front of me had an eagle eating the serpent on the cactus. He incorporated simple elements like the Mexican flag along with stenciled slogans from the streets of Oaxaca on the walls amidst his journal sketches. There are two large screens in the gallery one, a multimedia collage of Peter's stenciled "Day of the Dead" self-portrait, and another displaying dozens of slides he took while living in Oaxaca. The images range from the immense amount of graffiti and visual culture produced in the streets as part of the uprising to buses, which were commandeered and burnt to provide barricades in street battles against the Federal Police, to snapshots of his daughter in front of a line of riot police.
I made this print in grassroots support of the public library system of Pittsburgh. Most of the posters I printed include the Pittsburgh-specific informational text at the end of this entry. I printed a few without the text to sell on Justseeds to recoup my costs and pay my library fines! (seriously). Dig the rubylith-cut children's book illustration-style, hearkening back to my own childhood, when I would walk to the library every day in the Summer!
Public libraries are so crucial for folks in all walks of life, and their services are becoming even more crucial with increased unemployment, cuts to youth programs, access to computers and continuing education...Libraries fulfill all these roles and more; for many disinvested communities, their public library branch is a community center. The Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, our public library system, is really incredible; they order good progressive-to-radical books, have a spectacular graphic novel section, a very active teen section and programming; a zine collection in both the teen and adult sections(!); the Pennsylvania Room is an incredible resource for doing local research, including a bangin' photo archive; the library also hosts concerts, film screenings, zine readings, classes and more...
I was making out a list of books for a friend, and realized I could share it with all our blog readers. For those that don't know, I'm both a book nerd, and a poster nerd. For years I've been collecting every book about political poster art I can find. Here's a list of what I think are the 20 best books about post-WWII political posters. They are in alphabetical order by author, not importance. A handful of them are out of print, or painfully expensive to get in the US, but most are still available and findable on sites like ABE Books:
The best book available on the political graphics produced during the Mexican student upheaval in 1968. Unlike Europe, where screenprinting became the poster production method of choice in 68 and into the 70s, in Mexico the block print was most widely used. In part this was likely due to the graphic history of Mexico, and the political printmaking traditions of the Taller de Gráfica Popular. This book captures a ton of the graphics produced, as well as a lot of photo documentation of banners, marches, and the student propaganda brigades, which produced and distributed a lot of the prints. The only drawbacks to the book is that it's in Spanish (a bummer for us English-only idiots), and the images are all black & white or a brick red duotone, which looks nice, but doesn't give us a full feel for how the color posters actually looked.
So far the best collection of posters from the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. The Israeli posters tend to be more polished and "designed," and although the majority are critical of Israeli policy, there are a number of zionist pieces. It is one of the largest collections of Israeli David Tartakover's designs (at least available in English), and we get to see how effective he marshals the raw tools of the collage and photocopy in creating anti-occupation posters. The Palestinian work tends to be more raw, many of the posters photo-reproductions of paintings and drawings. A lot of the posters are created by the PLO, or celebrate the Intifada. Stylistically many mirror Cuban political posters, showing the aesthetic aspects of Third World solidarity.
This one is particularly hard to find, but well worth the search. Kevin actually brought this back from Chile for me. First, it's giant, 11"x15", so you almost get the full feel of what these images actually look like as posters. The focus here is on the Allende years, and there are a couple framing essays in Spanish. The real treasure is the posters, over 90 full page images, and on top of that there are a half dozen images of some of the posters in development, from rough pencil sketches to colored marker proofs. This is a rare insight into historical poster production, all of these made before computers were used for design. Interestingly, most of the posters here were created by a handful of designers, including Vincente Larrea, Waldo González Hervé and Mario Quirez, but commissioned by a wide array of organizations, from unions to universities, political parties to musicians, film houses to student organizations.
I gotta say, at the first crack of the spine of this book I was immediately nostalgic for San Francisco, strangely enough a city I've never even lived in! There was something extremely powerful about the streets of SF between 1997-2004, even for a visitor and outsider like me. Coming to the city, and the Mission District in particular, was like walking into a giant, explosive, exciting car crash of ideas, experiences, ideologies and people. The walls literally dripped with the shrapnel, covered with the remnants of 1970s & 80s murals, anti-gentrification screenprinted posters, art student graffiti, Latino gang markings, weirdo street artists, anarchist slogans, and billboards triumphantly announcing the dot-com and real estate booms. And for the most part this book does a great job of capturing that energy and feeling, carrying us through the blur.
Although Street Art SF is broken into sections, they are fairly hard to distinguish, which in many ways is a good thing, allowing the reader to flow from one style to another, fade between histories, jump between artists, just like a pedestrian on Valencia, Bryant or Mission streets would. Don't let the title fool you, this isn't just another edition pulled of the seemingly endless conveyor belt of dull "Street Art" book cash-ins. Likely a smart marketing move to put street art first in the title, this is really a mural book that understands and values the contributions that street art and graffiti have added to the brew of public expression.
Although not the normal sort of writing that appears on the JustSeeds website, I thought some of our readers may be interested in a recent column I wrote. The following article was written for Give Me Back, a DC-based hardcore zine in the vein of HeartattaCk. Now in its' fifth issue, GMB publishes a rotating column on teaching in each issue. For issue #5, Estrella Torrez and I co-authored a column addressing the relationship between punk ontologies and the university.
What follows is our essay. Let us know what you think. If you like it, you may order your own copy from GMB.
‘Claiming the University as a Punk Space’
Punk and academia are queer bedfellows. Any hardcore kid who has spent time in a university classroom will recognize the inherent contradiction between her/his anarchic (and activist) desires to create an alternative and equitable society and the university’s ability to restrict all counter-hegemonic voices within it. Although conservative pundits, such as David Horowitz, portray the university as an autonomous sphere where old Left intellectuals train and inform new generations of anti-capitalist activists, the university allows only a minimal degree of dissent before discarding those rebellious and anti-authoritarian voices. The high-stakes examples of tenure-dismissal and tenure-denial for Indigenous activist-intellectuals Ward Churchill and Andrea Smith are only two of our allies who have been denied a space within the university.
Microcosm Publishing, 2008
Hummm, book? zine? scrapbook? film companion? Mostly True straddles all these things, introducing us to the cluttered archives (and head?) of Bill Daniel, itinerant film maker and boxcar graffiti aficionado. A rambling collection of letters, graffiti photos, fiction, news clippings, interviews and a collage of bits and pieces from turn of the 20th century railroad magazines, Daniel fully immerses us right into his hobo world. And what a treat!
The striking cover consisting almost entirely of a modernist masthead and a lonely Barry McGee graffiti writing character set the tone for the rest of the book, which draws visual inspiration from teens and twenties magazines but never falls into empty nostalgia. Instead we get a steady stream of both the old and the new, and a glimpse into how the hobo culture and art of the old days has helped inspire new forms and actions, and has been reinvented by contemporary artists, train hoppers and social rebels. Daniel's film, Who is Bozo Texino, only hinted at this, giving us a glimpse of the merging of these cultures, but Mostly True throws open the doors. Train cars covered by modern day graffiti artists like Other, Labrona and Matokie Slaughter (Margaret Kilgallen) share space with interviews with old-timers like Herby and Bozo Texino. A long, in-depth interview with Colossus of Roads (buz blurr) bridges the gap between the two, sort of like a 1968er squeezed between today's anarchists and yesterday's Communist Party.
Please join us Thursday, July 23rd, as we help launch Revolt on Goose Island, the new book by award-winning Washington Post staffer Kari Lydersen. Lydersen will read from Revolt and discuss how she wrote the book “live” by blogging about events as they unfolded during last year’s worker takeover of Republic Windows and Doors factory. Labor rights activist Danny Postel will moderate and C-Span will record the event.
Thursday, July 23rd, 7-9 pm
Stop Smiling Storefront
1371 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Wicker Park, Chicago
My friend Tom Civil and his brother Ned ("Evil Brothers") installed what looks to be an amazing cardboard ghost train at the There Goes the Neighbourhood exhibition at the Performance Space in Sydney back in May. The show looks like it was pretty interesting, and included other friends like Temporary Services, 16Beaver and Michael Rakowitz. Tom also designed the catalog, which looks great. You can buy one here, or download a pdf here.
Here are a bunch of photos of the Evil Brothers install. It's hard to see what the entire thing looked like, but it's a glance into another world:
Jared Davidson/Garage Collective has put out possibly his last issue of Rivet, a journal o art and anarchism. Jared has been at the center of a number of political debates in the New Zealand art scene about the role of politics within art production, and he collects much of that material here. He is also the designer of the very handsome Red Feds Celebrate People's History poster. You can download a pdf of Rivet #4 by clicking here.
I used to play in a park across the street from the county jail while growing up. I vividly remember (when I was really young) heavily armed policeman guarding those facilities. The pictures of state troopers with shotguns, on the covers of the local papers, burned into my memory. And the activity of so many government agencies surrounding the town.
I would learn later in life about the "Brinks Armored Car Robbery" and its connection to many radical organizations of the sixties and seventies. The images and memories of my childhood are from the change of venue of the trial of Judy Clark, David Gilbert, and Sekou Odinga to the county courthouse across the street from my swingset.
One night, a couple months ago, Josh was looking through the window of a new used bookstore in Brooklyn and pointed out a title on the shelf, The Big Dance. He told me it was about the failed armored car robbery by the BLA in the early eighties, and it immediately sparked my interest and I purchased it the next day.
The Big Dance: the untold story of Kathy Boudin and the terrorist family that committed the Brinks robbery murders by John Castellucci is an interesting book written a couple of years after the robbery and trials. Castellucci was a journalist in the county where the events took place and he gives a very detailed account of the robbery and history leading up to it. Castellucci wanted to write a book that would display the motivations by providing a biography, of sorts, of each of person involved.
He follows the political development of everyone from Kuwasi Balagoon to Marylin Jean Buck, and gives his analysis of the inner dynamics of the various groups.
There is a lot of radical history from the 60s and 70s that I encountered for the first time in The Big Dance. He illustrates the involvement of these individuals in groups like the May 19th Communist Organization, Republic of New Africa, The Black Liberation Army(BLA) The Weather Underground Organization, and the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee
And talks about events like the occupation and takeover of Lincoln Hospital, in the Bronx, by the Young Lords and other radical groups. This led to a drug detoxification unit being created to serve the neighborhood which, at the time, was suffering a severe heroin epidemic. It was in this program that Mutulu Shakur and other Panther 21 defendants would volunteer and help junkies kick their habits with alternative methods, such as acupuncture. The detox center would be a main component of actualizing the radical politics of many involved in the expropriations, and continued at BAAANA (Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America) after being ousted from the hospital. It also explores the jailbreak of Assata Shakur in detail.
The book is practically a primer (for the 1980's) on living underground. It illustrates how the various expropriations were achieved, the materials they used, and the networks that sustained them.
Even though the writer expresses that he is attempting to be unbiased, his judgments come forth when discussing the politics and development of each individual involved. He writes with clear disdain on the idealism and anti-racism of the white revolutionaries in the group, Kathy Boudin receiving most of the direct criticisms.
The information in this book is pretty invaluable and hard to find elsewhere, just be ready for some problematic politics and perspectives of the author.
I love books, the feel of them, the way they are made, how the spines bend and crack, and all of the amazing ideas and images that can fly out of them when opened. But there is some serious trouble brewing in the book industry. The problems are part current economic meltdown, but even more so they seem to be part byzantine, inane and ass backwards corporate models of publishing, distribution and retail. There is also the rising cost of printing and shipping, the collapse of independent bookshops, and the specter of everything turning digital. So, I'm seriously concerned about the future of these things I love.
All my friends involved in independent book shops seem to be deeply struggling. Some are no longer paying themselves, others are going out of business. Bluestockings, a worker-owned, largely volunteer-run bookstore in New York City, has an amazing community that has developed out of it, yet is struggling to survive. Every time I stop by there are lots of people in there, and even people buying books, but it is still a huge struggle to pay the rent. When I moved to Chicago back in 1997, there were a couple dozen used bookstores on the Northside of the city, many of which I frequented, or at least checked into once in awhile. When I moved from Chicago in 2005, there were maybe 5 left, if that. I travel a lot, on tours, tabling at events, going to conferences or speaking gigs, and in most cities I have favorite bookstores. Increasingly I go back to cities and find these bookstores gone. These spaces are not simply locations to find entertaining and/or important books, but are social spaces, locations to meet people and talk about ideas. In Europe there is a healthy social centre scene, but in the US these bookstores and infoshops are all we've got. Now is the time to support your local bookstores!!
Libraries appear to be finding themselves in similar situations. Shrinking budgets, static space, and increasing publishing schedules mean that libraries need to sacrifice
What If? A Journal of Radical Possibilities was a short running journal that started coming out soon after the WTO protests in Seattle 1999, and ran for a number of years, putting out 3 or 4 issues. I was always generally impressed with it, in terms of being well put together, well designed, using quality artwork (Rini Templeton, Erik Drooker) and featuring the intersection of art and politics. What If? founder/editor Christy Rodgers has put the journal online, and plans on using this new web version to continue the goals of the print edition. Check it out here. (It also looks like Justseeds artist Fernando Marti will soon have a nice image gallery up on the site as well.)
Justseeds will be tabling this weekend at the New York City Zine Fest '09. For a number of years successful zine fests have been held all over the country; they're a place for zine makers to talk shop, people to find the coolest new self-published projects, and an introduction to zines and DIY publishing for the uninitiated. This is the first zine fest in NYC, so if you are in town, come up and take part in the fun.
NYC Zine Fest '09
Sat and Sun June 27 and 28
12 - 7pm
The mission of the NYC Zine Fest is to circulate and promote self-published, homemade, independent, and small publications called zines. The Fest aims to support and expand the network of creators who self-publish these zines, as well as independent publishers and distributors in and around the NYC metro area.
There will be more than 70 zinemakers, publishers and institutions participating in the Fest, including Printed Matter, World War 3 Illustrated and the Barnard Zine Library. There will be workshops, discussion groups and a screening of zine documentary '$100 & a T-Shirt' - the latter which will run at 5pm both days. As zines gain popularity and clamor, this fest welcomes a wide audience to attend, meet the artists, participate in the free workshops, and buy and learn about zines. There will be food, beer, coffee, and music!
The Fest will also include a raffle with prizes consisting of rare zines, books, gift certificates, art, and more. Raffle donors include Spoonbill & Sugartown, Printed Matter, Melissa Staiger, Picturebox Inc., Opal Massage, Microcosm, 92YTribeca and Trong Nguyen.
For info and programming schedule: http://www.nyczinefest.org
Marc Moscato just sent me a link to a great post he put up on his blog Whittlin' Away. It's on Art Front, a 1930s radical art publication from the US. Check it out (and go to Marc's blog to see more images and read other good stuff!):
In my research for the Art for the Millions bike ride, I came across an amazing little-remembered publication, Art Front (1934-1937). This magazine provided a fantastic resource and community sounding board for issues surrounding art and politics during the Works Progress Administration (WPA) period. Based in New York City, the magazine was the official organ of the Artists’ Union and served as a main organizing tool. Contributors included Fernand Leger, Harold Rosenberg, Louis Bunin, and Stuart Davis, among numerous others.
Art Front’s mission was “as wide as art itself.” Stated its editor, H.S. Baron, “Many art magazines are being published in America today. Without one exception, however, these periodicals support outworn economic concepts as a basis for the support of art which victimize and destroy art. The urgent need for a publication which speaks for the artist, battles for his economic security and guides him in his artistic efforts is self-evident.”
Within the pages of Art Front are things you would expect from a union paper — arguments for higher wages and more jobs in the arts. But also found are a marvelous assortment of manifestos for the creation of public art centers, tracts on revolutionary art vs. art for the bourgeoisie, reviews of (then) contemporary artists and reports on censorship and red-baiting (many WPA artists came under attack for political activity and leftist organizing).
One interview with Thomas Benton struck me as particularly insightful. How would we answer these questions today?
1. Is provincial isolation compatible with modern civilization?
2. Is your art free of foreign influence?
3. What American art influences are manifest in your work?
4. Was any art form created without meaning or purpose?
5. What is the social function of a mural?
6. Can art be created without direct personal contact with the subject?
7. What is your political viewpoint?
8. Is the manifestation of social understanding in art detrimental to it?
9. Is there any revolutionary tradition for the American artist?
10. Do you believe that the future of American Art lies in the Midwest?
Fascinating read if you can track it down (I inter-library loaned a microfilm copy).
Liberating Lipsticks and Lattes
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
Published: June 15, 2009
in the New York Times
They arrived at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square in small groups on Sunday afternoon, proceeding two and three at a time to the fourth floor, where they browsed among shelves holding books by authors like Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger.
By 5 o’clock a crowd of more than 100 had gathered. Their purpose: to celebrate the publication of an English translation of a book called “The Coming Insurrection,” which was written two years ago by an anonymous group of French authors who call themselves the Invisible Committee. More recently, the volume has been at the center of an unusual criminal investigation in France that has become something of a cause célèbre among leftists and civil libertarians.
The book, which predicts the imminent collapse of capitalist culture, was inspired by disruptive demonstrations that took place over the last few years in France and Greece. It was influenced stylistically by Guy Debord, a French writer and filmmaker who was a leader of the Situationist International, a group of intellectuals and artists who encouraged the Paris protests of 1968.
In keeping with the anarchistic spirit of the text, the bookstore event was organized without the knowledge or permission of Barnes & Noble. The gathering was intended partly as a show of solidarity with nine young people — including one suspected of writing “The Coming Insurrection” —whom in November the French police accused of forming a dangerous “ultraleftist” group and sabotaging train lines.
My friend Michael McCanne, a book and printmaker and a founding editor of Lightful Press will be giving a presentation and slide show about the work of Eloisa Cartonera, an art and editorial project based in Buenos Aires, Argentina who he spent four and a half months working with. There will also be a workshop on the methods that are used to create books out of recycled materials with cardboard covers, how to paint them and bind materials into them. You can make a new book, or bring your own zines or art to use.
In the wake of the 2001/2002 economic collapse two artists, Fernanda Laguna and Javier Barilaro, and a writer, Washington Concurto, initiated Eloisa Cartonera, a cooperative editorial project dedicated to working with Cartoneros (cardboard scavengers) to produce accessible books bound in cardboard. The phenomenon of the cartoneros, who are estimated to number in the tens of thousands, arose as a direct result of the distingration of the Argentine economy under neo-liberal policies of president Carlos Menem and the structural readjustment program of the International Monetary Fund.
Eloisa Cartonera is a part of the multilithic popular response to that crisis, a response that is both creative and based on equal cooperation. The project purchases cardboard directly from Cartoneros at an elevated price and uses it to bind short stories and poetry collections of well know and experimental Latin American writers. The books are stenciled and hand painted in bright colors and then sold for five pesos (equivalent of $1.30). Eloisa produces books in Spanish, English, Portuguese and German and has over one hundred titles.
Since its inception in 2003, Eloisa Cartonera has spawned an organic and independent movement of cartonerias across South and Central America, with workshops in Paraguay, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Ecuador. Each cartoneria is autonomous and each country has its own unique social and economic situation but Eloisa has set a model. This phenomenon has spread in which people are organizing alternatives by example–organically and without any structure or over-arching hierarchy. In the vacuum left in Argentina, a new mode of production was synthesized; a production based in reuse, creativity and cooperation.
I wanted to draw attention to AK Press' blog Revolution by the Book
there is a post about Josh MacPhee & Erik Ruin's book Realizing the Impossible called
Defining Anarchist Art:Gleanings from a Roundtable on Realizing the Impossible. There's a handful of links leading to some interesting stuff, if you like art, or anarchism.
I can't remember where I found this book, but this is a children's biography of Lenin published in 1934 by the CPUSA press. The writing is a basic heroic summary of his life, translated and adapted from a Russian book by Ruth Shaw and Alan Potamkim. The illustrations are by William Siegel, who I can find no reliable information about off a quick search. But I like his drawings, they're nicely done and simple, good for kids books. His composition is really good too.
This book is heavy on the propaganda (no surprise there) and there's something slightly creepy, comforting and hopeful in this art. The book itself is handsome: big bold red lines at the top and bottom of each page, the drawings fit in nicely with the text. Here's a selection of images:
Louis E.V. Nevaer & Elaine Sendyk
Protest Graffiti Mexico: Oaxaca
Mark Batty Publishers, 2009
As far as I know, this is the first book out that exclusively focuses on the political street art produced during the uprising in Oaxaca in 2006. Normally one might ask why we should embrace a book on the graffiti of a political rebellion when we barely have any books that deal with the actions of the period or the politics behind them. But as our world becomes more and more media saturated, how people that reject the status quo represent themselves publicly becomes increasingly important. If most people in the US saw anything about the Oaxaca rebellion, it was likely photos of the graffiti it produced on yahoo news. The popular and mass occupation of Oaxaca City lasted longer than the Paris Commune, and all we got were a couple lousy internet slideshows?!?
Thankfully Nevaer and Sendyk give us a much more in-depth look at the streets of Oaxaca than any web news outlet. Sendyk took the bulk of the photos included (over 150), and Nevaer narrates our trip through the images. Unlike most graffiti books coming out these days, this one actually attempts to provide context for the images included. The book begins with a reprinting of an Open Letter in Support of the People of Oaxaca, signed by an international collection of Left public intellectuals, and leads right into a chronology of events in Oaxaca. Nevaer tries to give us the information we need to understand the images, including a history of the PRI Party in Mexico, context for teachers strikes in Oaxaca, background on the Mexican Revolution, as well as the development of the strike in 2006, the formation of the Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO), and the role of women in the struggle. The information provided is generally solid, if a little to liberal and repetitive for my taste.
If you look beyond the cover (with the image of the politician everyone has already forgotten about, I honestly can't even remember her name right now...), the new issue of Overspray is pretty darn good. It's got a lot of Justseeds love inside, including a piece about Swoon, a 2-page spread on the Street Art Workers with images of posters by Icky and Erik R. (see images below), as well as a review of Reproduce & Revolt. Also inside are pieces on the Billboard Liberation Front, Revered Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, Free Tibet street art, Palestine graffiti, and a short piece on the Situationists and Paris 68 graffiti.
Recently Jesus and I connected with the folks at the ¡Presente!, the newspaper of the movement to close the School of the Americas (formerly known as the SOA Watch Update). Check out the use of our artwork for the cover of the Summer issue which would put the civil society organizing of the Zapatistas and the people who struggle in Atenco - the solution - on the forefront instead of featuring the drug war smokescreen.
Content of the Summer 2009 issue of Presente:
This issue deals with the roots of the drug war currently raging in Mexico. Ana Esther Ceceña, a key organizer in the international Anti-Militarization networks, wrote an insightful article for ¡Presente!. The cover design was created by Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes, two artist-activists who work to foster a resurgence in the screen-printing medium for social change. Instead of focusing on the violence of the SOA and the drug war, their image portrays a woman from Atenco and a Zapatista, representing Mexico's powerful social movements. The grassroots struggles in Mexico that are proposing real alternatives to the racist system of violence and neoliberal domination are largely muted in the current Mexico coverage in the mainstream media. At the same time, the Mexican military is using the cover of the drug war to repress indigenous movements in southern Mexico ...
Also in this issue, SOA Watch council member Andy Kafel reports back from election observations in El Salvador and discusses the significant electoral victory of the Cover of the Summer 2009 issue FMLN when their candidate, Mauricio Funes, won the presidency on March 15, 2009. Adam Kufeld took amazing photos during the FMLN election campaign, that accompany Andy's article. We share information about the six SOA Watch prisoners of conscience who were sentenced earlier this year to prison and house arrest for their nonviolent direct actions to close the SOA/WHINSEC. And SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Pam Bowman compiles detailed information about the upcoming congressional vote to de-fund the School of the Americas -- exciting especially because the last bill (in 2007) lost by a margin of only six votes. This time around, we'll need all hands on deck and together we'll have to rededicate our efforts to win the vote. SOA Watch-DC organizer Vera Leone conducted an interview with Black Freedom movement activist Ruby Sales, who founded and directs the Spirit House Project, currently based in Columbus, Georgia. In their frank conversation, Ruby Sales and Vera Leone talk about police execution of Black men in the United States as a means of social control, the similarities to death squads in Latin America and about the history of state violence against oppressed peoples in general. Ruby Sales also raises the lack of recognition of the connections between repression inside the United States and in Latin America on the part of white people in the Latin America Solidarity movement.
Justseeds will be tabling at the Bronx Anarchist Fair tomorrow, in the Bronx, NYC.
Here's the info:
Saturday April 4th
11am-6pm Brook Park
141st St. and Brook Ave.
I first became interested in moving to Detroit when, living in Ann Arbor, I read some grad students' thesis paper about urban agriculture in Detroit, as I copied it for him super s-l-o-w-l-y at my copy shop job near the campus of U of M. After that I began to look for books about the city, and Detroit: I Do Mind Dying quickly made it to the top my reading list. Within the book, the names Jimmy Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs stuck out in my mind, and pretty soon after I moved to the city in the summer of 2000 I began volunteering for Detroit Summer, "a youth program / movement to re-build, re-spirit and re-define Detroit from the ground up;" Jimmy and Grace were among the founders of the organization. I continued to learn about them and their ideas, reading almost all their other books during the last nine years I've spent in Detroit.
In The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker's Notebook, Jimmy, a auto factory worker, lays out what has turned out to be a prophetic vision of labor. He explains that with the advent of automation, there will be less work as we know it, and that many people will be unemployed, and suggests that in this technologically advanced society "productivity can no longer be the measure of an individual's right to life." This book was published in 1963. In chapter 4, The Outsiders, he asserts that our definition of work will need to change from production of goods to the mental work of re-organizing society: "The revolution which is within these people will have to be a revolution of their minds and hearts..."
Another book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century, came out in 1974. It consists of Grace and Jimmy's analysis of revolutions that happened all over the world, as well as ideas of how revolution might happen in the U.S. Conversations in Maine was published in 1978, and summarizes discussions that took place during ten years of retreats about politics and revolution. Grace published Living for Change: an Autobiography in 1998, which explains the development of her political sensibilities.
Jimmy died in 1993, but Grace still lives at The Boggs Center, the community center they established in part of their house on the East side of Detroit. At almost 94 years old, Grace is still quite active and writes a column weekly for the Michigan Citizen, "America's Most Progressive Community Newspaper." What impresses me most about Grace is how flexible she is in her thinking. She is very open to new ideas and ways of doing things, and is very creative in her perspective about everything she theorizes about. That includes just about everything, but recently she often focuses on schools and the economy. I am grateful to have been able to show the poster to Grace for feedback before printing, and to hand the finished copies to her afterward. In what was one of the most rewarding moments so far of my art-making life, she looked at it and said simply "I love it!"
Elige Tu Propia Desventura: La Increíble y Triste Historia de una Cualquiera de Nosotras
(Choose your own dis-adventure: the incredible and sad story of any one of us)
Mujeres Públicas, 2008
While in Buenos Aires I met with one of the women in the feminist art collective Mujeres Públicas, which has been reclaiming public space for six years. They often combat sexism by creating posters and wheat pasting them to advertisements, or printing stickers. I noticed that they recently started a blog, which lists an event they held at the end of January with 28 participants, in which the subject of birth control was addressed in a hands-on workshop!
Amid one of their brainstorming sessions, they came up with the idea of writing a book which would represent challenges women typically face in a Western, industrialized county, challenges which are largely invisible to men. They had the idea to make a book in which the readers control the journey through a series of choices about body image, sexual abuse, sexist encounters and depression. They decide to use the format of a "choose your own adventure" novel, which would cleverly reveal the limits to our "choices" in "free" societies.
After three years of work, the final result is a book that is well-written in a simple style that many different types of women may relate to, and the illustrations are charming. The most impressive thing about this book to me, however, is that it was written collectively by five women, whose lives are embedded in the stories of hope and despair. The cover image reveals their process; behind the image of the woman, a criss-cross of arrows links one situation and event to another. It was explained to me how they laid the paper out on the kitchen table and mapped out the stories of their lives - and the lives of their mothers and sisters - in scrawling text. Then, they linked these stories with dots and red arrows, and spent hours talking while scribbling out, erasing, and redrawing lines. The book is copy-left and self-published, and hopefully will someday be translated and printed in English to reach a wider audience. What's most inspiring is the idea that such an interesting book could be collaboratively written by a group of artists, a feat that is definitely worth repeating.
Political graphics historian Lincoln Cushing has a new book coming out in the Spring called Agitate! Educate! Organize!: American Labor Posters. It's a giant collection of over 250 labor posters from the United States, something that has never been put together in a book before. It will also include a number of posters from the Graphic Work exhibition I curated, and pieces by multiple Justseeds artists. Lincoln has a webpage up with more info on the book, check it out here.
Brooklynstreetart.com has posted an interview I did with them about the Reproduce & Revolt book. Check it out HERE.
Reviews: Realizing the Impossible: Art against Authority by Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland AK Press 2007 – 319 pages – £16.00 – ISBN: 9781904859321
This monochrome book arrived shortly after an interview with Banksy, the “graffiti artist”, had been aired on the BBC. A commentator went along to a working men’s (sic) club in Bethnal Green to view Banksy’s diversion of yellow road markings across the pavement and up the wall to blossom into a flower. Banksy says in the book, “Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal…a city which felt like a living breathing thing which belonged to everybody, not just real estate agents and the barons of big business”. The club secretary was quite pleased to leave it there. But not all graffiti is of artistic merit and many regard it as degrading the environment. Do graffitos adorn their own dwellings thus?
One of my images is on the cover of the new Anarchist Studies journal, a publication that comes out of the UK. The issue is on "Post Anarchism" and is edited by Saul Newman. Haven't had a chance to crack the spine yet, but there's a number of articles in here that look interesting, including "A is for Anarchy, V is for Vendetta: Images of Guy Fawkes and the Creation of Postmodern Anarchism."
Our friend Christopher Cardinale passed along this preview of his art from his first full length book graphic novel, Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush, which will be published by Cinco Puntos Press. It is featured in this month's issue of The Comics Journal #295. The novel is an adaptation of a short story of by the widely acclaimed author Luis Urrea. It is scheduled to come out this Spring. Every time I see him he tells me he's hard at work to finish it. I can't wait. You can see more of Christopher's work in World War 3 Illustrated and the mural Not One More Death which some of us collaborated on, with him.
From Cinco Puntos Press:
Be careful growing up in the green, wet, mango-sweet Mexican village of Rosario, where dead corpses rise up out of the cathedral walls during July when it always floods; where vast silver mines beneath the town occasionally collapse causing a whole section of the village to drop out of sight; where a man with a paintbrush, to wit Mr. Mendoza, is the town’s self-appointed conscience.
Magic realism, you say to yourself. Luis Urrea affirms to the contrary, “Not magical realism. It’s how kids grow up in Mexico. Especially if you’re a boy.” And the part about Mr. Mendoza is really really true: he brandishes his magical paintbrush everywhere, providing commentary to singe the hearts and souls of boys who are looking to get into trouble. If he catches you peeping at the girls bathing in the river, he’ll steal your pants and paint PERVERT on your naked buttocks. And one day, he performs a painterly act which no one in Rosario ever forgets!
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of the widely acclaimed novel The Hummingbird’s Daughter and a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction for The Devil’s Highway. Inducted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Luis was born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother. This is his first graphic novel and a riveting book, like Vatos, which young adults will love. Check out Luis' commentary on the upcoming Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush graphic novel.
Christopher Cardinale is a muralist and artist with a social message. His large-scale murals against globalization and war can be seen in New York, Italy, Greece and Mexico. He lives in Brooklyn. He is a regular contributor to the zine World War Three. Check out our blog for an article about Christopher's trip down to the city of Rosario, Sinaloa in Mexico. This is the town where Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush takes place.
Expect photographic prints, writings, video, and ephemera of contemporary Americana - Early 90's SF street grafitti, river boats (MIss Rockaway), and imagery of wandering North America on freight trains.
Santiago was just mentioned at this Woostercollective link.
They mention this collaboration and Santi's recent book All Most Heaven.
Im wicked proud of him and can't wait to see this piece when I'm out in California in the near future.
Book 'Em, Pittsburgh's books - to - prisoners program, is holding a book sale this weekend. All proceeds directly benefit postage for mailing book packages to prisoners (which runs about $900 / month). Book sale! Sweet treats! Giftwrapping!
Saturday December 13 10:00-2:00
Sunday December 14 3:00-8:00
Thomas Merton Center
5125 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Feel free to visit our weekly book packing sessions on Sundays from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the basement of the Thomas Merton Center, in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood. There is always great company and conversation, and often music and snacks.
For additional information, contact us at bookem(at)indypgh(dot)org.
(I designed and printed this poster, using a Beehive Collective image from Reproduce and Revolt! Josh MacPhee and Favianna Rodriguez's amazing book of copyright-free radical graphics. Quick-and-dirty and good-looking poster-making!)
I'm excited to share that I recently had an article I wrote translated into Italian, and published in a great journal called Zapruder: Storie In Movimento. Zapruder is a non-academic history publication, as far as I understand developing loosely out of the Italian Autonomia tradition, which attempts to mine history for ideas that are useful to contemporary social struggles. This issue is dedicated to political propaganda, and is themed "Wall Against the Wall: Design and Communication in Political Posters." My article is called "Street Art and Social Movements," and is an edited version of a talk I've been developing for the past couple years under the title "Street Art and Counter Power." I'll be cleaning up the English version of this text and posting it here soon....
A passage from Return to the Same City by my favorite detective novelist and radical historian Paco Ignacio Taibo II:
"I'm involved in ideological warfare."
"Against a gang of juveniles. A bunch of guys from my neighborhood who spraypaint."
"What do they paint?"
"Bullshit," Carlos said, lighting a new cigarette. "Sex Punks, Wild Border-" meaningless phrases like that, numbers, incomprehensible clues to mark their territory. It's like dog piss. Wherever I piss is my space and nobody can come in."
"And what do you do?"
"I paint on top of their paintings. I go out at night with my spray can and paint over theirs. It's a war."
"But what do you paint?"
"Punks are Strawberries, Long Live Enver Hoxha, or Che Guevara Lives, He's a Living Ghost, Be Careful Assholes, He Lives in the Neighborhood, or Sex Punks Were Born With a Silver Spoon in Their Mouths, or If a Dog Falls in the Water, Kick Him Until He Dies. Some come out too long, they're not effective, but I hadn't painted in a long time; my da Vinci profusion is in arrears. I've got them screwed. It's not just ideological warfare; it's generational warfare, too. Obviously it's a professional war and, in that, my painting technique dominates. Those sucklings are going to teach me how to paint walls...? My most successful one was Government-Punks Without Sneakers, and the second most successful, celebrated to the hilt by the dry cleaner guy downstairs, had to do with a discount chain of stores. It was: Paint Me a Blue Egg and Woolworth Will Buy It, but the Woolworth logo didn't come out that well."
Héctor raised an eyebrow.
"Don't worry, it's not insanity, it's just to keep me in shape until I find a new little place in the class war. Besides, sometimes I agree with the punks and we restore universal harmony. The other day I was painting one that said If the PRI wants to govern, why don't they start by winning the elections, and the gang came along and instead of destroying it, they wrote Yes, that's true below it, six feet tall."
"And where is that painting?"
"Two blocks away. Want to go look at it?"
Héctor agreed. The morning was improving.
My friend Julia Christensen has been hard at work for years photographing and documenting what happens to giant big box walmarts and other monstrosities once they go out of business (as they inevitably do, since most of these companies intentionally over saturate regions with stores they know will fail in the long term in order to put all their competition out of business in the short term). She has just released a book about the project, Big Box Reuse, on MIT Press, and it looks promising. Here's the press release:
America is becoming a container landscape of big boxes connected by highways. When a big box store upsizes to an even bigger box “supercenter” down the road, it leaves behind more than the vacant shell of a retail operation; it leaves behind a changed landscape that can’t be changed back. Acres of land have been paved around it. Highway traffic comes to it; local roads end at it. With thousands of empty big box stores spread across America, these vistas have become a dominant feature of the American landscape.
In Big Box Reuse, Julia Christensen shows us how ten communities have addressed this problem, turning vacated Wal-Marts and Kmarts into something else: a church, a library, a school, a medical center, a courthouse, a recreation center, a museum, or other more civic-minded structures. In each case, what was once a shopping destination becomes a center of community life.
Christensen crisscrossed America identifying these projects, then photographed, videotaped, and interviewed the people involved. The first-person accounts and color photographs of Big Box Reuse reveal the hidden stories behind the transformation of these facades into gateways of community life. Whether a big box store becomes a “Senior Resource Center” or a museum devoted to Spam (the kind that comes in a can), each renovation displays a community’s resourcefulness and creativity–but also raises questions about how big box buildings affect the lives of communities. What does it mean for us and for the future of America if the spaces of commerce built by a few monolithic corporations become the sites where education, medicine, religion, and culture are dispensed wholesale to the populace?
Esta tercera feria se realizara en la cd de México los días 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 y 16 de noviembre de 2008.
Habra venta de Venta de libros, periódicos, videos, fanzines, comida y más...
I found out about Mexico City's Anarchist Bookfair smack in the middle of its events, and felt the need to tell yins about it!
Wish I was there.
Issue #6 of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest just released!
I've been reading the Journal from the get go, and always find something interesting in each issue. This one's got contributions by Gregory Sholette, Dorit Cypis, smartMeme studios, Rebecca Zorach, Kelly Marie Martin, Amy Franchesini, Lisa Ann Auerbach, Code Pink, Andrew Boyd, Iraqi Veterans for Peace, John Carr of Yo! What Happened to Peace and many more.
Here's a blurb about it:
Crafted & collected for 7 months, this sober eyed jumbo sized brick of a book explores 3 distinct premises in contemporary life: Sustainable Culture, Antiwar Activism, Contemporary Critical Theory. The book comes with in depth analysis of activist and art projects as well as resolute analysis of cultural conditions by people we want you to read.
"One could see the level of frustration in your eyes. There were ways to avoid it; staring to the internets, listening to radio, cursing, cursing news, attending protests, trying at little "political projects." But generally, it was all around, this horrible stasis. There were wars, the loss of a city, the disappearance of beloved bookstores, magazines, community centers , and the cruel inability for networks to amount to anything real. It appeared that nothing good could be generated out from under this era. And you were getting older." This issue finds a way forward.
It is titled Public Phenomena and let us tell ya, it looks beautiful! 152
glossy full color pages. We can't wait for you to see it.
This book is the result of over ten years of photographic documentation and
research on the variety of modifications and inventions people make in public.
From roadside memorials to makeshift barriers, people consistently alter shared
common spaces to suit their needs, or let both man-made and natural aberrations
run wild. The result is a new kind of public space – with creative and
inspiring moments that push past the original planned design of cities.
Images and text by: Temporary Services, Polonca Lovšin, Joseph Heathcott &
Damon Rich, Boštjan Bugaric, Ana Celigoj, Maša Cvetko, Marko Horvat, Meta
Kos, Darjan Mihajlović, Danijel Modrej, Maja Modrijan, and Sonja Zlobko.
Just got a package in the mail from Microcosm Publishing with a copy of the hot-off-press brand new Zine Yearbook 9. Over 100 excerpts from zines put out in the last couple years, it looks to have some great stuff in there, including zine world favorites like Doris, Peops, Ghost Pine, You, Duplex Planet, The Match, Kerbloom, Spread, and tons and tons more. It also includes some photos excerpted from my zine Pound the Pavement #10.
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!
There is an incredible schedule of events in every category of literature. On top of a ton of authors like Dr. Cornel West, Naomi Wolf, Amy Goodman, and Seth Tobocman, our own Eric Ruin will be presenting!
Erik Ruin, Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority
Sept 27, 2-3pm
Radical Bookfair Pavilion
There has always been a close relationship between aesthetics and politics in anti-authoritarian social movements. And those movements have in turn influenced many of the last century's most important art movements, including cubism, Dada, post-impressionism, abstract expressionism, surrealism, Fluxus, Situationism, and punk. Erik Ruin, author, artist, and member of the JustSeeds collective discusses the relationship between aesthetics and politics, with examples drawn from France, Indonesia, Chicago, Denmark, and even Baltimore!
There's also a handful of other stuff happening in the Radical Bookfair Pavilion, check the schedule for info!
Overspray is the world's first and only 100% international street art magazine. Created and run by artists, Overspray and all it's satellites exist to document and further urban culture in all it's facets. Our ultimate goal is to inspire and provide tools to anyone who feels it necessary to create art, and sustain the community through bringing it together.
The 8th Annual Portland Zine Symposium is on August 23rd & 24th, 2008 in Portland, Oregon in the Smith Memorial Ballroom on the Portland State University Campus.
- Saturday from 10:00AM until 5:00PM
- Sunday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM
My friends from the Rhizome Collective, in Austin, TX, have just finished their guide on appropriate technology and sustainable living, Toolbox for Sustainable City Living.
The Toolbox for Sustainable City Living is a DIY guide for creating locally-based, ecologically sustainable communities in today's cities. Its straightforward text, vibrant illustrations and accessible diagrams explain how urbanites can have local access and control over life's essential resources: food production, water security, waste management, autonomous energy, and bioremediation of toxic soils.
Scotty and Stacy are co-founders of the Rhizome collective, and have lived and worked in a warehouse in Austin. For seven years, with countless others, they have developed the building and land into an incredible experiment of urban gardening and living. When I was seasonally nomadic, the Rhizome was a destination for me. I was exposed to an incredible community of people, and alternatives to plugging into "the grid". Going back every other years or so, I've seen the incredible amounts of time and labor the collective has put into the space. The most visible and impressive is the garden in the courtyard, which once was parking for trucks, is full of mulch, garden beds, fishponds, and so much other stuff.
Two artists that I met during my visits were Beth Ferguson and Juan Martinez. Both made an impression and were always encouraging me, giving me more confidence in my creative process. I would have had little interest in stencils if it weren't for Juan's incredible insects, dragonflies, ants and the like. And Beth is a powerhouse of
creativity too, both are Beehive collaborators. You can check out a conversation/interview VR did with Beth, here
They have both made artistic contributors to the book.
If you're curious or interested in do-it-yourself technologies to retrofit your house or apartment, you can buy the book, from them, online at Radical Sustainability. It has been published by South End Press.
I hope it will inspire folks to think beyond the "green"-consumer capitalism that's in vogue at the moment. And we can imagine simpler methods to satisfy our needs.
Poster historian and archivist Lincoln Cushing has written a great review of a new book on the Taller Grafica Popular (TGP). The review, published in A Contra Corriente journal, can be downloaded here as a pdf. The book reviewed is Deborah Caplow's Leopoldo Méndez: Revolutionary Art and the Mexican Print, published by the University of Texas Press, 2007. Back in 2005 Caplow wrote a great introductory essay on the history of political printmaking for the exhibition catalog to my Paper Politics show.
San Francisco artists celebrate the release of Reproduce & Revolt, an extensive collection of contemporary political graphics collected from around the world, featuring today's most exciting street artists, poster makers and graphic designers.
WHAT: An art jam and book release party featuring live printmaking, music, and refreshments.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 11, 6-10 pm
WHERE: CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St. (near 9th), San Francisco, CA 94103
WHO: Reproduce & Revolt Co-Editor, Favianna Rodriguez, Taller Tupac Amaru (Oakland), San Francisco Print Collective (SF), Political Gridlock (Alameda), and Chaman Visions (Los Angeles)
On the evening of Wednesday, June 11th, artists, activists, and art lovers will gather to celebrate the release of the new book, Reproduce & Revolt. Activism depends on design to capture imaginations and spread a message. Reproduce and Revolt not only documents some of the best activist design work of the past few years, it shows readers how to do it themselves. Political artists from the Bay Area will host an evening of live poster printing, political art displays, and other art making to promote a message of social justice.
Reproduce and Revolt features the work of artists from over a dozen countries. The collection contains hundreds of high-quality illustrations and graphics about social justice and political activism for use on flyers, posters, t-shirts, brochures, stencils, and any other graphic elements of social causes. The graphics are bold, easy to reproduce, and available to reproduce without permission. The book offers clear instructions on how to utilize the images to improve the effectiveness of visual campaigns. It also contains a short history of political graphics, highlighting the vital and powerful role that graphics have played in social movements all over the world – serving as tools to inspire, mobilize, and transform communities.
Russell Howze, long time maintainer of the site StencilArchive.org has just released a new book on street stenciling called Stencil Nation. He's having a couple release parties this weekend in the Bay Area, if you're there, check them out:
Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art
Book Release Party and Stencil Art Exhibit
Friday, June 6
7 PM to Midnight
3248 22nd St. (at Bartlett)
SF, CA 94110
Artwork on the walls until June 30
Confirmed participating artists:
Adam5100 (San Francisco, CA)
Amy Rice (Minneapolis, MN)
Chris Stain (NY, NY)
Janet "Bikegirl" Attard (Toronto, ONT)
John Fekner (Bayside, NY)
Josh MacPhee (Troy, NY)
Klutch (Portland, OR)
PaperMonster (Madison, NJ)
Scott Williams (San Francisco, CA)
Peat Wollaeger (St. Louis, MO)
Tiago Denczuk (Portland, OR)
and Street Art Workers (SAW)
Come celebrate the Manic D Press release of Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art by Russell Howze. Autographed copies of the book will be for sale by the author at the night of the exhibit opening. The author will also feature slide shows of the Stencil Archives, with over 10,000 photographs of international stencil art. Stencil-making materials will also be available upon request. Proceeds of the art sales will benefit the artists as well as help fund the upcoming Stencil Nation book tour.
Stencil Nation Budget Gallery
Cheap art that anyone can afford!
Saturday, June 7
Noon to 4 PM
The sidewalk in front of Al's Comics
1803 Market St. (at Octavia)
SF, CA 94103
Celebrate the Manic D Press release Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art by stopping by author Russell Howze's TAG (Temporary Autonomous Gallery) on the sidewalk in front of Al's Comics. Munch on crackers and cheese while choosing a cheap piece of hand-made stencil art to take home and hang on your wall. Autographed copies of Stencil Nation will be available for sale too.
Proceeds of the art sales supports the Stencil Nation Book Tour and the Budget Gallery Project.
Erick Lyle recently wrote a great piece on Chris Carlsson's new book Nowtopia for the SF Bay Guardian. Check it out. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but it's on the top of the pile. Chris has a really interesting analysis of new class formations and cultural production.
The Cup and Pen Small Press Reading Series
World War 3 Illustrated Artists
May 14th, from 8-10 pm at Think Coffee in Manhattan, 248 Mercer Street
Also featuring: our hostess the lovely Rebecca Alvarez; the vocal stylings
of Breeze; and the accompaniment of Andy Laties on saxaphone, flute,
harmonica and the garden hose!
Here's you chance to pick up an autographed copy of WW3, and be vastly
entertained while sipping java and nibbling cake.
Mimeo Mimeo is a forum for critical and cultural perspectives on the
Mimeograph Revolution, Artists’ Books and the Literary Fine Press. Edited by
Jed Birmingham and Kyle Schlesinger, this periodical will feature essays,
interviews, images, correspondence, artifacts, manifestos, poems, and
reflections on the graphic and material conditions of contemporary poetry
and language arts. Contributors to the first issue of Mimeo Mimeo include
Christopher Harter, Alastair Johnston, Stephen Vincent, and Jed Birmingham.
In New York City tomorrow, Thursday May 15, you can pick up a copy at a small press party at the Max Protetch Gallery at 511 W. 22nd, NYC between the hours of 6-8 PM.
Tonight in San Francisco!!!
Come celebrate the release of
On the Lower Frequencies: A Secret History of the City
by Erick Lyle
out now from Soft Skull Press
On the Lower Frequencies: A Secret History of the City, from the editor of Scam Zine, looks back at the past ten years of fighting the war and gentrification in San Francisco. 272 pages of squatting the ruins of the Dot Com era, illegal punk shows in the streets and shutting down the city in anti-war protests!
Wednesday May 14 at Counterpulse (1310 Mission St. AT 9TH)
Featuring reading and slide show by Erick Lyle
Paul Boden (SF Coalition on Homelessness)
Mary Howe (SF Needle Exchange)
Antonio Roman-Alcala (Alemany Farm)
Art by Zara Thustra and Ivy Jeanne
Photos by Heather Renee Russ (Cutter photozine)
and music by
The Judy Experience
A free vegan dinner will be available, as prepared by Leif Hebendal
Dineer/Speakers/Art at 6:00 PM
Bands at 9:00
This event is FREE, FREE, FREE!
Books will be on sale for $15 each.
The new issue of Scam Zine will be available for $3
In the Middle of a Whirlwind (Whirlwinds) inquires into current organizing efforts in the United States, and through that process, assembles a strategic analysis of current political composition as a tool for building political power.
Whirlwinds’ strategic context is this summer’s RNC and DNC protests; through these documents and the discussions that erupt from them we hope to directly impact the anti-Convention organizing. In a larger sense, and in the long-term, Whirlwinds is intended to provide a set of useful documents for contemporary radical organizing. Each essay and interview addresses the issues of movement, working class power and composition, and/or gives strategic insight into organizing, and the strengths and weaknesses of current movement/s in the U.S.
A one-off online journal of theory, art, activism and organizing to be released May 25th!
Long time friend Russell Howze, who has been running StencilArchive.org for years, is about to release a new stencil book that looks really promising! It's called Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community and Art, and it's the only book I've seen since I released Stencil Pirates that attempts to deal with the ideas behind stenciling, where it actually comes from, and how it effects the world we're in. And unlike my book, Russell found a publisher who could print in full color, so you get the best of both worlds, a coffee table picture book and some thoughtful writing to chew on. It's slated for a June 1st release date on Manic d Press out of San Francisco. Russell will be touring around the country, so keep an eye on the book's website for dates, and keep an eye on your local bookstore to scoop up a copy.
This Saturday, April 12th, is the New York City Anarchist Bookfair! This is the second annual bookfair, and last year's was great. Justseeds will be tabling: Kevin, Kristine, Erik, Dara and I will be taking turns selling radical art. There's going to be over 40 publishers, bookstores and political projects tabling, as well as meetings, presentations and an art show. Here's the info:
NYC Anarchist Bookfair
April 12th, 2008
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Sq. South
Directions: Judson Memorial Church is located on the south side of Washington Square Park between Thompson and Sullivan Streets. Take the A, C, E, F trains to West 4th Street station; the R to 8th Street-NYU; or the 1 train to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square. The M1, M2, M3, M5, M6 and M8 bus lines also serve the area.
Kevin and I are the resident bookfair poster designers, and this year's poster features a photo of Emma Goldman giving a speech in Union Square, NYC. 2 color silkscreen prints of the design will be for sale at the bookfair!
An old friend from Chicago, Toufic El Rassi, just released his first graphic novel, Arab In America, on Last Gasp Press. I haven't seen it yet (I went to buy a copy from Last Gasp at the SF Anarchist Bookfair and they were sold out!), but it's been getting some interesting reviews. Keep an eye out for it.
I was pleased to be asked to design a cover illustration for a new poetry book, Being. Still, by my longtime friend and comrade, Jhon Clark. Jhon is a dedicated Detroit activist who really put his hands and his heart where his mouth is when it comes to creating community. Jhon's poem reflect, in his sparse style, the everyday tragedy and joy involved in living in a city like Detroit. He spends much of his time rebuilding his house and blogs about it at www.upsidedownhouse.wordpress.com. This is also a first release for White Print Inc., which sells the book online, "a new avant-garde Detroit press dedicated to unknown and emerging writers."
Philadelphia artist Theodore A. Harris, who has been creating some of best political collage work for the past decade, has a new book out that he collaborated on with Amiri Baraka. Check it out and encourage your local book store to order copies.
OUR FLESH OF FLAMES:
Collages by Theodore A. Harris
Captions by Amiri Baraka
Introduction by M. K. Asante, Jr.
Afterword by Gene Ray
Is now out and can be ordered from the publisher for $29.95
Anvil Arts Press
64 West Penn Street
Philadelphia, PA 19121
Also check out the video interviews of LeRoy Johnson and Theodore A. Harris at their exhibit at the Penn State University HUB-Robeson Gallery ACRID DIALECTIC:The Visual Language of LeRoy Johnson and Theodore A. Harris
There are some super rad art history books out there that aren’t frequently taught in art history classes. Lots of them aren’t even known in the radical art circles within which we traverse. In the course of preparing a class entitled ‘Horizontality + Creativity: Art as Social Justice,’ I have come across a bunch of these super rad books.
I found this in the Bulletins on our myspace page...
I'm (finally) going to gather up all the postqueer contributions to put together a zine. Since PQP is an open platform, the zine will be, too, so I want to extend some advertising space in the back for fellow glue stick jockeys/paginators/queer zinesters, other queer-based projects, and businesses.
If you have a zine or project and would like to have an ad in the zine, get in touch. Sizes are 2.75" x 2.75." You can email them to me ( info at postqueerproject dot com), if they're saved @ at least 150dpi, as a .jpg, .eps, .tif, or .pdf. Or, of course, mail to PQP / PO Box 22474 / Oakland CA 94609
Free, of course... but even better if you're willing to trade ad space and/or forward this to all your zine-making friends and cohorts.
Let's shoot for a January 31 deadline, but contact me as soon as possible.
"The Subversive Imagination: The Artist, Society, and Social Responsibility"
Edited by Carol Becker
One of my favorite quotes from her is: "The more that is hidden and suppressed, the more simplistic the representation of daily life, the more one dimensional and caught in the dominant ideology the society is, the more art must reveal.”
This is a selection of essays about topics Justseeds members have all thought about in our work. I am so excited about street art as our strongest tool of enacting true freedom of visual artistic expression. Most visual images in our landscape are advertisements. The only so-called "legitimate" arts works are done through public arts projects. This book brought up so many questions for me, I wonder what people's thoughts and experiences are with these issues....
-who decides what images/art should be displayed in a neighborhood?
-who has a voice? How do we provide spaces for these voices to be heard? Particularly peoples voices who are underrepresented and marginalized? Money, access to resources, information, and native language and writing/reading skills create an unequal playing field
-if public art is expected to be representative of the environment it lives in, how do we contact the public for their input?
-is the public defined by organizations, individuals, people who can afford to forward their own opinions?
-what is the responsibility of the artist in society?
-what is the responsibility of the society to the artist?
-what role should public and private funding play in the future lives of artists?
-art which claims/aims to be community based: what is community? What communities can/should artists relate to? Who constitutes community?
-Is public art supposed to imitate life? Or envision a better world? Or something entirely else?
-is art supposed to be democratic?
-Is art supposed to represent the artist? The viewer? The patron? Does one take precedent over the others?
Check out this great new book! “Visions of Peace & Justice is a full color book containing over 500 reproductions of political posters from the archives of Inkworks Press. Inkworks is a worker cooperative-union shop-green business in Berkeley, California started in 1974. During the 30+ years of Inkwork's history, the shop has functioned as a pillar of the progressive community in the Bay Area providing printing services including discounts and donations to social movements, community groups, and non-profits. This unique position has allowed Inkworks to accumulate a comprehensive and fascinating archive of beautiful political posters that have been printed on its presses compiled for the first time ever in this important historical document. Whether it's the American Indian Movement, Latin American Solidarity campaigns, Women's Liberation, community-based struggles against environmental racism, the current efforts to end the war in Iraq, or a broad range of other post-1960s US social movements, Visions of Peace & Justice records it all through the timeless powerful art of the poster.”
Featuring Essays By:
David Bacon, Lincoln Cushing, Angela Davis, Anuradha Mittal, Carol Wells, and more
The 2007 issue of the Journal of the California Society of Printmakers, "Prints in All the Wrong Places," has just been released. This years issue is all about political printmaking, with a guest editor, Art Hazelwood.
Art has put together a huge collection of images and essays bringing together a real cross section of political printmakers, exhibitions, and political action. There are pieces focusing on printmaking in revolutionary Oaxaca, the San Francisco Print Collective, and Inkworks Press. Exhibitions such as Yo! What Happened to Peace and the Art of Persuasion are discussed, and really great writers, artists and poster archivists like Lincoln Cushing, Favianna Rodriguez, Mark Vallen and Carol Wells all show up. I also wrote a couple short pieces on the Celebrate People's History poster series and the Paper Politics exhibition.
The best part about it is that you can download a pdf version of the issue for free right here.
Ricardo Levins Morales, one of the main artists and organizers behind the Northland Poster Collective in Minneapolis has just released a great new collection of work in the form of a calendar. The 2008 Coffee Calendar is a wall calendar, a full color collection of Ricardo's art, and an introduction to the history, culture and politics of coffee. He has created an completely new body of art work around coffee and done a huge amount of historical investigation into the politics of coffee production. The calendar can be seen in all its glory here, as well as a list of online stores that carry it. The calendar is also union printed using high quality recycled paper and soy-based ink.
Tomorrow (Saturday October 27th) is the 23rd annual London Anarchist Bookfair, and Justseeds will be tabling. The longest running and one of the largest anarchist bookfairs in the world, we are excited to be getting some Justseeds art and ideas out across the ocean. Over 100 other tablers will be there as well, plus there is a full day of speakers, presentations and films.
There's a full list of all the scheduled events, plus detailed directions to get there on the bookfair website. Come out and visit us!
AK Press just released Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland survey of anarchist art, Realizing the Impossible. I got a copy yesterday and it's a sprawling, exhilarating look at an under-examined subject. From the book description:
There has always been a close relationship between aesthetics and politics in anti-authoritarian social movements. And those movements have in turn influenced many of the last century's most important art movements, including cubism, Dada, post-impressionism, abstract expressionism, surrealism, Fluxus, Situationism, and punk. Today, the movement against corporate globalization, with its creative acts of resistance, colorful puppets and posters, inflammatory actions and interventions, has brought anarchist and anti-authoritarian politics into the forefront of the global consciousness.
Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority explores this vibrant history. It's a sprawling and inclusive collection bursting with ideas and images. With topics ranging from turn-of-the-century French cartoonists to modern-day Indonesian printmaking, from people rolling giant balls of trash down Chicago streets to massive squatted urban villages and renegade playgrounds in Denmark, from the stencil artists of Argentina to the radical video collectives of the US and Mexico—as well as conversations with pioneering anarchist artists like Clifford Harper, Carlos Cortéz, Gee Vaucher, and members of Black Mask—Realizing the Impossible is a richly illustrated history of art and anarchism.
The title comes from a quote by Max Blechman: "It is said that an anarchist society is impossible. Artistic activity is the process of realizing the impossible."
The book covers little-known history -- Dara Greenwald's profile of Videofreex and Morgan Andrew's history of political puppetry are particularly illuminating -- and also looks at the present through profiles of current projects and interviews with active artists. Meredith Stern's interview with contemporary printmakers (including Chris Stain, Swoon, Icky A., Pete Yahnke, Miriam Klein Stahl, Shaun Slifer, and others) is worth the price of the book. The third section, dealing with aesthetic and political theory, is refreshingly free of academic jargon.
Realizing the Impossible joins a very short list of books on anarchist art, and is essential reading for anyone interested in creative resistance and the political imagination.
No Need For Sleep is an exhibition of original art and zines by artists from around the country. This exhibition celebrates the artists, their independent productions, and the do-it-yourself culture of zine making. The exhibition will be up during the Madison Zine Fest in Madison, Wisconsin before moving on to Milwaukee in November. This exhibition is curated by Colin Matthes, for more information visit Ideas In Pictures.
The Exhibition includes work by:
Icky A.- Nosedive (Portland, OR)
Mike Ball- Clap Yr Hands (Philadelphia, PA)
Peter Burr- Bountiful Little Dudes, Hooliganship, Cartune Exprez (Portland, OR)
Mary Mack- The F-Word, Chick Pea, Not Quite Venice (Pittsburgh, PA)
Josh MacPhee- Stencil Pirates, Cut and Paint, Pound the Pavement (Troy, NY)
Polina Malikin- The Archaeology of the Recent Future Association (Milwaukee, WI)
Cristy C. Road- Indestructible (Brooklyn, NY)
Ally Reeves & Shaun Slifer- Ross Winn-Digging up a Tennessee Anarchist (Pittsburgh,PA)
Meredith Stern- Dragomen, Crude Noise, and Mine zines (Providence, RI)
Tea Krulos- Riverwurst Comics (Milwaukee, WI)
Other work will be included by:
Hot and Cold zine (Oakland, CA) & Street Art Workers.
Madison,WI Exhibit Information:
The 6th Floor Art Space is located at 455 Park St. in the Humanities Building of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The reception will run from 6-9pm the night of the Madison Zine Fest Saturday, October 21, 2006.
Milwauke, WI Exhibit Information:
Exhibition will be held at the Cream City Collectives Gallery located at the corner of Clarke and Fratney Sreet in Milwaukee 's Riverwest neighborhood. 732 E. Clarke St., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Opening reception: 6-11pm, Friday, November 17, 2006.
Gallery Hours are Mon-Sat 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sun 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sustainable Eating is an online zine exploring the connections between the food we eat and our personal, community and environmental health. Currently, Sustainable Eating is seeking submissions from writers, artists, activists, cooks, and gardeners for issues #4 & #5.
**Issue #4 (Fall/Winter 2006): Roots
Issue #4 will explore how food connects us to the land and to each other. How are you rooted to place by food? In what ways is your community connected through the production, harvest and sharing of food? What is the role of food in your personal, family, or ancestral roots? What root foods do you enjoy? What are the root causes of hunger, the exploitation of land, labor and animals, or other food injustices.
Deadline for Submissions: August 1, 2006
Issue Available Online: Fall/Winter 2006
**Issue #5 (Spring/Summer 2007): Unnatural Eating
Factory farms, GMOs, irradiated foods, hormones, seasonal foods available year-round, regional crops available world-wide, fast food diets, no-carb diets, microwaves, lunch breaks in front of your computer... in so many ways modern food production and eating patterns are far from natural. Analysis, critiques and alternatives to today's unnatural food systems and diets are all welcome for this issue.
Deadline for Submissions: February 1, 2007
Issue Available Online: Spring/Summer 2007
All kinds of submissions are welcome, including: personal essays; news articles; feature stories; interviews; profiles of people, organizations and projects; artwork; and fiction. Sustainable Eating encourages you to interpret this theme in any way you wish, so please do not feel restricted to traditional concepts of the topic. If you are unsure about how your idea might fit with these themes, please feel free to contact Sustainable Eating with a proposal.
Please send your submissions, suggestions, feedback, and questions to: email@example.com.
Josh MacPhee's excellent stencil template zine Cut & Paint has finally gone digital, thanks to John Emerson of Social Design Notes. Click over to CutAndPaint.org and you'll find over 40 different free stencil templates with great imagery and radical politics.
Contributors include many of the unsung heroes of street art. Often working anonymously and undocumented, eople like Roger Peet, Shaun Slifer, Erok A., Colin Matthes, Erik Ruin, Andalusia, Ally Reeves, Claude Moller, Etta Cetera, Brandon Bauer, and the rest are creating some of the best work out there and reinventing the tropes and techniques of radical art.
Peter Kuper sends word that the next issue of World Word 3 Illustrated is ready to hit the streets, and that this issue marks the magazine's 25th anniversary. They're celebrating both events with a party and exhibition Thursday night at Exit Art:
EXIT ART presents an exhibition and the release of World War 3 illustrated's 25th anniversary issue
Thursday, Oct. 6th, 2005, 6-8pm
475 10th Ave. (at 36th St.)
The release party will also be the opening of a show of original art from WW3 with many of the artists in attendance. Show will remain on display through Oct 27th
If you're not familiar with World War 3 Illustrated, you're missing out. The magazine has cultivated an incredible array of artists, many of whom are featured in #36. The new issue is called "Neo Con" and was edited by Ryan Inzana and Peter Kuper, features a cover illustration by Sue Coe and contributions from Eric Drooker, Seth Tobocman, Sabrina Jones, Mac McGill, Ryan Inzana, James Romberger, Chuck Sperry, Nicole Schulman, and Joe Sacco's account as an embedded journalist in Iraq.
Full details on the anniversary event after the jump:
EXIT ART presents
an exhibition and the release of
World War 3 illustrated
25th anniversary issue
THURSDAY, OCT. 6TH, 2005
475 10TH AVE. (AT 36TH ST.)
The new issue of Left Turn is hot off the presses, with a beautiful cover by one of our favorite artists, Cristy Road. Left Turn is probably the best radical magazine currently being published in the US. The magazine always looks good, and the content informative and well-written. Unlike most radical publications, they manage to have strong political positions without being dogmatic or sectarian. Their writers aren't cranks or armchair critics -- they're usually young activists and new voices.
This issue features a special section called "The Revolution Will Not Be Funded" which turns a critical eye on the role that large philanthropic foundations play in funding non-profit organizations. The section was inspired by a 2004 conference of the same name that was set up after INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence lost a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation because of their stance on Palestine. From co-editor Max Uhlenbeck:
What has been the cost of the proliferation of this Non-profit Industrial Complex? Why have we seen this shift from volunteer-based activism to staff-driven advocacy work? How has the field of social change become so professionalized that one needs multiple college degrees just to qualify for a job?
These are important questions for people concerned with building organizations and making activism their work. And although thousands of activist grumble about them, almost no one is facing these questions head-on. When non-profit groups and alternative media projects rely on funding to pay the bills they suddenly have two constituencies to please: their actual audience, and foundation officers. The availability of Ford and Rockefeller money has allowed many organizations to avoid confronting hard questions about their own sustainability. And the professionalization of non-profit work has led to an industry where only college graduates who will work for miniscule salaries can afford the luxury of activism.
But Left Turn doesn't fall into that trap: it's volunteer-run and funded completely by sales and small donations. So check out the new issue, get a subscription, and drop a few extra bucks in their jar if you can. And while you're feeling generous, support Cristy Road too!
Related: VisualResistance.org's interview with Cristy Road.
The Walls Are Alive: A concise and masterfully conceived introduction to doing your own graffiti. It consists of practical and thorough advice on every step of getting your graffiti skills primed: preparation, how to make a stencil, mapping it out, strategy, escape, post-action regrouping, and also a whole section about wheat-pasting. Valuable also for its forty photographs of great real-world graffiti to ignite ideas and provide examples.
DIY Guide #2: This rugged little urban pirate handbook includes practical information and tips on tons of different projects, tasks and adventures: dismantling capitalism, forearm guards, software piracy, diy spelling and grammar, travelling on trains, backpacking, evasion communiqué #2.25, herbal gynecology, how to abort, sewing, diy oil change, quarter pipe, records, cd's and zines, book publishing contacts, postal jubilation, cook it yourself, wheat flour egg noodles, intro to plaster, black and white photography, safety pin tattoos.
The graffiti zine is especially good, and has inspired innumerable young punks to cook up their first bucket of wheatpaste. The Crimethinc kids do an admirable job of distributing huge numbers of free zines & posters. You can help them out by ordering a bundle and getting the word out.
100th Anniversary of the Wollblies: A New York City Celebration of the IWW Centenary
Tuesday, September 13, 6:30pm
CUNY Graduate Center - 365 5th Avenue (at 34th St), NYC
The hundredth anniversary of the Industrial Workers of the World will be celebrated by artists, historians, musicians and today's Wobbly organizers. The event will feature performances, talks and a slide show commemorating the Wobblies role in Labor history. Featuring:
--- DANIEL GROSS (Starbucks Workers Union, IWW)
--- PAUL BUHLE (historian; Senior Lecturer, Browne University; co-editor of 'Wobblies! A Graphic History')
--- HENRY FONER (Labor activist, musician, historian)
--- JOHN PIETARO (protest musician, Labor organizer, writer)
--- PETER KUPER (artist)
--- NICOLE SCHULMAN (artist, co-editor of 'Wobblies! A Graphic History')
--- SABRINA JONES (artist)
--- SETH TOBOCMAN (artist)
This event will also be the official release party of the new CD 'I DREAMED I HEARD JOE HILL LAST NIGHT...A CENTURY OF IWW SONG' by John Pietaro & The Flames of Discontent
Plus, an exhibit of original art from the "Wobblies!" book will be up in the exhibition hall (near the student center, ground floor) at CUNY grad center from Sept. 1 through Sept. 23rd.
ReAnimation: Magazine for Urban Environment is a new PDF zine designed by Martin Stiegler that explores street art and public space. Part of our zine on the how-to's of street art were adapted for the first issue, which is beautifully illustrated with photos of street art from Milan, Berlin, and Vorarlberg, Austria. From the ReAnimation site:
All over the world, artists are working in and with the urban environment of our cities. The ReAnimation magazine wants to unite all the different approaches to urban space, regardless of the medium.
So every artist, may he/she be graffiti-artist, street artist, photographer, texter or anything else is welcome to participate. Let's reanimate the boring walls in public space!
A great exhibit about the history of Danzine is currently showing for FREE at the Art Gallery of The Graduate Center, City University of New York until June 25, 2005. The address is 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY and the Gallery Hours are Tues-Sat 12-6 pm.
Danzine began 10 years ago in Portland, OR by and for exotic dancers, escorts, and lingerie models. Cutting and pasting the first issue on a folded piece of paper, Danzine was left "in every dressing room where a gal provided entertainment and labor." From that, several community outreach programs were initiated. StreetReach entered the community and offered a no nonsense needle-exchange program. DanceReach was founded to educate women on STD's and unwanted pregenancies. The Sex Work Task Force, working with local Portland agencies, investigated the risk of HIV transmission among sex workers there. Lastly, the Danzine Resource Room, with various resources and services, provides a safe place for people to meet and talk about their experiences in and outside of the industry. DanZine has also helped to create a space for newer publications like Spread Magazine.
Here is a description of the show from their website:
"This installation recreates 'Switzerland', a neutral space within the Danzine agency where one could retreat to a small beautiful room to read, watch videos or take a time out. From the Danzine Archives come paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, collage, covers of the publication danzine, framed film festival and benefit art auction posters, books/pamphlets on harm reduction such as syringe exchange, overdose prevention and safer sex, safer sex supplies, gear, post cards and the last Danzine T-shirt. "
Remember the Past --- Organize for the Future
Picnic and educational entertainment Saturday June 4th, from 2-5 pm at Fort Greene Park, followed by an evening of music, refreshments and entertainment 8pm-midnight, at Dumba Space at 57 Jay Street in Dumbo, 2 blocks from the York Street F train stop. The picnic is free and open to the public. For the evening events we are asking for a suggested $5 donation. In case of rain the afternoon, entertainment will be added to the evening program.
The days events will be part of the commemorations of the gathering of top labor organizers from across the continent that met to expand the labor movement to include all working people skilled or unskilled, male or female, regardless of race, religion or any other distinctions. This lead to the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905, we are celebrating their centennial. These labor organizers brought creative energy, free speech, new strategies, and lots of music, jokes and art, to the labor movements.
At Ft Green Park music will be provided by John Pietro, actors will present the words of labor leaders Big Bill Haywood, Lucy Parsons, and Mother Jones.
The evening events at Dumba will include more music and multi media presentations by Brooklyn labor artists commemorating the achievements of the past such as the 8 hour day and helping with the today's drive to organize in the sweat shops and fast food shops. Graphic artist Nicole Schulman will present a biography of labor martyr Frank Little. Tom Keough will give a presentation of art about coal miners and sweatshop workers.
This is being organized by the New York City IWW Centennial Committee.
For more information please contact David at 718- 769-3837
The fourth issue of Peel Zine is available. This issue covers artists like: ABOVE, Klutch, and 20mg. It contains articles about the StickerThrow04, StickyArt, the top entries in the Sticker Nation/Sticker Robot Sticker Design competition. and a review of Public Discourse, a documentary about "illegal street installations". The issue also comes with an assortment of stickers of the artists contained inside.
Peel is a zine focusing specifically on stickers, looking closely at one medium used on the street, much like Overspray magazine focuses on stencils. (Overspray three should be on the streets soon!) This is a slick zine with good layout and production that accepts submissions of photos and art, so check them out and get your copy at PeelZine
Some Visual Resistance members put together a zine a few months back on the "how-to's" of street art techniques. The zine is meant to provide folks with basic information on posters, stickers, and stencils. So if you're a street art fan who thinks "I could never do that" or wonders, "How's that done?" just click here for some tips, tricks, and ideas.
The zine is not an encyclopedia or a forum for experts. It's just a few individuals experiences and ideas --- and it's very much a work in progress. If you have additional advice or find errors or incomplete info, drop us a line at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com. Oh, and a disclaimer: all information in the zine is presented for informational/entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to encourage vandalism, which is illegal and wrong.
The good people at NYC's best anarchist newspaper --- the New York RAT --- have put together a special issue of the paper just in time for Mayday:
Our special Mayday issue is full of info about local groups and issues, including the Street Harassment Project, The Greenpoint/ Williamsburg rezoning fight, RNC Legal Victories, the Long Island Freespace plus much more. The RAT also has a special pull out schedule of events for the upcoming "A New World In Our Hearts" Mayday Festival. We have 3,000 copies. We would like to get the majority of them distro-ed before the conference this weekend. Let us know if you can take a few stacks to drop off, hand out, or give away.
They'll need a lot of help with distro, so if you've got some free time, drop them a line at newyorkrat [at] riseup.net. Be sure to check out the schedule for this weekend's Mayday Festival. In additon to presentations from Beehive Collective and Seth Tobocman, there'll be film screenings, concerts, and a wide range of discussions. Oh, and we'll be there too.
The New York release party for the great new book Wobblies!, co-edited by Nicole Schulman, is set for next Friday at the new(ish) Vox Pop bookstore & coffeehouse in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Featuring multi-media presentations by: Mac McGill, Sabrina Jones, Tom Keough, Nicole Schulman and Seth Tobocman, it's sure to be a great event. Come out, buy a book, and say hello:
Friday April 29th, 8pm --- Free!
Release party for Wobblies! @ Vox Pop
1022 Cortelyou Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn (Map)
Directions: “Q” Train to Cortelyou Road --- exit to the Left, walk a few blocks.
Melina Rodrigo just released issue 10 of her zine, AW. You can view it on her website risewithus.com This issue examines life from the point of view from an American woman. It is written as a poetic journal entry, describing frustration and stress experienced on a daily basis. But like Melina says, we can find comfort in the little things like our red shoes or Emma Goldman's autobiography! Melina's zines address issues war and terror, to debate on political and social issues, to the postal service in a playful manner. Reading them definitely helps me get through the day.
The long-awaited Wobblies! is finally here, and it's even better than I could have expected. It's easily the best recent book on the connection between art and radical politics, not only because of the history it explores, but also by the sheer force of its example.
Co-edited by Nicole Schulman, the book is a collection of comics and very short essays on the history and spirit of the Industrial Workers of the World. Featuring new work by Nicole, Peter Kuper, Josh MacPhee, Fly, Mac McGill, Ryan Inzana, Sabrina Jones, Sue Coe, Seth Tobocman, and many, many more, as well as Wobbly classics from Carlos Cortez, Ralph Chaplin, and Joe Hill, the book is a remarkable testament to the living spirit of the IWW and its remarkable influence. From the introduction:
[Their] way of looking at freedom makes the IWW seem like a lot more than a labor organization, or bigger than all the other labor organizations combined. It looks, for instance, like the grassroots of the ecological/environmental movement. It looks like the Mexicans and Americans who welcomed the Zapatistas taking back the land that had been stolen from their people. It looks like every antiwar movement. It even looks a little like the world John Lennon summed up in the song "Imagine": no distant god, no country, just us humans, all of us, and our world.
Unlike most books on the subject, Wobblies! doesn't end on a tragic note --- on the contrary, it makes a uniquely convincing case that the IWW lives on, not as some shadow of past greatness, but as a subterranean source of inspiration, a model of joyous, liberatory radicalism. The pieces on 60s comix, surrealism, and Judi Bari, weave threads between seemingly disconnected miracles of history.
The highlight for me is the final essay, The Art and Music of the IWW:
The IWW... was no organization of trained artists.... Yet it inspired dozens of talented artists, before 1920 some of the nation's most experimental and talented, and the IWW generated its own fabulous "school" of cartoonists. Next to songs, cartoons probably brought more workers around that any other expression of Wob creativity.... These rank-and-file artists appear to have received little or no pay for their work, choosing to go "on the bum" with their fellow Wobs, organize where possible, and take odd jobs to stay alive. Some of them signed their art only with the "red card number" on their Wobbly ID, or didn't sign cartoons at all....
We look back upon the Wobbly cartoonists, then, as we do upon the Ash Can art of the Masses magazine: a century ahead of their time in their discoveries, but just ripe for our time --- not to copy but to learn and grow from, amid the tasks of art and revolution ahead.
I'm posting this in the category "Inspirations," because it is. For bringing together some of my favorite artists to do unique and necessary work, and for bringing a new focus to the legacy of the IWW itself, I can't recommend this book highly enough. I would like to feature further looks at the book in the next few weeks. In the meantime, support the artists who made it happen, and do yourself a favor: get it.
Copies of the 3rd issue of NYC Rat, the Radical Anarchist Tabloid, are available at locations around NYC or through the collective. (Email newyorkrat[at]riseup.net)
The newest issue includes a wonderful cover illustration by Cristy Road and a centerfold poster for the upcoming Mayday festivities. Articles include Teenage Lobotomy, a piece on AntiRacistAction, the Libertad School Collective, a great "Know Your Rights" comic strip,
and a wealth of resources troughout and in their Anarchist Black pages.
Download the Mayday poster below...
8.5 x 11 inch JPG (400K)
11 x 17 inch JPG (700K)
Full-sized PDF on NY Rat page (6MB)
We got word that The Icarus Project folks have a few new publications in the works...
The Icarus Project's new book, Underground Roots: Taproots and Topsoils is due out in April 2005. In addition they are putting together a smaller publication containing artwork called, Underground Roots and Magic Spells: A Guide to Creating Mental Health Support Networks in Our Communities.
Here's some of the artwork that will be included. These are from Fly, Cristy Road, and Sophie Crumb respectively. Click here to see the full gallery of pieces.
Taproots and Topsoils is all about building community from the ground up, looking at how other people do things and emulating and replicating what works – joining forces with them and figuring out how to grow together into the future. Our social and economic safety nets have either already been or are in the process of being cut, and the big question is: how do we make new ones with the scraps of what we’ve got? Instead of reinventing the wheel, how can we use all the pieces out there to create a whole new way to fly? The contributers provide a clever mix of social movements, healing modalities, and community organizing models.
Here's a bunch of pieces you can look forward to:
MindFreedom - On Finding My Tribe, and Thinking for Myself
Freedom Center–Grassroots Empowerment Model of Mental Health Organizing
Fountain House – The Clubhouse Model-History and Future
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Theater of the Oppressed
Re-evaluation Counseling – useful tactics/non-heirarchical therapy model
Somatic Experiencing and the Roots of Our Illness
The Harm Reduction Movement
Food Not Bombs – as radical non-heirarchical/decentrailized grassroots network model
Prison Moratorium Project – example of community outreach and education
Lessons From ACT UP
Welcome Home Zapatista – finding community in revolution
The Asambleas in Argentina
Harm Free Zones and Community Organizing by Kai from Critical Resistance
Affinity Groups - history from Spanish anarchists/anti-nuke move
Community Supported Agriculture/Permaculture - reconnecting with the ground
Processwork/Process Oriented Psych– integrating aspects of shamanism into our work
Green Gulch Zen Center – Finding Spiritual Community
$pread Magazine launch party in NYC!
Wednesday, March 16th, 8pm at The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St
Party in New York City with: New York's hottest new punk band I LOVE YOU. Drag, dance, and dissent divas DALIPSTYXX, Playboy's first out lesbian Playmate STEPHANIE ADAMS, Off-Broadway interracial/interfaith comedy sensation EPSTEIN AND HASSAN of "The Black and the Jew", sexpert and author DUCKY DOOLITTLE, HOOK Magazine founders SHANE LUIJTENS and DANIEL W.K. LEE, DJ DESIGNER IMPOSTER Go-go wildness from the all-gender $PREAD DANCERS.
Also: Emcee Raven Snook raffles off t-shirts, magazines, and free passes to NYC strip clubs, $pread contributors read from the first issue, tarot readings, drink specials, and more!
Join sex workers, activists, and literati from around the world in celebrating the launch of the US's first independent sex industry magazine! (also a send off to co-editor Mary Christmas as she departs NYC for an indefinite period) Burlesque performers are to be announced.
Come early for the spectacular show and stay late for the band, DJs and dancing till 2am! Entry is $10 with a copy of the magazine, $7 without; sex workers get in for $8 with a magazine or $5 without.
$pread is the first magazine in the U.S. to explore the sex industry from the workers' perspective and includes articles by sex workers and their allies across the globe. Issue One features original articles by Jo Doezema, David Henry Sterry, and Katherine Frank, an exclusive interview with Carol Queen and contributions from Annie Sprinkle and Scarlot Harlot, as well as news, reviews and stories by sex workers all over the world. Topics covered include women of color in the American porn industry, anti-trafficking policy in Europe, the effect of the recent Tsunami on Asian sex workers, the Bangkok AIDS Conference, retiring fromstripping, and discrimination in Israel-Palestine.
BE THE FIRST TO GET A COPY AT THE LAUNCH PARTY!
Spread is a magazine by and for sex workers of all genders, sexualities and backgrounds, as well as those interested in the sex industry.The magazine aims to provide a forum for marginalized voices, a sene of community and support among sex workers, as well as a balanced view of the sex industry.
$pread wants/needs illustrations of all kinds. They must relate, somehow or someway, to sex, gender, sex work, gender structures, or power. Think strip club, whorehouse, prostitutes, s&m, doms, subs, pretty much anything sexual done for profit.
Contributions to the second issue are to be made by mid-May. Contact the editors at: contribute [at] spreadmagazine.org or mail contributions to:
PO Box 305
New York, NY 10276
BAST's First NYC Art Show "MAS VINO"
And the release of his new book "REVOLUTION DE PAPEL"
Opening Reception and Release Party: Saturday February 12, 6-9pm
Transplant Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Brooklyn-based artist BAST titled “MAS VINO” This show will also celebrate the release of his new book "REVOLUTION DE PAPEL". A 60 paged soft covered book released in limited edition. Signed copied will be available on opening night. The exhibition will showcase a collection of new paintings on canvas... (more)
Bast is one of the first artists I noticed on the street when I woke up to street art years ago and i'm super excited to see some posters up in full, not ripped, torn, or weathered. So if your in NYC this weekend come out to the opening, or try to make it here while the show is up! The show will be exhibited from February 12-March 10, 2005 at: Transplant Gallery, 525 West 29th Street, second floor (bet. 10th and 11th Avenue).