This year on June 11 - the International Day of Solidarity with Marie Mason, Eric McDavid & all Eco-prisoners - we will be running the 2nd annual Never Alone online exhibition. It will serve as an avenue not only for fundraising for these political prisoners, but as a way to reach out informatively to a broad audience on issues of earth & animal liberation and state captivity. We would love to invite you to contribute an artwork to this exhibition.
Submit work by May 1, 2014
All funds raised will go to the support funds of political prisoners Marie Mason and Eric McDavid.
You can help promote the exhibition. [Download] the quarter page flier and use it for tabling and display in public spaces.
The Providence Journal featured one of my collages and gave a very nice review of my current solo show "Generations | 8 Chapters Blooming." This show is up at the AS220 Project Space in Providence, RI until April 25. Justseeds Artist's Cooperative gets a nice bump (even though the description of what we do isn't quite accurate). I'm flattered they spent time with the show and wrote such a nice piece.
A few weeks back I sat down with C.S. Soong, host of the "Against the Grain" show at KPFA in Berkeley and talked for an hour about the People's Art History of the US book, and specifically the chapters on the 1930s Artists' Union and the 1960s groups GAAG and AWC. Here is the audio archive of our conversation.
Paul Robeson was born today, 116 years ago,in 1898. Above is the Celebrate People's History poster in homage to him.
Also belated Happy B'day to Biz Markie!
Dave Dvorchak from AS220 interviewed me this week, in preparation for my art show titled "Generations / 8 Chapters Blooming." The show opening is Saturday April 4th from 5-7pm at the AS220 Project Space in Providence, RI.
Obama was in Chicago this past Wednesday and his motorcade passed by a spirited demonstration - Chicago Says No Keystone XL - led by 350.org and the Sierra Club Illinois that was intent to remind him to reject the KXL. Paul Kjelland and I made the four large oil heads for the demo. The Obama graphic read "Legacy on the Line"; the Stephen Harper and David Koch graphic "Tar Sands Profiteer"; and the Bush graphic "Big Oil Mercenary." Obama has a major choice to make this year: have the courage to reject the KXL and the fossil fuel lobby or be in the company of those who are truly destroying this fragile planet.
ENTER THE DARKNESS: Fire to the Prison Industrial Complez
New and neon work from
I ran into an old comrade, David Martinez, while at the Bay Area Book Fair. He made a documentary about Occupy Oakland, that he'd like people to share and see.
You can see more of David's reporting from around the world at
Justseeds will be tabling at on Saturday, March 29th for this printmaking extravaganza, exhibition, and block party, from 11AM to 5PM. Printmakers, artists, and print shops from across the country will be showing and selling their work. Live printing demos go on all day, including steamroller printing of extra large woodcuts by 15 artists in conjunction with CultureStrike and Syracuse University Print Department.
The organization I've been working for in Congo, TL2, performs many of the functions that people in western countries would consider to be the responsibility of the state. From road-building to education to the provision of security against murderous bandits, TL2 is an organizational presence that would otherwise not exist in the remote locations in which it operates. In the absence of a state, it's organizations like TL2 that end up doing a lot of the work that people appreciate- and a lot of the work that many of them resent greatly. This is the first part of an essay that aims to consider, from an anti-authoritarian point of view, what it means to work for a non-state entity that essentially is acting as a sort-of state, including implementing elements of law-enforcement and trying to fend off powerful and extremely violent criminal forces that have previously been the de facto authority over much of the area in question. Click through to continue!
People of Weed, CA and the Pacific Northwest people heading home from the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair: Stop by the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture for a Justseeds print show, a radical art talk on the IWW by Nicolas Lampert, union organizing songs by Patrick Dodd, and performances by two touring bands: Unexamine and Kakeriak. All of which takes place in a boxcar!
Monday, March 24th, 6:00, Weed, CA
This Friday, March 21st, is the opening of if I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution at Haverford College. The exhibition " takes as its starting point a maxim by anarchist feminist Emma Goldman to examine the political movement of anarchism through counter-cultural artistic practices. Including works from the 1960s to today, the exhibition proposes three interlinked topics: “Free Love,” “Horizontality,” and “Black.” Each platform features archival documentation, works by self-identified anarchist artists, and pieces that both affirm and complicate strategies of disruption and resistance. Curated by Natalie Musteata, if I can’t dance to it anchors a variety of programs including a film series on the anarchist tradition."
Bay Area people: Justseeds will be tabling the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair this Saturday - March 22nd from 10:00am-6:00pm - at The Crucible (1260 7th St. Oakland - near the West Oakland BART)
Two of us in Justseeds will be presenting on the 4:30-6:00 panel "City-wide Activist Art: Mud Stencils, Light Brigades, Street Signs, and Other Creative Disruptions" with Emory Douglas, Melanie Cervantes, David Solnit, and Nicolas Lampert.
Join us! More info on the panel below.
Our allies and comrades over at Booklyn Artists' Alliance are having an art auction to raise funds for their operations. Head on over to Booklyn Auction and check it out.
They are incredibly supportive of Justseeds and our members' projects and we want to reciprocate, help us spread the word. Share this with your peeps that like to fund rad arts!
Booklyn's Annual Art Auction
12 pm March 14 - 5 pm March 23, 2014
Booklyn's annual auction helps bring public programs and exhibitions featuring artists' books and prints to local and national communities. Help support our free and low-cost workshops, artists' services and more!
Go to the Auction Page to bid on drawings, paintings, letterpress and silkscreen prints and rare artists’ books from:
Kelie Bowman, Tom Burtonwood, Ken Campbell, Valerie Hammond, Candace Hicks, Damara Kaminecki + Jeremy Schmall, Occuprint, ORGANIK, Kottie Paloma, Re:Surgo!, David Sandlin, Veronika Schaepers, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Dana Smith, STO, Casey Tang, Mark Taylor, Mike Taylor, Marshall Weber, Christopher Wilde, and Sam Winston
In 2009 a film was released called "BOGOTÁ CHANGE" about Antanas Mockus’ work as Mayor of Bogota. He then ran for president in the 2010 elections.
These filmmakers have now created "Democrazy."
From the filmmakers: "Antanas Mockus ran on a wave of hope, a ‘Colombian spring’. But his candidature was squashed by lies, fraud, and corruption. 22-year-old Katherin Miranda was the youth leader in the campaign. Disappointed by the big blow, she directed her energy towards the systemic corruption in Colombia, towards the forces that made it possible to steal an election. Katherin is the narrator of the film, growing from a young idealist to an experienced, yet still highly idealistic, politician."
This documentary is seeking support at this link:
Erik was recently featured in an article titled "Aiming for Transcendence", read it on the Providence Phoenix.
Beet the System Kickstarter
If you've ever had the above sticker on your Nalgene water bottle, consider helping my buddy Breakfast's kickstarter campaign (maybe he should have started a stickkarter!). He's in the mood to print more stickers and is asking for support with the costs. Help him out, I want to see many more thousands of goofy food puns plastered across all surfaces of the continent!
We have made and distributed thousands of these stickers with our own money....But guess what? We're broke. Lets make more.
We have made and distributed thousands and thousands of these stickers since 2000. We want to make more and distribute them as always....for FREE. So far they have been included in catalogs, sent to street artists all over the world and packed in produce boxes and shipped everywhere people eat vegetables that are grown in the northeast corner of Vermont. People always ask us for more and we would love to continue distributing them, of course, for free. Our goal is to raise enough money to do a very large run of stickers that would satisfy current demands for another ten years!
A tumblr devoted to an Anarchist comic strip:
In early January I spoke on WPEB in Philadelphia on the Decarcetate PA prison justice show about the Justseeds Critical Resistance Portfolio Project. I talked about the portfolio, as well as a mud stencil action in Chicago with TAMMS YEAR TEN to draw attention to the Tamms supermax prison in southern Illinois. Throughout this conversation, myself and the Decarcerate PA hosts talked about creative strategies to bring public attention to political and social struggles. Listen to it here.
I'm in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the next two months, working on a conservation theater project in and around a new national park in the east of the country. It's going to be an interesting effort, writing and directing some short skits about conservation with Congolese researchers and fieldworkers that we'll take out to small, remote villages in the upper reaches of the Lomami river. Our goal is somewhat complicated- to promote the idea of community forests, of community stewardship of forests and their fauna and flora, in the hopes of helping to defend those forests against commercial exploitation by criminal networks and well-funded poaching enterprises. This is an experimental effort- at least half the time we spend out in the field will be put to the use of determining if what we're doing gets the point across in any useful way at all. You can follow regular updates from the project here on its tumblr. If you're curious about what exactly is going on in that photograph, click here to read the most recent update from Kinshasa, Congo's vibrant and sprawling capital. If you feel like you want to support the project (which is running on the tiniest of budgets), you could consider buying a download of some amazing music I recorded in the region when I was last there.
A recent image that I made for a Post Carbon Institute/Steve Lambert poster project that will be hitting the streets soon. My image unfortunately mirrors reality with the erroneous decision by the State Department yesterday that stated - or were lobbied by the oil and gas industry to say - that the Keystone Pipeline will not negatively climate change. See a Guardian editorial for more.
If you're paying attention to the horror-story that is the continued development of tar-sands infrastructure in Canada, then you've heard about the megaloads. These are enormous shipments of equipment destined for the tar-sands projects, moving through Pacific Northwest ports and up small highways into Canada. There's been some pretty fierce opposition to these shipments, which is ongoing. The Nez Perce and Umatilla tribes have blockaded roads, activists from Oregon, Idaho and Montana have locked down to the machinery to prevent it moving, and more people are joining in. You can read about some of the opposition on the website of Portland Rising Tide. I made a graphic for the campaign, which you can see above, and you can download a high-resolution copy of to print out and put in your window by clicking on that image and then right- or function-clicking to download.
A 2-color print that I made of the image will be available in the Justseeds store soon!
I'm pleased to announce the release of Obenge Recordings- a compilation of music I recorded in the now-vanished village of Obenge in Democratic Republic of Congo in the fall of 2012. This is a collaboration with Portland's Ewe of Now label. It's available as a cassette and as a digital download on Bandcamp- you can get it here. You can read more of the story of Obenge and the projects I'm involved in in Congo here, or click through- the text included in the cassette is reproduced after the jump.
One of the great aspects of going out on the road on a book tour has been learning about a host of activist art projects that had not yet crossed my radar. I met Jay Saper in Philadelphia a few weeks back who sent me a link to a video and an article that documents a street theater action that he and others did at Middlebury College in Vermont as part of the student group Justice for Palestine at Middlebury College. This past May - during finals week - they staged an Israeli checkpoint on campus to push for divestment and to showcase the daily brutality of apartheid in action. Here is a video that documents the performance and an article written by Saper with the choice quote from one of the campus police officers who broke up the creative action while saying, "This is not theater; we can tell it is political...Everything that is political has to be approved by the college.” And one wonders why oppressive power structures remain in place, both here and abroad. Much respect to the student group Justice for Palestine at Middlebury College for raising awareness towards the issue and the divestment campaign and for harnessing creative resistance into their tactics.
* and Museum and Library Workers across the U.S! From the recent "Fight Back Pittsburgh" call-out:
"When Fight Back Pittsburgh launched our Worker Justice Hotline, one of the first calls that came in was from a couple workers at a local museum who were seeing their hours cut at work—reportedly as a result of the Affordable Care Act—they were working for low pay and dealing with dramatically unpredictable schedules. Over the next several months, members of the Fight Back at Work Committee worked with those museum workers to form Info Desk, an organization for local museum and library workers who are interested in organizing to improve their workplaces. The response from cultural industry workers has been incredible and Info Desk has grown to include dozens of workers from different cultural institutions around Pittsburgh..."
Last Friday, Info Desk (Pittsburgh) released their Cultural Industry Workers’ Declaration of Rights, outlining what they think a good workplace should look like. They’re asking community supporters and other cultural industry workers to sign on in support. Let’s help Info Desk make a strong statement in support of museum and library workers in Pittsburgh - and across the U.S! You don't have to be a culture industry worker (or live in Pittsburgh) to sign the declaration. Please share far and wide!
Women's Studio Workshop is co-ordinating a day to improve the Wikipedia entries of Women Artists. I encourage folks to participate in this! You can spend just a few minutes to create/edit entries of under-represented artists. I think the scope of this event should be expanded to include all artists marginalized within the art realm which continues to disproportionately exclude artists of color, queer artists, transgender artists, and International artists whose work gets classified as "outsider" or "craft."
Case in point: the 2014 Whitney Biennial (one of the most prominent forums for artists) is showcasing only 8 artists of color (which is less than 8% of the total participants). Further, only 38% of participants are women and there are only a few queer identified artists.
Here's the link which explains the scope of this event. There are also some meet ups in various cities, if people want to gather in real space. Alternately, you can do this from your home!
All you incredible writers- here is an opportunity to contribute to the vernacular of art history in a positive way. The youth need to be able to read about their mentors and peers and Wikipedia is becoming one of the most utilized sources of historical content.
Just a few artists whose work could be added to and/or expanded on Wikipedia, for those folks looking for some inspiration:
Attention: People With Body Parts, a body-positive collective that focuses on bookmaking, empowerment workshops, movement, and collaborative art projects is doing a book tour! They recently released a second book, "Portable Homes," an anthology of letters domestic violence survivors wrote to their body parts.
As part of our book tour, they are leading a series of movement/writing workshops in solidarity with domestic violence survivors. They will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania January 25-26!
diagram of a Living Water Garden
Here is another excerpt from my book A People's Art History of the United States. This excerpt is on Betsy Damon - an environmental and feminist artist best known for Living Water Gardens - a collaborative form of sculpture and community engagement that aims to restore the damage that industrialism and misplaced priorities has had on fresh water sources. Damon is an absolute force. An artist/activist who lives in Brooklyn and someone who has been at the forefront of addressing water issues through art since the 1980s. This excerpt is from the first section of the chapter.
It takes a lot to regenerate my interest in street art. Often it takes being introduced to someones work who is pushing the genre outside of its boundaries. This is the case with Chip Thomas who I first learned about through the enthusiasm that Justseeds member Chris Stain shared for his work. He interviewed him on the Justseeds blog in 2010 and I was immediately struck by his work and his story. Chris also said something to me in passing about Chip that stuck with me. "When you hang out with Chip Thomas good things happen."
I'm just back from three weeks in Mexico, most of which I spent traveling with Santiago Mazatl in Chiapas, the southernmost state and home to the Zapatista movement and its system of autonomous rural municipalities. These communities are built on land expropriated from underutilized ranches, owned by wealthy land-barons and seized from them during the initial uprising of indigenous communities on January 1st, 1994. That was the date that NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) took effect, something which has been utterly disastrous for Mexico in general and the indigenous Maya communities of Chiapas in particular.
This year was the 20th anniversary of that uprising, and Mazatl and I traveled to San Cristobal de las Casas in hopes of painting a mural to celebrate the fact.
Here is an excerpt from my book A People's Art History of the United States. This excerpt details the woman's suffrage movement in the late 1910s and their use of banners. More over, it details the NWP's use of civil disobedience and banners to escalate the conflict and force the federal government to act - often in repressive ways that created more press for the movement.
Banners Designed to Break a President
On January 10, 1917, the National Woman’s Party (NWP) initiated the first-ever long-term picketing of the White House. Twelve women, led by Alice Paul, went to the east and west entrances in the midmorning, where teams of three stood silently by each side of the two gates. Dressed in all white, they stood with two four-by-six banners attached to long poles. One banner read: MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR WOMAN SUFFRAGE? The other: MR. PRESIDENT, HOW LONG MUST WOMEN WAIT FOR LIBERTY? President Woodrow Wilson reacted as the women hoped he would when he passed by in his motorcade. He was surprised, and unnerved that well-dressed, middle-class women would stand in the cold and picket his residence. His response was to invite them in for hot tea. The women refused. The next day more women from the NWP returned with banners. One featured the quotation “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” Susan B. Anthony had said this to a federal court in 1873 when she was tried for attempting to vote. The White House pickets would continue for the next three years. Doris Stevens summarized their effect: “What politicians had not been able to get through their minds we would give them through their eyes . . . Our first task seemed simple—actually to show that thousands of women wanted immediate action on their long delayed enfranchisement.”
More info here: http://www.naftamemorial.info/
I recently pulled out the Voices From Outside portfolio at Interference Archive, when a friend asked me if I knew of any prison related graphics. They were producing a flyer for their organization, Milk Not Jails, and a campaign to reform the Parole system in NYC. While looking through the prints in became obvious that Nicolas Lampert's Missing: 2.3 Million Americans would be appropriate for the campaign, and organization. The graphics exist as downloadable high res files on the portfolios website, here, ready for activists to use them in exactly this way!
Above is the finished-folded flyer that they gave out at Columbus circle, NYC, where people wait for buses late at night to make the trek to visit family and friends in the various prisons upstate.
Read the following for more on their campaign and how you can participate!
Roger and Mazatl are in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, to participate in some of the events taking place around the 20th anniversary of the emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation from the forests of highland Chiapas. We brought solidarity portfolios printed at the Martires del 68 studio in Mexico City featuring artists associated with the Martires as well as several other Justseeds artists. We'll be painting some murals in the communities later this week with fellow Justseeds compa Favianna and the illustrious Emory Douglas, of Black Panther party fame. Above is a picture of a mural by some artist colleagues from San Cristobal that we helped with. It reads " the struggle is for life and happiness."
The struggle for indigenous self determination embodied by the Zapatista communities remains intense, twenty years after masked villagers occupied San Cristobal and several other towns in the early hours of January 1, 1994. Powerful interests encroach, seeking control of water, minerals, oil, and timber, and the restive and resistant populations of Maya that comprise the Zapatista base remain a thorn in their side. It's worth doing a little reading to remind yourself exactly why these people are defending themselves, and how their struggles illustrate the basest foundation of predatory capitalism and the long colonial twilight.
The Abolitionist, a newspaper publication dedicated to the strategy and practice of prison industrial complex abolition has transcribed a presentation I (Melanie Cervantes) did on the collaborative space called Dignidad Rebelde and our work supporting social movement organizations with creative visual interventions. I am honored these words will be shared with over 2,500 in people in jails, prisons and detention centers.
This time of year is when many of us are able to enjoy spending time with our loved ones it is important to remember about those who cannot. There are so many separated by walls of jails/prisons, borders and fences.
Our struggle to abolish these divisions continues.
Read the article here:
Up today on the Justseeds store is a collaboration between myself and fellow Portland artist Nina Montenegro. I thought it'd be appropriate to offer this as a free download, which you can get by clicking on the image and then right-clicking to download. Click here to read more about it and to buy a print.
This weekend is the Toronto Anarchist Fair there are so many activities and events.
We will be at the book market Tomorrow Sunday Dec 15th.
55 Gould St. Toronto
10 A.M. - 7 P.M.
Here is another excerpt from my book A People's Art History of the United States. This excerpt details the feminist art movement in California and specifically the Woman's Building - an epicenter for activism and art in Los Angeles from 1973 to 1991 and the home of the first independent art school for women.
In researching the chapter, I was reminded just how important collectively run spaces and experimental cultural spaces are for nurturing a culture of resistance and for fostering collaboration. These types of spaces produce activism. How many people were transformed by the LA Woman's Building during its near two-decade run? Likely thousands. Its legacy matters. Its influence is felt.
(SNCC poster, 1962 photograph by Danny Lyon)
Chicago friends: I will giving a talk on my new book A People's Art History of the United States at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum this Monday, December 9th at 5:00pm.
This new book looks at activist art that has documented and emerged from US movements for social and economic justice, including labor, women's suffrage, artist's unions, civil rights, nuclear disarmament, and more.
Meet the author. Hear about this exciting new book. Enjoy examples of radical art and interventions. Drink warm apple cider and eat delicious cookies!
Please share event details with your friends on Facebook.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL
The Coup surfaces to serve up the official video premiere of “Long Island Iced Tea, Neat” – a stop-motion social commentary on the epidemic of police brutality and racial profiling in communities of color across the United States. The footage animated by Kelly Gallagher is a crafty homage to Occupy Oakland that celebrates the lives of Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin and illustrates the social movements ignited by their respective deaths with protest photos, construction paper, skittles and glitter. The Coup tap Brooklyn punk-art squad Japanther for the assist on this track from their Sorry To Bother You LP.
Read more at okayplayer
Long before the Independent Media Center (Indy Media) and the "Become the Media" movement that arose out of the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle there was the Worker's Film and Photo League. Here is a short excerpt from my book A People's Art History of the United States that examines their legacy:
Jaime Lowe's interview begins: "The first time I saw Whore Paint, a self proclaimed-feminist, Riff Rock/No Wave/Crooner Shred hybrid band out of Providence, RI, I was immediately 16 again and at my first Sleater-Kinney show in my busted Docs, baby barrette firmly lodged against the side of my head with a newfound hope that there’s an entire league of cool ladies who I could aspire to be like. Tulsa-raised Providence resident and woman about town, Reba Mitchell (of Made in Mexico and Assembly of Light Choir fame) commands the stage as a seasoned front woman. With expert skill, she screams, purrs, and seizes the crowd. She and the band, composed of Hilary Jones, (formerly of Arcing and Sweetthieves) on guitar and Meredith Stern of Teenage Waistband on drums, clad in their uniform of black silk slips (“we challenge the idea that sexuality and blatant femininity necessarily preclude power”) dominate and devastate the audience, leaving mouths agape, eardrums split and ideologies flexed.
Whore Paint’s name is an allusion to makeup, “an epithet used to slander women who adhere to our cultural standards of beauty. Whore Paint is what we wear in to battle,” they declare. “Whore Paint is who we are as a band.” The whole interview can be read here.
Our comrades at the Beehive Collective have completed their latest epic design and are looking for some help printing it. Please support their kickstarter!
After 9 years of production, our fantastically intricate and inspiring hand-illustrated mega-poster is ready for the print house!
Over the past thirteen years we've researched, drawn, and re-drawn the story of corporate-driven globalization in the Americas, starting with posters about the Free Trade Area of the Americas and Plan Colombia. In 2004 we embarked on the initial research trip for the third poster in this trilogy, traveling from Mexico to Panama over 5 months to meet with people on the frontlines of resistance to a regional development plan then known as Plan Puebla Panama. The industrial-scale infrastructure projects of the plan (now renamed Project Mesoamerica) are what literally pave the way for the free trade model that devastates local economies. Our intensive grassroots research and collaborative design process continued for several years. After the pencil work was complete, inking the final drawings took several more years, with rotating teams of illustrators and studios in multiple locations.
Melanie and Jesus hosted an amazing and insightful event at SoleSpace in Oakland earlier this month- here are some photos and the text of the show description.
El Día de los Muertos is usually a time to look back and give thanks to our ancestors whose existence made it possible for us to be alive today. With Future Ancestors: A Ceremony of Memory we look at the present and give thanks and celebrate the individuals whose life work is contributing to a world we will leave behind for future generations while investigating what was handed down by their ancestors and continues to shape who they are today.
Through conversations with five people we reflect on lessons and objects held sacred that haven been passed down to them. We will meditate on how these inheritances shape and inspire these individuals to look at the world around them and concern themselves with the task of building a better world.
A key environmental and Native rights struggle is currently taking place in northern Wisconsin. The Walker Administration has re-opened Wisconsin to mining interests making the proposed Penokee Mine a disaster in the making. It would be a 4-5 mile long open-pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills that would devastate the local ecology and the water. Resistance has come from many - most notably the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa.
Chris Stain grew up writing graffiti in his hometown of Baltimore, and kept at it in spite of a handful of arrests and close encounters with law enforcement—the first was at the tender age of 11, when a classmate ratted him out to the police for tagging a playground, and the most recent was last year when he was caught writing on a box car with an erasable marker. His work overwhelmingly focuses on representing the experiences of ‘common people,’ as he calls them—members of the working class who struggle on a daily basis to simply survive and pay their bills. It’s an interest that stems from an adolescent exposure to 80s punk, Woody Guthrie, and his own emerging class consciousness. Currently based out of East Brooklyn, Stain is now an art teacher, showing kids how to do lettering and stenciling themselves. He joined us to talk about the politics of representation and the joys of writing on walls.read more at OBEY
Here is a short excerpt from Chapter 15 from my new book A People's Art History of the United States. This chapter examines the role of the Artists' Union during the 1930s.
“Art has turned militant. It forms unions, carries banners, sits down uninvited, and gets under-foot. Social justice is its battle cry!” —Mabel Dwight, WPA-FAP printmaker
Prior to the start of the WPA-FAP, the Artists’ Union in New York City was already a well- developed organization, and by the end of 1934 it had upward of seven hundred members. Meetings were held every Wednesday night, and attendance often fluctuated between two and three hundred people; crisis meetings would draw upward of six hundred.
On a grim and drippy morning earlier this week I sat in my house reading an article about slave capitalism in the magazine n+1, specifically a review of Walter Johnson's new book River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom, published earlier this year by Harvard. The author, Gabriel Winant, compares Johnson's analysis of the slave economy with an opposing take, written in the 70's by theorist Eugene Genovese, and points to the way he sees each view as arising from the specific historical moment in which it was written.
Here is a short excerpt from my book A People's Art History of the United States and the first installment of blog entries that highlight specific chapters. For this entry I start towards the end of the book: the first half of the second-to-last chapter that focuses on the creative resistance of IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War.)
This chapter looks at Operation First Casualty and then segues to the Combat Paper Project. I highlight IVAW first because of the relationship that Justseeds has built up with IVAW over the past five years. For starters, I first learned about the creative resistance of IVAW from a blog post on Justseeds by Josh MacPhee that spurred my interest in their work. I then met IVAW Midwest team leader Aaron Hughes in Chicago through a mutual friend Michael Rakowitz. This led me to me interviewing Aaron for a publication/zine by the art collective Temporary Services called "Temporary Conversations." It also led to a long series of collaborations between Justseeds and IVAW. First, Justseeds and IVAW did a street art action in Chicago together in 2010. Next, we helped produce a booklet for them through Printed Matter, and then we did a portfolio project (our third portfolio) with IVAW called "War is Trauma." Since then we have designed street signs and a large-run of silkscreen posters.
To me the Justseeds collaboration with IVAW embodies what the coop does best: it places art directly within movements. And below - the short excerpt from my book - embodies the spirit of IVAW: war resisters and some of the most creative artists and activists working today.
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.
Exuberant Politics Exhibition
Call for Entries Deadline: December 15, 2013
Send your revolutionary manifesto, your conceptual social sculpture, your political poems, your utopian films and videos, your musical anthems. Enter your political rally poster, your activist website, your play, performance, print, painting or puppet in the show “Exuberant Politics.”
EP celebrates the intersection of art and activism in new forms of creative direct action and organizing, street theater and the art of protest, and social justice political activism.
You or your groups’ artistic political “exuberance” can be expressed in any format, medium or size, but be aware that there is limited floor/wall space in our galleries. We may choose to recognize selected off-site proposals and projects, so please consider a proposal to organize an “exuberant” event in your backyard, neighborhood or locale.
A couple of weeks ago the AFL-CIO, the largest remaining union in the US, held its annual convention in Los Angeles. The centerpiece of the convention hall was a structure holding big, bright banners featuring the art of Justseeds artists, recontextualized to refer to 15 campaigns that the AFL-CIO is working on. Favianna and I (Roger) put the project together with help from Victor Sanchez of the union, and you can see all of the individual pieces here on Roger's Flickr page. A couple of them are included after the jump.
As you look at those images- notice something. Many of these campaigns are far away from the traditional purview of industrial unionism in this country: Carwash organizing, patient care workers, childcare workers- this represents something of a new direction for this sort of big-time national organizing (although I'm by no means an expert on current labor history or strategy). By bringing our art into this context, we're trying to contribute to that flexibility on strategy. Art is a tool for bringing people together, helping them realize that they agree, and giving them something to refer to when they doubt their path. While we don't often work this closely with the big unions, we found this project satisfying- helping to bring new tactics to new front lines. You can read a couple of articles about the convention and our art here, at the New York Times, and here at the Huffington Post.
Justseeds is sponsoring a film at the Milwaukee Film Festival this year. It looks fantastic.
Narco Cultura - USA | 2012 | 106 min. Director: Shaul Schwarz
In Ciudad Juarez, thousands of homicide cases overtax the crime scene units as drug cartels slowly tilt the system's odds in their favor. Meanwhile, across the border, nestled in the safe embrace of El Paso, Texas, musicians work feverishly to meet growing demand for narco-corridos, waltz-like ballads that lionize the blood-soaked escapades of traffickers and kingpins (who play them over police radio channels in the wake of their violent acts) idolized for having escaped poverty and squalor. Cutting between these disparate scenes and showcasing a largely unknown counterculture taking hold across both borders, director Shaul Schwarz examines how a calamitous lifestyle remains so appealing as Narco Cultura continues to grow.
Raoul Deal, Lisa Moline, Lane Hall, and I spent the last weekend in Kitchener, Ontario completing a drawing installation for the Surface Tension: The Future of Water exhibition that opens this Friday, September 20 at THE MUSEUM.
Surface Tension is now on its third location after debuting at the Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and than traveling to EyeBeam in NYC.
This time around our work - Basin - was more overtly political and had the activist kick that we were looking for. We focused on the Great Lakes and the environmental issues that impacted the eight US states and the Canadian provinces that border the lakes. Our research focused on the ecological harm that is being done by the escalation of oil and gas extraction in the region (hydraulic fracturing, the expansion of pipelines carrying tarsands crude, etc.) The drawing itself was layered. The background had words, images, and phrases that talked about water privatization, the politics of water, invasive species, etc. The foreground had a map of the Great Lakes in the middle. To the left were circles that highlighted the environmental issues facing the water, land, and air in the Great Lakes region, and to the right were circles that highlighted recent environmental victories.
I spent two weeks in August traveling around Montana. My sweetie Elizabeth and I hiked to hot springs in the Bitterroot Wilderness, counted Golden Eagles and Nighthawks in the Paradise Valley, and watched the beetle-killed mountains burn. On our way back to Missoula we took an alternate route through the town of Anaconda, heading north on State Highway 1. Just outside the town of Drummond, we passed a small ranch-house with a yard full of impressive metal sculpture- a bear, a rhino, and was that a mammoth? A big hand-painted sign on the fence said "Usually Open". We turned back to check it out.
As we pulled into the yard, a man was leaving the building marked "Museum", moving slowly, tall and thin, bent slightly over a walker. He noticed us, waved and approached. "I just closed, but I can open up again. No, it's no problem." He swung open the door and we went in.
The interior was a big white space full of paintings and wood-carvings, lit by big windows. "This is all my work," said the tall man, who introduced himself as Bill Ohrmann. "Stay as long as you like."
We started over to the walls and began a cursory ogle of the hanging work. It became immediately obvious that we had found something absolutely amazing. Our jaws dropped as we moved from piece to piece. We were in the presence of greatness.
50 years ago the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) dubbed the March on Washington the "Farce on Washington." They had good reason to level such a harsh critique.
SNCC - by far the most radical of the four major Civil Rights organizations (the others being SCLC, CORE, and the NAACP) - felt that the event was too cautious in its demands, the speeches too sanitized, and the critiques of the power structure too limited. SNCC knew that the Kennedy Administration had completely failed to protect the lives of Civil Rights workers, and African Americans in general, and they felt the March on Washington - while still important - would make a largely unresponsive Federal Government look good in the eyes of the world. That by simply allowing a mass gathering on the Washington Mall to happen, the Kennedy Administration would appear as if it truly supported the black freedom movement and its demands for racial and economic justice.
Culture about resistance, resistance cultural production!
Check out this video by Twice Thou about resistance to Bank of America Foreclosures.
If you have been paying attention to the news lately you've heard about a lot of human caused ecological disasters related to petroleum extraction; Tar Sands oil spills, exploding train derailments, pipeline leaks, and too much more.
I wanted to highlight some graphics produced by Justseeds members and allies on the Tar Sands for the Resourced Portfolio.
Black Salt Collective is launching therir first large-scale collaborative project: a part-narrative, part documentary, art film with original musical soundtrack. Black Salt Collective is the work of artists Grace Rosario Perkins, Adee Roberson, Sarah Sass Biscarra-Dilley, Anna Luisa Petrisko (Jeepneys), and Fanciulla Gentile.
In their own words:
"We are five women of color artists, musicians, healers, educators, and visionaries. We are Bolivian, Filipino, Chumash, Navajo, Yaqui, Jamaican, Slovak, Swedish, Mexican, African, Basque and Pima. We each make work that is unique, yet share profound commonalities. While rooted in our past, we create the future. We formed this collective to create a circle of support for each other, because we find support for artists like ourselves so lacking. Between us, we have more than 40 years of experience of making art within our communities."
Support them at this link:
Justseeds friend Kim Cosier recently penned an article for the latest issue of The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (Volume 33: PreOccupy / Maximum Occupancy) about the art and creative resistance of the Wisconsin Uprising. The article is one of the few essays of late that focuses on the visual culture, and addresses various examples of screenprinting, photography, mud stencils, and tactical interventions, among others. Work by two Justseeds members - Colin Matthes and myself - is addressed, along with the photography of Barbara Miner, the mud stencils and prints of Jesse Graves, and the actions by the Overpass Light Brigade. Check it out here.
In Aida Refugee Camp there is a long mural dedicated to political prisoners, comprised of simple back and white paintings of a row of prisoners twelve prisoners. So very basic, there is something really compelling about it.
Just turned on to this brilliant reworking of the Robin Thicke creepy top-40 tune by a bunch of Canadian coastal queers...it's all about how sexy consent is.
""Ask First!" was written by J. Mary Burnet & Kaleigh Trace in response to Robin Thicke's gross, unconsensual song and video "Blurred Lines."
Art is powerful and we are in awe of rad artists who write political rhymes. Writing this song and making the video is one of the ways we're doing our best to promote enthusiastic consent and sex positivity in a shitty, heteronormative, patriarchal culture that objectifies women, normalizes rape, and blames survivors for their assault because they had "blurred lines" or because something they said, did, or were wearing made their perpetrator "know they wanted it."
We don't want to have to listen to Robin Thicke tell us he knows we want it over such a damn catchy beat. We wanna dance to music that's sexy and radical. "
Lyrics and link to download HERE
Here is a simple graphic that I made in response to the Obama Administrations support of drones. Obama - much like every president before him - is tied to the corporate-military-industrial complex. The image is copy-right free and can be used by individuals and groups who are resisting the use of drones to advance US imperialism and the security-state. Please follow creative common guidelines and do not use the image for commercial applications. Just drag the image to your desktop and disseminate it as need be.
I've been following all the action in Pittsburgh following the Zimmerman verdict, and the connections to racial injustices locally in Pittsburgh. Yesterday, Pittsburgh folks delivered a letter of demands to the Mayor of Pittsburgh's office, conducting a sit-in for 18 hours when he refused to see them, and then going to the Mayor's house and tacking their demands on his front door, "Martin Luther style."
Milwaukee-based artist Jacob Flom created a new graphic about drones. On his website, he writes: "The worlds largest corporation, General Electric (GE) invited me to submit work for their annual “Veteran Awareness Month” art show in their Fairfield, CT corporate headquarters. While they pay lip service to veterans, GE’s guidelines for the artwork is extremely restrictive. GE is only interested in representing stereotypes of patriotic veterans who are obedient advocates of the wars they served in.
While I was serving in the US Air Force during the height of the Iraq war in 2005, GE was raking in a $2.2 Billion/yr contract with the Department of Defense and a $4.7 Billion tax break. While I paid for US wars through taxes on my poverty wages as an Airman First Class, GE paid no taxes and made billions off US wars and occupations. GE currently produces drone technology, as well as engines for military jets and helicopters used by the US and Israel in their occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and interventions in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, among others.
This piece created for “Veteran Awareness Month” shows a new type of awareness. Veterans are increasingly aware that they are fighting for corporate profits, veterans know the horrors of US wars and occupations, and demand an end to tax breaks, defense contracts, and wars that only serve GE and the rest of the 1%."
Justseeds friend, frequent collaborator, and IVAW organizer Aaron Hughes sent me these images of an installation that he created about drones. His work is part of a veteran's exhibition at the Herndon Gallery called Coming Home.
The exhibition runs until August 16th and includes recent work by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who work with Warrior Writers and Combat Paper, two organizations that provide a safe space for veterans to express their experience in war and returning home through creative writing and visual art.
Veteran artists represented in the exhibition are: Chantelle Bateman, Drew Cameron, Toby Hartbarger, Amy Herrera, Aaron Hughes, Kevin Kilgore, Ash Kyrie, Iris Madelyn, Robynn Murray, Jennifer Pacanowski, John Turner, and Eli Wright.
Here are more images from Aaron Hughes:
The walls of Palestine are alive with messaging and communication, including layers of posters for cultural events, political martyrs, commercial advertisements, and election campaigns. While the martyr posters are mostly left to fade away, or eventually be covered by a new generation of martyrs, the election posters are regularly scratched, torn, and intervened in. Some of this might be done by Israeli settlers (especially in contested areas like Hebron), in other places it seems more likely it is done by fellow Palestinians frustrated by the failures of the political process.
While almost all the graffiti across Palestine is either directly political (exhortations from one political party or another) or utilitarian (so and so street, Mohammad's shoe shop, etc.), in Ramallah there is a burgeoning "street art" scene. There is emerging a form of graffiti much more familiar to the West, individual artists signing their work, and depicting non-political subjects, if still with a distinctly Arab or Palestinian bent. This seems a clear sign of the internationalism (and Neoliberalism) of Ramallah. While I suspect some would prefer to keep the streets and walls open for political messaging, it might be too late for that—street art, like all of the banks and condo construction, is a clear sign post of a city no longer controlled by its citizens, but the whims and fashions of global capital.
There is a way that the occupation of Palestine seems to have frozen in time certain aspects of life in certain places, creating strange anachronisms. In the old city of Hebron, where there is an intense Israeli military presence and a large group of vicious and brutal Brooklyn-born settlers (who taunted us and took our photos as intimidation, other internationals have been stoned—never mind what happens to the locals!), there is an amazing array of old-school hand painted signs in gorgeous Arabic handwritten script. Most were painted over 25 years ago, and have a small signature on them, with a name and city or street the painter is from.
I was recently commissioned by Dissent magazine to provide some illustrations for their special issue on climate change. Check out the magazine here and consider a subscription! You can see a couple more images after the jump.
This is the largest key in the world. It sits at the entrance to Aida Refugee Camp, which sits on the edge of Bethlehem, pushed right up against the Israeli Apartheid Wall. 6,000 residents are squeezed into the equivalent of two New York City blocks. Aida is also home to Lajee Center, which does great programming with kids, including the publication of a magazine called Our Voice (we got copies for Interference Archive), a radio station, and an annual kite festival.
While being here we've heard so many stories of oppression and repression of Palestinians by Israeli Jews (about 25% of Israelis in pre-67 borders are Palestinians, who are "citizens" of Israel, but regularly denied equal services and opportunities, thus it is important to distinguish between Israelis and Israeli Jews) there are also many signs of ongoing resistance. Large-scale movements (outside of the BDS movement) seem to not be ascendent, yet small struggles happen everyday.
In solidarity with whistle-blowers everywhere, here's a small graphic you can print out and put in your window. Access the high-res version HERE. Share widely!
Some colleagues made this awesome, star-studded explosion of a video tribute to Bradley Manning. Watch it, think hard about it. What are YOU willing to do for what you know is right, and against what you know is wrong? Time to draw new lines in the sand.
It has been some months since my good friend and collaborator AIRE and I got to go on a trip to Chiapas where we got to collaborate with several organizations fighting for Autonomy in the region. One of those organizations was the main reason that brought us there, that organization is called Las Abejas de Acteal and in late December 2012 they were celebrating 20 years since they founded the group but not only were they celebrating coming together they too were remembering that 1997 the Mexican military along with the PRI political party helped arm a paramilitary organization called Mascaras Rojas who went in the community of Acteal and opened fire against a crowd of unarmed people who were praying in the local church.
Justseeds friend and frequent collaborator Paul Kjelland recently created a print about the grassroots movement that closed the Tamms prison. Kjelland writes:
"This past week I collaborated with members of Tamms Year Ten on a print celebrating the closing of Tamms supermax prison in southern Illinois. Tamms was infamous for being a facility that utilized solitary confinement practices for extreme periods of time (many for over a decade). This isolation lead to a wide range of mental disorders and self inflicted physical traumas. I first worked with Tamms Year Ten through participating in and documenting a mud stencil campaign in Chicago in 2009 organized by Nicolas Lampert, Jesse Graves, and Laurie Jo Reynolds.
Clear victories can be all to rare, and this is one of them. It is important to recognize those who dedicated their time, energy, and resources to closing a place that so clearly violated the most basic of human rights through extended solitary confinement.
Tomorrow night, Wednesday June 12th, we are going to be having a in-depth discussion at Interference Archive about representations of labor. Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative recently produced a collection of two dozen large-scale prints relating to labor as part of their exhibition, Uprisings: Images of Labor. Artists were tasked with creating graphic works which both interpret and respond to the current state of work and labor organizing.
Interference Archive and members of Justseeds invite you to help us unpack and critique these prints. We ask: are these images are effective at representing labor and work in the 21st century? Can they help mobilize and organize workers or the working class? How does one create a poster that compels a viewer to think about a subject? Or to act on it?
(image: Roger Peet, Labor Creates All Wealth, 2013)
Subverting WPA posters has long been part of my design rubric. This time, I mined the "Civil Liberties During Wartime" WPA poster (a poster for a lecture by Max Lerner at Roosevelt High, Des Moines, Iowa and created by the Iowa Art Program between 1936 and 1940) to pay respect to the whistle blowers amongst us. Specifically, it honors Edward Snowden for standing up for democracy and exposing the abuses of those in power. His actions are reminiscent of those by Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971 detailing how President Lyndon B. Johnson had misled the public about the war in Vietnam. Snowden's actions also reminds one of Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, and the escalation of the security state and the loss of privacy and civil liberties under the Obama Administration. To read Daniel Ellsberg's editorial praising Edward Snowden, click here.
Today is June 11th, Day of International Solidarity with Marie Mason and Eric McDavid and other long-term anarchist prisoners. The Never Alone Exhibition and art sale just went live, check it out HERE.
Radical Portland MC Mic Crenshaw has a new EP out and just posted a video for one of the tracks called "Free My MInd". It's a great cut: an homage to the Pacific Northwest, Black biker culture, and positive life changes. Also banging! He has another great new track up on his website called "Superheroes", featuring Dead Prez. Check it out.
The loss of manufacturing jobs is the central narrative of the upper Midwest portion of the US. This region was once home to blue-collar manufacturing jobs, the majority of which were union, which provided good wages and the opportunity for families to own a home and support their families. This largely ended when factory-after-factory moved overseas, the final nail in the coffin being NAFTA (supported by President Clinton) that turned rust belt cities into mass-unemployment zones.
In Milwaukee, one of the more unfortunate symbols of the city is the A.O. Smith/Tower Automotive site - a sprawling 80-acre complex of mostly vacant buildings in the predominantly African American north side.
I have been asked several times about the use of cats in my artwork and so I now present a succinct explanation of why I am not simply obsessed with cats and instead am very intentionally choosing to use cats to represent ideas of social change. On a very basic level, cats are free of dog-ma. Also, using animals rather than people as the central figures in a piece allows for a more open interpretation of who is being represented. When images of people are used in artwork, it’s easy to attribute a specific ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity, or other cultural associations to the person in the image. Through the use of animals, all these identities are vague, and the reader can instead allow themselves to be transported into the activities being presented in a fantastical and playful way.
Broken City Lab made this sweet little video of me silkscreen printing at the end of the
Mayday march, in Drouillard Park, right across from the Ford plant. Participants in the march were excited to choose a silkscreen printed bandana with labor slogans, and even print their own. With the historical re-enactment theme of this year's march, the phrase "Solidarity Forever!" the chorus of the IWW's theme song, resonated quite strongly with folks.
Vladmir Mayakovsky: “Art is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
Hannah Hoch: “I wish to blur the firm boundaries which we self-certain people tend to delineate around all we can achieve.”
Printmaking is an amazing form of creative expression. The basic materials you need to create a print are fairly inexpensive, and the medium itself is about creating multiple copies of an image in order to make the image available to multiple people to experience.
I was recently commissioned to design a poster for the law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal to commemorate their 20th anniversary. MG&C has spent the last twenty years aggressively defending the livelihoods and habitats of a broad array of species across North America, and they've had considerable success doing so. The occasion of their twentieth anniversary, however, has been clouded by developments in one of their most prominent struggles- against the abuse of elephants in circuses.
Uprisings: Images of Labor, the new set of large-format silkscreen and relief prints that Justseeds created at Union Art Gallery at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, is opening tonight at Broken City Lab's Civic Space, in the heart of downtown Windsor. In addition to the prints, we'll have bandanas and posters that I facilitated printing as part of Mayday, and some prints, posters, and bandanas for sale. All my events in town are part of Windsor's Mayworks festival, a celebration of labor through art. Check out the full events listing and updates HERE.
You can also check out Broken City Lab's site, for ongoing updates on my activities, HERE, including a video of me printing bandanas at the Mayday march!!
Friday May 10th
Closing Danceparty with DJ Mary Mack
Friday May 17th
A doomed past doesn't mean a doomed future. The weight of history doesn't bear down forever- people shrug their burdens off. I've got two new prints (here and here) up on the site right now inspired by the time I spent last year in one of the world most dangerous and damaged countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo. They're attempts to talk about the history and the present of the Congo in the same breath- to mash together Congo's terrible colonial history of enslavement and exploitation with its contemporary struggle to rise above the shattered landscape and become a place of possibility for all.
I thought I'd share a bit of the process of making these prints, specifically where some of the imagery came from, and a bit of the thought process as well.
Over the last three weeks, I've posted 3 blogs around the creation of a print on our website called "Mass Incarceration is a Labor Issue." Here is the last blog entry about this print.
After the first color is printed, it is hung to dry and I carve away more linoleum to prepare for a second printing for the final color. This is a reduction linoleum block print, so any area that I carve away will stay light brown, and any area I leave on the block will be printed with the final color.
The first color is to the right:
Good things arise out of collaborations and art exhibitions. During the Justseeds SGCI install in March in Milwaukee I noticed folks from Yes - Youth Empowered in the Struggle - who work in conjunction with Voces de la Frontera - attend many of the talks and workshops. After the event, discussions were generated on how to create more activist art projects in Milwaukee. Well, recently Jesse Graves shared tactics and gave a mud stencil workshop to Yes and Raoul Deal shared images from the "Migration Now" portfolio. The results can be seen in this video in preparation for the May 1 March for Immigrant and Worker Rights through downtown.
World War 3 Illustrated is a a semiannual political comix magazine publishing since 1980.
Join Broken City Lab and me as we silkscreen print bandanas and posters at Drouillard Park, in the heart of Ford City, with Dylan Miner's silkscreen bike, which he created with urban indigenous youth at the Turtle Island Aboriginal Education Center in Windsor, and with Latino youth at the Garage Cultural Center of Art and Creativity in Detroit, at the end of the Mayday march. BCL took a bunch of photos at the print party we hosted at Civic Space last night, as did I. Take a peek HERE!
Over the past couple weeks, I've been posting images of the process of this print on our website, "Mass Incarceration is a Labor Issue." Last week I detailed the sketching process.
Once I sketch the image on the linoleum, I carve away the linoleum around the lines, and then it's ready to print.
Here is a picture of the print as it is being covered with a layer of ink:
Justseeds will be in Windsor, Ontario for the next three weeks doing a residency at Broken City Lab during Windsor's Mayworks festival, a celebration of art and labor.
I am conducting a number of public programs, including silkscreen printing workshops and showing Uprisings: Images of Labor, the new large-scale prints that Justseeds made in Milwaukee in March.
Check out details on Broken City's blog HERE
Check out a full schedule of Mayworks events HERE
Last week I started a thread about the creation of this print on our website called "Mass Incarceration is a Labor Issue."
The first stage of creating this print involved research and sketching. After completing the sketches, I draw directly on the linoleum.
Here is an image of the pencil sketches on the linoleum.
While Justseeds was in Milwaukee, I took process shots of the print I created, to show the process of creating this print. Here is the final print:
The first step in creating this print was researching labor and prison issues, including reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander as well as this article from The Nation
I ran across this impressive piece of data visualization recently, which really sums up exactly how the US "war on terror" strategy has changed since Obama's arrival as commander in chief. Sanitary. Discreet. Not even a speck left to dust off your hands.
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.
New Swoon print available here! From the artist:
"This past December I returned to Juarez, Mexico to publicly recreate the portrait of Sylvia Elena Morales, first created in 2008. The piece addresses the ongoing femicide; murders of thousands young women, that have been happening in the border town, and throughout Mexico and Central America since 1993..."
The printing of Josh MacPhee's 2-color screenprint during Uprising: Images of Labor, a Justseeds Artists' Cooperative exhibition at the SGC International in Milwaukee, WI
Tonight join Imaging Apartheid at Rock Against Racism MTL #3 - Punks Against Apartheid
An evening to celebrate and build punk rock solidarity with Palestine
Une soirée pour célébrer et bâtir la solidarité entre le punk et la Palestine
jeudi, le 14 mars
Katacombes, 1635 St-Laurent, Montréal
$6-10 (selon vos moyens/sliding scale)
Part of the month I spent at the Caldera Arts Center was taken up by attempts to fashion some music videos out of the clips I shot while traveling in Congo. Lacking an enormous amount of video editing experience, I ended up doing a bunch of dragging-and-dropping in IMovie while trying to sync things up with some of the recordings of choral groups from the tiny village I was staying in. I think they turned out pretty well! I showed some of them at a couple of presentations I did in Portland last week. Just prior to the first presentation I had some crazy news: the crashed plane that I and some Congolese colleagues found in the forest near Obenge had been tentatively identified by some people at the Aviation Safety Network.
In mid December of 2012 I was lucky to travel to Chiapas to collaborate with a number of Autonomous organizations and projects with an amazing group of committed graphic workers and a videographer, our friend Jason Michael Aragon who works with the PanLeft productions collective in Tucson, AZ.
The trip involved many projects and collaborators though for this specific project we were able to join forces with the ongoing Zapantera Negra, which is a project linking the Black Panther Party and the Zapatista struggles through art collaborations, talks, and bringing people involved with Autonomous struggles in Mexico and Emory Douglas together.
Come check out a whole selection of great Justseeds prints and the Imaging Apartheid poster project at the Salon du disque et des arts underground de Montréal. 5075 rue Rivard 11:00 am - 5:00 pm (across the street from Métro Laurier)
here is the facebook page
also sunday evening Imaging Apartheid Artists talk
or Israeli Apartheid Week 2013
Sunday, March, 10,
5 à 7 - free !
le Cagibi, 5490 St. Laurent
Join Imaging Apartheid collective for a community arts panel on our work within the context of Israeli Apartheid Week 2013.
I was interviewed a few weeks ago about Justseeds and Migration Now! for York University's CHRY105.5FM, definitely the most professional radio station I have ever been in. The interview will air this Thursday February 28 from 5:30-6:00pm as part of their News Now program.
The timing is amazing; hot on the heels of the city of Toronto's recent legislation (on February 21) to approve Access Without Fear, ensuring access to services without fear to immigrants without full status or without full status documents. This makes Toronto Canada's first "city of sanctuary," joining such US cities as Detroit, Seattle, and more.
For more information, check out No One Is Illegal Toronto's site HERE
To tune in live, go HERE . I will be posting an archived file too.
Our comrades in Quebec are working on a film about the Ecole de la Montagne Rouge, a graphics collective that formed during the student strike last year. They are fundraising for some post-production costs. Help them out in their Indiegogo campaign it ends Wednesday, February 20th. Here's the trailer:
For his first documentary film, Maël Demarcy undertook to follow L’École de la Montagne Rouge, ever since the beginning of the student strike in spring 2012.
This documentary sheds a different light on the events that shook Quebec in the spring of 2012. Filming was spread out on more that 8 months, from the beginning of the student protest until the provincial elections. The proximity to L’École de la Montagne Rouge during the demonstrations and the reflection periods enables the film to weave an enlightened portrait of a youth in the midst of creativity and in a process of politicization.
We had to reschedule the opening due to OCAD's snow day. Please see below for details.
Justseeds: Migration Now! And More Graphics for Social Change
February 8-14, 2013
at OCAD University's Graduate Student Gallery, 205 Richmond St W.
All events free and open to the public. Accessible space.
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 12, 2013. 6:00-10:00 pm
OPENING RECEPTION with music by DJ Teach, refreshments, print sale, and live silkscreen printing with Radical Design School
7:00 PANEL DISCUSSION with No One Is Illegal Toronto, Justice for Migrant Workers, The Beehive Collective, and Radical Design School. Moderated by Mary Tremonte of Justseeds.
Migration Now!, the limited-edition portfolio of handmade prints addressing migrant issues from Justseeds & CultureStrike, is debuting in Toronto! The exhibit will also feature a selection of graphics from No One Is Illegal Toronto, Voices from Outside, the Justseeds prison portfolio, Radical Design School, and the Imaging Apartheid poster project, based in Montreal. Programming will highlight the knowledge and experiences of activists and organizers from Toronto, and how art and social justice can impact one another. migrationnow.com http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org
I was interviewed yesterday on Prison Radio Guelph, at CFRU 93.3 fm, discussing the Justseeds: Migration Now! exhibit currently on view at OCAD University's Graduate Gallery at 205 Richmond St. W.
Check it out on their archive page HERE and tune in at 43:00 to catch me. You can also hear a bit of the so crucial A Tribe Called Red (pictured here, lifted from a great article in Now magazine), who I got to DJ with last night at the Art Galley of Toronto.
This past week I got a kick out of Thomas Frank's article "Dead End on Shakin' Street" in the last issue of The Baffler. Frank skewers the term Vibrant, particularly as a meaningless buzzword used more recently by development groups when scheming on how to create the next Arts District...
“Corporations see a vibrant cultural landscape as a magnet for talent,” goes the thinking behind Kansas City’s vibrancy, according to one report; it’s “almost as vital for drawing good workers as more-traditional benefits like retirement plans and health insurance.” (Did you catch that, reader? Art is literally a substitute for compensating people properly. “Let them eat art,” indeed.)
I've been slowly updating the tumblr about my Congo trip, dropping in some photos and telling some small stories about them. There's so much to tell! The total chaos and weird glory of the world of Congolese nature conservation is so strange that it seems like a dream. My friend Dino, a Congolese researcher, told me a story about walking into a dense, wet forest in the Northeast searching for okapi, the elusive forest giraffe. He and his team ran into a group of heavily armed rebels, who agreed to escort them for a fee. They crossed over two ridges, and a scout came back saying that there was an army post ahead. The rebels stopped to clean and oil their Kalashnikovs and the rocket launcher prior to attacking the army post, assuring Dino that this was covered by the fee he had paid. DIno waited until they were engrossed in their task and hurried his porters and fieldworkers ahead towards the army post. The army let them pass, in exchange for another fee, and they went on through the forest, looking hard through the dappled madness of foliage for the delicate camouflage of the okapi.
For the next month I'll be in Eastern Oregon, at the Caldera residency, staying in a fancy A-frame cabin in the snowy high-altitude pine forests between Three-Fingered Jack and the obsidian monolith of Black Butte. While I'm there I'll be working on some big blockprints and preparing some drawings to make into big screenprints. Probably I'll focus on Congo, but I've got a bunch of other ideas in the pipeline as well. I'm going to be writing a good deal too, trying to craft a narrative from the stack of journals I filled up while in DRC. Stay tuned!
I read an article yesterday at the Cluster Mag about the ever-widening circle of art-superstars who never actually participate in the fashioning of their own work. While this is nothing new, the recurring image of toiling masses laboring to produce works of supposedly high aesthetic rank always, well, rankles. I've always had a pretty general disdain for this sort of hierarchical creative process, with its cynical manipulation of our culture's lust for both the celebrity velvet-rope sausage factory and the shiny dream-deferred golden ticket mirage. How important can one person's ideas really be? The dreck dripping from the orifices of culture is a byproduct of our over-consumption of this art-world Olestra, the product that aims to provide the mouthfeel of real emotional involvement with creativity, but which causes an unfortunate level of leakage. We need more real-time, real-world collaboration, not this pseudo-epic horseshit.
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.
After a year of hard work, the Justseeds/Culture Strike "Migration Now!" portfolio is finally finished! It's a collection of 37 handmade prints from the artists of Justseeds and Culture Strike, addressing the full spectrum of migrant issues, from the drug war to deportation. The portfolio was co-organized by Favianna and Roger, and printed at Mullowney Printing in San Francisco and Flight 64 studio in Portland. Check out the project website for images of the individual pieces, all of which you can download at high-resolution. The portfolio is for sale now in the Justseeds store.
As Israeli missiles rained down on Gaza in November, Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) took over advertising space at two Bay Area Rapid Transit stations to counter Israel’s claims of eternal victimhood...
The horrific massacre that transpired in Newtown hit me hard. Not simply because I am a parent and a teacher, but because gun violence has become so rampant and so senseless. I remember being in Colorado last summer and passing through Aurora and wondering how such an event could happen. I live ten minutes from Oak Creek, Wisconsin and had that same sense of dismay and hopelessness. I also live in a city where the sound of gun shots and sirens is common - almost nightly during the summer months. A night without sirens is odd. I wish that all assault weapons could be wiped off the face of the earth. Here is an image that I made encouraging their ban.
Ten days ago I returned to the US after three months in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I'm still adjusting to being back, waking up at 4 in the morning, grumbling at the cold rain. I've been wanting to write here about my experiences but have had trouble figuring out where to start.
I spent two and a half of those months in Obenge, a village of about 350 people far up in the midreaches of the Lomami river, Orientale province, eastern DRC. I was volunteering with a project called TL2, named after the three rivers that drain the area, big rivers winding torturously north towards the mother river, the Congo.
I'm in Windsor for the weekend doing 1W3KND writing residency with fellow OCADU student Jason Deary at Broken City Lab's Civic Space.
So far I've gotten a little walking tour of downtown Windsor, in a flurry of preparations for a Holiday parade. The quiet downtown is a bit surreal with speakers blasting Christmas carols and children posing for photos in front of an ice sculpture of a beaver.
Now I'm hunkering down for some focused writing on public space and transformative engagement. Stay tuned!
More about 1W3KND and Broken City after the jump.
Back in June I wrote a long critique of Kickstarter, which has recently been published in the Baffler. I just realized I had failed to share it here on Justseeds! Here's the first section, and you can read the entire thing on the Baffler's site HERE.
At least twice a week I get an email asking for support for a new project via Kickstarter. More often than not I pledge money, wanting to act in solidarity with friends and acquaintances with giant ideas but small bank accounts. And Kickstarter, once a promising platform for artists and other cultural producers to raise money, has become the go-to tool for fundraising by writers, artists, designers, political activists, and even popular musicians and award-winning filmmakers. As more friends use it, and as I cough up more and more money with every visit to the website, it seems a good time to try to crack it open to see how it works—and who it really works for.
StreetArtNYC give a nice mention of Justseeds exhibition "Sowing the Seeds of Love" with some images on their blog. Thanks!
Great review by Ana Alvarez in Brown University College Hill Independent
To read the article on the Brown University College Hill Independent click here.
Here's a couple of install shots to whet your appetite for tonight's opening reception at the Munch Gallery in NYC.
Friday December 7th, 7-9 p.m.
245 Broome St
‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’ by collective group, Justseeds, is the newest exhibition in conjunction with Munch Gallery. Each artist has created a unique piece specifically for the gallery, and all original work will be accompanied by limited edition work. The exhibition will also include a site-specific collaborative mural. We are excited to present the first Justseeds group exhibition in New York City.
Artists include: Jesus Barraza, Kevin Caplicki, Melanie Cervantes, Mazatl, Alec Dunn, Molly J Fair, Thea Gahr, Nicolas Lampert, Josh MacPhee, Fernando Marti, Colin Matthes, Dylan Miner, Roger Peet, Jesse Purcell, Pete Railand, Favianna Rodriguez, Shaun Slifer, Chris Stain, Meredith Stern, Mary Tremonte, Bec Young.
Exhibition runs December 7-23, 2012
Check out the Facebook event
Presented at Future Tenant (downtown Pittsburgh), Guns vs. Butter is a new exhibition of anti-war graphics that brings together the contemporary print work of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative alongside posters from the historical collection housed in the Interference Archive. The exhibit contextualizes the work of current socially-motivated graphics alongside a history of posters as an integral element of popular grassroots movements against war, colonialism, and military occupation. Highlighted is the 2011 portfolio project “War Is Trauma”, a collaboration between Justseeds, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and the Booklyn Artists’ Alliance. (details below)
Review in The Daily Campus at University of Connecticut
Here is the direct link to read the article on their website.
Review in The Daily Campus at University of Connecticut
Here is the direct link to read the article on their website.
“We don’t cross borders; borders cross us” is a 12 poster series organized by the Cross Border Collective. The objective of the posters is to invite an engaged audience to consider a series of propositions about the Australian border, labor, race and incarceration.
You can check out the entire project HERE.
In honour of the Day With(out) Art 2012, AIDS ACTION NOW! is launching 8 new collaborative activist art works as part of the poster/VIRUS project.
The posters were developed collectively with artists and activists working to respond to HIV. They will be plastered across the streets Toronto during the month of November. The posters will simultaneously be launched on-line through our Facebook and Tumblr pages.
Come celebrate the launch with AIDS ACTION NOW! at the AGO, along with the artists, speakers and awesome performers.
After party at Cold Tea 60 Kensington Avenue starting at 9pm!
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.
Sublevarte Colectivo is currently installing a retrospective exhibition at Interference Archive, that opens tomorrow, Friday, November 16th. Here's a peek of them at work.
Opening Reception: Friday, November 16, 2012, 7-10 p.m.
As student movements around the world inspire us anew, Interference Archive invites Sublevarte Colectivo, a group born of the 1999 student strikes in Mexico City, to produce a retrospective exhibition of their thirteen years of graphic production. In La Persistencia de los Sueños, they will bring their graphic street interventions into the gallery to highlight the various social movements and uprisings in which they participated and supported.
Sublevarte Colectivo believes that the graphic arts should be a vehicle of expression and communication in society, and that these days the power of the visual image is stronger than words. They have brought this vision to their work with the Zapatistas, the flower sellers of Atenco, the striking teachers of Oaxaca, and dozens of other social struggles in Mexico.
If you are in Montreal this week come check out Art in/en Action. Creative student and community contributions related to social and environmental justice NOVEMBER 11-15, 10am to 8pm, 1455 de Maisonneuve West, 7th floor (métro Guy-Concordia)
Justseeds will be represented with the Resourced, War Is Trauma and Migration Now portfolios. It's a great chance to check out some of the collective projects we have been doing over the last three years as well as a lot of really great work by around 30 local socially engaged artists.
Interference Archive and Sublevarte Colectivo are pleased to announce the following events as part of our upcoming exhibition La Persistencia de los Sueños/The Persistence of Dreams (November 16-December 31, 2012), featuring thirteen years of public-art interventions by Sublevarte Colectivo:
Friday, November 9, 4:00-8:00 pm
Dia de los Muertos
Sublevarte Colectivo members will join the "Understanding Violence and Politics" panel at 6:00 pm
224 W 29th St.
I made this poster for what promises to be an awesome performance in Montreal tonight.
Come to the show and scope out some new justseeds prints.
"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 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.
This print is from "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 print is from "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.
Graffitimundo is an organization in Buenos Aires. They are producing a documentary about art and activism called White Walls Say Nothing.
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
Last week I was interviewed by an Australian radio program about my "Meatscapes" collage series. Here's a link to the five-minute interview:
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr 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.
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
Dylan AT Miner recently wrote a short catalog essay for the work that I created in collaboration with Paul Kjelland for the 2011 Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists Exhibition in Milwaukee. I asked Dylan to write the essay because of his talents as a writer and a critical thinker, and our shared interest in radical art and radical sports. Below is his writing.
I've finished up a video that I was collecting images for at the Interference Archive during the end of this last August (right after gathering for our Justseeds planning retreat). Partially an inside joke about predictable tropes in movement posters (born of my years working with political print-makers), and partially a serious meditation on the power of icons and symbols, the basic idea was to scour the archive for all the instances I could find of a raised fist on a poster, print, zine, or book cover, and then string them all together in a rapid-fire looping video...
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
I haven't worked with teens in a few months, but my tireless totally teen education life partner, Heather White, passed this poster design along to me, from Libby at CAPA. Love the colors on this one!! What are you going to wear on purple day?
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
Paul Kjelland and I recently collaborated on a new series of prints and the jerseys of an imagined team uniform inspired by the Open Housing Marches in Milwaukee in the late 60s, the Commandos, and by Father James Groppi, their advisor during their formative years. The work is now on exhibit at INOVA in Milwaukee as part of the 2011 Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists Exhibition. Stop by and see our work - plus 6 other artists - from Wed-Sunday 12-5 (Thur 12-8) at 2155 N. Prospect Ave in the Kenilworth Building. The show runs from October 5th - December 9th.
As of October 4, 2012, Lumumba will have served ten years. It’s time to set him free!
To purchase a copy, you can click HERE.
To check out the tumblr website for this project, click HERE.
Hey all- we're in the final few days of Print Lottery 2012, an uniquely structured benefit for AS220 Community Printshop. Members of the public can purchase a $100 ticket, guaranteed to win a print at the culminating event on this Saturday September 29, 2012. In the interest of fun, artwork in the show is won by way of a blind lottery. Yes, you can order long-distance and have your prints shipped to you!
Prints have been donated by a wide variety of folks, including Justseeds members Meredith Stern, Melanie Cervantes, Jesus Barraza, Mary Tremonte, Bec Young and of course myself, as well as a bunch of other friends/favorite printmakers like Swoon, William Schaff, Amos Paul Kennedy, Kyla & James Quigley (AKA Gunsho), Dennis McNett, Emmy Bright, Xander Marro, Pippi Zornoza, the list goes on! the AS220 Community Printshop makes printmaking accessible & affordable to a lot of folks, myself included, and deserves yr support!
For added inspiration, check out this sweet video about the shop-
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.
Friday, September 28th – Saturday, September 29th
Friday, October 5th – Saturday, October 6th
The Maysles Cinema
343 Lenox Avenue
(Malcolm X Boulevard),
New York, NY
WE WANT education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
Go to the Maysles Website for the full schedule.
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
In early July we traveled to Arizona as part of a project we started, "Justicia y Dignidad", to work deepen the connections we have to three grassroots community organizations. We visited with No More Deaths, Tierra y Libertad Organization in Tucson and Puente Movement in Phoenix in order to deepen these collaborations and work more intentionally on art projects that support the work they do in their communities. To support the groups we are doing what we do best, creating artwork to support the campaigns they are running. We will design two posters for each organization producing offset and screen printed versions of the posters. We are also providing a series of workshops and skill shares for members and organizers. Our goal is to teach the organizations how we approach screen printing, stenciling, poster layout and photography as well as showcasing the work, through exhibition, that comes out of this collaboration. This was the first of three trips that we will make to Arizona and we hope that through these visits we will be able to better understand the issues impacting people there and to build a closer relationship with the organizations and their members who are working to improve the conditions of their communities.
A new friend here in Toronto, Ponni, shared some amazing political graphics by Aarti Sunder, criticizing the government's use of the charge of Sedition to silence over 6,000 anti-nuclear activists (residents of the community) in Idinthakarai, Koodankulam, India. Literally pushed into the sea, people have been nonviolently protesting literally in the water, for hours at a time.
Take a look after the jump
The Illuminator, in case you haven't heard, is a tactical media machine (aka a van with a really powerful projector, sound system, and library) that has been roaming the streets of New York City and beyond, bringing the spirit and message of the movement of the 99% to street corners and public squares everywhere.
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.
My friend Katie Yamasaki, an incredible Brooklyn artist in Brooklyn, will have a mural dedication this week for a Kickstarter-funded project that connects incarcerated mothers with their children on the outside. The project, If Walls Could Talk, was developed in partnership with STEPS to End Family Violence and the NYC Dept. of Corrections.
Children from the East Harlem Community and the greater NYC area worked to design a mural that I painted with the mothers inside of the women's jail in Rikers Island. The women also created an image and message dedicated to their children and the East Harlem community. Last month, I worked with their children and other members of the East Harlem community to bring their message to life.
Please join community members, families of the incarcerated mothers, local representatives, and supporters of the project dedicate If Walls Could Talk (pt 2) on Friday, 9/14.
Mural Dedication: If Walls Could Talk, Part 2
Friday, September 14
SE Corner of 118th Street and 1st Ave. (Side of Patsy's Pizzeria)
You can see photographs of the mural in its Kickstarter Updates
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.
Opening: Saturday, September 8, 6 - 8 PM here
421 Hudson Street Greenwich Village, NYC. Show runs until October 6.
Information about the opening can be found HERE.
This is the Introduction to the reproductive rights and gender justice print portfolio, "This is an Emergency!"
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
Portland-based Justseeds colleague Nina Montenegro coordinated a great project last month in the St. Johns neighborhood of northeast Portland. Working with Depave Portland, Nina painted a giant mural on the asphalt of a decommissioned parking lot scheduled for removal. The word "WILD" was cut from the asphalt some weeks prior to the depaving process and sown with grass-seed, resulting in trenches of green springing up through the tiger's stripes. Nina says: ""The mural was inspired by William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” which marvels in the beautiful duality of ferocity and tenderness in nature and in our own hearts. Painting the tiger on asphalt before we depaved it became a way to welcome back the soil beneath that hadn’t seen the sunlight for sixty years, and to celebrate the plants that would begin to grow, and the animals that would make this place their home. The mural was painted entirely with dry milk and iron oxide pigment." More pictures after the jump.
To purchase a copy of the portfolio, you can click HERE.
To check out the website for this project, click HERE.
This is big. The California State Senate just passed A.B. 889, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The most populous state in the country is on the threshold of changing history for hundreds of thousands of Californians—caregivers to our loved ones, nurturers to our children—who are integral in the lives of their employers.
Tell Governor Brown to sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights at www.domesticworkers.org
You can make a difference right now. Raise your voice and tell Governor Brown to sign the bill and end the historic exclusion of domestic workers from fair labor protections: http://ow.ly/dkOtI
In June i was invited to lead a screen printing workshop at the Ruckus Society's Action Camp for Migrant Rights that was coordinated with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. The camp was held at the Highlander Center in Tennessee, a historic space for anti-racism trainings for 80 years, the Action Camp participants represented organizations from all over the country. There was a large contingent of local organizers from Tennessee and through out the south where they are facing anti-immigrant laws.
Stand in solidarity with the CTU (Chicago Teachers Union) as they demand a fair contract in a standoff that could possibly lead to a massive work stoppage next week. The graphic posted is by Paul Kjelland - a Milwaukee based artist who has made graphics for the Wisconsin Uprising and the on-going Palermo's strike in Milwaukee. Feel free to disseminate the graphic. It is copy-left so please simply credit it to the artist.
"Teachers, parents and community supporters in Chicago have fought valiantly—marching, filling auditoriums at hearings and parent meetings, even occupying a school and taking over a school board meeting. Most recently, 98 percent of our members voted to authorize a strike. But now we find ourselves facing new opponents—national education privatizers, backed by some of the nation's wealthiest people. They are running radio ads, increasing press attacks, and mounting a PR campaign to discredit the CTU and the benefits of public education." (text from a video in support of the CTU)
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 ten years of teaching college art I decided to experience life from the other side - as a student, a much better side I might add. Favianna Rodriguez's inspiring post on the Justseeds blog last year about her experience taking a class with Enrique Chagoya at the Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado inspired me to sign up for the same course this year. So a few weeks back, I loaded up the truck and headed West with the goal of learning new printmaking techniques and experimenting with new forms of image making.
Ecole de la Montagne Rouge:
August 9- September 20, 2012
Thursday, August 9th, 7-10pm
131 8th St #4
The École de la Montagne Rouge (EDLMR)—an initiative of young, socially-engaged artists who are mainly from the bachelor of graphic design program at École de Design - UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal)—is collaborating with the Interference Archive to experiment with ways of using the spaces of the gallery as sites for gathering, place-making, production and exchange on students protest in Québec and all around the world. Through its actions, thoughts and research in the area of graphics, EDLMR offers a unique aesthetic approach to revolutionary movements and an alternative way of helping the Quebec Spring makes it mark:
“We and thousands of other students across Quebec believe that education is a right, not a privilege reserved for the well-off. The tuition increase jeopardizes access to higher learning for our generation and future generations. Sensing that an unlimited general strike is looming, many protest movements and pressure tactics are being organized across Quebec. This is an opportunity for all students to show solidarity, defend our points of view and get involved so that we can create a balance of power in relations with the government. Our victory depends on the daily efforts made by each and every one of you.”
This is a gift. A gift of 1 love letter per night, for each of the 100 nights we’ve shared the Montreal streets together. The romantic rebel-red streets that they tried so hard to snatch away from us. To tear us apart. But our illicit affections for each other only grew stronger. And so did our determination. Emboldened, evening after evening, we increasingly gave voice and body to new social relationships. Winks toward a new world of abundance, popular power, social goodness, and so much more. Each 1 of these picture-poems is a small token of what we’ve gifted each other for 100 tender nights, on this first day of a red-hot August.
Love and rage, Thien and Cindy
I've finished the drawing for my project in DR Congo this fall- I'll be printing the image at right (click to embiggen) onto about four hundred big bright bandanas and taking them with me to hand out to the people who live near the new Lomami National Park in eastern DRC. It's an exciting project to be a part of, conservation from the ground up! I've started a Kickstarter campaign to help me fund it, please take a moment to go check it out! Rewards aplenty. I'm pretty excited that the project was featured on the fantastic conservation news website Mongabay, and the write-up has a little interview with me.
The Red Square is the symbol of Maple Spring and the student movement currently happening in Quebec. Justseeds comrade Cindy Milstein has an obsession with documenting the red squares of Montreal. When I visited last month, she had already taken dozens of photos of the multiplicity of ways Quebec is exhibiting solidarity with the student movement.
I helped Cindy set up SeeingRedMontreal for the endless photo examples. It's a visual reminder of how public space looks when "our" messages don its surfaces. Cindy is also publishing her thoughts and observations of the movement on her blog Outside the Circle. Another great resource for information in English is Translating the printemps érable
Our comrade Cindy Milstein has been participating and writing about the Maple Spring from Montreal for quite some time now.
The following piece is from her blog, Outside the Circle.
June 29, 2012
Yesterday, I shared some Montreal street art on my Facebook page. A Montreal anarchist friend had just introduced me to the work of this particular Montreal street artist, Harpy, who produced the piece pictured below (and who self-describes as: “Harpies have wings, they can fly and shit… Also, they turned against the Gods”).
The image provoked a lot of “likes” & shares, but also a lot of heated feelings on my Facebook page and others. Many of the comments concerned what the wheatpasted image was getting at — or not — in relation to capitalism/anticapitalism. They also touched a lot on yoga.
For those interested in art that addresses border issues the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro is currently exhibiting "Zone of Contention: The US/Mexico Border." Dan S. Wang and I contributed our collaborative-made letterpress print Caution Migrant Workers. This time around we enlarged it and wheat pasted it to a sheet of plywood to better mimic the look of a broadside.
The image itself voices our opposition to the Arizona Immigration Bill SB-1070 and references the look and the phrasing of a 1851 Broadside poster that was created in resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that was hung in Boston that alerted fugitive slaves and citizens to have a “Top Eye” open for the police who were empowered to detain all “suspected” escaped slaves so that they could be returned back to slavery in the South. Our print rejects SB-1070 law and the climate of xenophobia in Arizona and beyond and stands in solidarity with migrant workers the world over.
If you happen to be in Pittsburgh, you can pick up my Queer Scout Badges and Merit Badges from the Upcycla Craft-o-Tron vending machine at the East End Food Co-op. These repurposed cigarette vending machines are similar to the Art-o-Mat vending machine you may have seen a few years ago, but these feature crafts by Pittsburgh area artists. Each item in the machine is $5, and is wee enough to fit into a cool little box the size of a cigarette box. The papercut on the machine and design on the box is by papercut artist Kathryn Carr, a cohort of Justseeds member Bec Young.
File under quick rant.
I'm really happy that some well-intentioned artists are working on the theme of water. Without clean, potable water, we're screwed. In my opinion most creatures on this planet are screwed right now. Since less than one percent of the planets water is drinkable and industrial society is hell bent on polluting it through fracking, drilling, dumping wastes and agricultural "-cides" and using it to irrigate desert cities and mono-cropped fields the world over.
I recently came across The Water Tank Project and I really hope this project reaches a goal of raising awareness on the immense dangers to a main source of life on this planet, water.
This past year I was in Ireland doing an artist in residence and teaching. I had the opportunity to work closely with many students including Arianna, a Mexican grad student who was focused on making work about femicide in Cuidad Juarez. Below are a few images of her large scale wall pieces from her graduation exhibition at the Burren College of Art in Ireland. She is now living in Montreal, and her goal is to work on community based projects and murals.
This one is at least 12x40ft
Today we have a guest blog from Cindy Milstein, who has been spending considerable time up in Montreal participating in the "Maple Spring/Summer" and writing a lot about it. Her blog is Outside the Circle, and can be read HERE.
This entry should be of particular interest to Justseeds readers as it features the printmaking collective Ecole de la Montagne Rouge:
"Last night I joined about 9 people in a casseroles in Montreal; tonight, consecutive evening number 44, there were thousands, boisterous and carnivalesque, overtaking the streets to the cheers of people in houses and bars and cafes as we marched. I also stumbled across the Ecole de la Montagne Rouge crew at the start of the march. They were all wearing red coveralls with their collective name screened on the back, printing big posters on white paper in red ink to connect cuts to the arts to increases to education, as long lines of folks eagerly waited their turn for a fresh print, which many then pinned to their bodies for the march or took home as a revolutionary souvenir. A couple hours later, when the march passed the art students as they were packing up, I asked them if I could stop by their studio sometime in the coming week or so, and they said, “Come with us now!” reaching out a red-ink-stained hand to shake mine but quickly realizing a hello and smile was a better idea, as I trooped after them to their studio.
Finding inspiration in IWW Labor organizing and Joe Hill…......while thinking about how the uprising in Wisconsin lost it’s way during the huge protest at the capital when the Wisconsin 14 (14 Wisconsin Democratic Senators) came back. That day the energy shifted from a labor central grassroots movement with capital occupations and growing momentum for strikes to recall efforts and electoral politics.
A group of collectives and individuals recently got to travel to Cheran K'eri, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. In 2011, the 20,000 residents of Cheran unanimously decided to venture into the seldom sailed waters of Autonomy, expelling all political parties and forming a traditional government according to the Purepecha indigenous customs.
Cheran lies in a highly mountainous area which holds a vast forested ecosystem. A force of loggers, political parties, corrupt government officials and drug traffickers thought they could deplete the forest for their own benefit. The violence, corruption and poverty peaked in early 2011, and it was then that people decided to put it to an end. All over town a community watch was organized in the form of bonfires (fogatas) which started to pop up in a call for self determination, in defense of the forests and Mother Nature, against corrupt governments, political parties, drug lords, loggers and violence.
Raoul Deal, Lane Hall, Lisa Moline, and I are installing a large blackboard drawing about the politics of fresh water for the Surface Tension exhibition at EyeBeam in NYC. Their is a soft opening on Tuesday, May 29th from noon-6:00pm. Stop by and say hello before we head back to Milwaukee on Wednesday for the final push of the recall effort. I saw this exhibition at the Science Gallery in Dublin and it is by far one of the best exhibits that I have seen on the fresh water crisis. The official Surface Tension opening is June 1st, 6-8.
EyeBeam / Tue - Sat, 12 - 6PM / 212.937.6580 / 540 W 21st St. New York, NY 10011
One of the great myths in the US is that public education should be expensive. In most Western European countries tuition at public universities is free or close to it. Austerity measures are starting to erode this public right but the very notion of free public education for college and graduate school is almost non-existent in the US. Instead students can expect to be saddled with debts in the range of $20,000-80,000, and some cases more.
This was not always the case. The Reagan years (1980-on) began the era of hyper-privatization in the US. One of the many casualties was the University of California system which in the 1970s was one of the model systems for higher education in the world with tuition rates at around $700 per year. Since then tuition has gone through the roof. This has everything to do with class war. America is far from broke.
Ecole de la Montagne Rouge (School for Red Mountain) is a group of graphic design students producing work for the student strikes currently happening in Montreal. Their designs and methods are clearly influenced by the Atelier Populaire, from Paris in 1968, and are supposedly modeled after the Black Mountain College.
Check out their website, in French.
Ecole de la Montagne Rouge.com
and a tumblr of images
Ecole de la montagne rouge .tumblr
I just recently came across their activities and hope to share more on their struggle!
As a result of Neoliberal austerity measures towards Quebec education, this Tuesday will mark the 100th day of the student strike in Montreal.
The kids are alright, they're showing their discontent, every day.
Come out to the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair tomorrow, Sunday May 20th.
Saturday, May 19 & Sunday, May 20Workshops, discussions, films, and a festival of Anarchy!
The Anarchist Bookfair will take place in two buildings across from each other in Parc Vinet:
Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier (CCGV), 2450 rue Workman Centre d’éducation populaire de la Petite-Bourgogne et de St-Henri (CÉDA), 2515 rue Delisle
No gods, no masters, no bosses, no borders.
FREE, Welcome to all!
For anarchists, and people curious about anarchism. Ever wonder What Happens at the Anarchist Bookfair?
Don't miss your chance to buy this gorgeous collection of prints, support the Wrikuta Defense Front and the Wixarika struggle for autonomy.
Take a look at this beautiful slideshow with details of every print and collaborators in the newest M68 Portfolio WIRIKUTA -Tsekie Tuamuxawita: Herido Lugar Sagrado. The slideshow also contains selection of photos from the Wirikuta Defense Front actions and two beautiful traditional Wixarika songs by Hilario López, Pablo López, Kwixi Aguililla produced by Rodrigo de la Mora.
Members of the G.I. Coffeehouse Support Network would like to invite you to:
A screening of the film Grounds for Resistance, a fundraiser for Under the Hood and Coffee Strong, the only two G.I. coffeehouses based in the U.S. There will be a short talk-back following the screening, which will include updates from the coffeehouses about their current G.I. rights and resistance work and ways to help out.
Friday, May 4 / 7:30pm The Commons 388 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, NY
The coffeehouses are looking for support from communities outside of the base towns they work in, so please join us for an evening of discussion about G.I.-led anti-war movement building. Justseeds members Molly Fair & Kevin Caplicki will also display the collaborative portfolio War Is Trauma.
A stunning short film documenting the movement in Barcelona. Take a couple minutes and give it a view. "And we continue..."
Really incredible, watch and share this today!!
Go to closed captions to turn on English subtitles
These English and Spanish posters are two of four poster designs we will be giving away on May Day in Oakland and San Francisco. If you're out there look for us we will have a bunch of posters to give away. If you want to print your own copy download them here.
To Download the 11x17 poster in Spanish Click Here
To Download the 11x17 poster in English Click Here
(photo by William DeShazer)
When do unions stand in opposition to human rights? And when do unions conflict with progressive causes? These questions are coming to a head in Illinois where members from the AFSCME union are fighting a rigorous campaign to keep the TAMMS supermax prison open, despite the announcement a few months back by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn that he wants the prison to close in early August, along with 13 other correctional facilities.
This week’s cover is Antimaster. I had previously posted on the blog the Silkscreen printing process of this cover, but this is what it looked like originally.
I had done a couple designs for them previous to this gatefold cover and they were really open and receptive to any advice I could provide. So when it came down to illustrating it was super quick and easy.
DOWNLOAD MAY DAY POSTER BY CLICKING HERE
I was recently invited by the collective members of Indig-nación; a Spanish language newspaper for the Occupy Wall St. movement, written and edited by Latin@s to create a poster for the the print and online editions of the publication.
I was tasked with creating a poster that would inspire people to mobilize and get out into the streets on May 1st 2012. Occupy Wall Street is urging people around the world to join in on the day of action:
Condenada is an all lady hardcore punk band from Chicago, IL. They definitely draw inspiration from Los Crudos and 90’s latino bands from the area, but they not only address issues of race and class here. Gender is their main focus.
They were on tour in Mexico a couple times but I never got to see them. Nor actually meet them nor was I ever in touch with them. My friend Alejandra booked their tour and had a sex education booth set up at their shows, and gave all kinds of workshops. Alejandra was the one who asked me to do this cover for a Discography that would be sold to support their Mexico tour.
We invite everyone to download, print, and post these graphics everywhere and anywhere to help highlight the unseen psychological tolls to the Iraqi people and veterans.
There are a bunch more designs available for download at the projects own website
ivaw.org/war-is-trauma which states:
We invite everyone to download, print, and post these graphics everywhere and anywhere to help highlight the unseen psychological tolls to the Iraqi people and veterans.
Hey there! A new Kickstarter Project just launched featuring several Justseeds artists including Melanie Cervantes, Favianna Rodriguez, Molly Fair, Thea Gahr, Bec Young, Mary Tremonte, Meredith Stern, and several artists. Please check out the kickstarter video for info, and HERE is a link to the page!
Profanator is a Thrash Metal band from Queretaro. Like most thrash metal bands they wanted the grim reaper to be their main focus of the album.
The first draft of this image included an hourglass but I decided to not use it in the end. There was too much stuff going on as it is. And they really wanted the image to have lots dark or black preferably.
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...
Some exciting news for me- I'm going to be working with the Center for Biological Diversity to develop art for the next round of Endangered Species Condoms. The condoms are a part of the Center's work to bring the subject of human overpopulation to a wider audience, a goal I wholeheartedly share.
Discussions of human population are hair-triggers for many on the left who feel that any mention of overpopulation is code for racist eugenics programming. Simultaneously, those on the right looking for a backdoor into the environmental movement have tried to make immigration-related "population control" an issue. All demagoguery aside, however, the exponential increase in human population is a fact, and a fact that brings with it a raft of consequences impossible in a world with fewer humans. Humanity monopolizes an enormous percentage of the world's surface, as well as the products of that surface, and whether rich or poor, more humans means less room for anything else. It's past time for a non-ideological discussion on population that cuts through the hate and fear and gets to the heart of the matter: other species live on this planet as well, and they need to be able to get away from us. As our numbers increase, that is becoming impossible. This project aims to make the link between the dwindling numbers of so many distinct forms of life and the swelling of one big, rude one: humanity.
Happy International Women's Day to all my sisters out there!
Politicians and conservatives are waging an all out war on women, our bodies, our access to health, our right to birth control, and our right to free, accessible and safe abortion. Everywhere you turn, the right wing is attempting to further limit and hinder our access to our reproductive rights through anti-contraceptive measures.
This past weekend, Paul Kjelland and I did an installation for the True/False film festival in Columbia, Missouri. Our installation - installed on the glass windows of the Ragtag Theater/cafe - depicted the three-day Internet blockade inside Egypt that began on January 27, 2011 and the creative resistance that followed. The black numbers and the red circle represent the major connection points within the network. The blue lines represent severed lines of communication. The yellow line represents the Noor Group – the only provider that remained active. And the gray lines represent the various methods (dial up, ham radio, satellite, and satellite phone) that Egyptians and those outside Egypt employed to circumvent the blockade.
Interview with Paul Kjelland:
We at the Escuela Popular Martires del 68 are happy to announce that the 2012 portfolio is printed and ready to go!
This year’s portfolio is centered around the defense of the sacred site of Wirikuta, in the heart of Wixarica territory municipality of Catorce, state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
The Martires del 68 school and the Convención Metropolitana de Artistas y Trabajadores de la Cultura (CMATC) coordinated this amazing piece of collective graphic work in benefit of the Wirikuta Defense Front: Tamatsima Wahaa.
I am always fascinated with how creative resistance tactics resurface and share commonalities with the actions of the past decades. A prime example is the fake New York Times paper that the Yes Men and the Anti-Advertizing Agency distributed in 2008 that shared similar tactics with the New York Crimes paper that Gran Fury /ACT UP New York distributed in 1989. When I first saw the clip of the Glitter Bomb actions I immediately thought of the work of the Biotic Baking Brigade that have targeted a long list of people, including anti-gay hatemongers.The performative aspect of both projects are contagious and critique those in power while embracing tactical media and direct action. To view one of the BBB classic "pie-in-the face" stunts, check out the short clip below.
Hacavitz is a Black Metal band from Mexico City (formerly Queretaro). The band took their name from the Mayan god Jacawitz that is a mountain deity. Jacawitz actually means Mountain Fire in the old Mayan language.
So lyrically and graphically they take most inspiration from Pre-Hispanic indigenous spirituality and beliefs. Drawing from some of the darker aspects of indigenous cosmology. In this and previous records they mix Nahuatl, Spanish and English in their lyrics, song titles and album titles.
In Manitoba, the Canadian province north of Minnesota and North Dakota, today is officially Louis Riel Day. For many, Riel is a controversial historical figure. Seen by many as the ‘father of Manitoba,’ he was hanged by the Canadian state for treason in 1885. For many Métis and other Indigenous people, Riel is seen as a prophet who used direct action tactics to confront the incursion of white Canadians into traditional Indigenous lands and their subsequent disenfranchisement. Of course, Riel was neither a saint nor was he without his flaws. Riel is a figure who stood for Indigenous sovereignty, even while he was strongly aligned with the Catholic Church (albeit he practiced a very unorthodox Catholicism). Before his state-sanctioned assassination, Riel is known to have argued: ‘My people will sleep for 100 years, but when they awake it will be the artists that give them back their spirit.’ A century later, Métis activists pushed the Canadian state to recognize the Métis as a distinct aboriginal nation (no such luck for Métis living below the 49th parallel). On this Riel day, I say ‘Vive Riel! Vive la résistance indigene!’
The above image is from my 2011 exhibition at Urban Shaman Gallery in Winnipeg. For the show, I addressed Métis history on both sides of the US-Canada border, as well as the significance of Métis armed insurrections of the late-nineteenth century.
Dan S. Wang has been one of the more astute critical voices reporting on the Wisconsin Uprising. Wang is based in Madison and has wrote about the successes and shortcomings of the movement since it erupted twelve months ago. His writings are posted on his blog Propositions Press and his most recent entry looks at the movement at year one. Wang focuses on three sub-plots "1) the massive grassroots recall effort and election, 2) the battle over new mining up north, and 3) the ongoing FBI John Doe investigation into illegal activities in Scott Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County Executive and running for governor in 2010." Check out his full post here.
Check out the new Stim for Pres episode that includes some reporting from Australia.
or at Submedia
This Friday 17th of February we will be opening a graphic art show in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.
These posters are a collection of silk screens that were created to use as a tool to bring attention to the Climate Crisis, Natural Resource extraction.
So if you are near San Cristobal please join us at the opening of this exhibit at 8:30pm.
The show will be at:
El Paliacate: Espacio Cultural.
5 de Mayo # 20 Col. La Merced
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
Hey all- I'm trying to raise funds right now for a really exciting portfolio project on the theme of religious heresy featuring Justseeds artists Bec Young, Dylan Miner, Mazatl and myself alongside other luminaries like William Schaff (be sure to watch to the end of the video for his bit!), Xander Marro, AMTK, Charlotte Desedouey, Corina Dross, Ian Cozzens, Lee Relvas, Mandy Katz and Katrina Avocado.
Click here for more info and to contribute!
For only $40, you get the whole thing shipped to you (in the U.S.)!
Last year while I was visiting Pittsburgh for the Justseeds Biennial show I got to stay with fellow Justseeder and friend Shaun Slifer. While my stay at his house, we talked about the influence DIY punk has in the Justseeds Cooperative and the conversation developed into us talking about the illustration work that many of the coop members in Justseeds have done for a wide range of music projects.
I showed Shaun some of the illustrations I have done mostly for DIY punk and underground metal bands and he suggested that I should post some of this work on the blog sometime.
Turbo Sculpture is a video essay by Aleksandra Domanovic which questions the emergence of a new kind of public art in ex-Yougoslav republics...
What interested me about the “turbo sculptures” in the former Yugoslavia was precisely the lack of any apparent local connection to the figures honored. The inhabitants of Zitiste, in northeastern Serbia, had no immediate link to Rocky Balboa or Sylvester Stallone or Philadelphia, but still they decided to build a monument to Rocky. They believed the character represented noble values which are universal, and also that it would bring media attention to a remote Serbian village, which it did.
– Aleksandra Domanovic in conversation with Dean Kissick
Leon Reid IV, intelligent street artist and cohort of Justseeds' Chris Stain, is working on a new project called The Hundred Story House (with Julia Marchesi). It's based on an idea true to me, that Brooklyn is a great place for a lover of books, and that we can do more to circulate these amazing objects to more and more people. They're building a mini-house to distribute books out of in public parks. Check out their fundraising campaign HERE.
Alec "Icky" Dunn, Josh MacPhee, and myself each designed a place mat for Edith Abeyta's Panther Lunch Club, part of the Food For Thought exhibition at Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamunga, CA, on view now through March 23rd.
Our LA and Southern California readership might want to check out the new exhibition Capital Offense curated by Jennifer Gradecki and Renee Fox that opened this past weekend (and runs through the second week of March) at the Beacon Arts Building in Inglewood. The show has a great line up of artists and scholars, including a number of Justseeds artists. The exhibition itself is dedicated to Dara Greenwald and features her 2011 essay "Does Corporate Culture Still Suck?" Other Justseeds work includes prints by Josh MacPhee and Pete Yahnke Railand, and a sign project by myself (must say this is one of my all time favorite placements for my sign work.) Other artists in the show include the Aaron Burr Society, Bankster Games, Critical Art Ensemble, Steve Lambert, and Holly Crawford, among many others. Congrats to Jennifer and Renee for curated one of the most promising exhibitions of the year.
For a while I’ve been going to Acteal in the municipality of Chenalhó, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Acteal is a small Tzotzil community who were victims of the 22nd of December 1997 massacre by a PRI party sponsored Mascaras Rojas paramilitary group.
I have encountered lots of people who mistake Acteal as a Zapatista Community. One key difference is that Las Abejas (The Bees) is a pacifist and religious organization. Despite those differences, Las Abejas have vocally expressed their support for the EZLN and their demands. It was this link with the Zapatistas which led to the massacre of 45 members (4 of them pregnant) of Las Abejas. The members were murdered inside a small church praying, in an environment filled with fear of the EZLN growing stronger.
Our Hen House recently posted this short video interview with Sue Coe, wherein she discusses the powerful motivation behind her work. It's part of their "Art of the Animal" series of videos, articles, podcasts, etc. Take a few minutes to watch it, and then take a few minutes to dive into their website, which is loaded with "resources that you can use in order to find your own way to change the world for animals." There's a podcast with some more of the Coe interview here.
When my friend Katherine Ball was being interviewed by the Oregonian here in Portland during the Occupation this fall, she asked me to write up something to address the so-called lack of demands on the part of the occupiers. This is what I came up with: the paper didn't run it, but I think it works. Demand the Impossible! Impunity for All!
What do we want?
Empathy. Generosity. Solidarity. Creativity. Mutual Aid. Personal Responsibility. Inter-ethnic, trans-gender, omnisexual and pan-national notions of kinship and respect. A demolition of materialism and crass consumption. A washing away of bad fear. An end to the brute conversion of the glories of the natural world into abstract quanta that serve no purpose except to warehouse crude and gloating power. A notion of connectedness to the networks and webs of life. An end to our humanist hubris, our presumption of supremacy and dominance. A new rule of nature to supersede the rule of law- you must not take what can't be replaced. More importantly even than that- you shall not lie to yourself about the good you are able to do, whether by action or by inaction or by refusal. You cannot buy your way out of a burning world. We want all of this and we want it yesterday, or better still we want it ten thousand years ago, and forever.
photo: Getty images
Mazatl is an artist residing in Mexico City. His works embody a striving for justice and a sense of hope. HIs answers to our five questions reflect a rare mixture of compassion and intellectual bravery.
Adam Curtis, the BBC filmmaker behind a series of amazing documentaries like The Power of Nightmares and Machines of Loving Grace, has a great entry on his blog this week. He calls it a "ghost story for Christmas" and it's typical Curtis: insightful dissection of the weird realities that our spectacular culture creates and feeds to itself in strange ways. This entry in particular is about a BBC TV show called Ghostwatch, a fictional drama about poltergeists and ghost-hunters that provoked a massive reaction from the British public when it was shown in 1992: people thought it was real, just as happened with the War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938. Curtis breaks down the social psychology of this phenomenon in his inimitable way, demonstrating that the ghosts we fear now live inside our media, populating the fictions we build there, feeding our fear back to us like a shrieking amplifier.
Last Monday, people in cities up and down the West Coast came out to try to shut down the ports. My friend Chris and I put together some posters for the event here in Portland, which had pretty great turnout and succeeded in actually shutting down several terminals at the port for the day, as well as Schnitzer Steel. The call to shut down the port in Portland was directed primarily at SSA Marine, an unscrupulous union-busting subsidiary of Goldman Sachs that operates the terminals here in PDX. Tendrils of solidarity were also extended to ILWU workers struggling at the nearby port of Longview. While the local ILWU leadership eschewed any notion of endorsement of the shutdown, rank-and-file workers showed up with pizza for the occupiers.
I really like these two posters and this seems like a cool project.
Neither Discrimination Nor Abuse, We have Rights, Rights to a Lawyer.
Booklyn has posted some photos of the War Is Trauma opening on their Booklyn Flickrpage. Pictured above is the portfolio cover, made by the Combat Paper Project, out of uniforms from active-duty soldiers. It was a really fortunate weekend to have the opening since the IVAW Board of Directors were in town for a meeting, and attended the opening! Come out and see:
War is Trauma: Justseeds & IVAW Dec. 3–Jan. 8. 2012 @ Booklyn Art Gallery
Signs of visual resistance matter. Wisconsin is a battle-ground state, a battle between anti-Walker and pro-Walker supporters. Over the past week the Recall Walker movement received a huge boost when nearly double the expected number of signatures were gathered during the first week of the signature drive, demonstrating just how disliked Walker is in the Badger state. Not surprisingly, Walker is countering with a host of threats and "rules" to make gathering signatures and mass protests more difficult. Things are tense but that should be expected. Bullies become more repressive when they realize that their grasp on power is crumbling.
I am kicking myself for not taking the chance to express my disdainful sentiments on my favorite themes until now.
The party has started at Art Basel Miami Beach, and many people I know will glean off the decadence of the members of ruling class that the festival caters to. I have little judgement towards them, many of them spending their time opening crates and hanging work.
I want there to be some clarity for the duration of the weekend. And I want everyone to be honest about the intentions behind Art Basel-Miami Beach. The originating event, in Basel, Switzerland displayed an estimated $1.75 Billion worth of artwork last July. Miami Beach is allegedly almost twice as much, $2.5 Billion.
Pepper spraying cop on the Bowery, November 2011, NYC, NY
Look at Pepper Spraying Cop for more.
I'm enjoying the memes coming out of the Occupation movement. here's one inspired by the UC Davis officer that used "less than lethal" weapons on students last week.
More at Pepper Spraying Cop.
In late-December and early-January, I will be traveling to Australia as part of an Indigenous delegation attempting to establish an exchange program between Indigenous communities in the Great Lakes (on both sides of the US-Canada border) and our cousins in Australia. The delegation includes Anishinaabeg singers and dancers, Xicano danzantes (my partner and our kids), and a Métis artist (that’s me). If any Justseeds readers are familiar with powwow music, they’ll be happy to know that three of the guys from Grammy-nominated drum group Bear Creek will be in the mix, as well many other rad folks.
Milwaukee-based Lane Hall is on a mission: improve night time activism. One way: LED signs!
Two great creative actions from NYC to the Bay on the two-month mark of the Occupy Wall Street Movement:
From NYC: The "bat signal project"
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)
Occupy Portland has been uprooted from its two downtown parks, and begins a new phase - whether that means a new location or a new course of action.
Since I returned from Slovenia, I've been working on art projects related to the Occupy phenomenon, designing posters and flyers and graphics.
I met with two colleagues, Katherine Ball and Chelsea Peil, to hatch a plan to create a more powerful graphic presence at the camps, something to complement the piles of damp cardboard covered in sharpie hatching.
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.
Fellow artist and activist Ethan Heitner told me about a great project he is helping with. I asked him to do a guest blogpost about the whole process of making art for the action. Here's what he wrote:
Jewish Voice for Peace asked me to make large images for a solidarity action that will take place on Tuesday, November 15th in New York City and hopefully other cities supporting a new phase of popular struggle in Palestine.
On November 15 Palestinian activists are going to assert their right to basic human needs: freedom of movement, access to their holy sites in Jerusalem, equality. In the tradition of the Freedom Riders of the American South, 50 years ago, who faced violent segregationists with the power of their bodies and their presence, they are going to attempt to peacefully board and ride settler buses.
Jewish Voice for Peace wanted to create a toolkit for a creative demonstration that could be held in front of, for example, bus stops around the country. Rabbi Alissa Wise, who is helping organize the actions, explained to me they were thinking about cantastoria, a very old human storytelling tradition of singing a story while gesturing to large illustrations.
My friend Daniel Tucker is working on a new research project about art and activism called "Never the Same: Conversations About Art Transforming Politics & Community in Chicago & Beyond." Over the summer he did a long interview with Emily Forman and myself (Josh MacPhee) about our involvement in organizing in the overlapping spaces of culture and politics in Chicago in the early 2000s. Most of the interview focuses on a project we did called the Department of Space and Land Reclamation (DSLR), which was was a weekend campaign (April 27, 28, and 29th, in 2001) that attempted "to reclaim all the space, land and visual culture of Chicago back to the people who work for it, live in it and create it." It's a good interview, give it a read HERE. (Image is of original DSLR poster designed by Kevin Dresser, which can be found HERE.)
This coming weekend we will be visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico with a few presentations and workshops. These are in conjunction with the "Counting Coup" exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art. The poster above was designed for the workshops in Santa Fe at the MOCNA and SFAI this weekend. I wanted to design something about local issues and was told about the campaign to shut down PNM's coal powered plant.
Just a couple facts:
PNM's San Juan coal plant uses 9.3 billion gallons of clean fresh water every year and produces that much toxic water which then contaminates our air, soil and streams.
PNM fights all progressive legislation and regulation (carbon pollution reduction rule, renewable portfolio standard - they wanted to cut it in half during the last legislature, while many other states are moving in the opposite direction - to increase the renewable requirements.)
A handful of us here in NYC have been hard, hard at work on an all poster edition of the Occupied Wall Street Journal, and it has finally hit the streets! Me and Molly from Justseeds were involved, but the real heavy lifting over the past couple weeks was done by Jesse Goldstein. (Thanks, Jesse!!!) If you are in NYC, head down to Liberty Park and pick up a copy!!
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."
My friend Aviv from Barcelona is trying to fund a cool new project called The Sussiya Book of Embroidered Local Knowledge. According to Aviv, they will be spending a couple months in the South Mount Hebron area of Palestine, "documenting all of this culture (past and present) using a collaborative method we call real-time documentary embroidery. Basically, it involved sitting around and embroidering with whoever is interested and letting the conversation evolve naturally. We usually do this in public, everyone is invited. We embroider what we see and what we hear, leaving behind a document, a textile representation of the experience we all shared." They will be working with local groups and organizations, and this seems a really unique and interesting way to conceptualize the intersections of cultural and solidarity work. More on the project is HERE, please help them out if you can!
A creative action here in New York pulled together by Occupy the Boardroom.
Shaun Slifer and I recently had the great pleasure of visiting Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune in Copenhagen. They organized an exhibit of the Justseeds Resourced Portfolio and related prints at YNKB, a really amazing collectively organized arts space that happens to be right next door to Brett & Bonnie's apartment. I hope to do some more posts about our time in Europe over the next few weeks, but for now I want to urge you to check out their blog: The Mythological Quarter.
Recent entries include an interview with Kerianne Quick, about her Source Matters series, the Resourced show at YNKB, and Brett's recent public signage project, Giving Harbor, about immigration in Denmark, installed in the harbor---all topics that we encountered during our week's stay. There are also heaps of downloadable pdf's and links to other sites of interest.This blog is rich with new content often, check it out!
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.
A new 8.5 x 11 downloadable poster available. Click HERE to download.
I was inspired to make this poster after leaving the General Assembly at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland last night, I was really moved by the people the people sharing their stories and calling for a General Strike. There was one father there who told the crown about his four sons that were arrested on Tuesday night during the police riot in downtown Oakland, and how proud he was of them. He then started to chant Strike! Strike! Strike! and everyone started chanting with him. It was very powerful. I wanted to make design an announcement, something people can use to post and encourage as many people as possible to show their power and stand united under the call of a General Strike. I think this movement can be very powerful, I hope this inspires other General Assemblies across the country to call for a Strike in their city.
For many political graphic artists, illustrators, and printmakers, the work of Frans Masereel is a huge inspiration. He pioneered the "novel without words", books consisting solely of his woodcuts, a predecessor of the graphic novel which has influenced artists such as Clifford Harper and Eric Drooker.
One of his earliest novels The Idea depicts a writer who summons forth an idea manifested in the form of a nude woman springing from his head. She escapes into the world, challenging the social order and inciting passionate action.
I stumbled onto an animated adaptation of The Idea, which is absolutely phenomenal, directed by the visionary animator Berthold Bartosch.
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.]
In July Melanie Cervantes and I teamed up with Rupert Garcia to produce a print to use as a fundraiser for the Ethnic Studies College at San Francisco State University. We were really happy to have Garcia pick the 1973 ¡Cesen Deportacion! print to reproduce for this project. Thirty-eight years later and the statement is extremely relevant, in the past year President Obama administration has a record 1 million deportations.
I wanted to share a little bit of the process...the print is 32"x25" and the edition is of 99 prints with some artist and studio proofs.
In all of the imagery I've seen used to promote the Occupy movement, I haven't seen any bears. I think that is a glaring omission! The Bear is the symbol of the market in recession, of investor timidity, fear, and the collapse of profit. The Bull, garishly betesticled symbol of Wall Street, is its counterpart. I made this graphic to celebrate the bears, metaphorical, and literal: the triumph of wild nature over domestication.
Download a high-resolution PDF of this image to print out for yourself by clicking HERE. Josh points out that the bear is often seen as a necessary part of capitalism, correcting the excesses. Not if it kills and eats the bull, I say!
Justseeds fellow-traveler Brandon Bauer just sent me a cool animated gif he made from one of my Occupy posters. I actually can't figure out how to embed the damn thing here, but you can see the animation by clicking HERE. Check out Brandon's site HERE. He created it in response to a call from F.A.T. Lab to occupy the internet with pro-OWS gifs. The call is HERE.
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!
My friend Adrian Blackwell has been working for years in Toronto on an antiauthoritarian analysis and practice of architecture and public planning. He's got a new project that just went up, and I wish I was in Toronto to see it!
Calculus of forms: building and erasing utopias
Adrian Blackwell and Jane Hutton
October 14 – December 31, 2011
Opening reception: Friday, October 14, 7-10 pm
G Gallery, 134 Ossington St, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z5
Calculus of forms examines the relationship between the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of urban form. Cities have certain shapes which hold us in particular ways and allow us to move along specific paths. They are historical, changing over time according to political and economic vicissitudes.
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."
Mother Jones just put up a cool article entitled "Octopi Wall Street!" about the historical use of the octopus as a representation of capitalism. Worth clicking over and reading it HEREhttp://motherjones.com/mixed-media/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-octopus-vampire-squid, including checking out the half dozen great historical images!
Here's Justseeds collaborator Jesse Goldstein's poster for Occupy Wall St.
Click on it to get the bigger version.
And here are his reflections on his experiences printing with folks:
This last few days I’ve been screen printing down on Wall Street with Josh MacPhee, David Spataro and a host of new friends who’ve offered their help in one way or another. Its been a great process – the first night we printed, Josh and I set up with a few screens, a squeegee some ink and not much of a clue as to how things would work out – especially considering we hadn’t brought anything to print on. So we started with some test prints to get the ink flowing (apparently Bob Avakian’s paper does have some use after all!) and got a few people interested – but it was cold and getting dark and there was nothing to print on. Then a young occupier wandered by and saw the problem. He said to us, “Why don’t we just buy some shirts?” He followed this up by pulling out a pocket of cash and said – I’ve got money to spend on this sort of thing, I’ll throw 40$ dollars at it.” So Josh and I – thankful for his common sense, added some cash and then Josh ran out to clean the local drug store out of tee shirts.
I've been trying to synthesize some of the ideas (and add some of my own) coming out of Occupy Wall Street here in New York City in order to try to create some better-designed messaging, possible posters, images for people to use, etc. I'm going to start posting some of these designs here on the blog, and I'd love feedback to help narrow down which ones work best. I hope to start printing some soon, once I get a handle on which are communicating.
The trick with doing this is that there has been little clear messaging out of the movement, especially with content I find compelling politically. Many of the signs at the occupation, and the Occupy Wall Street statement, reference a "THEY" as an amorphous bad guy? Capitalism is an economic system, one in which we all participate to varying degrees—and are all largely beholden to for survival—whether we are janitors, artists, or CEOs. When we start anthropomorphizing this system as a set of people, things get really slippery, and politically questionable, really fast. There is only a couple degrees between labeling the "Bankers" as the bad guys before we slip into the evil "Masons," "Lizard People," or "Jews." I ain't going there.
Anyway, here are some early designs, let me know what you think. Once I get some feedback, I'll start putting up higher-res versions for people to use and print out.
At some point during the first 48 hours of the occupation of Wall Street (or to be more exact, the encampment at Zuccotti Park, north of Wall Street), people there began painting and drawing signs on pieces of discarded cardboard. These signs, most of them simple slogans on old pizza boxes, have been laid out on the ground across a good quarter of the park, a cacophonous patchwork of words and images, many contradicting each other, some even contradicting themselves. When at the occupation, the first thing I am struck by is the explosion of people—talking, drumming, screaming, laughing, sleeping—but it is these signs that are the most striking graphic element. They contain some of the few visible graphics, but they are also some of the few messages easily read by those not engaged in the occupation itself, so there is regularly a diverse crowd of visitors and passersby viewing, discussing, and critiquing the signs. Stylistically some are witty and clever, some bold and direct, some naive and simple, some awkward, confused, and misspelled, but what content do they communicate? To me they represent the complicated jumble of ideas and motivations swirling in the background of this action. These signs represent the voices of hundreds of individuals. In some ways this is a refreshing contrast to a typical leftist event, where we are used to hearing or seeing the more controlled and crafted messages of the array of organizations that are often the backbone of political action (be it community groups, electoral parties, unions, or socialist cadre organizations—who often create mass-produced signs and distribute pre-printed newspapers and flyers).
Lincoln Cushing has just put online a new essay about U.S. New Left printshops that accompanies the new exhibition Peace Press Graphics 1967-1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change. His essay starts out with an Associated Press quote below, and then you can and should read the rest of it HERE.
"Red in black and white: The New Left printing renaissance of the 1960s – and beyond"
by Lincoln Cushing
"The information officers of the New American Left have rediscovered an ancient political ally: print power. All over the country, radical and "movement" organizations have spawned their own print shops run by their own pressmen to churn out an increasing number of posters, pamphlets, handbills, and flyers. Whether it's to mobilize a march on Washington, explain the advantages of "Free Speech” for GIs, or advertise courses at "Omega U. - an alternate university," the rebel presses are rolling. By the thousands, their folded-and-stapled brochures, decorated with crude graphics, are being given away at hastily set up campus tables or sold in the standard subculture outlets: Barbara's Bookshop in Chicago, the Granma in Berkeley, the Militant Labor Forum in New York, and scores of others."
image: “Glad Day’s biggest press, a Chief 126.” Photo from “Left Profile: Glad Day Press” in Liberation Support Movement News, Winter 1978.
We've just wrapped up our installation for the 29th Graphics Biennial in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the Alkatraz Gallery in amazing Metalcova! I've posted a ton of new photos on our Flickr just now, have a look...
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.
Today Colin showed up after a couple days on trains and planes, and we've started pasting images on the walls! Everyone present brought multiple images of migrant humans and displaced animals - we have dozens of multiples of about 50 different images, each reflecting the individual styles of various Justeeds members. They're being pasted in vast "swarms" all over the room, surrounding this shipping container that we're still hammering away at. It's coming together pretty rapidly at this point, so stay tuned for new uploads on our Flickr page throughout the rest of the week! Photostream here, Slovenia-specific collection here. The opening is tomorrow night, Thursday, at 9pm at Galerija Alkatraz, Metalkova - if you're in Ljubljana, Slovenia, come on by!
We're rolling out of our second full day in Ljubljana, with a shipping container created out of scrap wood and the walls washed and dotted with "obstacles". Tomorrow we're set to start pasting a mad number of prints all over the place. Posting new photos on our Flickr collection every few hours, check in often for updates as the whole thing comes together! Sorry if these posts are vague, I'm hoping the photos will fill in the gaps that I don't otherwise have time to write about...
We're deep into the installation of our work for the 29th Graphics Biennial in Ljubljana, Slovenia! As a customary first step, we're currently washing the walls with watered down wall paint. Twelve of us are here working in the Alkatraz Gallery in the Metalkova social center - we're still feeling our way through the whole process but things are moving rapidly. I'll be posting new photos here each day, but the majority will be in regular uploads to our Flickr page for those who want to follow from afar...
I was recently in Berlin with my partner, and we got to catch the awesome Hokusai exhibit at the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum. Which according to what the people in the museum said, “the works of the master print maker had never left Japan before”.
We're getting ready to debut our huge installation in Pittsburgh this weekend as part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial! We worked a lot throughout the summer, with one heavy group work week this July, to produce a series of immigration-themed billboards in the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University. Above is a slideshow of our in-progress install shots from our Flickr site - have a scroll-through! The installation was coordinated by Pittsburgh-based Justseeds members, exhibition curated by Astria Suparak. Stay tuned for more details, and visit the overall Biennial website here (details specific to the Miller Gallery show are here). The opening reception is this upcoming Friday, Sept.16 - please come by if you're in the neighborhood! Opening is 6-8pm, but there's an exhibition tour with all the artists (not just us) at 5pm.
There is going to be a sneak peak of four prints from the Justseeds/IVAW portfolio, War Is Trauma, at the upcoming exhibition, War, Materials & Lies, Part 2, in Hudson, NY. Prints from the portfolio by Kevin Caplicki, Molly Fair, Josh MacPhee, and Chris Stain will be included in the show!
War, Materials & Lies, Part 2
Time & Space Limited
434 Columbia St, Hudson, NY
Opening reception 5:00 - 7:30 Saturday, September 10th.
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 3pm; 1hr before weekend events and by appointment from Saturday, September 10th to Friday, November 11th
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.
John Greyson, a Toronto-based filmmaker and activist, has been making a series of great videos in support of the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel). He's also been on the flotilla's to Gaza. (There is an interview with him HERE.)His videos are a great amalgamation of found footage, pop culture, documentary, and activist video. This one here is one of the best:
Once upon a time (in the 1980's & 90's) there was a sticker and a T-shirt that said "Corporate Rock Still Sucks" (also the slogan of SST records). The first time he was on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine (1992), Kurt Cobain made a hand scrawled T-shirt with the words, "Corporate Magazines Still Suck." This act gestured toward the difficulty of trying to stay independent in our society with all of the contradictions and seductions of corporate culture. These days I'm becoming increasingly confused about my/our (independent cultural producers) relationships to corporations. The cooptation of anything cool or resistant into visual advertising has been going on for decades. Although that can be frustrating, I find it less confusing than the recent crop of branded "community" and "space" making which seem to function a bit differently than the creation of advertising images. What I am talking about are the numerous, branded initiatives that offer people participatory and social experiences. Levi's offers free filmmaking, photo, and printmaking workshops, Van’s hosts shows with some great musical acts, Urban Outfitters and Levi’s have a touring DIY bike shop, and Converse even has "a community based recording studio" (their words). Part of the ideals of independent and DIY culture is both access to the tools/means of production and to free spaces for creativity and communication. Are these corporate ventures really giving us a gift? Or are these poison gifts—and at what cost and to whom—since we know corporations main goals are their bottom lines?
MILK NOT JAILS is a consumer campaign to mobilize NY residents to support the dairy industry and the long-term sustainability of the rural economy. It is a political campaign to advocate for criminal justice and agricultural policy reform that will bring about positive economic growth. MILK NOT JAILS insists that bad criminal justice policy should not be the primary economic development plan for rural New York.
MILK NOT JAILS has made significant headway over the past year, and we are now at a critical moment in our efforts to build a new urban-rural relationship in New York State. We have mobilized farmers to help us achieve our political demands and we are working with them to build a political line of dairy products. We hope to make significant policy changes in New York and create a new model for social change that other groups around the country can utilize.
Last April, Roger Peet and myself, traveled up to northern California immediately after the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair. Justseeds was invited to exhibit the RESOURCED portfolio and A Crisis in Common, at the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture, in Weed, CA. It's in a gorgeous place and the exhibition was hung in an antique refrigerated train car from 1923.
I have finally uploaded some images up to our flickr account, check them out at Justseeds/Visual Resistance. Thanks to everyone that I met in that adventure, Crackbox (who played in the adjacent railcar), Austin/the flopbox, and to everyone at BBCRC for making the exhibition possible.
The Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture was founded in 2008 as a way to support and develop a community-building institution focused on railroad culture in the western United States. The BBCRC is located on the site of a long-abandoned junkyard amid several acres of forest, chaparral, and wetlands directly adjacent to Black Butte Siding, the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Oregon and Pacific railroads right on the southeast edge of Weed, California.
There is a successful campaign going on in Brooklyn right now. Last Friday supporters of, 82 year old, Mary Ward prevented Federal Marshals from evicting her from her foreclosed home. When I say prevented, I mean that the Marshals did not bother to arrive at the home, while 200+ people assembled outside her home. The elderly homeowner and her legal team also negotiated a meeting with her purported landlord, and are attempting to arrange an agreement. Organizing for Occupation will continue supporting Mary Ward, by gathering at 320 Tompkins Ave, Monday, August 22, 9am.
The Press release for last Friday:
NEW YORK, NY – Ms. Mary Lee Ward, an 82 year-old African American grandmother who resides at 320 Tompkins Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, is facing a foreclosure related eviction from her home of 44 years this Friday the 19th at 9am.
Themba Lewis has a great gallery of pictures of street art from the revolution in Egypt on his website. His photos captured an explosion of public art onto the walls and sidewalks of Cairo as the revolution surged through the capital and swept Mubarak's regime into the Nile. From portraits of martyrs to the participation of Cairo's sign-painting guild to ominous warnings of the revolution's betrayal, this is an amazing document of ephemeral visual communiques.
I'm part of this art show, BIG MOUTH: contemporary voices in feminist art + illustration. I will be showing my prints and illustrations from Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas. Come check it out!
OPENING Tuesday, AUGUST 9, 6pm-9pm
@ Brooklyn Fireproof
119 Ingraham St (at Porter Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11237
A group show featuring: Suzy Exposito, Molly Fair, Kim Funk, Kathleen Hanna, J. Morrison, Adee Roberson, & Gabby Schulz
Curated by Kate Wadkins & Lauren Denitzio
BIG MOUTH: contemporary voices in feminist art + illustration is a platform for unpopular visual opinions. Feminist movements have historically grown out of interventions within radical communities in the face of silence, anger, and often, violence. Still, these conflicts and contentions are fought with the utmost passion and humor in hopes for a radical resolution. BIG MOUTH illustrates the ever-evolving search for feminist/queer identities and communities. This group show places feminist narratives at the center of radical art-making, where often our voices are poorly represented or left out altogether. BIG MOUTH is a celebration of our pluralism, our goofiness, and a proclamation of defiant love.
Here is a link to check out a book project about the uprising in Wisconsin.
The book is edited by Erica Sagrans.
I've been meaning to repost this for weeks, so better late than never. I stumbled across this short article on and set of images by the Deterritorial Support Group, a London-based artist/hacker grouping making graphics for the student/austerity protests in the UK a couple months back. The article is on Dazed online, and well worth taking 5 minutes to check out HERE.
Groups & Spaces is an online platform that gathers together information on people making art in groups and collaborative situations, groups that run art spaces, and independently run artist spaces and centres. The site serves as an opensource portal for artists, educators and citizens to learn more about these working methods and connect with resources in their area. The platform aims to facilitate dialogue about community engagement, collaborative practices and provide educational resources for new audiences.
Groups and Spaces is framed as a dynamic learning resource, providing a unique visualization of how art spaces and groups engage communities. In so doing, the Groups and Spaces site provides an evolving database of techniques and strategies in which to draw from and potential partners to collaborate with. From organizations, collectives, collaboratives and projects to artist run spaces, the practices and inspiration these models provide are invaluable in addressing emerging social issues and the need for collective action. Groups and Spaces in this sense builds a bridge between aesthetics and community engagement by providing a platform for restorative social practice.
If you are want to see some of the freshest artwork by artists from around the country who are dealing with the subjects of immigration, xenophobia, borders, and pro-migrant activism - then DON'T MISS the 1-day only show in Los Angeles, California - this Friday, July 29th @ 6 pm.
The SOUND STRIKE Presents: A Pro-Migrant Art Exhibit
Friday, July 29, 2011, Starting @ 6 pm
SEIU - 828 West Washington Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015-3310.
My friends out in Los Angeles are putting together another great LA Vs. WAR event this coming September. Growing out of the Yo! What Happened to Peace? exhibitions that traveled the world over the past decade, LA vs. War is a print show and multi-media event, and they need a little help to make it work. They've set up a kickstarter campaign, check it out HERE.
I recently authored an account of the November 2010 Justseeds-IVAW street art action in Chicago for the Spring 2011 issue of The Veteran, a publication by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Check it out here.
Also, keep an eye out for a number of new collaborations between Justseeds and IVAW that are in the works, including an "Operation Recovery" booklet and our third portfolio project War is Trauma that is scheduled to be released in the late Fall and will feature over 30 prints by Justseeds artists, IVAW artists, and five invited guest artists.
Raoul Deal, a Milwaukee-based artist and long time friend to Justseeds, just completed a massive 40" x 60" woodcut based on the May Day parade/Immigrant Rights March in Milwaukee a few months back. Deal is currently working on an extensive series of woodcuts that address border and immigrant rights issues. I will post more images as they arise.
I was recently commissioned by the Portland chapter of Veterans for Peace to design some images for their convention in August: It was a fun assignment. These linocuts will be made into polymer plates and letterpress printed on Combat Paper. Click through for all three images, and see them here on Flickr.
I finally made the trip up to the Museum of Modern Art for German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse. The exhibition will only run until July 11th. The Neue Galerie has offered many opportunities to view Expressionist works, I was fortunate to attend the Otto Dix and Brücke exhibitions there. The current MoMA exhibit has a variety of mediums but most interestingly, to me, are the portfolios and books. I enjoyed seeing Kandinsky, Beckman, Grosz works and how incredibly printed all these works are. An exhibition should be dedicated to the master printers and print shops of this period.
The two artists I was most excited to see were Otto Dix and Kåthe Kollwitz. The German Expressionists have had strong influence over many Justseeds artists, as well as our projects. The War (Der Krieg) Portfolio by Otto Dix is an incredibly dark and visceral depiction of the destructiveness of battle. Drawn from his memories of World War I is the fear and horror that soldiers, dead or dying, experience. According to the MoMA's website the publisher, Karl Nierendorf in Berlin,
circulated the portfolio throughout Germany with a pacifist organization, Never Again War, though Dix himself doubted that his prints could have any bearing on future wars. Despite the intensive publicity, Nierendorf sold only one complete portfolio from the edition of seventy.
This just in from the California Department of Corrections:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 1, 2011 - San Francisco, California
Liberated Ads Salute America Following the Death of Osama bin Laden
The California Department of Corrections (CDC) has unveiled a new campaign of bus shelter ads to celebrate America's assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Released prior to July 4th, a total of ten ads in MUNI bus shelters throughout San Francisco were apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged without incident. The ten liberated ads represent each year in the long decade spanning the declaration of the War on Terror by President Bush and the eventual demise of al-Qaeda's elusive leader.
Joining in celebration with millions of US civilians after the demise of bin Laden, the red, white and blue advertisements not only pay patriotic tribute to our country, but also celebrate the unsung history of American assassinations.
Tomorrow! Last Thursday, the 30th June, at Flight 64 print studio (down the alley off NE Alberta between 29th and 30th, behind Bella Faccia), an opening of new print work by Roger Peet and Garrett Price. Steel etchings, screenprints, and blockprints of corroded superstructures, insects, ships, sharks, and slogans. If you're in Portland, come on by between 5 and 10!
Tonight, 7pm, at the Fresh Pot on NE Mississippi in Portland OR, we're having a closing for the big Anti-LNG blockprints from this project. Stop by for some coffee, presentations from Amy Harwood and Olivia Schmidt about the threats still posed by LNG development plans, and a presentation by Roger about the project.
“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.
The Bushmeat Food-cart is opening today, in Downtown Portland, on the third floor of Pioneer Place Mall! Corner of SW Fifth and Morrison. Come and check it out between 6 and 9 pm. It is pretty unnerving, and the fact that it is in the mall makes it even more so. For more information, click this link.
A few days ago pro-labor activists mud stenciled and chalked the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin for their support of Gov. Walker and his assault on all things public. What did WMC do? They went crying to the police that they were victimized by vandals and they posted a press release here. Apparently, the police laughed at them as they investigated the mud and chalk and concluded that it was not vandalism. The follow-up report is posted below. The lesson to WMC: stop treating working class people like dirt and you won't be targeted with activist art, and be thankful you are not in Greece where a general strike is raging and workers would not use chalk and mud to voice their dissent: they would use molotov cocktails.
Joe Hill where are you when we need you. Welcome to Wisconsin – a state that is sinking faster than the Titanic. Our iceberg is Gov. Walker, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, and the Koch Brothers. Together they have turned Wisconsin into Fitzwalkerstan and handed over the public sector to their corporate donors.
6/14/11 will remain as a day in infamy in Wisconsin - the end of collective bargaining rights for public unions, a day that marks the dismantling of 60 plus years of labor gains. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against Judge Sumis ruling that barred implication of the union-busting bill. No matter what the court ruled – the Republican controlled Senate and House were going to ram through the bill tonight or tomorrow in an extraordinary session that equated an extraordinary assault on workers rights and democracy. Gov. Walker, who from here out should only be called Mother F*cker, was determined to crush public unions and we (the vast majority of Wisconsinites) must collectively admit that we lost this battle, but not the war. This is all out class war and we need to be more vigilant in the weeks, months, and years to come.
I, and many others, have been very critical of union leadership in this struggle. I believed that the focus on recalls and electoral politics was suicidal and attention should have been placed on escalation, civil disobedience, and strikes back in March when the movement had momentum and 150,000 people plus in the streets of Madison.
D-Day in Wisconsin. Below is an urgent action alert and plea for all those concerned about worker's rights and democracy in Wisconsin and beyond to come to Madison on Tuesday to demonstrate against what appears to be a callous attempt by the Republicans to pass the bill against collective bargaining.
Rally Against the Budget
Tuesday, June 14
11:00 a.m.: marches begin at Walkerville
5:00 p.m.: rally program begins at the corner of State St. and the Capitol Square, Madison
From Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) writing in The Progressive:
"Walker’s now infamous union busting tactics of March and April, currently stalled in the state’s Supreme Court, set the table for a state budget battle that will play out over the next week or so, this time under a whole new rule book. Rather than use the legislature’s traditional rules, Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, aka the Fitzgerald brothers, have decided to fast track Wisconsin’s budget under an “extraordinary” session.
These flashmobs put a smile on my face. They are creative, fun, great pop parodies, and opportunities to engage with folks that may be unaware of the issue.
I created this image a while back for my old friend Marie Mason, who's currently serving out a 22-year prison sentence for charges related to two acts of property destruction that occurred in 1999 and 2000. Noone was injured in either attack -against a facility researching/developing GMO crops- but Marie got swept up in the Green Scare hysteria- and is now serving a disproportionately long sentence as a result.
The good folks at Support Marie Mason recently printed up these t-shirts as a benefit and if i do say so myself, they look pretty sharp and are darn comfortable to boot. You can buy them directly from their site here- and i highly recommend you do.
Three updates from Wisconsin on recent actions and demos planned for the upcoming week to fight back against budget cuts and the attacks on workers and unions:
1. Civil Disobedience at the Joint Finance Committee hearing in Madison, Wisconsin (6-02-11)
2. (From Defend Wisconsin) "Join the Walkerville – a ‘city’ of tents around the Capitol square calling attention to the devastating state budget cuts to education, health care and other programs benefiting Wisconsin’s working families.
The Hoovervilles of the Great Depression were marks of the failed policies of unregulated speculation which helped lead to the collapse of financial markets. The establishment of a Walkerville marks the failure of a budget to provide for its citizens and for the state.
The action near the Capitol will begin the evening of Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m. and will continue throughout the state budget process. Each day will focus on one area that will be harmed by the governor’s extreme budget."
Here's a new project: a bushmeat food-cart. The project is called Viande de Brousse, the French translation of bushmeat, meaning simply wild meat hunted from the forest, or bush, as it's referred to in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. I (Roger) and my colleague Ryan Burns have built a small mobile food-cart which will be selling the severed hands of Chimpanzees to the horrified public in Portland, debuting at PLACE gallery downtown next month. This is the result of years of attention to and research in the history, economy and environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo is a vast pentagonal tranche of Sub-Saharan Africa, and has been a grim laboratory of capitalism's extractive priorities since Belgium began its colonial project there in the late 1800's. The stories of Congo's debasement and butchery at the hands of the Belgians, the Americans, the Chinese, assorted homegrown tyrants and the murderous throngs of small armies that swarmed through it during the African World War of the 90's-early 00's are woefully underreported. The history is nearly invisible. This is our attempt to dig our fingers into that steaming pile and pull it reeking into the light.
Our friend and collaborator Laura Scheinkopf is putting on this benefit tomorrow for the March on Blair Mountain. Come check it out!
Tuesday, May 24
@ The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue, between Bond and Hoyt
High Peaks, Low Coal
New York Loves Mountains hosts a screening of the new documentary Low Coal, an exploration of the sacrifices made by Appalachian communities living with deep mining and Mountaintop Removal. The film's director, Jordan Freeman, along with former union coal miner and environmental activist Chuck Nelson, will be present for a talk-back after the screening. The discussion will be followed by a concert featuring local musician Morgan O'Kane (who played the score for the film).
Funds raised will be directed towards the March on Blair Mountain, a unifying rally in West Virginia from June 5-11th, 2011, which calls for historical preservation of Blair Mountain and an end to Mountaintop Removal.
This year commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest open class war in U.S. history, when 10,000 coal miners rose against the rule of the coal operators and fought for the basic right to live and work in decent conditions.
For more information visit www.appalachiarising.org.
I've got two show up in Portland right now; if you are in town you should go and check them out! The first one is at Land Gallery, at 3925 N. Mississippi Ave. That one's closing this Sunday, so hurry! It's a nice space and I have packed it with prints. The other is at Extracto Coffee, in Northeast at 2921 NE Killingsworth. It's up until the end of May! Also, next month I'll be hanging the big anti-LNG blockprints at the Fresh Pot on Mississippi at Shaver, and will be debuting the Bushmeat Foodcart at Place gallery in the weird art zone in the Pioneer Place mall (!). More updates soon!
I recently got an email from the folks at the Chicago PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) Teaching Collective, and they've just put out a great zine called The PIC Is... The zine is a solid introduction to what the PIC is, how it functions, and how it effects different communities. There are about a dozen fabulous illustrations inside, all by the artist Billy Dee. It is well worth checking out, whether you are an organizer, educator, or just someone who wants to learn more about how prisons work in our society. You can download the zine for free HERE.
Thursday, May 12, 7:30pm
@ No-Space (formerly called The Change You Want To See Gallery)
84 Havemeyer St, at Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
With the wave of opposition to austerity measures in the UK, many new creative political groups and projects have appeared. Not only the high-profile actions of UK Uncut, but others such as the University of Strategic Optimism, Arts Against Cuts, Precarious Workers Brigade, the Really Free School, and the Free University of Liverpool.
This informal talk will present stories and films from recent groups and activities that experiment with new creative approaches to activism’s materials and performance. From the Book Bloc’s very literate means of protecting crowds from police batons, to The University of Strategic Optimism’s critical theory lectures in high-street banks; from Liberate Tate’s oil spills inside the Tate galleries to encourage them to drop BP sponsorship, to the Space Hijackers driving a tank into an arms fair, and the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination's reverse-engineering of hundreds of bikes into a swarming mass of direct action machines.
Gavin will introduce some of these groups and activities, tell some ridiculous stories of general trouble making and daring misadventure, show some videos and do his best to answer any of your questions.
My friend and DJ/collaborator Cara Erskine just had an article published in Dis Magazine's Labor Issue. She writes about Tea Party-backed Maine Governor Paul LePage's removal from the lobby of the Department of Labor of a recently-commissioned mural by Judy Taylor depicting Maine’s labor history.
From the article:
Paul Le Page, a Tea Party-backed Republican candidate who was elected Governor of Maine with only 38 percent of the vote, has been a labor antagonist in his first ninety days in office. Le Page praised his Tea-Party colleague, Gov. Scott Walker for his success in stripping Wisconsin public employees of collective bargaining rights. Le Page has pledged to make Maine a “right to work” state, and ordered the removal of a recently-commissioned mural depicting Maine’s labor history from the lobby of the Department of Labor.1 Le Page’s actions define him as anti-union, anti-worker, and anti working middle-class. “Right to work” means non-union workers have the same protections and benefits of union workers, but without paying union dues. This means union legal responsibilities are increased while their economic resources are diminished. “Right to work for less” is designed to spread labor union resources so thin that the union breaks down entirely.
While Gov. Le Page seeks to destroy unions, he also is taking aim at art that doesn’t reflect his administration’s pro-business agenda. On March 23, Le Page ordered that a mural depicting Maine’s labor history be removed from the Department of Labor. The next day, which coincided with the one-hundred year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City which killed 146 people, mostly women and girls, hundreds of protesters flooded the Department of Labor to protest the planned removal of the labor-themed mural from the building’s lobby. Despite the protests, the mural was removed over the weekend of March 25 and is currently being stored at an undisclosed location. One week after the mural was taken down, an artist’s group called “BrokeFix” projected video footage of the mural on the façade of the Department of Labor building, in a subversive act of art and protest dubbed “video-bombing” (see also “yarn-bombing”). The “BrokeFix” artists, who agreed to be interviewed by The Huffington Post on the condition of anonymity, criticized the partisan and ideological divides in politics, but also took a strong stance against the notion that labor unions bear responsibility for U.S. economic problems. “Even if the most severe of allegations against the labor unions were true, the money cost to the taxpayers is negligible when compared to the taxpayer cost of supporting the true parasites of our social, political and economic systems,” they argued.
Russian art interventionists Voina (whom you might recall from this wonderful action and it's hilarious world-upside-down aftermath) have donated a portion of the funds that Banksy gave them for bail money to a trio of young activists recently arrested for altering an anti-STD billboard. The action involved pasting images of Russia's political establishment in among the cartoony monsters of Herpes, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. The STD campaign copy asks: Do you really want friends like these?
Formerly Incarcerated People's Movement Event
We gather for an evening of discussion and movement building aimed at the prison crisis sweeping our communities. Come add your voice and your hands to our effort to kick the forces of repression and division out of our homes, schools, and streets!
Saturday, April 23, 7-10pm
721 Franklin AVE
This will be a multi-part event of:
Report back from FICPM organizational meet-up
Art by JUST SEEDS
The Justseeds Resourced portfolio is up in the concert hall at Casa Del Popolo and will be there until July 31st. If you are in Montreal come check it out at 4873 boul. St-Laurent.
Last weeks opening event was a 5 à 7 and discussion with local environmental activists, myself and members of The Dominion who were launching A People's Forecast, a special issue on climate justice.
More photos and and links below.
Thanks to Keith Race for all the photos
Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture
800 Black Butte Rd.
We will have an opening for the exhibition RESOURCED, a production of the Just Seeds screen print cooperative, which will be on display in our "reefer" gallery through June. It focuses on resource extraction and climate issues, major issues in our region, and includes 26 artist prints. See RESOURCED for more info. The show will also feature work by two of the individual Just Seeds members, New York City-based "Kevin Caplicki" and Portland-based "Roger Peet".
Later in the evening we'll have a boxcar music show with "Crackbox" (punk), featuring some BBCRC supporters and frequent visitors, on tour from New Orleans, making a stop at Black Butte.
Here are a bunch of photos of work at the Carlos Cortez show in Milwaukee.
Judy Seidman is an artist that has been involved in the social movements of South Africa for almost 40 years. She was involved in the amazing Medu Arts Ensemble, which launched the anti-Apartheid screenprinted poster movement in the early 1980s, many trade unions, women's organizations, and more recently with HIV/AIDS activist groups. I was lucky to work with her and meet her while organizing the Signs of Change exhibition back in 2007/2008. She has just put up a new website of her work, including posters, graphics, murals, drawings, and publications. Take a minute to check it out HERE.
image: J.A. Seidman, June 14 memorial, silkscreen, Gaborone 1985
Ai Weiwei is missing! The provocative Chinese artist was arrested at the Beijing airport on April 3 2011 and hasn't been seen or heard from since. My friends Amy Harwood and Ryan Pierce of Signal Fire have started a campaign for artists to show their solidarity with him and their opposition to China's ongoing crackdown on dissent. The site is weiweiworkshere.org and features downloadable graphics for people to print out and post in studios, public spaces, galleries; wherever art appears. Do it now. You're next.
Josh MacPhee is coming to our Pittsburgh Headquarters this weekend! Josh will present a short presentation/discussion entitled "Visualizing History from Below". The event is also the closing party for a solo exhibition of his prints. We hope to see you there! We are also now open on Sundays 2:00-6:00 pm! You can still email us at store at justseeds dot org to visit us at other times as well.
Josh MacPhee Talk & Closing Party: Visualizing History from Below
Saturday April 9th
3410 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
At Doughboy statue. Enter at the back on Spring Way. Bike Parking Available...
BYOB & Snacks
Prints, posters, and books available for sale!
It's critiques like this that give me a real appreciation for video game makers. Koons is the best example of the times we live in. Art production so influenced by the market, its sole purpose is to accrue value. Totally vapid and devoid of anything to say, it reflects the content of large box stores and parking lots across the USA. Who the hell wants any of that crap anyhow? Baffles me.
Strangely enough, there have been savage attacks on the picturesque streets of beautiful San Cristobal de las Casas. Chiapas.
The perpetrators wheat pasted posters and images of old forgotten stories that we would rather keep that way. All posters and images incorporated a rather tasteless phrase that stated, “CELEBRATE PEOPLE’S HISTORY”. The subject matter of the posters ranged from supporting the local rebel terrorists to promoting further vandalism of the pristine streets.
We the First World International Tourist Liberation Movement (FWITLM) condemn these violent acts of contempt against helpless concrete.
We call on our fellow tourists to send letters of complaint to coordinator of these “Celebrate Peoples History” posters, Mr. Josh MacPhee and ask any eyewitnesses to come forward with leads to find these vandals and criminals.
Together let’s say no to defacing the world’s sacred colonial buildings!
No to Celebrating People’s History!
No to wheat pasting!
Yes to maintaining tourist havens clear of locals and undesirables!
First World International Tourist Liberation Movement (FWITLM)
*The following are pictures that were anonymously sent to our Headquarters in Palm Beach, FL.
"Gov. LePage ordered the removal of a 36-foot, 11-panel mural by Maine artist Judy Taylor from the foyer of the Maine Department of Labor in Augusta because, he claimed, it is "too one-sided", pro-union, and anti-business."
More information on this is all over the place, but I found it difficult to find a full set of images of the mural itself, so all 11 panels can be viewed by clicking here.
Judy Taylor's website has a thorough explanation of the mural here.
Walker's Point Center for the Arts (WPCA) in Milwaukee is hosting a timely show this Friday that celebrates the art and life of Carlos Cortéz. Included in this show are prints by his allies in the labor movement/Chicana rights/anti-war/radical art community - many of whom are part of Justseeds. Prints by Favi, Josh, Nicolas, Dylan, and Collin are included in the exhibition. (Dylan also included some text and long-time friend to Justseeds, Susan Simensky Bietila, helped co-organize the show.) Many might recall that WPCA hosted the Paper Politics exhibition when it was in Milwaukee, so please come out and support this important show and vital art space that is at the epicenter of the community arts scene in Milwaukee.
Exhibition runs: April 1 – May 14, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, April 1 from 5 – 9pm
Spring Gallery Night: Friday, April 15 from 5 – 9pm
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.
I created this graphic in response to the events of 2011 which connects the Mideast to the Midwest: the people's movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Wisconsin.
Listing only three locations is an oversimplification as we all know that movements are taking place in other countries and states, but these three locations have become symbolic - much in part to the global media attention. Many of us in Wisconsin were humbled and overjoyed when we heard that demonstrators in Egypt were holding signs in solidarity with us in Madison.
A short video about a community in Southern Mexico organizing resistance to future mining projects. They have set up a valuable tool: a community radio station to disseminate information to the surrounding areas. Radio is an incredible resource for indigenous communities and their resistance to the insatiable industrial system. While the video makes the usual activist media mistakes (like presuming viewer awareness), I encourage folks to further research.
The CRAC is a community police force and alternative justice program. I was fortunate enough to visit one of their assemblies, years ago, and witnessed successful attempts to create a system that responds and is accountable to its constituents. Anyone interested in restorative justice and incarceration alternatives should explore what these municipalities are doing in Guerrerro, Mexico.
Worse, Republicans want to model Wisconsin after Arizona. Voces de la Frontera, a large immigrant rights organization in Milwaukee held its first emergency meetings last Sunday to inform the public that Representative Pridemore (WI Assembly Republican from Hartford) is now circulating his Arizona-style immigration enforcement bill for co-sponsors in Madison. Over 500 concerned members of the community showed up (in Milwaukee and Racine) to stratigize on how to defeat this bill, which would be devastating for the Latino community and others, as it would legalize racial profiling and lead to more deportations.
In other not-so-enlightening news, the Legislative Reference Bureau has published Walker's anti-union bill despite a court order preventing publication on grounds that the bill’s passage likely violated Open Meetings laws.
How this will play out is anyone's guess. Already the Walker administration and the State have been sued multiple times, so I expect a drawn-out court battle.
To learn more: click here
In more inspiring news, the activist spirit in Wisconsin has not dimmed. Protests, rallies, organizing, recall drives, etc are taking place all over the state. One question to the union leaders: How far do the Republicans have to go in destroying public unions and the working class before you call a strike?
Here's a couple of images in solidarity with the people of Michigan that were forwarded to us by Kathleen Judge:
Here is a great talk given by Roger Peet at the Portland State University Monday Night Lecture Series back in January of this year. Roger gives a great overview of Justseeds, his work, and his thoughts on a couple problems in the world. It's over an hour long; skip the first 5 minutes as they are just setting up the sound and camera. There are also other PSU lectures worth watching here.
Saturday, March 19th, 7 PM
Doors at 7PM, bidding ends at 9pm, party till 10pm.
At Not An Alternative/Change You Want To See Gallery
84 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn
The complete Voices From Outside: Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex created by the JustSeeds Collective for the 10th anniversary of Critical Resistance.
AND Artworks by:
Bill Mazza, Chris Cardinale, Vikki Law, Vandana Jain, Audrey Dantzlerward, Mac McGill, Elizabeth Hamby, Antonio Serna, Mónica Félix, William Wulff, Eric Doeringer, Luis Martin, Priska Wenger, Sevonna Brown, Laura Whitehorn, Carey Lamprecht, Megan Books, christina armas, Kelly Savage, Kevin Hong
Guest speaker from the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative
Music by Avani Mehta & DJ Duncan
All funds raised will be spent on postage to send books to prisoners.
Learn more about Books Through Bars
I just finished up my final project for my mapping class:
I'm a little late in reposting this, but our friend Erick Lyle (creator of the fabulous Scam zine which we sell on the site HERE) recently had a nice long-format piece of writing published in the Bay Guardian about Nicaraguan/American Bay Area poet and revolutionary Roberto Vargas, and through him, a great social history of the San Francisco Latino political poetry scene of the 1960s-80s. Rather than republish it here, you should just head over the the Bay Guardian website and read it HERE.
I've been trying to work through some visual ideas around the Wisconsin struggle, and have come up with some beta designs I figure I might as well test here on the site...below are 3 different designs in progress. They all are based on the same idea, the general strike, but the first is the most developed, trying to clarify that we don't need a strike to maintain the status quo (losing benefits, pay, and "rights" while maintaining a legalistic definition of collective bargaining), but to exercise the on the ground power of workers and communities. Please feel free to leave feedback, and I can put up high-res versions of these if people are interested:
Our friend Brandon Bauer just sent along these 2 new Wisconsin graphics, you can click on them, then save the image to your desktop as high-res:
I also got sent this great pdf by my friend Nathan. It's a poster by the Little Friends of Printmaking. I couldn't find any info about it on their site, but hopefully they'll be cool with me re-posting it here. You can download the pdf by clicking HERE.
Her work is devoted to the idea that everyone should be free to grow and experience their lives on their own terms, liberated from a power and material-driven society that so often values things above people. By helping to provide a visual platform where different communities can have a public voice, Katie is committed to the idea that art can play a major role in social transformation.
Visual Dialogues: Public Art and Social Transformation
Friday, March 11, 6-8pm
Asian American/Asian Research Institute
25 W. 43rd Street,
(btn 5th & 6th Ave)
Thanks to Jason Urban for giving what's going on in Wisconsin more exposure over at Printeresting!
Most of us are watching events unfold in Wisconsin from a great distance but Nicolas Lampert and Colin Matthes of Justseeds are in the eye of the storm. The two have been screen-printing their support for unions non-stop and disseminating their images in Milwaukee and Madison...
Check out the rest on Printeresting.com
Also there is currently an exhibition called SolidARTity, "that reflects the incredible breath of creative voice that exists RIGHT NOW in Madison",
The Project Lodge
817 E. Johnson St
New World Border
ARTISTS RESPOND TO US/MEXICO BORDER WALL
March 3 – April 30
Reception: Saturday, March 12, 3:30-5:30 pm
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705 USA
The wall, now being constructed across the length of the US/Mexico border is like a knife cutting off neighbors, wildlife, indigenous people, and families. The wall is inflaming hatred and contributing to an atmosphere of vigilantism and oppression. While the US walls itself off from the world in the name of “security” what is it sacrificing? A group of artists respond to the wall with imagery from a variety of viewpoints.
The artists represent a wide cross section of approaches to the printed image, from esteemed Latino Poster Movement artist Malaquias Montoya, to Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, Kearny Street Workshop icon Nancy Hom, New York political illustrator Frances Jetter, co-founder of the California Indian Art Movement, Frank LaPena, as well as powerful work by many other artists. The wall is destroying and dividing families, communities, eco-systems, and indigenous lands. The wall is part of a national move towards increased militarization of all aspects of society. The time to speak out against it is now.
Today HB87 passeds out of the Georgia House of Representatives 113-56. The multi-state plan conceived of by the far-right group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is well underway with bills similiar to Arizona's anti-immigrant, anti-human right SB 1070. If you would like to read more about how these bills are not merely "copy cat" actions but a strategy that has been in the works for some time now I recommend reading the well researched blog posts by the Applied Research Center's Seth Wessler and Katrina Hurtado. They have kept mapping the bills and laws as they pop up in more and more states.
If you are in one of these states and would like to have this graphic adapted to apply to your state please send an email to Melanie HERE
Yesterday at the protest in Madison, Wisconsin union supporters were banned from entering the State Capital. Only a few supporters were allowed to stay inside. The vast majority of opposition to Scott Walker and his bill to end collective bargaining rights for public workers was locked outside this public building. The energy at the protest was great; more defiant and angry than the past few weeks.
This is also drawing all the time : week 46.
The protest movement in Madison, Wisconsin over collective bargaining rights for public employees has reached day 16 and more solidarity is needed. The stakes are high. Defeat Governor Walker and his right-wing corporate agenda and the labor movement will have achieved one of the most significant victories of the past 50 years. Lose and watch the dominoes fall as public employee unions crumble in Wisconsin and beyond. Lost will be the power of public unions - one of the few remaining structures that can compete and organize against the GOP corporate machine.
Imagine if workers win. We can because this is an obtainable victory. A two-week 24-hour occupation of the Capital Building, daily protests – some that have reached 100,000 people, and the courageous actions of the 14 Democratic Senators who fled the state to block quorum have provided a strong foundation for a potential victory.
This is hands-down one of the most significant people’s movements against corporate power that has taken place in decades. This reminds one of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. Tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers have come together and displayed incredible levels of solidarity for weeks on end. Firefighters who were exempted from the cuts have marched in solidarity with the teachers, nurses, sanitation workers, snowplow drivers, and others who stand to have their unions lose collective bargaining rights and have their pension and health care costs double. Police officers who were also exempted from the cuts have held up signs that read, “Cops for Labor.” How often does one see this? Private union members in Wisconsin have come out in massive numbers to show support for workers in public unions. This is a moment were unions have demonstrated their strength and have put the labor movement back to where it belongs: at the forefront of a social justice movement.
My buddy Hannah Dobbz is currently researching and writing a book to be published on AK Press on the history of squatting, land struggles, and property law in the United States.
She has a Kickstarter to raise money for travel to research and write. There are some sweet incentives. Check it out!
I'm taking a class in GIS at the local community college and it's super fun! I just made my first map (it's of Portland, OR, by the way):
Here are six downloadable copyright free images about Wisconsin Labor Protests. Feel free to use images for posters, signs, flyers, patches, etc.
This is a poster we want to share, please feel free to download and print your own copy.
Click here to download: Solidarity with workers the workers in Wisconsin
Over the past couple weeks I have been hearing about the Workers in Wisconsin who are fighting to stop the passage of AB11, a bill that would strip workers of collective bargaining and cuts to other things like their pensions and health benefits. In the crazy economy we are living through, we see the response by government to cuts to social services, we see the tuition hikes in our public universities. And we look around and see that the rich are still getting richer and paying less and less taxes. While this is happening we see working people under attack for being greedy and demanding too much in these hard economic times, a perfect time to attack workers and take away what has been won by the Labor Movement. The worst is seeing attacks on Unions by idiots who call their members unamerican, hearing people on the radio call the protestors thugs. Hearing the Governor of Wisconsin who was recorded on a telephone call with a blogger pretending to be one of the Koch Brothers talking about how he has contemplated sending agent provocateurs to undermine protesters efforts. This was what really pushed me to make a solidarity poster, I think that in these though economic times we need to support workers when they demand fair treatment so they can survive these times.
A long time in the making, my collaborator Jesse Goldstein and I just finished a 10 color print called "Wild and Neglected Like Me". The piece refers to line in a poem by John Clare the Peasant Poet of Northamptonshire (1793-1865). It is a love poem written to a weed, and its untamed beauty.
Here is an essay by Jesse about the piece and Clare's lament about the destruction of the commons.:
Ah cruel foes with plenty blest
So ankering after more
To lay the greens and pastures waste
Which profited before
(John Clare, The Lamentations of Round Oak Waters)
Recently, Molly and I made a print based on a line from John Clare’s poetry: a love poem written to a weed. The poem offers some interesting insights into commoning as a way of life, and in particular how unused, unnoticed, and untamed natures – which capitalists saw as wasted resources, were a source of value to the commoners that lived on them. Commoning was an entirely different way of relating to the world, than what comes to be naturalized through our capital-infused culture. There’s so much interest in the idea of commons today – whether digital commons, cultural commons, political commons – but less attention is spent on understanding commoning and private property as qualitatively different relationships to the world.
So, I thought it could be a good idea to use Clare’s poem as an entry point, to go back to the history of English commons and reflect on this way of life, especially some of the different sorts of ‘values’ and ‘wastes’ that it entailed. These are values and wastes that are still with us today, and appreciating them in a new light might help us find some of the radical possibilities that lurk in the most mundane and overlooked corners of our social lives and landscapes.
Okinawa has long been a site of struggle against U.S. militarism and occupation. Recently activists have been fighting against a U.S. Army helipad. You can read about this struggle HERE and HERE. A group of the activists posted Celebrate People's History posters along the fence around the helipad as part of the struggle!
The full archive of the projects of the Anti-Advertising Agency (2004-2010) have just been put up online, including Dara Greenwald and my contribution, the Samaras Project, an exploration into alternative economics. You can check out the archive and projects HERE.
This week for drawing all the time I am picking some of my favorite hand drawn signs from the Capital in Madison WI.
Saving the best for first:
I love the I blame Favre sign.
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.
The massive labor demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin have reached day six and some patterns have emerged that are as recognizable as they are unexpected. First and foremost, this is a protest movement unlike one that I have ever seen before. This is not a leftist movement, a student-dominated movement, or a fringe activist movement. Instead, it is a mainstream, middle class movement.
The people that have gathered around the State Capital Building are everyday people - school teachers, nurses, health workers, sanitation workers, high school students, college students, fire fighters, and others. Even some police officers have joined the ranks of protesters, some with signs that read "Police for Labor."
This is a movement of middle class people who are pissed off and taking to the streets because Governor Walker's proposed bill will economically hurt them. This is a labor movement that is fighting for it's very life. Win now and make a major stand against corporate power or watch Wisconsin become a "right to work" state and watch the dominoes fall, watch as other Republican governors attack collective bargaining rights for public employee unions in Ohio, New Jersey, and beyond.
The March on Blair Mountain will be June 5 to 11, 2011 in West Virginia. It commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, when 10,000 coal miners rose against the rule of the coal operators and fought for the basic right to live and work in decent conditions. Today, Blair Mountain is threatened with obliteration by mountaintop removal (MTR) mining. It is here that a new generation of Appalachians takes a stand to preserve Blair Mountain, abolish mountaintop removal, defend worker's rights, and begin a just transition to a sustainable economy in Appalachia.
I designed this for poster for the Political Poster Jam happening at the Oakland Museum next week.
From 8 to 11pm on February 25, 2011, the Oakland Standard will honor the history of political posters in the Bay Area, and the Museum’s acquisition of the All Of Us Or None (AOUON) collection with an evening of printmaking and conversation.
The Oakland Standard has invited the San Francisco Print Collective, Great Tortilla Conspiracy, and street artist Eddie Colla to host informal drop-in workshops.
Thursday, February 17 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
CUNY Graduate Center, James Gallery
365 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Join artist Josh MacPhee and director John Gianvito as they discuss the triumphs and challenges of Howard Zinn’s "A People’s History of the United States," which famously re-wrote American history through the eyes of the common people rather than political and economic elites.
John Gianvito's hour-long 2008 documentary "Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind" will be screened. There will be a one-night exhibition of the posters from Josh MacPhee's new book, "Celebrate People’s History: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution."
You can find the event on facebook HERE.
In lieu of Rad Teen Print of the Week, here is Rad Post-Teen Project of the Week!
From Johannesburg, South Africa: check out this rad portable project organized by Kevin Clancy, who I worked with in a class I taught at the Mattress Factory several years ago.
From his website:
Portable Utopia is a mobile resource library and expandable social space initiated by Kevin Clancy in partnership with Keleketla!Library in Johannesburg, South Africa. The mobile unit will circulate through the city and surrounding townships in January and February of 2011, providing a transient platform for learning, sharing, making and discussion.
The mobile unit will contain a library of books, a computer, flat files for prints and works on paper, a micromuseum, a collapsible stage for lectures and performances, and an inflatable geodesic dome gathering space.
Portable Utopia is an open platform that will adapt to the energy and desires of the community.
The photo is from Good News!, an interventionist silkscreening project with young people:
Good News! subverts the omnipresent headlines that line the roads of Johannesburg to provide moments of hope and optimism in the urban landscape. Expired headlines are collected each day, recycled into new handmade paper, printed with wishful headlines, and reinserted back into headline frames.
We lead Good News! workshops with primary school students in Sebokeng, teaching them about paper making, silkscreen printing, artistic interventions, and environmental issues. The students generated the headline "PLANT TREES", in conjunction with a tree planting ceremony and lesson about environmentalism.
more info, please check out www.portableutopia.org
Happy Valentines Day!
Brooklyn, NY 2011
Why the media (and particularly Wiki leaks) is important
Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government, corporations and other organisations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals.
"heART of the revolution" is an online exhibit displaying art from around the world in support of the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. Website presented by elev8. elev8 aims to educate and empower through the arts.
If you would like to submit artwork for the site, please email sidroos (at) gmail.com
* Videos - please include url link.
* Photos - at least 72dpi
Due to the high volume of emails, submissions without a bio/description/artist name will be disregarded. We would like for all artwork to be credited to the artist as well a short description. Thank you!
Mark Vallen has published a nice piece remembering the terror of the Reagan years, and has included a great collection of political flyers he made during the 80s. Here is the first couple paragraphs and a flyer from 1986, and you can read and see the rest HERE.
Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 on Sunday, February 6, 2011, and many U.S. citizens are celebrating this centenary from coast to coast with frenzied idolization, praise, and adulation for the “Great Communicator.”
As my beloved country undergoes another bout of historical amnesia that is every bit as debilitating as the Alzheimer’s disease our acclaimed 40th President was known to have suffered from, a comforting blanket of forgetfulness descends upon the land. As Reagan himself affirmed in 1988, “facts are stupid things,” but oh what the passage of time and a little bit of corporate propaganda can do to wipe away silly truths. Memories of Reagan supporting the rightist lunatic Generalissimos and terrorist death squads of Central America have been banished. Likewise, all recollections of his financing, training, and arming Islamic fundamentalists to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan have been forgotten; so too his support of the white minority racist regime in South Africa. All unhappy episodes from the B-actor’s mediocre career have been erased, and America is once again stuck in “Re-Ron” mode.
A nice video of an artist talk by Theodore Harris, one of my favorite political collagists working today. The show he is talking about is "COLLAGE and CONFLICT: The Anti-Imperialist Art of Theodore A. Harris" which is on view thru April 1st at Philadelphia Community Access Media in Philadelphia, PA. More info about the show can be found HERE.
I created a downloadable poster in the tradition of OSPAAAL (Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa & Latin America) a Cuban political movement with the stated purpose of fighting globalization, imperialism, neoliberalism and defending human rights. The have created a vault of political posters to support freedom fighting world wide and promoted Third World solidarity.
This is a poster we want to share, please feel free to download and print your own copy.
Click here to download: Solidarity with Tunisia and Egypt
I've got a new print on the site called "The Burning World". It's based on a graphic device called a radial tree of life, which is a method of depicting the incredible diversity of life on Earth and the ways in which those life-forms are related, and when they diverged from each other. Here's the tree of life with it's radii labeled. You can click on the image for a larger version.
Operation Exposure: War is Trauma - a collaboration between the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative and veterans and supporters from Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). It is a direct response to the suicide epidemic and violation of GI's right to heal within the active duty community. The work focus is on a veteran led movement called "Operation Recovery" - a new IVAW campaign aimed to stop the redeployment of traumatized troops and focus public attention on Military Sexual Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
I just got this in from my friend John Jordan in the UK:
Dear friends, rebels and fellow utopians, We are delighted to invite you to the Launch of our new book-film published by La Découverte, Les Sentiers de l’Utopie (Paths Through Utopias), which will take place in Paris from February 11th to 15th. As the global financial crisis surfaced in 2007, we journeyed for 7 months across Europe to investigate and experience examples of post-capitalist living - from a direct action Climate Camp set up illegally on the edges of Heathrow airport to a hamlet squatted by French punks, an off grid low impact permaculture community to occupied self-managed Serbian factories, a free love commune in an ex Stasi base to a farm where private property had been abolished, we shared different ways of loving and eating, producing and sharing things, deciding together and rebelling. We were not looking for escapist Neverlands, blueprints for a perfect future or universal systems, but communities who simply dare to live differently, despite the catastrophe of capitalism. From this experience came our film-book, fusing reflective travel writings with an attached DVD. Whilst the book is a rich travelogue, analyzing the communities, their practices and their histories, the film is a magicorealist road movie set in an imagined post-crash future but shot in the style of a fictional documentary during the journey.Watch the trailer here:
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.
I'm still following the Egyptian demonstrations with an incredible amount of excitement. Almost 2 million people demonstrating in Tahrir Square in Cairo, with hundreds of thousands of people in many other cities around Egypt. Demonstrators from across all social and class boundaries are out in the streets demanding Mubarak "step down".
You can live stream Al Jazeera news at:
Al Jazeera Watch Now.
There is finally a position forming in USA foreign policy with Senator John Kerry saying
"President Hosni Mubarak must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure."in an op-ed in todays New York Times.
Stuart Christie has relaunched his Anarchist Film Archive, it is much easier to use, and has a ton of rare and hard to find material. Check it out now, HERE!
I've been trying to simplify my life and that includes simplying my stuff... getting rid of things I do not need that create clutter, including files on my computer. As I sorted through my old art archives, I ran into this piece that I completed more than 5 years ago. This work represents an early stage of my character development (as in the people I draw), which has now evolved to a more confident line stroke.
In this drawing, I'm experimenting with my circular lines and triangular edges that intersect into each other. Two years later, I would do a piece titled De Avion en Avion, which would really take this curvacious, thick, bold line to a whole new level.
Here's how my process went down for this one. I started with a drawing:
These are some pictures from the printing of Extincion 3. This last December I sent half of the 33-print edition to JS HQ in Pittsburgh but black magic spells were cast on the print and the store entry disappeared... also the remaining prints in Pittsburgh apparently turned to dust.
Nevertheless I recently sent the remaining half of this run (and the remaining half of Extincion 1) to our Headquarters for the JS wizards to make available again.
To make this print I had to go through the excruciating experience of going to the Mexico City Zoo to sketch both the Mexican Gray Wolf and its skull counter part. Though sad it was a good reminder why we need these beautiful creatures in the wild.
I got to print this lino cut with my friends at Grafica Chaparral. If you're ever in Mexico City and want to check out a cool workshop and studio don't hesitate to get in touch.
Black Metal influenced Extincion 4 is in the works and an edition of 33 will soon be out there!
Thats right... Black Metal.
Brooklyn, December 2010.
I recently completed and installed a mural of Carlos Cortez.
We recently received a request for the "Stop the Budget Cuts" poster created by a friend a couple years back.
You can see the original blog post of the print at,
Biggest Middle Finger
Since the economic crisis continues to effect the allocation of monies in the world, we are making this graphic available for download.
To download an 8.5" x 11" file control+click: Download file
My friend Sean Stewart ran a bookstore in San Francisco for a couple years called Babylon Falling. He's since moved to NYC, and is hard at work on a new book, On The Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. (due out on PM Press in the Fall)
He's currently got a great tumblr/website up HERE. It's a stroll through political counter-culture, from the 60s to the present. The image to the left I pulled off his site, it's from the 1969 Harvard Student Strike.
The install for the Watershed show in Milwaukee is getting closer to completion. Six days to go.. Here are some photos of the progress. The show opens Friday, January 28th 5:00-8:00 if you're in the Milwaukee area.
(foreground) "The Future of Farming" (aquaponic sculpture/fish-vegetable farm system by Sweet Water Organics.)
Regular viewers of the Justseeds blog will remember Nicolas' essay on the censorship of street artist Blu's mural, a short while back. Recently a group calling itself LA RAW have executed a few actions against the LAMoCA, and director Jeffrey Deitch. They recently handed out the above condoms, and had this to say, on ArtInfo.com:
The action at the Fowler Museum consisted of passing out labeled "Deitch" condoms which said "Don't be Blu, Practice Safe Art" to people prior to them entering a panel discussion titled "How Does Street Art Humanize Cities?" The use of the condom as a product that speaks of how the artwork of an artist that challenges the current state of affairs is handled, and how the message of an artwork can be watered down in order to be deemed appropriate for the public by various institutions and/or individuals. The purpose of this action was to provoke a dialogue for those attending the panel, keeping the issue from being safely tucked away without addressing the dangers of impeding freedom of expression.
Affinities has a new issue out, and they used my art ('the idea') for their cover image. Affinities is a web-based journal that strives to: "strengthen the links that exist between academic, activist, and artistic communities, and to aid in the creation of new links wherever possible. We are therefore committed to publishing both academic and activist writing, as well as other forms of radical cultural production."
This issues has a host of articles that I think would be interesting to any Justseeds blog followers. Check it out here!
Busy days in Milwaukee. Here are a few install photos of the Watershed exhibition that opens in Milwaukee on Friday, January 28th at the Union Art Gallery at UWM (same space that Justseeds created an installation at in 2008.) Watershed: Art, Activism, and Community Engagement addresses the shifting ecological and political dimensions of water. This project, organized by Nicolas Lampert and Raoul Deal brings together artists, scientists, and urban farmers and uses art as a form of activism to comment on water issues in Milwaukee and the Great Lakes Basin, and their impact on the world at large. It tackles issues such as water shortages, notions of abundance, water privatization, invasive species, industrial pollution, and water as a human right.
In February 2009, the Pentagon decided to lift the two-decade long ban on photographs of flag-draped coffins. Somewhere down the line the military brass reasoned (or was forced to admit) that it was contradictory to champion “Operation Iraqi Freedom” while denying the media the freedom to publish images of soldiers returning home in caskets. Apparently, Jeffrey Deitch missed the memo that censoring anti-war images of coffins is something that democratic societies do not take kindly to.
4th Avenue, NYC.
This is a terrible cellphone picture.
I took it cos I like the interrogation and think it is incomplete and should end with "...the way they are?"
Four years ago in 2007, around this time, I could hardly muster the energy to do anything except lay in bed. I was in one of the lowest and most difficult points in my life. Two moments collided that Christmas. My relationship of seven years had ended and my beloved was in another state - so we were in anguish in opposite parts of the country. My dear cousin of only 20 years old died that holiday as well, he had fallen from a mountain he was climbing. I could not stop crying, and the holidays made it worst.
Since then, every time the winter holidays come around I brace myself for some hard moments.
As the year wraps up, I've been speding time organizing the loose ends that will help me have a more simpler 2011. I'm deleting and throwing out loads of stuff, deleting emails that I wont respond to, eliminating megabytes of photos, deleting files, giving away loads of books, and most importantly, mentally preparing myself for better ways to juggle my art making that won't kill me or cause me a nervous breakdown.
The stress and fast-paced work life I endured is 2010 is unsustainable. I learned the hard way, like so many others. I was making a mental count of how many days in a row I was bouncing from city to city, and what I remember most was how tired I was. It's not like I got to a new city and went to cool museums, nope - its more like I would board a flight, with 2-3 hours sleep, get a to a city, lecture, work, eat on the go, and then sleep for another few hours to do another day of rapid work. That's not a good quality of life, that's a lack of life/work balance.
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.
I was visiting some of my old haunts in Nashville last week, and walked upon this old, weathered People's History poster of Emma Goldman that I must have put up in 2002-3! Most of the wording has weathered away, but I love that her face is still sternly watching traffic...
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.
First the David Wojnarowicz removal from the Smithsonian and now...
Street artist Blu (we've cross-linked to some of his graffiti animations in the past) was finishing up a mural on the side of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Geffen Contemporary satellite in Los Angeles, commissioned by MOCA's new director Jeffrey Deitch, when Deitch then ordered it whitewashed due to concerns of offending Japanese American veterans and/or a nearby VA office. The mural depicted coffins covered in dollar bills, similar to the famous image of coffins returning from Vietnam covered in flags, and was made in conjunction with a new exhibit about street art. Deitch was appointed director of MOCA this year. He has run the Deitch Projects in New York, and is the biggest holder of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and also reps Chris Johanson, Clare Rojas, Barry McGee and Swoon (amongst others).
A friend just forwarded me this link to a design called Looptagger. Some folks figured out a really clever and quick way to spray stencils. Check their How-To on their site, Looptaggr
This is an image that I created for the November 2010 "Operation Exposure-War is Trauma" collaboration between Justseeds and Iraq Veterans Against the War." The project involved Justseeds artists creating images for the IVAW campaign "Operation Recovery" to stop the redeployment of traumatized soldiers.
I got inspired to make text like this when a garbage truck passed me recently.
NYC trash hauling vehicles are hand painted and the lettering styles have always interested me. I took on the style of a baseball uniform since it has multiple cultural references in the USA. The concept of rooting for a team seems to me like such a typical relationship to war. One team must lose, the cost is the devastation of societies and the loss of life. Rooting for GI Resistance to redeployment is supporting the preservation of life, of both teams.
It can also be interpreted as a riff off of the military use of sports events and programs in recruitment leads. The numerous commercials during sports games, that offer adventure and education, is astounding.
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.
—A book release party for Celebrate People's History! The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution.
—Release of the brand-new National Prisoners Reform Association CPH poster.
—Silk-screen station for printing your own t-shirts and posters!
—Screening of the film "3,000 Years and Life," the documentary about the Walpole Prison uprising.
—snacks and drinks!
The event is a benefit for the LPC Movie Projector Fund.
Here are some posters that I have never had online because I didn't have an elctronic file or jpeg. Recently we have been working on documenting all the prints and posters we have produced in the past ten years. Our good friend Lincoln Cushing helped us photograph 450 images, posters Melanie and I have made as well as others by artists like Favianna Rodriguez, Juan R. Fuentes, Malaquias Montoya, Emory Douglas and Barbara Carrasco. I have spent numerous hours over the past week cropping and rotating images and cataloging them in a database. I wanted to share some of the prints I am super excited to have documented and available.
The poster above was made for some friends who worked at Comite Pro-Derechos de Vivienda San Pedro for May Day in 2002.This was one of the first posters I made for an organization and thought it was really cool that all the text was in Spanish.
This is a print I made in 2001 to commemorate the student massacre at Tlatelolco, Mexico in 1968. The printing is very sloppy, but I was still learning back then. I remember having a really hard time printing this and having a friend come over and take the squeegee from me and show me what I was doing wrong. I think I came up with the text at the bottom and the photo of the students in confrontation with the military came from a book about the massacre.
For the final John Heartfield cover installment, I've collected a smattering of covers he's done for a bunch of different publishers. Like I said at the beginning, I think his work for the magazine AIZ is the most well known of his work, so I'm going to skip those publication covers, and a handful of covers he did based on montages from AIZ. To the right is a Heartfield cover most people probably never realized he had designed, Twelve Million Black Voices by Richard Wright, as published in the UK in 1947 by Lindsay Drummond.
Only one day left!!!! Here's some more very cool art at the Heal Dara G art auction (Click on the artist name to go to auction page):
Here's part 2 of the Signs of Change sneek peek! Check out the book HERE.
Here's some more very cool art at the Heal Dara G art auction (Click on the artist name to go to auction page):
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...
Here's some more very cool art at the Heal Dara G art auction (Click on the artist name to go to auction page):
Swoon, Irina, block print on mylar with coffee, hand painting (image to the left)
Here's some more very cool art at the Heal Dara G art auction (Click on the artist name to go to auction page):
Erik Ruin, Diggers, paper-cut, 11″x17″ (to the right)
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!
The folks at the Rozbrat squat in Poznan, Poland have put up another great guerrilla billboard. (For some background, go HERE or HERE.) This one reads: "Olympics Instead of Bread—New Stadium: 700 million zloty—Housing: Free"
As many of you know, my partner, girlfriend, collaborator, and generally better half, Dara Greenwald, was diagnosed with cancer during the summer, and we've been struggling to kick it for the past 4 months. This has put her under great financial strain, and friends have pulled together an amazing art auction to help carry the load. The auction has almost 200 items from over 150 people, many of which are amazing, and would be of great interest to fans of Justseeds. You can go to the auction HERE and you can jump straight to the print section HERE. And click below to get a peek at some of the great art available!!!
This week we'll look at some John Heartfield designed covers he did for publishers other than Malik-Verlag. The covers here are from two other Berlin publishing houses: Verlag für Literatur und Politik and Neuer Deutscher Verlag. The image to the left is a cover Heartfield did for Fjodor Gladkow's Zement (Verlag für Literatur und Politik, 1927), and is a testament to his ability to make an effective design with only the simplest elements.
Two videos passed along to me by my band mate Hilary who is the Executive Director of Girls Rock! RI. She has taught classes to youth on media literacy which are totally amazing, and in her quest she found these two videos which she passed on to me, which I would like to critique.
You'll have to search these out online, since I can't embed them.
This just landed in my inbox, another David Bacon story with phenomenal images of people at work (check out more from David HERE):
The People of Watsonville 1—Picking the Colonizers' Vegetable
By David Bacon
Watsonville, CA 11/19/10
The California coast, from Davenport south through Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Castroville, is brussels sprouts country. Most of this vegetable in north America comes from these fields, although a growing harvest now takes place in Baja California, in northern Mexico.
In both California and Baja California, the vast majority of the people who harvest brussels sprouts, like those who pick other crops, are Mexican. In Baja they're migrants from the states of southern Mexico. In California, they're immigrant workers who've crossed the border to labor in these fields. On a cold November day, this crew of Mexican migrant workers picks brussels sprouts on a ranch outside of Watsonville.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then as farce. I forget who said that, but the events unfolding in West Virginia at the site of the largest armed labor conflict in U.S. history appear to be both tragic AND farcical. Massey Energy, the same coal conglomerate responsible for the accident earlier this year that killed 29 people after a gas explosion in another West Virginia mine, has begun operations to stripmine the coal from Blair Mountain.
The clash between mineworkers and coal company agents at Blair Mountain in 1921 resulted in the suppression of a campaign for union representation, but thrust the Stygian conditions mineworkers faced into national attention. It was a step on the road in the volcanic struggle fought in the first half of the last century to claw back some equity from the titans of industry. The popular knowledge of this history has more or less bled from the public consciousness by now, however, making it possible for the National Park Service to delist the Blair Mountain site, effectively giving Massey the go-ahead. The bulldozers are already at work.
Part two of the Heartfield Sinclair covers!
Now we're up to 1928, in which Malik Verlag published three separate Upton Sinclair books: Die Goldne Kette (with a George Grosz drawing laid on top of a grid of images, below left), Jimmie Higgins (nice hand cut lettering, above), and Samuel der Suchende (below right).
Just got this from a friend in Poland. Folks connected to Rozbrat, the longest running squat in the country (in Poznan), took some billboard real estate for their own use. The message roughly translates to: "Rozbrat is Here to Stay! Sołacz for them is just another business." Sołacz is the area Rozbrat is located in, and the squat is under threat of eviction because of development plans for the neighborhood.
DARE, a rad grassroots organization in RI seeks art for their cover for their 25th Anniversary Adbook.
"Can you believe DARE has been fighting the man or 25 years??? During our MLK Day Civil Rights Celebration we will kick off the year by giving a $100 prize (and lots of love, props, etc.) to the artist who designs this commemorative poster. We will also use the poster as the cover of our 25th Anniversary Adbook, which will be launched at our big gala event in September. Please spread the word and/or break out your skills! You might just hang on the walls at DARE, beside Malcolm, Che, and some other goodies."
Direct Action for Rights and Equality
340 Lockwood Street
Providence, RI 02907
Justseeds is one of a crew of supporters for the upcoming Imaging Apartheid Poster Project. Please check out the call below, and submit poster designs!
Call for Submissions
As the global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation continues to grow, we are calling on graphic designers and artists to submit their work to IMAGING APARTHEID: the Poster Project for Palestine.
Twenty-one posters will be selected from submissions collected from around the world to be either silk-screen or offset printed for exhibition in Montreal, and distribution internationally. Works will be selected by a jury of artists, graphic designers and social justice activists.
Street level art work and design has consistently played a critical role within international solidarity movements throughout the world: from the powerful poster art published by the Black Panthers in the late 1960s; to the striking design work created by artists inspired by the Africa National Congress (ANC) and the global movement against apartheid in South Africa; to poster art created to support the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Mary put up a short video last week, but here are a couple photos Shaun took of the exhibition/window display at Pittsburgh's Future Tenant Art Space that they installed of Celebrate People's History posters to announce the release of the new book: Celebrate People's History! The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution. You can get the book HERE.
One of the main authors Malik-Verlag published was Upton Sinclair, and Heartfield designed ALL of Sinclair's covers. This week will do part one of Sinclair, next week the rest. Let's start chronologically: In 1921 Sinclair's 100% was published with a pretty clean and straightforward cover (below left). In 1924 it was reprinted with a new cover design, with the same city street image brought to bleed and a more adventurous and effective type treatment (below right). Then in 1928 a completely different cover was produced with a montage and the nice effect of the leg kicking into the frame. This cover also shows an interesting Malik/Hearfield design device, which is the printing of the edition (in this case 50,000 copies) in handwriting on the cover (above right and below). You can also see the spine peeking out, which consists of a tall pile of thin horizontal lines and the title written horizontally. This was the standard style for many of the Sinclair books. The back cover of this edition (and the 1924 edition) is simply a photo of a Klan meeting.
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.
Here's the next batch of Heartsfield's Malik-Verlag covers. The one to the right is a favorite, Franz Carl Weiskopf's Umsteigen ins 21. Jahrhundert: Episoden von einer Reise durch die Sowjetunion. The light on the train is almost otherworldly, and the stencil typography seems to date it as modernist, but is so effective and was so copied by designers in the 70s and 80s that it now reads as timeless.
Check out this great video by Callie Mower of the install of a Celebrate People's History poster show in the window and nook of Future Tenant in Downtown Pittsburgh!
Stay tuned for the book, for sale on Justseeds this Thursday, and see the show in person if you are in Pittsburgh through the end of the year
819 Penn Avenue
In celebration of the release of Celebrate People's History! The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution, the Feminist Press and Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn have organized a week long celebration of people's history through film.
Beginning November 3rd (tonight), the series of films centered on People's Revolution kicks off at Spectacle Theater. 15 films that engage with revolutionary people, movements, and actions from all over the world and connect to people's history posters from the ongoing series and collected in the new book.
Check out www.spectacletheater.com for more info, and the schedule is below:
Wed., Nov. 3
The Murder of Fred Hampton – Howard Alk, (1971), [Black Panthers], 7pm
Germany in Autumn – various, (1978), [Red Army Faction], 9:20pm
Thur., Nov. 4
Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria – Victor Silverman, (2005), 7pm
Fast Trip, Long Drop - Greg Bordowitz, (1993) [ACT UP]
Sacco and Vanzetti – Giuliano Montaldo, (1971), 9:20pm
Friends in Melbourne have been organizing against anti-low income housing policies in Melbourne, and produced this new video in lead up to a big protest on Nov. 12:
It's great to see that people involved in political poster making groups in the 1960s and 1970s and slowly starting to digitize their archives and get them up on-line. The Poster Workshop, based in Camden, London and started in 1968, has recently just done that. It is clear that they were inspired by the Atelier Populaires in France during May 68, as almost all of the posters are bold and simple like the French designs, if a bit less consistent in design and illustration skills. The Poster Workshop was an open platform for lots of groups to come and print their political posters, like a walk-in participatory screen print shop. Anyway, you can read more about on their archive site HERE. And there are more examples of posters below...
Sometime in the early 1990s I was introduced to the photomontages of John Heartfield. The stark black and white collage work meshed well with my punk aesthetic tastes at the time, and many bits and pieces of Heartfield were showing up on record covers, Discharge's Never Again being one of the most high-profile examples. I didn't know at the time that almost of the collages I had seen were actually parts of covers for the German magazine AIZ. Over the years I picked up a couple books about Heartfield, they were printed in black and white, were in German, and for the most part they focused on his work for AIZ, with a handful of images of other collages, and a couple book covers here and there. It wasn't until relatively recently that I learned that Heartfield designed almost the entire run of covers for a small Left-wing German publishing house named Malik-Verlag. Turns out that Malik-Verlag was actually founded and run by Heartfield's brother Wieland Herzfelde. To the left is the cover for Wieland Herzfelde's Gesellschaft, Künstler und Kommunismus (1921), the image is George Grosz's silhouette.
1) "Paper Politics shows there's more than one way to shout a message" in the Pittsburgh City Paper.
2) "'Paper Politics' exhibit takes ink-stained jabs at topics" in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
3) "SPACE wrapped up in ‘Paper Politics’" in The Globe, Point Park University's newspaper.
I also wanted to share some photos of the exhibition that Shaun and Mary took, it looked great! Click below to see more photos...
I'm not sure what one might call this, its created before it could be considered a reappropriation. The Yes Men, Rainforest Action Network, and Amazon Watch install bunk Chevron advertisements.
From the Chevron Thinks We're Stupid site:
When Chevron rolled out its fancy new "We Agree" ad campaign, we were ready for them. We had only the tiniest fraction of Chevron’s budget — the company typically spends as much as $90 million on an ad campaign like this — but we had the element of surprise, and we were determined to press our advantage.
Before Chevron’s press release announcing the campaign could hit reporters’ inboxes, we sent out a press release of our own... on the company's behalf. The company’s own press release was guaranteed to be full of greenwash. We wanted ours to be a bit more truthful. It featured quotes from real employees, but in this case they were describing a campaign we might actually be inclined to agree with:
"Chevron is making a clean break from the past by taking direct responsibility for our own actions," said Rhonda Zygocki, Chevron vice president of Policy, Government and Public Affairs.
This just in: California billboard correctors have been hard at work again, this time with a round of billboard alterations aimed at defeating Proposition L, an anti-homeless initiative which would ban sitting on the sidewalk. Here's some images of the billboards, and their press release:
ARTISTS SEIZE BILLBOARDS CITYWIDE TO DEFEAT PROP L SAN FRANCISCO, October 26, 2010 – With one week until November elections, a group of artists has liberated six San Francisco billboards and sixty bus shelter ads to defeat Proposition L, a ballot measure that would ban sitting on the sidewalk. The group, calling itself the Sit/Lie Posse, replaced ads throughout the city with handmade prints rendered in the style of corporate advertising. Confronting the backers of the proposition, the posse lavished attention on sites around City Hall, the Chronicle, the Haight-Ashbury district and many other neighborhoods.
Lincoln Cushing has just published another great article on the history of social movement printing. This time he sets his sights on the Gestetner machine, an early photocopy technology that lies somewhere between offset and mimeograph, and lives on today in the risograph machines which have recently become more popular. His article, Cranking It Out, Old-School Style: Art of the Gestetner, is well worth the read, and an short excerpt is below:
Every society has its pecking order, and printing is no exception. Equipment matters. At the top of the heap are the big presses—the giant Goss web machines that churn out daily newspapers, the high-speed Solna sheetfeds for beautiful color posters, the elegant Heidelberg Windmill letterpresses for art prints. At the bottom are the lowly duplicators—not even called presses—that are the Volkswagen Bugs of the reproduction world. People of a certain age might remember the two offset workhorses of this stratum, the A.B. Dick 360 and the Multilith 1250. But even below these machines, at the very dark recesses of the reproduction food chain, lie the spirit duplicators and mimeographs. . . .
Among the first to experiment with the artistic possibilities of these machines was the Communication Company (Com/Co, or CC), founded in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district by Chester Anderson and Claude Hayward in January 1967. This was the epicenter of the new counterculture, and every movement needs a medium. . . .
Read the rest of the article, and check out a dozen other images, on the AIGA website HERE. The image to the left is “My name is Assata Shakur and I am a revolutionary—a Black revolutionary” by Miranda Bergman, 1977, printed by Jane Norling. (courtesy Jane Norling)
A couple years back I was checking out a Robert Capa exhibition at the International Center for Photography in NYC and they had a small backroom with an auxiliary exhibition of publications produced in Spain during the Civil War/Revolution in 1936-39. The material was extremely interesting and a great insight into modernist design in Spain, and the amount of resources thrown toward propaganda in a time of scarcity. It was a small portion of a much larger show entitled Revistas y Guerra 1936-39, originating at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Catalunya. There was a very expensive exhibition catalog produced for the original show, but it was shrink-wrapped, and I was afraid to spend the money. I eventually went back and got it, and I was definitely not disappointed! It's almost 400 pages of publication covers and design, some of the most interesting and innovative illustration, montage, and in particular typography. Now, for those that can't find or afford the book, there's a great website that catalogs many of the highlights of the exhibit, check it out HERE. The images in this entry are just a small sampling of what's on the site, which itself is only a small sampling of what is in the print catalog. There is more information about the magazines on the website.
Here's part two of the Futurist books. Marinetti's books in particular get more violent and aggressive in this period, with references to bombs, words exploding across the page, etc. There are also two books by Fortunato Depero, who became involved in Futurism around 1914, but became one of it's most acclaimed adherents, developing stage sets, costumes, furniture, toys, and of course books in a Futurist style. The book on the left is one of my favorites: Fortunato Depero, Liriche radiofoniche [Radio opera] (Milano: Morreale, 1934). Titles are very roughly translated in the [brackets].
Bronya and Andy Galef Center for Fine Arts
9045 Lincoln Blvd 1st Fl
Kim Abeles, Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Frau Fiber, Garnet Hertz, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, Seth Kinmont, Liza Lou, David Prince, Mark Newport, Alyce Santoro, Shada/Jahn (Steve Shada and Marisa Jahn), Eddo Stern.
Inspired by the cultural currents represented in the popular magazines MAKE and CRAFT published out of Northern California, MAKE:CRAFT includes contemporary artists who combine handmaking and building techniques to create, engineer and hack unique, mostly functional devices, objects, machines and accessories; making either a sociopolitical statement, creating new markets for individual styled products, or creating inventive ways to experience the tactile world, non-virtual, the “real.”
The exhibition is guest curated by Patricia Watts, founder and west coast curator of ecoartspace, who feels that recent trends in the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) movement of making and crafting have empowered contemporary artists and designers to create more socially relevant work that supports sustainable communities.
If you're in New York City on Thursday, I'll be presenting on behalf of the Howling Mob Society as part of Not An Alternative's Open Sourcing the City: Invited and Uninvited Participation series. I'm excited to be joining Jim Costanzo (Aaron Burr Society) and Gregory Sholette, who will be speaking about REPOHistory (which was highly influential to myself and the Mob project!). Read a more in-depth description of the themes we'll be discussing here.
Where: The Change You Want To See Gallery, 84 Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
When: Thursday, October 14 at 7:30pm
Now lets take a quick stop over in Italy. When I was in Rome a couple years back for an exhibition (at the excellent House of Love and Dissent), I picked up a cool exhibition catalog for a 2006 show called The Book as a Work of Art at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome. It contains a great collection of avant-garde books, including 21 Futurist books produced over two decades (1911-1934), many of which I had never seen before. Although way out of my depth in both design and art history knowledge, I wanted to share these Futurist covers. Many Italian Futurists yoked themselves to Fascism after World War I, but I am unsure of exactly who did and didn't outside of Marinetti's enthusiastic support for Mussolini (and Mussolini's general disregard for both the Futurists and art in general). I'm going to (somewhat arbitrarily) split these covers up into early Futurist and post-WWI Futurist. By today's standards, some of them look quite staid, but I believe for the time and the printing method (set type), the tilted lines of type, overprinting, and multiple typefaces were pretty innovative. Enjoy part one!
(ps. It is the insides of some of these books that are truly breathtaking, but as this is a blog about covers, I'll stick to the outsides for now...)
Planeta o Muerte! Venceremos! -Together We Will Save the World
Last Spring tens of thousands of people from over 150 nations traveled to the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Evo Morales welcomed the crowd with fervent declaration of "Planeta o Muerte" (Planet or Death). Meanwhile in Oakland I hungrily read reports of the gathering of people declaring their power from the Global South.
I took these words as a call to action. I had to do everything I could to take care of this planet, our mother, not out of some New Age adaptation of indigenous worldview but centered around an understanding that all of us, on this planet, our mother, are in relationship to each other. Not only in relationship to all the people in the world but also in an interdependent relationship that connects us as humans to the her whole network of ecosystems.
Let's stay in France this week, and check out the covers of Action, the newspaper developed by the Comités d' Action during May 68. The first Comités were developed as organizational bodies by the striking students of the Sorbonne, but the form spread to other universities, high schools, and even a few factories. Action first appeared on May 7th, and was a weekly paper for the first three issues, but then became daily (on weekdays) for the month of June (when a lot of the action of the May protests was peaking), then settled back into a weekly. Although the covers are neither as graphically efficient or visually compelling as the best of the posters of the same period, they are still interesting, with some nice use of illustrations. Action introduced a new generation of illustrators, including Michel Quarez (who did the cars on #30 to the left), Jean-Marc Reiser, and Georges Wolinski.
Here's the 2011 calendar from the Certain Days Collective in Montreal!
This year's calendar includes artwork and writing by Josh MacPhee, Alvaro Luna Hernandez, Marilyn Buck, Favianna Rodriquez, Daniel McGowan, Santiago Armengod, Akili Castlin, Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson, Herman Wallace, Jackie Sumell, Jaan Laaman, and Molly Fair. I am very honored that they used my print "Words Break Down Walls" for the front cover. Also included is the work of Ray Luc Levasseur, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, Sundiata Acoli, Leonard Peltier, Melanie Cervantes, Safiya Bukhari, David Gilbert and Dave Ron.
From the Certain Days website:
"The calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal and Toronto, and three political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons in New York State and California: David Gilbert, Robert Seth Hayes and Herman Bell. The initial project was suggested by Herman, and has been shaped throughout the process by all of our ideas, discussions, and analysis. All of the members of the outside collective are involved in day-to-day organizing work other than the calendar, on issues ranging from refugee and immigrant solidarity to community media to prisoner justice. We work from an anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, feminist, queer and trans positive position."
I've really been enjoying Icky's process posts on his excellent blog, Blackout Print, and I thought that I'd make one for this blog here. I use a variety of techniques to make my prints, but the method shown here is probably the one I use most. The print shown in production here is called "There is No Way", and is based on a slogan/phrase I wrote down years ago, in combination with a bunch of ideas that have been lurking in my sketchbooks for similar stretches of time. The print is available in the Justseeds store.
Here's the final installment (for now), on Polish poster artist and designer Roman Cieslewicz. In 1968 Cieslewicz was invited to design the cover style for a new line of philosophy, history, and politics books edited by Christian Bourgios. He brought his bold graphic style to the "10/18" series, using flat fields of color to render stylized portraits of the authors. The style is reminiscent of both Cuban poster artists working a little earlier in the 1960s, and the Chicano artist Rupert García (who developed his similar style, likely from the same influences, half way across the globe. His covers of Ho Chi Minh and Marx (sorry I wasn't able to track down color images) are particularly resonant with García's work.
Part two on Polish poster artist and designer Roman Cieslewicz. Before leaving for Paris, Cieslewicz was the art director for the Polish cultural magazine Ty i Ja (You and I). He did most (maybe all?) of the covers between 1960 and 1963, then sporadic covers after that into the 1970s. His covers on the early issues are almost all straight photo-montages with humor or a sense of the unreal created by a playful use of size and relation between elements. In the later issues he brings in a lot more illustrative elements, and flat uses of color, making them look for poster-like.
Last week I ran a quick-n'-dirty set of the posters from our Resourced portfolio for the "Dig It! (But Not Like That)" pan-Appalachian, resource-extraction-themed exhibition and discussion at Artist Image Resource in Pittsburgh. Working with available inks (brown is easy to make!) on newsprint, I layered these on the wall as soon as they were dry, leaving a pile on the floor for people to take (and encouraging them to pull them off the wall as well). Mary ran some more prints the night of the show, and the pile kept getting snatched up! Thanks to Jude Vachon and Angela Wiley for organizing! See more images of the show here.
Let's take a quick break from US publications and skip over to Europe. A couple years back I discovered the Polish poster artist and designer Roman Cieslewicz. Although well known within design circles, I think he is pretty obscure to most political artists and poster-makers under 40. He had a huge influence on European design when he moved to Paris in the 1960s, including in his role as designer for the arts magazine Opus International. The covers for the publication are fabulous, and most work as both covers and posters (and I believe many were actually converted to/produced as posters). It is said that Cieslewicz' work was very influential on the artists and designers that took part in the Ateliers Populaire in May 68, and especially on those that would go on to form the political design firm Grapus.
Check out this great event about Marcellus Shale, mountaintop removal, and related issues, this Thursday at AIR. Participating artists include Jackie McDowell, Ally Reeves, Shaun Slifer, Mary Tremonte, Jude Vachon, and more...
This event is in conjunction with Paper Politics Pittsburgh, an exhibition of socially-engaged printmaking, on view at Space until October 23.
Discussion including WVA and PA activists at 8, Mining songs at 9, quilts, toys, posters, drawings, info table...
Thursday September 9th
518 Foreland St
Here's another installment of covers of a periodical, this time Radical America, which began as an organ of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1967, and then ran into the late 1980s. A couple years back at the Anarchist Bookfair in San Francisco I found a box of old Radical Americas, 5 for $1 or something like that, and pulled out a big stack based on, I admit, the coolest covers, but also interesting content. Turns out that one of my favorite covers (v12n6, Nov/Dec 1978) features an illustration by Nikki Schumann, adapted from a Boycott Grapes poster from the early 70s. On a second look, I realized this was the same artist whose calendars my parents religiously bought every year and hung in a small frame in our kitchen, changing the image out each month!
I nice new block print from Sam and Katah at Dragon Dance Theatre:
I'm a month late in getting this up here, but the billboard lib group California Department of Corrections (CDC) put up a great new billboard:
Here's their press release:
For Immediate Release
San Francisco, California – July 28, 2010
New Billboard Alterations Salute Israel Following Raid on Gaza Flotilla
On July 28, 2010 a total of nine billboards were apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged throughout San Francisco, including the intersection of Guerrero and 18th Street (see attached photo). Additional billboards were discharged into Polk Gulch, the Tenderloin, South of Market, the Mission, the Haight, Potrero Hill and Bay View/Hunters Point. The nine billboards represent the number of civilian fatalities incurred during Israel’s May 31st raid on a flotilla carrying supplies to Gaza.
The CDC released the billboards to highlight the two month anniversary of the raid. The billboards also cap the month of July which saw a White House reception for Israel’s Prime Minister followed by an Israeli military investigation of the May 31 incident. The White House visit reaffirmed America’s unbreakable bond with Israel, and the army investigation exonerated Israeli soldiers of any wrongdoing during the raid. As a compliment to these public relations activities, the CDC has contributed its specialized services to defend Israeli soldiers facing international scrutiny.
At the beginning of the Iraq war it seemed like a bad idea. At the end of George W. Bush's final term in office it was a bad idea that had fossilized. This bound set of prints is the bookend to Art Hazelwood's Hubris Corpulentus, a series of engravings done in the first year of the war. Into Iraq consists of small linocut prints each one more full of bile than the previous. The subjects range from the battlefield to the media, to the neocons and the Congressional enablers in Washington. Oil Flag, Patriotic Tune, Sacrifice of Liberty, The President in his Labyrinth are some of the titles.
Back at the end of June I was in Toronto, strangely at an academic performance art conference to talk about the Spectres of Liberty project, and their was a table for TDR (The Drama Review), one of the longest running and most political drama/culture journals. They had a pile of old back issues really cheap, with great covers. Plus the contents are great too in the early issues, lots of material on The Living Theatre, Bread & Puppet, Futurism, and guerrilla theatre.
There's a great show up at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland this month, photos of the prisoner/volunteer-run hospice program at Angola State Penitentiary (LA) taken by Lori Waselchuk. Angola has a really high rate of life sentences, the photographer's website states that it's over 85% (!), with so many long term inmates programs where many prisoners are expected to die within walls, programs like this are pretty powerful. This show is only up another week so hurry down if you're in town. Bluesky's website is here, and the website for the show itself is here.
My friend Shawn Gilheeney just sent me a cool install he did with his friend Greg, a pile of signs related to our unending consumption of toxic consumer goods... They remind me a lot of the signs I was painting a couple years back, which can be seen HERE. A video of Shawn painting the signs can be found HERE.
Justseeds Print Exhibit opens Friday August 20 6pm
Birds, birds, birds. From the extinct passenger pigeon to the mysterious crow to the avian flu, birds hold a unique place in our urban imaginary. Justseeds artists depict animals in many of our designs. Birds can represent liberation, autonomy, mutual aid, and cooperation, as well as vermin, predatory behavior, extinction, and ecological collapse. Bird Brains, a collection of handmade prints from the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative, takes on this versatile metaphor.
The Knitting Factory Front Bar Gallery 361 Metropolitan Avenue Brooklyn, NY
Here are some photos of the RESOURCED exhibit at Marketplace Gallery, 40 Broadway Albany, NY.
The NYC Department of Sanitation is threatening to consider ghost bikes as "derelict bikes" that may be subject to removal. If you support preserving these memorials for those killed on city streets, speak out now!
Public Hearing - August 10, 2010 9:30-11:30am
125 Worth Street, Third Floor Board Room (room 330)
Comment on the proposed rules here
The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has published "Proposed Rules Governing the Removal and Disposal of Derelict Bicycles". These changes would add a new section numbered 1-05.1 of Chapter 1, Title 16 of the Rules of the City of New York.
Although the City has made verbal statements published by the press suggesting that they would not remove ghost bikes, the Proposed Rules remain unchanged and continue to state that after 30 days ghost bikes can be removed.
Continue reading to learn more about the City's statements.
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Three days prior, August 6, 1945 the USA dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima. This flyer was made in March 2003 for anti-war demos against the USA invasion of Iraq.
You can read another post from the 63rd anniversary. Let's hope current administrations are willing to avoid such heinous tactics.
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.
Jesse Goldstein, Molly Fair, and I got started on our install of the Resourced portfolio last night. Here's some small deets.
News from the Beehive Collective:
THE TRUE COST OF COAL is finished, printed, and ready for you to enjoy!
It’s true! After 2 ½ years of discussions, feedback, eraser marks, sketches and rough drafts, THE TRUE COST OF COAL is DONE! And we can’t wait to share it with you!
It is hard to describe the mix of emotions we ‘lil bees are feeling after this final push. Somewhere between exuberance and exhaustion, all of it steeped in immeasurable gratitude to all the folks who have helped make this graphic possible. To all the powerful people and places in Appalachia who shared their stories and their struggles with us, to all the folks who have hosted shows and offered up their floors or couches, to everyone who has kicked down money to keep us going, to friends and family who have emotionally supported us through this rollercoaster of a project, and to everyone else who has touched or inspired this graphic in some way- thank you. No doubt, YOU all are what made this project possible!
You can order a poster from the Beehive here.
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.
Major Props to fellow activists and artists for this action they did today in downtown Phoenix. "In a daring act of civil disobedience in downtown Phoenix this evening, at least four activists occupied a tall crane near Central Avenue and Jefferson Street and deployed a huge banner that read "Stop the Hate," with red lines crossing out "287(g)" and "1070," reported the Phoenix New Times.
In their message, the group said some powerful words:
Justseeds RESOURCED Portfolio Launch Reception
Friday, July 30th - 6-10pm
Free and Open to the Public
3410 Penn Ave 2nd Floor
(entrance and bike parking around back via Spring Way)
Justseeds Artists' Cooperative is launching our newest collective portfolio project, RESOURCED, at our new space in Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh) on Friday, July 30. Prints from the portfolio will be on display and portfolios will be for sale. Artwork by Justseeds artists will also be available for sale, as well as books, zines, and Celebrate People's History posters. The event is free and open to the public from 6 to 10pm.
I just released my new art print about Malcolm X, the revolutionary who has most influenced my political framework. His most powerful lesson for me was around self-determination, that is, the belief that we as people of color should be in control of our own destiny. Check it out by clicking here.
A video to take you into the weekend:
"This video was made as a response to the G20 Summit in Toronto June, 2010."
The rest speaks for itself. It was sent to us by a lover of our music who wants to remain anonymous. We are very proud to share this mash-up with you.
- Broken Social Scene
A sped up version of the news cycle, not exactly sure what media like this is supposed to provoke. How does condensing this material repurpose it from news to social commentary?
I've always got so many questions, and looking for folks with answers!
The East Bay Express each year recognizes the baddest, raddest and dopest talent in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year, our collective, the Taller Tupac Amaru was named the Best Political Art Collective in the BEST OF THE BAY 2010 Awards. Together with Jesus Barraza, I, Favianna, co-founded the Taller Tupac Amaru back in 2003. Later we would be joined by the uber talented Melanie Cervantes. The three of us would later join Justseeds and Melanie and Jesus would later form Dignidad Rebelde. Yes, lots of collective art-making going on here. You can hear an in-depth interview by our fellow JS collective member, Dylan Miner, by clicking here.
The article reads:The three can be found making screen-printed political posters in Rodriguez's small backyard studio in Oakland. Their provocative and lively prints are also distributed to nonprofits and grassroots organizations, with themes such as anti-war, police brutality, and immigration.
Just released a new piece on Justseeds. click here to view piece
My interest in food justice and food politics began in 2003 when I read the groundbreaking book by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation. Understanding the fight against large food corporations, agribusiness, and seed monopolies strongly shaped my interest in being a more conscious eater. By choosing local, organic, clear, and fairly-produced foods in my daily diet, I am able to make a choice about who I am and the world I wish to help create.The choices we make around food can lead to social change in many areas, including workers' rights, animal rights, environmental protection, biodiversity, independence from oil, seed freedom, and the empowerment of farmers. By eating local and eating clean, we take power and profits away from global agribusiness and strengthen our local food community. Local food economies are Sustainable food economies.
Leonard Jefferson is a prolific artist who has used his art to provide analysis and commentary concerning Pennsylvania's criminal justice system and his lived experience behind bars. His art is typically small/medium-sized pen & ink drawings of prison settings; he has used his art to do outreach to the general public by sending it to various individuals and organizations, including human-rights groups.
While in London for the Anarchist Bookfair last year I got to meet a smart new street artist named Xylo. In a city where street art had gone just as commercial as NYC, it was refreshing to run into his work, whether it was critiques of the cctv system or "Lost Animal" flyers for endangered frogs. His latest work is a commentary on the recent rash of suicides in the tech manufacturing sector of China (more info HERE), a series of old iphone/ipods with small scale stencils on them. Check out more of his work HERE.
I had a long phone conversation with writer Daniel Fuller this winter - he had driven to town from Philadelphia specifically to find the Howling Mob Society historical markers after hearing about the project at the Creative Time Conference in NY last fall. Daniel recently published a nice article on Afterall Online, even if I take some issue with the Shepard Fairey comparison at the end (his posters were more recently pasted nearby, but I would argue that the motivation behind Fairey's "Obey" brand is of a very different nature than the HMS work). Daniel also wrote captions for all his photos which offer some good further insight as to the placement and orientation of the markers. Feels like this project launched in my home city ages ago, and it's nice to read fresh opinions on it!
A while back we posted about a public art project in St Petersburg Russia. Freya Powell conducted this interview in March 2010 via email with artists in St Petersburg Russia who knew about this project. This is its first publication.
Political printmaker Doug Minkler has a great long-format audio interview up online from KPFA's Against the Grain radio show. I don't know how to embed it here, so head over to KPFA's site and give it a listen or download!! Listen HERE.
Here's part two of the New World Paperbacks series. I've only got a dozen different books on my shelf, but if anyone else out there has some more cool NWP covers, send them my way! At the heart of this post are four covers of Kwame Nkrumah books. The illustration and color choice on Dark Days in Ghana is fabulous, and the simplicity of Challenge of the Congo is great. I used to have a fifth Nkrumah book too, but I must of lent it out and never gotten it back! And finally a couple classics, Marx and Foner.
As the city of Oakland waits with anxiety about the decision the jury will come to and the final outcome of the Johannes Mehserle trail verdict artists are busy at work paying tribute honoring Oscar's memory.
Friends over in the UK have been organizing like mad to call attention to BP's funding of the Tate Modern Museum, and their use of arts funding to put a happy face on their insanely destructive oil extraction activities. It's interesting when artists attempt to organize from within the art world, it seems like the activities of Art Not Oil are some of the highest profile since the Guerilla Girls back in the 80s and 90s. Check out what Art Not Oil has been up to HERE and HERE. Here is a video of their last action, oil-y birds and balloons in the Tate!!
The next couple weeks entries will be focused on the covers of New World Paperbacks, which was an imprint of the Communist Party, USA's main publishing house International Publishers. I know that New World was started in the early 1960s in order to make inexpensive copies of Marxist "classics" (i.e. Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc.) available to a wide audience. It seems that by the early 1970s, it had become the place where the CP published what it perceived of as "popular" titles, including those about race and gender in the US and national liberation struggles abroad. Many of the covers are surprisingly hip for the Communist Party, riffing off of both historical context of the book and relatively current design trends at the time (psychedelia, deco, etc.). For example, the cover "A Dangerous Scot" uses a type treatment that dates it to an early 20th century americana, but the design element floating in the center of the page is so odd that it makes the whole thing seem contemporary. Maybe not surprisingly for the CP, none of the books I have attribute a designer for the cover, or a printer for the book—yet most subject the reader to a turgid intro by CP leader Gus Hall, which clearly lets us know which part of the labor process of book production is most important! It appears as if many of the New World titles are still available from International Publishers, but New World itself doesn't have a website or any unique identity, and appears to have been absorbed by the larger publishing identity sometime in the 1980s. Enjoy the covers!
We have been having a ball out here in Detroit! Twelve Justseeders are participating in the USSF - conducting workshops, running the live silkscreen table, selling posters, and building alliances. Please make sure to come check out some of the new work by the collective, particularly our new print portfolio, RESOURCED (which you can buy at the USSF for a deal!) and new book, Firebrands. GET ALL THE DETAILS by clicking here.
Justseeds at our table in Cobo Hall!
Dee Dee Halleck of Paper Tiger TV and Deep Dish TV has been working on a mapping/survey of community media projects from around the world. An interesting and useful project, you can check out a cool world map of community media HERE, and learn more HERE.
Bark is an Oregon-based environmental group that is primarily concerned with preserving and protecting the wild areas around Mount Hood. Roger Peet, Pete Yahnke, and I partnered up with Bark and Taring Padi to work on a giant portable print to discuss the proposed Palomar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Pipeline that would run from the Oregon Coast and then through the Mt. Hood national forest (after extraction in Indonesia). We were taken on two Bark field trips, the first was a hike through some pristine forest which the pipeline is proposed to run through. And a second trip, where we got to meet people whose homes and livelihoods would be effected by the pipeline and its construction.
For the upcoming Justseeds portfolio I wanted to keep working with Bark. I called and asked if I could produce some more images for their campaign against the LNG pipeline.
A quick-y this week, here are three covers of Norwegian-published anarchist titles I found in the shelves at my friend Bergsveinn's house in Bergen. The Kropotkin book is hilarious, with psychedelic Kropotkin both holding up a portrait of himself and having an image of himself holding up a portrait of himself flowing out of his forehead! Genius. I apologize for the blur, they were taken in poor light with a crap camera.
So the giant public art project I've been working on for a month with Spectres of Liberty is finally happening today, and there's practically going to be a monsoon in Syracuse tonight! So we're moving the whole operation indoors, and it is still going to be awesome. Details:
Great Central Depot in the Open City
Saturday, June 5, 2010
8:00pm - 10:00pm
XL Project Space
307 S. Clinton St, Syracuse NY
OAXACA. SUPPORT FOR THE MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN COPALA
A call to mobilize in support of the resistance of the Autonomous
Municipality of San Juan Copala next June 8
The Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala has been under siege for
the last 6 months. Armed paramilitaries continue to block roads and
refuse to allow people to come and go freely. As a result of their
actions, there is no electricity, drinking water, or medical attention
in Copala. The children can’t go to school because there are no
teachers. Paramilitaries shoot at townspeople daily, resulting in the
deaths of at least 21 people between last November and May.
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!
Here's the last installment of the Cienfuegos/Costantini covers. Bits and pieces. This Tifft cover is one of the best in my opinion, the graphic is crisp and commanding, and the type treatment is clean and stays out of the way. (Too bad the book itself is almost unreadable!). Also here is one of Costantini's first covers for Cienfuegos, for Alexander Berkman's Russian Tragedy. Great book and stunning cover, the corpse of a Kronstadt soldier says it all. The Wilhelmshaven Revolt is another cover attributed to Jean Pierre Ducret, but has many of the hallmarks of Costantini, including the thick black outlines, folds in the clothing, and extra detail in the faces.
This is old news now, but hell, I'm busy and can't always get this stuff up as it happens! For those that haven't seen it, pretty interesting action last week at the Tate Modern in London related to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. From the press release about the action:
Tate Modern was forced to close down parts of its No Soul For Sale tenth anniversary exhibition on Saturday (15 May) whilst it struggled to remove dozens of dead fish and oil-soaked birds hanging from huge black balloons let loose in the Turbine Hall.
Art activists from LIBERATE TATE, a growing network dedicated to ensuring the museum drop its sponsorship deal with BP (British Petroleum), infiltrated Tate Modern's Turbine Hall and released dozens of helium-filled black balloons with dead animals attached. Crowds of tourists and art lovers gathered to watch the balloons rise up in the air until they filled the ceiling of the Turbine Hall.
More info can be found HERE.
I arrived to Arizona on Sunday evening to do some work around the upcoming May 29th mega march. I came to lend support to National Day Laborer's Organizing Network (NDLON), and to assist the Trail of Dreams as they visited Arizona for the first time. Three weeks ago, the walkers of the Trail of Dreams finished their walk from Miami to D.C. But their journey is not over for them. They are in AZ because this state is ground zero for the failed immigration policy that is happening under the Obama administration, a time where we are witnessing increased detentions, deportations, and even deaths in the hands of ICE. I am grateful that I was invited as an artist. Its inspiring to me when organizations understand the very vital role that art and culture plays in social transformation. NDLON deserves great praise for the work they have done on AltoArizona.com, where they have activated artists, musicians and celebrities to speak out on behalf of human and civil rights.
I made this poster of one of the girls I photographed at the Mother's Day march. She was holding the sign over her head and it made me laugh for a moment because the sign was almost as tall as her. And then I realized that this girl, was learning about her own political voice at an early age. Not because of any fault of her own, but because she was growing up at a time when her family and community members are criminalized simply for wanting a better life. The words I used, "Undocumented. Unafraid" is a term that (I think) was born in the youth movement to get the DREAM Act passed.
"Brown and Proud" shirts now available from Liberation Ink. 50 % of the profits will go to Puente, a grassroots org in Arizona. Melanie Cervantes has donated her design to support this fundraising effort.
I've been meaning to post this for awhile, it's a nice follow-up to Icky's post about Gerd Arntz. There's a great article on the Council Communist Archive website about Frans Seiwert and the Cologne Progressives, with more information about the politics and engagement of artists like Arntz, Siewert, and their peers in the 1920s and 30s, as well as info on their publication A bis Z. Check it out HERE: Art as a Weapon by Martyn Everett. Thanks to Jared over at Garage Collective for the tip.
Take a look at some of these photos of the printing session we had yesterday in rainy Portland. People came over to help jump up and down on the giant block, in the traditional Taring Padi manner... This print is part of a collaboration with the Indonesian print group Taring Padi, addressing issues of natural gas exploitation on both sides of the Pacific. Next up, the Northwest Natural shareholders meeting on the 27th!
Take a look at some of these photos of the printing session we had yesterday in rainy Portland. People came over to help jump up and down on the giant block, in the traditional Taring Padi manner... This print is part of a collaboration with the Indonesian print group Taring Padi, addressing issues of natural gas exploitation on both sides of the Pacific. Next up, the Northwest Natural shareholders meeting on the 27th!
Here's the second installment of Flavio Costantini covers for Cienfuegos Press. The five this week are a series of covers he did, each designed with the letter A (for Anarchy) as a central element. The first cover, Sabate, uses the A almost as an afterthought, and each cover further develops the idea, up through The End of Anarchism, which is simply genius in my opinion, with the A towering over the question mark, framing the setting sun.
We (Olivia Robinson, Josh MacPhee, Joanna Spitzner, & Dara Greenwald) are doing a multi-faceted public art project in Syracuse, NY to engage ideas coming out of the cities' abolitionist past to current social conditions. Please forward this to people in the area.
The project has several components:
1. a storefront gallery workshop which is open every day from 12-6, (XL Project Space, 307 S. Clinton Street)
2. public discussions with local organizers and artists (see schedule below)
3. an outdoor multi-media installation on June 5th (at Lipe Sculpture Park)
PUBLIC PROGRAMS (all events are free & refreshments are served)
Pictures of our opening night event, Open Access, Open Art
Awhile back I got an email out of the blue from the band Born In A Cent, a NY-based political punk band with folk overtones. They were putting out their new record, and asked me to do the cover. So I did! It was a fun project, and the CD is about to come out, at the end of this month. Below is the info about the CD release show, and also images of the cover design.
Born In A Cent
CD Release Show
Bushwick Music Studios, 55 Waterbury St., Brooklyn (L train to Montrose)
May 29, 2010
with Huasipungo, The Last Internationale, Wild Babies, and more TBA!
For years I've been a fan of the look and feel of the Cienfuegos Press books published by Stuart Christie in the UK in the late 1970s-early 1980s. I stumbled on a used copy of the Cienfuegos Anarchist Review #4 in a small bookshop in Washington DC back in 1993, and with its full color Flavio Costantini cover illustration I was hooked. I've since hunted down copies of most of the Cienfuegos publications. I'll start with the Costantini covers, and move on to the other books later on.
Here are the three Cienfuegos Anarchist Review's with Costantini covers, and you can see how issue #2 has just a simple spot illustration, but the full covers of #4 & #5 are dedicated to full color paintings of anarchist history. The cover of The Anarchists in London is quite nice with a simple dark brown monotone version of a painting and the title offset in red. The printing on The International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement cover is nice as well, with the black outline image of Bakunin sitting on top of the red newspaper headlines, maximizing the two color cover.
Jared Davidson, designer of the Red Feds people's history poster and engine of the Garage Collective and Beyond Resistance has organized a Celebrate People's History poster show in New Zealand! Check it out:
Justseeds and Beyond Resistance are proud to present 'Celebrate People's History', an exhibition of over 50 international posters documenting radical moments in history.
Since 1998 the Celebrate People's History Project has produced an amazing array of political posters by different artists from around the world, each highlighting a historical example of social struggle. Here in New Zealand for the first time is the complete series, celebrating important acts of resistance by both individuals and collective movements who have fought tirelessly for social justice. From the Spanish Revolution to feminist labour organisers, indigenous movements to environmental sustainability, protests against racism to the Korean Peasant's League — Celebrate People's History canvases global movements in collaboration with a global network of artists.
Arizona is on the verge of enacting the most anti-immigrant legislation the country has seen in a generation, SB 1070. This is a bill which apparently mandates racial profiling. This bill allows Arizona law enforcement stop and search any person that they have “probable suspicion” may be “illegal”. SB 1070 is quite literally intended to terrorize immigrant families and force “self deportation”.
We are hopeful Governor Brewer will consult with her legal counsel, issue a veto, and spare Arizona the expense of defending an unconstitutional, unwise, and odious bill in federal courts. But we will not rely solely on hope. We urge all artists who are opponents of this bill to TAKE ACTION and create a IMAGE. The images will be used as part of our online viral campaign for ALTO ARIZONA. Selected images will eventually be published as prints to generate revenue for this campaign with consent of the artist.
Create an image that shows your opposition to SB 1070. Keep in mind the effect that this bill will have on immigrants if fully enforced.
Make sure to include the title of the bill in the work which is: “SB 1070”.
Send all submissions and questions to
orders (at) hechoconganas.com
Image size must be 18x24 inches with a 1/2 inch border all the way around.
The reason for these dimensions is because if in the future your image is chosen to be published the image is ready to go.
Here's some flicks that I took of Chris Stain & Leon Reid IV, before I jumped on the bus for NYC. The installation opens today, Saturday, May 8th. The deets on my post from yesterday.
Saturday, May 8, 7-9pm
Creative Alliance at The Patterson
3134 Eastern Ave
As every schoolchild knows, John Henry was a giant of a man, who wielded a 20 pound hammer as though it were nothing, and won an epic contest against a steam engine, only to die on the spot. Henry was a slave, or former slave, and the battle that cost him his life is said to have taken place in Talcott, West Virginia on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. Built from found materials by Leon Reid IV, a statue of John Henry towers over this Main Gallery installation, amidst Hoovertown shacks made of wooden pallets and railroad ties made of cardboard. Giant stenciled murals by Chris Stain form a backdrop melding WPA-era social realism and urban graffiti, expanding on the themes of John Henry’s story—struggle and pride, race and dislocation in the face of technological and economic change. In this way, their installation serves as an ideal introduction to Urban/Appalachia, Creative Alliance’s series examining the long and complicated relationship between Baltimore and Appalachia, from past generations seeking work in city steel mills, to a generation today shipped to prisons in the mountains.
There is an interview some Justseeds members did awhile back with art blog, Arrested Motion. Check it out at: Arrested Motion:Justseeds Interview.
Justseeds are one of the leading and most prolific artist-run radical art collectives at work today and count an amazing array of artists such as Swoon, Chris Stain, Kevin Caplicki, Meredith Stern and Josh Macphee among their members. AM recently caught up with many of the members of Justseeds and asked them a stack of questions about life creating and distributing a huge amount socially aware art and running one of the finest art resistance blogs in the world. Take some time out to check out their answers and more info about their work...
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
A couple weeks back at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair I was lucky to be able too meet Heinrich Schultze, a long-time activist photographer from Hamburg, Germany. He was displaying and selling prints of many of his amazing images at the fair, including documentation of the Oaxaca Uprising in 2006, Bolivian Indigenous struggles, and the Zapatistas. Beyond the struggles listed above, he's also got documentation of the anti-nuclear movement in Germany, Kurdistan, and the G-8 protests in 2007. He has a great website of his work, which can be seen HERE.
Recently Swoon, Matt Small, Mike Snell (of Black Rat Projects), and RJ Rushmore (of vandalog.com) traveled to Kabwe, Zambia to work with students at the Robert Shitima School. They were there thanks to Zamcog, an organization in Zambia creating sustainable change through education. The school is a non-denominational facility run by The Brothers of the Sacred Heart where orphans and children living in the shantytown of Makululu (one of the worlds largest slums) can get free k-9 schooling.
For three days, Matt Small and Swoon led workshops for all 200+ students at the school. Activities ranged from printmaking with lino-blocks to portrait painting to making collages with colored paper.
Part 3 (and final part for now) of the covers of the Liberation Support Movement. This Sowing the First Harvest cover is quite nice, a striking block print (attributed to Yukari Ochiai) is printed in dark brown ink on a light yellow cover, with the simple sans serif orange type pulling it together.
A few weeks ago I attended the Orphan Film Symposium and was blown away by a screening of an episode of a series called The Orson Welles Sketch Book. Made for BBC television in 1955, Orson Welles’ Sketch Book was a series of six weekly fifteen-minute episodes in the form of intimate monologues augmented by Welles’ own illustrations from his sketchbook. I don't want to give it all away, but here Welles addresses the issues of racism, government surveillance, police brutality, and politics of border crossing and identification. His delivery and performance are incredible. Here it is in two parts:
For the month of May, the Lucy Parsons Center in Boston is holding a Mexico film series and print sale: Mexican Revolutionary Art for the 21st Century
Beautiful, politically themed woodblock prints from the ASARO artist
collective from Oaxaca, Mexico, will be for sale at the Lucy Parsons Center for the month of May. ASARO (La Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca /
the Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca), is a collective of young Mexican artists responding to Mexico’s current political turmoil. ASARO’s remarkable woodblock prints continue Mexico’s long tradition of popular revolutionary art.
All proceeds of the sale of the prints will go to the ASARO collective in Oaxaca.
Wednesday May 5, 6:30pm
Boston Premier of the Zapatista film Corazón del Tiempo/ Heart of Time (2008) film shows at 7:15
Art Opening (with food & wine with donation) at 6:30
New Mural on top of the RDAC BX rooftop, painted by DASIC.
You can catch a good glimpse of it by taking the Bruckner Expressway through the South Bronx, look West!
Kyle Goen, an artist in the Paper Politics book and show, has a closing party coming up on May 4th in NYC for his exhibition, The Voice That Arms Itself To Be Heard. Details below:
Protests in Mexico City to demand Justice for Caravan in Oaxaca and to end the Para-military attacks on Autonomous indigenous communities.
Yesterday at 4:00pm we gathered downtown Mexico City to demand Justice for the murders of Beatriz Alberta Cariño Trujillo and Tyri Antero Jaakkola, assure the immediate presentation of our disappeared comrades and an end to the para-militarization of Mexico. The following pictures are what went on there.
Here's some pictures from the ongoing Large Print Project in Portland. Icky, Pete and Roger have begun carving a 3' x 10' block of lino to make a counterpart to the Taring Padi print that Roger brought back from Indonesia a couple months ago.
Justseeds is in the middle of an ambitious project and needs your help. We are producing our second handmade portfolio: Resourced. Resourced is a collection of handmade prints tackling issues of climate change, resource extraction, and environmental justice. It follows our 2008 portfolio: Voices From Outside: Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex. At a time when the world community is in dialogue about how to handle the human impact on the planet, this new project will inject fresh visual ideas into the conversation. We are in need of financial and material support to actualize this project.
Please read the following letter for instructions on how you can donate, or pre-purchase a portfolio. We are also in need of website design assistance. If you are capable of offering any labor or services please email us:
blog (at) justseeds.org
We got an email a couple weeks back from Eric García, a Chicano activist printmaker whose work really resonates with a lot of what we've been doing with Justseeds. He's also a painter and political cartoonist who explores North American history from the perspective of the underdogs. His site is South Valley Art, and you can check out more of his print work, his comics HERE, and his paintings HERE. The print to the right is a great take on Carlos Cortéz, and click below for a couple more images...
Part two of the covers from the LSM Information Network, some of these are less graphically powerful than last weeks, but there are still a couple gems:
Our friends in Japan have spent months protesting the purchase of Miyashita Park in Tokyo by Nike, who intend to turn the park, now a home for many of Tokyo's homeless, it into a giant advertisement for their brand. Info about the struggle is hard to get in English, but there are a number of sites with bits and pieces, as well as tons of photos of great protest art and cultural interventions. The main protest site in HERE, and there are other photos and info HERE and HERE. A short 4 minute doc about the struggle can be viewed by clicking below:
Here are some pictures from our Justseeds Earth Day exhibit. We used the occasion to preview 14 new designs for the upcoming Justseeds 2010 Portfolio: Resourced. The one night exhibit was at the Times Up! Brooklyn bike space, 99 S6th St.
My friend Charlie just sent along this follow up to last week's post about creative attacks on H&M for their support of Israeli apartheid. French activists dressed up like IDF soldiers occupied the H&M in downtown Paris. More info HERE and HERE.
Earth day bike ride starting 7pm from Union Square Park South. Dress in green with respect for the planet! Festive musical ride will end at a 8pm, BBQ and dance party at Time’s Up Brooklyn space and East River Bar at 97 South 6th Street, Williamsburg. Bring food to share.
Thursday, April 22, 2010 7pm BIKE RIDE Meet at Union Square Park South, Manhattan. 8pm AFTER-PARTY Justseeds Eco Art Show & BBQ
The Justseeds Collective will also be exhibiting members prints of an ecological & environmental nature following the Times Up Earth Day bicycle ride. Included in the exhibit will be previews of the upcoming Justseeds portfolio Resourced.
Resourced is a portfolio of handmade posters designed by over 30 different artists, including Chris Stain, Gaia, Armsrock, Design Action Collective, and many Justseeds Members. Justseeds is an artists’ owned and operated cooperative that is dedicated to producing socially engaged artworks. Prints and projects can be viewed at Justseeds.org
Go to Times Up for more information on the ride.
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)
Here is a selection of some great photos of modernist memorials to partisans in the former Yugoslavia from Form und Zweck Zwei fanzine. I certainly can't say it better then the German socialist architect who assembled the photo essay:
One of my favorite old school stencil artists, Anton van Dalen, has a (relatively) new website up, which collects a lot of his work, including an incredible selection of his crisp, direct stencil icons. Van Dalen begin stenciling in the Lower East Side of NYC in 1980, where he lived, and built a library of images around what was happening in the neighborhood, including a massive wave of gentrification. He has made some of the most iconic images that have come out of housing struggles in New York in the past 25 years. Check out van Dalen and his website HERE.
This week I want to share part one of a collection of book and pamphlet covers from the Liberation Support Movement (LSM), an organization that primarily did solidarity work with African national liberation movements in the 1970s. Detailed information about LSM is pretty sparce, but it appears they were founded by Don Barnett in the early 1970s, originating in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. At some point in the mid to late 70s LSM moved to Oakland, CA, likely after Barnett's death in 1975. I believe their primary activity was direct financial and material support of liberation movements, but they also had a propaganda wing. Most of the pamphlets and books were published under the "LSM Information Center" imprint, and are either first person accounts of liberation struggles or analysis, largely written by the leadership of those struggles, or Barnett himself.
Friday April 2nd was the opening events of On Brecht at NYC's Brecht Forum. The exhibit is open Monday-Friday from 2 PM – 7 PM until April 28. I hope to get over there and check out Uruguayan printmaker Antonio Frasconi's portraits in the exhibit. I got to view some of Frasconi's incredibly powerful prints a few years back at The Disappeared "Los Desaparecidos", when it was shown at NYC's Museo del Barrio. Check out the "On Brecht" exhibit at:
Brecht Forum 451 West Street (btn Bank & Bethune St New York, NY
I've been way behind on blogging these days, and rad things keep slipping by before I can post them up here. My friend Sam Sebren had a cool art piece about Rachel Corrie's murder in Palestine which accompanied a theatre production about her, but I missed the date and didn't get it up here. But, no matter, I can still post the piece now. It's called "Walls: Price vs. Cost" and it's an 11ft long vinyl banner. The image and Sam's description are below:
Found this behind my farm stand at Union Square a couple of weeks ago.
The poster lists a website at NewMTA.info. I've seen many spoofs of NYC MTA service posters, this one comes at a time when cities are cutting budgets for many social programs and services. NYC is planning on cutting back on many public transportation programs despite its citizens growing need for more economical alternatives.
Hopefully the efforts of engaged designers, such as the creator of the flyer, and everyone interested in public transit can triumph over the austerity measures of State and City government. All it takes is a movement(?)
"Opposition supporters burn a billboard displaying Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev during a rally in the northwestern town of Talas on April 6, 2010. (REUTERS/azattyk.org)"
Hey Justseeds enthusiasts! Breaking news! Justseeds will be moving our headquarters from Portland to Pittsburgh in May. Justseedsers Mary and Shaun will be driving a well-laden U-Haul across the country, leaving behind our beloved Portland basement in the neighbourhood that smells like cookies to a much larger base of operations in the other City of Bridges. We're all excited about the move, and hopefully we'll be able to generate a photo essay or two for the blog, as well as candid shots of the flat files, dehumidifier, and piles of cardboard tubes in scenic locations across the wide continental center. Keep your eyes on this space for further updates....
As a follow-up to the review I recently posted of the book Vietnam Posters (Prestel, 2009), I wanted to share what I thought was one of the most interesting aspects of the posters from Vietnam. Outside of Ho Chi Minh, the most replicated visual trope in Vietnamese posters from the War era is the downing of US airplanes and helicopters. Poster after poster show aircraft shot down in flames. When looked at together (see the dozen plus examples below!), it becomes quite an impressive collection of graphic interpretations, and shows how powerful this idea, knocking the militarily more advanced Americans out the sky, was to the mythology of the Vietnamese war effort. Most of these images are taken from the Vietnam Posters book, but a handful of additional examples are culled from two other sources: Jessica Harrison-Hall, Vietnam Behind the Lines (The British Museum Press, 2002) and Susan Martin, ed., Decade of Protest: Political Posters from the United States, Vietnam, Cuba (Smart Art Press, 1996).
Mexico in Chicago 2010
Oaxaca Now: Young Radical Printmakers
April 9-May 17, 2010
Marwen's Alumni Gallery will feature brand new woodcut prints and videos from the Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca (ASARO). In keeping with the collective's visually polemic tone, the new prints and video add breadth and depth to this traveling conversation on art, activism, and politics in Oaxaca today.
Oaxaca Now: Young Radical Printmakers is co-curated by Arielle Bielak and Professor Kevin McCloskey.
Please join us for the opening night celebration:
Friday, April 9, 2010
Marwen, 833 North Orleans Street, Chicago, IL
Here's a little photo essay showing the printing process used by Indonesian print cooperative Taring Padi, including images from all stages of the process, from sketching to carving to printing. I had the chance to help print some copies of this massive block, which is the Taring Padi half of a project addressing issues related to natural gas exploitation on both sides of the Pacific: the three Portland Justseedsers (Pete, Icky and Roger) will be working on their half in the coming month. We'll be working with local nonprofit Bark to promote exhibits and displays of the two prints in towns along the route of the proposed Palomar gas pipeline this summer. Enjoy the photos!
Sketching the initial design on MDF hardboard.
Chinese Posters, Stefan R. Landsberger & Marien van der Heijden (Prestel, 2009)
Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection, Maria Lafont (Prestel, 2007)
North Korean Posters: The David Heather Collection, David Heather & Koen De Ceuster (Prestel, 2008)
Vietnam Posters: The David Heather Collection, David Heather & Sherry Buchanan (Prestel, 2009)
These are first and foremost picture books. Each one contains a basic introduction to the history of political and propaganda poster production in each country, but no more than a dozen pages of overview. This series is aimed at a general audience, appealing to the novelty of posters from "strange and totalitarian regimes." That said, each one has its unique benefits and value, and for the most part these are worthwhile books for people interested in the production of culture under political regimes that in their prime attempted to challenge capitalist hegemony (for better or for worse).
Although all four books are designed and organized in similar ways, I'll take each on individually. First, China. I've never been a great fan of the Chinese political poster aesthetically, particularly the heroic socialist realism of the late 50s through the cultural revolution period. What's more interesting to me is the sheer scale of production. In 1959 two million copies of a "Long Live Chairman Mao" poster were printed, and in a fifteen year period, 1951-1966, the three major poster publishing houses printed almost 3,000 different designs, with a total number of copies ranging around 85 million!
Pictograms are a type of visual language that is ubiquitous today. They are regularly used along highways and streets, in the olympics, or on bathroom doors. These symbols (often called 'peds') originally came from the same utopian dream as esperanto, to create a language that was simple, clear, and international.
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!
If you're in the NYC area, stop by ABC No Rio to check out the Ides of March show, but make sure to take a look at the outside of the building as well as the inside. Christopher Cardinale has a great new mural installed on the front of the building:
I've recently returned from six weeks traveling in Indonesia, during which I spent a week with the artists of the Taring Padi cooperative in Yogyakarta, Central Java. I'll be posting entries for the next several weeks pertaining to aspects of my travels, some art-related, some not. I thought I'd start off with a bit of a bang- a partial photo-gallery of some of the pictures I was able to take of art made by one of my gracious hosts, Mohamed Yusuf (also known as Ucup).
Enjoy more images below!
Dan S. Wang has shared some incredible video footage of an IVAW mud stenciling action in Madison, Wisconsin that took place on March 17th, 2010 - the anniversary date of the bombing of Baghdad. Aaron Hughes, along with Madison IVAW chapter members Todd Dennis and Nathan Toth, placed anti-war mud stencils at the front doors of military recruitment stations in Madison.
Mary Kelly Here is a drawing in celebration of Mary Kelly, the Irish nurse and mother of 4 who decommissioned a US war plane with an axe while it was illegally refueling on its way to Iraq. I do not like the drawing a whole lot, but Mary Kelly is an inspiration. Read more below.
Mary Kelly's Statement
ABC No Rio's bi-annual building-wide show is opening this Friday! There is a contribution from Justseeds member Kevin Caplicki, in the computer center on the 5th floor, check the flicks below. This will be the last Ides show in the current building, since ABC has raised enough money to construct a new building in the same location. Come out!
ABC No Rio's Ides of March
The Seventh Biennial Building-Wide Exhibition
March 19 - April 9
Over 50 Artists on 4 Floors
OPENING: Friday March 19 at 7:00pm
Just want to make a short post to let people in the Pacific North West know that the exhibit Signs of Change closes this Friday!
Here are the details:
My friend Chris Bravo just sent along this great short video/interview piece with Avram Finkelstein, one of the early AIDS activists in NYC and member of the Silence=Death Project. It's a really nice short piece where he explores the relationship between image making and negotiations with the power structure:
Some video footage from the shutdown of the freeways around downtown Oakland.
Here's the first of a series of posts from Swoon:
Here are some photo collage pages I made about the amazing Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal India. This place is one of the most impressive independent community initiatives I have ever seen. It is run by doctors, scientists, volunteers, and community members, many of whom are themselves victims of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster. It is a beautiful and welcoming oasis in the middle of one of the world's worst industrial disasters. These photos will be a part of a show benefiting the Bhopal Medical Appeal, who still continue to fight for justice for the disaster victims, for whom Dow Chemical (Union Carbide's parent company) still refuses responsibility. For more info, check out these sites: Bhopal.org and Artforbhopal.tumblr.com
We will be participating in a MANIFEST EQUALITY an exhibit which gathers together a diverse array of hundreds of the nation’s most talented visual artists under one roof to celebrate that role and join with our LGBT friends, family members and co-workers to demand full and equal rights for all.
We each have a piece in the exhibit, Melanie has her print "Mis Mamas" which we printed as a limited edition screen print that's about two by three feet big. I have a poster I created for this exhibit that poses the question "Did we vote on your Marriage"? It features an illustration of a couple friends who are engaged and under current California Law do not have the right to marry each other.
March 3rd – March 7th, 2010
1341 Vine Street,
Since participating in a session called Pedagogies of the Periphery (organized by Rebecca Zorach) a few weeks ago at threewalls Gallery in Chicago I have been thinking through a lot of questions I have about the current trend of the school form as artist project as well as the call for the March 4th student strike. Once I compiled this long but incomplete list, I got kind of excited about all of the mostly grassroots energy it represents towards rethinking what it means to learn. At the same time I wonder who these art projects serve and if they have oppositional possibilities or are just another venue for people with privilege to socialize with each other and engage in "knowledge production"? Some other questions I have are:
What does this type of art practice say about the current conditions of both official education and/or art?
Although each project is different, does this trend indicate a growing critique of official education?
If so, what are the critiques (pedagogical, corporate, curricular, all/none/etc)?
In what ways are these projects different than official education? Is it the spaces they happen in? Different administrators? Content of courses? Cost? Openness?
What are the politics of the discourse of “openness”?
What constitutes participation in these projects?
What, if any, is the relationship between the impetus for these school art practices and the issues inspiring the student strikes?
There are many other questions to ask and discussions to have related to problems of education today….for now here is a list of school art projects, as well as other types of places where classes are offered to the public, and a list of free schools for young people...
This just in (from Evil Monito, check it HERE):
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) is proud to present Art Against Empire—Graphic Responses to U.S. Intervention Since World War II, curated by Carol A. Wells from the archives of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG). Featuring works by Josh MacPhee, Corita Kent, Jay Belloli, Cedomic Kostovic, Stephen Kroninger, and more.
Art Against Empire uses the power of posters to document 60 years of opposition to U.S. interventions into the domestic affairs of sovereign nations. Political, economic and military interventions, many of them covert, have repeatedly resulted in unacceptable deaths and misery for millions. These posters show hopes and dreams, and the pain of dreams destroyed.
This past week was super productive, i printed four posters and drove up to Sacramento for a poster installation. There are a few prints that we had designed for a trip out to Mexico a couple years ago, the posters had been used in poster installations in various cultural centers in Ecatepec.
While doing some research on tar sands(see below for info) for the Justseeds 2010 portfolio-Resourced, I came across this video. From the folks that produced the "Story of Stuff", is the Story of Cap and Trade. It was produced for last Decembers UN climate talks that happened in Copenhagen. The website is incredibly user friendly, making materials easily available for download. A good example of how a website can disseminate media for campaigns.
The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the "devils in the details" in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis. If you’ve heard about cap and trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film is for you.
Last November Dara and I were in Berlin, and I took a lot of photos on the street. Berlin is one of the few cities of been to that still have a somewhat thriving street art/poster scene, with lots of work up and the streets visually changing on the regular. Here's a collection of 20 political posters and stickers I snapped, click on them for larger images:
Chris Stain paints Flowers for January's Take 5ive event. Music by Cory Hillis.
Here's Chris' newest print in the Justseeds store.
You can see a bunch of other new prints Chris has available on his BigCartel store.
Alex Bodnar and Mark Ayala, art teachers Manual Arts Senior High School in Los Angeles, used Reproduce & Revolt, the book of copyleft images Favianna Rodriguez and I edited (check it out HERE), as the basis for a mural class, and students decorated the school with images from the book. Check it out:
Our friend Etta Cetera is working hard on a new project to support Mumia, here's the info:
Flood the White House – Mail Art 4 Mumia
Mumia Abu-Jamal—The world’s most well-known political prisoner may be re-sentenced to death.
Demand a new fair trial! Mail your solidarity!
Send your own Mail 4 Mumia to the White House anytime during the week of April 24th 2010
The Whitehouse, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,Washington, D.C. 20500 usa
Create Paintings, Prints, Drawings, Collages, Sculpture, Extremely, Beautiful Letters, Anything Mailable, Anything Non Liquid, Non Perishable, Non Hazardous.
This is an essay written by Eric Triantafillou that is included in Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today. Eric wrote the piece as a provocation to political printmakers, asking all of us to think deeper about what we do, and question whether it is accomplishing the things we think it should or we want it to. I find it challenging and valuable, and want to post it here in hopes of starting a broader discussion. Please give it a read and chime in. I know a number of artists that have read it and have questions and conflicts, so here's the place to raise them!:
All The Instruments Agree
The façade of a now-defunct police station in San Francisco’s Mission District is plastered with street art. It is a visual cacophony of posters, flyers, stencils, paintings, drawings, and the hand-scrawled responses of passers-by. A remnant of the housing struggles that began in 2000, today this wall is a public commons that transmits information about everything from legal rights workshops to communist party meetings and yoga classes; also occupying its surface are corporate ads cloaked in DIY lino-chic. It is also a screen onto which people project thoughts and feelings about the world they fear and visions of the one they want.
This week was super busy, I printed three editions and still had time to run around getting supplies and table at an event to sell some prints.
The week started with printing Melanie's Iran solidarity poster, this is one of two pieces in which we both used the same source photo in creating our image. I really like Melanie's poster, it is a very well designed two color print, it has the text in Spanish, English and Farsi using the trilingual approach made popular by OSPAAAL (Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa & Latin America).
I just hung a show up at Stumptown Coffee on S.E. Division St here in Portland. If you are in town stop by, take a look, and grab a cup of the best coffee in town. There's a wide range of prints in it: everything from a 3" x 4" lino cut to a 3 foot by 5 foot lino cut. The show will be up all of February.
Here's some pictures:
Dara and I just finished installing our exhibition Signs of Change in Portland, OR at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). We're doing an artist's talk/walk through tomorrow, Wed. Feb 3th, at 12:30 (see HERE), and the opening is Thursday, Feb 4th, from 6-9pm (see HERE). If you are in the Pacific Northwest, please come check it out!
We are very happy to announce the release of the first print Dignidad Rebelde publishes, "Haiti Will Rise Again" designed by EastSide Arts Alliance. This image was created by ESAA to share with the community and featured on their website for people to download and print to show their solidarity with the people of Haiti. We loved the image so much we decided to contact ESAA and see if they were interested in having the design transformed into a screen print and used to raise funds for Haiti, all money raised will go to Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. They were very happy about the idea and we got to work. Now that the print is complete we are putting it up for sale, you can buy the print from the Dignidad Rebelde website or contacting ESAA.
This is the statement written by EastSide:
"EastSide has produced an image to counter the perception that Haiti is a victimized, poor country by their own bad luck and ineptitude. This racist narrative only serves to erase the strength and revolutionary spirit that defines this Black nation, the first liberated Black Republic."
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 little while back I got an announcement from Magdalena Jitrik, one of the Argentine artists that had organized the Taller Popular de Serigrafía (who had designed and printed for the occupied factories and community assemblies during the Argentine crisis/rebellion of 2001-2005), that she had a new show up at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bahia Blanca. I clicked through to the info about the show, and the images are stunning! The exhibition, titled Red de Espionaje 2009 (or Espionage Network 2009), appears to be a trip through the creative work of the crisis period as reinterpreted through the utopian, particularly Russian, aspects of early modernism, with references to Constructivism, Suprematism, and Situationism. More information about the show can be found HERE, and lots more images HERE. References to art history in the US tend to be so depoliticized and abstracted, it is almost shocking to see such a direct connection made between contemporary political cultural work and historical attempts at liberation through art. I can't wait to see more...
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.
Our friend Klutch has recently expressed his dissatisfaction with the first year of Obama with this "Hopeless" print. To be hopeless assumes you once had hope, which might be a stretch for me and electoral politics, but I can still vibe on the frustration...If you want one of these lovelies to hang over your bed, go HERE.
Iranian filmmakers have called for a boycott of this years Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, Iran in hopes of pressuring the government to ease up on repression and release political prisoners, some of whom are filmmakers. Other international artists are supporting the boycott, including Ken Loach, one of my favorite contemporary directors, whose new film "Looking for Eric" was supposed to play the fest. More info can be found HERE and HERE.
Dara recently found this very strange video on YouTube, it appears to be homemade music video for the 1960 song "Cantata della donna nubile" by Italian singer Edmonda Aldini. It's entirely constructed from late 60s/early 70s feminist movement posters, many are from the Chicago Women's Graphics Collective, but some I have never seen before. Ahhh, the things you find on the internet...
In recent years I keep coming across the graphics and posters of Luba Lukova, and have been increasingly impressed with their clarity, directness, and graphic efficiency. Lukova edited and designed the 2010 War Resisters League calendar, "Sparking Change: Poster Art & Politics" and I just got an announcement for her upcoming solo exhibition in Greece. More info on Sparking Change can be found HERE (we are also selling a number of vintage/historical WRL posters on Justseeds HERE), and more info on the Qbox Gallery show can be found HERE.
We are hoping to pair each participating artist with an organization/campaign to create a graphic image and poster. We are working with a broad theme, resource extraction, and I am curious about current campaigns tackling the harvesting of fish from the ocean.
If you have any advice please contact
blog at justseeds dot org
One of my favorite filmmakers Jim Finn is a having a screening at MoMA on Feb. 1st. Jim's films are an amazing, crazy mash ups of communism, sci-fi, wacky humor, and oddball performances, and well worth seeing. MoMA is showing his most recent feature, The Juche Idea, plus a number of shorts. A short clip from The Juche Idea can be seen on Jim's website HERE.
An Evening with Jim Finn
Monday, February 1, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2)
This seems to be the year of political art calendars. I just came across this one, which looks great: New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) has just released Dulce Pinzon’s 2010-2011 “Superheroes” Calendar. Pinzon's “Superheroes” series is "a collection of 20 color photographs of Mexican and Latino immigrant workers dressed in the costumes of popular American and Mexican superheroes in their work environment, raising questions of both our definition of heroism and our ignorance of and indifference to the workforce that fuels our ever-consuming economy." All proceeds of the calendar sales will go to NICE, and it's only $12 if you get it HERE. More of Dulce Pinzon's work can be found HERE.
Justseeds, Street Art, and Social Movements
A talk by Josh MacPhee
Office of Student Life Leadership Speaker Series
Tap Room of RISD's Memorial Hall
226 Benefit Street, Providence
Thursday, January 14th
My good friend Dwight, owner-operator of the Tucson multi-functional art/community/print space the Gloo Factory and allied enterprise Peace Supplies has been struggling against eviction from his crazy downtown space for years now, in the face of idiotic plans for redevelopment. At this point it looks like he's going to lose the space, but he's energized to find a new spot! A vacant lot with a big steel shed! Dreams of a Quonset hut! Located in the city of South Tucson, away from the boondoggles of Tucson proper! To accomplish this, he needs our help. Take a moment to navigate to the Save the Gloo Factory website and make a donation. Tucson's radical print infrastructure will thank you.
This popped up in the inbox today, you may recognize some Justseedsers.
Creative Violation documents the exploding underground art form of the street stencil and explores its roots in political street art, industrial signage and graffiti. These illicit spray paint markings, not to be confused with traditional graffiti tagging, steal the language and techniques of advertising and turn them against the imperatives of the mass market, punctuating the urban landscape in cities across the world.
Check it out on IMDb.
Its also available for purchase at: http://ffh.films.com/id/15958/Creative_Violation_The_Rebel_Art_of_the_Street_Stencil.htm
The 800 individual letters (in solar-panel font) that I helped to print for Katherine of SEA Change Gallery here in Portland were stitched together and made into banners in several different languages, which were then carried in marches during the climate forum. You can see some more photos of the banners at the SEA Change Gallery site.
Since I was unable to make my own opening in Chicago because of Lake Effect Snow (poor me), I have decided to upload another academic text I recently published in the journal CR: The New Centennial Review. CR "is devoted to comparative studies of the Americas that suggest possibilities for a different future." I'm pretty excited about the essay because it appears in a journal with a long history of publishing radical thinkers from a variety of left and anti-authoritarian perspectives. In the past few years, some cool folks have published in CR: Martin Hägglund, Rodolphe Gasché, Jean-Luc Nancy, Grant Farred (one of my favorite contemporary thinkers), Grace Lee Boggs, Ward Churchill, Ernesto Laclau, Gayatri Spivak, to name only a few of the more prominent names.
Pablo Pasarán Saturday, August 8, 2009 Age: 26
35th Avenue and 21st Street
Queens , NY
Pablo Pasarán, was delivering food on a bicycle for a restaurant when he was killed by Martin Ocasio, driving an SUV. Pablo was an immigrant from Mexico who lived in the Bronx. He left behind three children.
Ocasio was being chased at high-speed by the NYPD, who had observed him making a drug purchase nearby. He ran into a parked car, and then into Pablo, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
In addition to drug possession, Ocasio was charged with multiple offenses in connection with hitting and killing Pablo, including involuntary manslaughter.
Justseeds: Paper Politics for a New Decade
Hillyer Art Space at International Arts & Artists
9 Hillyer Court NW
Washington, DC, 20008
Exhibition Dates: January 8 - January 30
First Friday Reception: Friday, January 8, 2010, 6-9PM
Live music by experimental trio Vodka and Donuts!
Food and refreshments will be served
$5 suggested donation
The Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative is a decentralized community of artists who have banded together to collaborate, sell their work online in a central location and support social movements. Utilizing print and poster making techniques to address a variety of social and environmental justice issues, collective mates work together over many miles to create, resist, and bring meaningful artwork to the masses for affordable prices. These artists believe in the power of personal expression in concert with collective action to transform society. Featuring works by Justseeds artists and fellow political printers, including: Mazatl, Jesus Barraza, Graham Boyle, Melanie Cervantes, DC51 Collective, Alec Icky Dunn, Thea Gahr, Sabeth Jackson, Nicolas Lampert, Josh MacPhee, Colin Matthes, Cesar Maxit, Dylan Miner, Roger Peet, Jesse Purcell, Favianna Rodriguez, Erik Ruin, Beth Schaible, Chris Stain, Meredith Stern, SWOON, Mary Tremonte, Kristine Virsis, Pete Yahnke, and Bec Young.
171 Cedar Arts Center presents a selection from Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now.
Houghton Gallery at the 171 Cedar Arts Center
155 & 171 Cedar Street, Corning NY
Jan 8 - Feb 5, 2010
Reception: Friday Jan 8th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
In conjunction with a celebration to honor Martin Luther King, the exhibition at 171 Cedar Arts Center focuses on the cultures created by during the Civil Rights Movement in America and the fights for freedom that were waged by oppressed people globally. (This exhibition consists of reprinted materials from a small portion of Signs of Change.)
In Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, hundreds of posters, photographs, moving images, audio clips, and ephemera bring to life over forty years of activism, political protest, and campaigns for social justice. Curated by Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee and originating from Exit Art in New York City, this important and timely exhibition surveys the creative work of dozens of international social movements.
"This is an altar created by young people in the Chicago neighborhoods of Humboldt Park and South Chicago. Altars like this one, memorializing an untimely violent death, are an all-too common sight on Chicago sidewalks and streets. Every street altar, including this one, is a remembrance of friends and family lost, and a representation of the shadow of mortal danger that hangs over everyday lives. It is presented to you, the person who finds this altar, as an encouragement to do something to help young people in Chicago—in how you think and speak about impoverished urban young people of color, as much as in how you vote and how you spend your money."
This text accompanied the above alters to victims of street violence in Chicago. The alters were made by students of Chicago artists Mike Bancroft and Bert Stabler. More HERE.
Our friend Kei from the Irregular Rhythm Asylum in Tokyo designed the very cool 2010 CIRA Japan calendar (CIRA is Japan's largest anarchist archive). This years calendar has a theme of the 100th anniversary of the High Treason Incident in Japan, and for the first time has English explanations for the images from each month, allowing people like me who don't know a lick of Japanese gain some incite into anarchist history there.
The High Treason Incident, also known as the Kotoku Incident, was a socialist-anarchist plot to assassinate the Japanese Emperor Meiji in 1910, leading to a mass arrest of leftists, and the execution of 12 alleged conspirators in 1911. To commemorate the people’s struggle against the Emperor in the early 20th century, the calendar highlights the key figures of the High Treason Incident and international campaigns of prison solidarity for the victims. Check it out HERE.
The (NYC) Street Memorial Project has decided, despite a forecast of very cold and windy tomorrow(Sunday, Jan 3), we are going to go ahead with the memorial ride tomorrow.
But we are encouraging people to do what they think they can do given the weather and there will be someone riding each leg of the ride, but we are essentially canceling the Harlem portion of the ride (though the ride leader will be there to ride down with anyone who shows up).
We are especially encouraging people to come to the 3pm Grand Army Plaza meet up, which will be the shortest portion during the warmest part of the day and which will end at a warm spot with warm food and drink.
...spread the word that people should meet us at any of the later meet-ups and remove or cross out the first meet-up and memorial from your blogs, schedules...
Other meetups are:
11am Central Park West and 7th Ave
11:30 Queensboro Bridge, Queens
3:00 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
4:45 Milton and Manhattan Aves, Brooklyn
full schedule is at streetmemorials.org
(redirected from ghostbikes.org, which is down)
by Jesus Barraza & Melanie Cervantes
A year ago, early New Year's Day in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police murdered unarmed, 22-year old, Oscar Grant III by pushing him face down to the ground and shooting him in the back. After he was shot he was handcuffed. The shooting was fatal.
A year later there is no justice for Oscar Grant and his family. There is no justice for the people of Oakland who have lost their sons and daughters to State violence.
The trial of BART police officer Johannes Mehserlese has been moved to another city where the community might be tolerant of white men killing black people. The community here in Oakland awaits a verdict that will most likely end with the officer getting off.
As Barak Obama is about to complete a year in office we witnessed escalation of war in the Middle East and the administration's lack of significant action to address climate change and the global ecological disaster that the Global South, people who live in poverty and most living species with little power will have to bear the burden of. Instead we find this government looking out for the interest of multi-national corporations who are making a killing.
On Tuesday, August 3, 2010, long-time political prisoner and acclaimed poet and translator Marilyn Buck, 62, passed peacefully at her home in Brooklyn, New York.
A few short weeks earlier, on July 15th, Marilyn had been released from the federal Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Carswell, Texas and paroled to New York City. Thanks to the efforts of her long-time friend and lawyer Jill Soffiyah Elijah, her release came several weeks before the date originally set for her release on parole, August 8th.
Marilyn served a total of 33 years of an 80-year prison sentence for politically motivated actions undertaken in support of self-determination and national liberation and in opposition to racial injustice and U.S. imperialism. Throughout her years in prison, Marilyn remained a steadfast supporter of fellow political prisoners and an advocate for the women with whom she was imprisoned.
I finally finished up a large print this week, and thought I would share some pictures of the process and the printing of the piece. I also took the opportunity to print a large piece I finished a few months back and never got around to printing. Along with these pictures you will get a little tour of my basement studio, which seems to be getting more and more cramped every time I turn around, and shares a wall with the Justseeds world wide shipping headquarters!
A strong message sent to a middle class neighborhood in the north of Mexico City.
This painting is pasted on to temporary walls surrounding a building site for a new
Ricardo Levins Morales, one of the driving creative forces behind the much missed Northland Poster Collective, has opened up a new store and website. He's got much of hiss material (posters, prints, notecards, etc.) from Northland, and new material. Check out his new site HERE.
Justseeds member Roger was caught on video printing letters for the Climate Change March in Copenhagen. Roger posted some stills from the project HERE a week back or so, but I just stumbled on this video, for those interested:
I just wanted to send a shout out to our comrades in Vancouver and Victoria who have been struggling against a completely invasive, parasitic, and brutal Olympics campaign.
There's more info HERE and HERE. And the above image is a nice banner from the Victoria campaign.
A long time friend of Justseeds, and former co-director of Ad Hoc Art, Ray Cross has just opened up his new spot, the Bushwick Print Lab!:
Bushwick Print Lab
Grand Opening and Holiday Print Sale Spectacular
Thursday, December 17
6:00 PM to Midnight
1717 Troutman Street #203 - 204
Queens NY, 11385
(3 blocks form the Jefferson L stop and just across the Queens line in Ridgewood)
Bushwick Print Lab, a new community silkscreen space in Bushwick/Ridgewood, is excited to announce our Grand Opening and is hosting an affordable print sale for the holidays. The Bushwick Print Lab is a new rental space dedicated to offering film printing, screen-making, shelf and locker storage, and hourly and monthly shop rentals to artists, printmakers and designers who are seeking a professional and well equip lab to create work in silkscreen on paper and apparel. BPL has affordable rates and will offer classes and production assistance for contemporary artists using the versatile medium of silkscreen. We are dedicated to creating increased accessibility to printmaking for artists of all media and the advancement the art of silkscreen printing.
I'll be in a 5-person group show at the Printmaking Council of New Jersey & paticipating in a panel discussion at the opening this Saturday. please come by if you can.
Art as Action features works by five acclaimed printmakers whose passion for complex social, economic, political, and environmental issues spills over into their art.
Featured Artists - J. Catherine Bebout, Karen Guancione, Curlee Raven Holton,
Doris Nogueira-Rogers, and Erik Ruin.
December 12, 2009 through February 20, 2010.
Opening Reception & Panel Discussion moderated by educator, essayist, poet and photographer John Ripton will take place on Saturday, December 12, 1 - 4pm.
440 River Rd
Branchburg, NJ 08876
After seeing one of the Garage Collective posters I put up here a couple months back (see below: a poster to announce an art show supporting creative resistance to the New Zealand state), Lincoln Cushing sent me images of 2 historical posters from the AOUON Poster Archive (which he is currently cataloging). The first, from Cuba, is the likely origin point of the flower pattern. The poster is an advertisement for a 1979 film about the Ethiopian Revolution, created by Cuban poster designer and illustrator Eduardo Munoz Bachs (more info about Cuban posters can be found in Cushing's book ¡Revolucion! Cuban Poster Art. I also just found this blog about Cuban posters HERE). The second, from Oakland, borrows and re-purposes the flowers, this time for an anti-recruitment protest poster, likely from 1983. Thanks Lincoln!
Our friend Daniel is still locked up in Federal prison, and he needs your help! If you are in NYC, please come out this weekend and buy some art! More info about Daniel can be found HERE.
Art Auction to Benefit Imprisoned New York City Social Justice & Environmental Activist Daniel McGowan
On December 7, 2005, New York City activist Daniel McGowan was among the first people arrested as part of an FBI offensive against environmental activists called "Operation Backfire", which activists have dubbed part of the Green Scare (after the Red Scare of the 40s and 50s). Daniel began serving his seven-year sentence in July 2007. In August 2008, Daniel was moved to the Communication Management Unit (CMU) in Marion, IL, a federal prison unit that bypassed the usual review process and severely restricts inmates' communication with the outside world.
To mark the four-year anniversary of Daniel's arrest, and to highlight the continued repression of activists that the federal government has labeled "terrorists," Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan will be hosting an art show, auction and raffle this December. Proceeds will go to Daniel's commissary account and a number of his favorite environmental and social justice organizations.
WHO: Presented by Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan along with popular street artists; political printmakers; and renowned graphic designers.
WHAT: Art Show and Auction featuring artists such as SWOON; Nikki McClure; Justseeds Artist Cooperative members such as Josh MacPhee and Kevin Caplicki; BORF and many more.
WHEN: Saturday, December 12, 2009, 1-9pm. Reception: 7-9pm
WHERE: ADC Gallery, 106 West 29th Street, Ground Floor, NYC
For Immediate Release-
Chile Estyle: A Group Exhibition of Chilean Urban Art, Curated by Pablo Aravena
Carmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 10, 2009, 7-10 PM
Exhibition Open Through December 23
For the first time in North America, Chile Estyle will showcase work from several of Chile's finest contemporary urban muralists, including Cekis, Inti, Horate, La Robot de Madera, and the duos Aislap and Agotok. From the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in the early 90’s until now, Chilean street art has literally exploded into a highly developed style, bearing strong influences from Mexican muralism, 60s – 70s political mural brigades, wildstyle graffiti and Brazilian graffiti and pixação (a unique stylistic cross-pollination with street art from Sao Paulo in the mid-90s). These influences, paired with Chile’s distinct history of propaganda art and muralism dating from the 40s, give rise to the myriad of strongly developed personal visual languages and artistic self-expression seen on the streets of Santiago, Valparaiso and other cities in Chile. The exhibition will consist of new works on canvas as well as site-specific individual and group mural installations in the gallery.
Mark Vallen has some really incredible posts up on his blog. While Art Basel, in Miami Beach, is being cleaned up and repackaged to go home, I read "200 One Dollar Bills", Vallen's critique of the recent auction of Warhol's screenprint of the same title.
The forces involved in the Sotheby’s auction represent an extremely influential layer in the elite art world, people who must surely believe they are shaping and controlling the future of art; but as any student of history will tell you, the most grandiose plans of the powerful are often times thwarted by material conditions, social pressures, and the acts of the independently minded.
Art Basel's website purports it to be the "most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas." I've always likened it to a gun show of art exhibitions, the NY Times acknowledging "the sense of art as merchandise is overpowering" where "most galleries offer variety-store-like mixes of works by different artists with the ambience of a sample sale" in "The Art Fair as Outlet Mall" I remember the Times one year called Art Basel the Cosco of art.
After reading that post I read a more current piece on Art for a Change, on Robert Hughes' documentary called The Mona Lisa Curse. Vallen posts links, (here), to the respective sections on youtube with his synopsis of each part. The videos are so well worth watching and provide a very shrewd look at art and the market influencing it today.
“Apart from drugs, art is the biggest unregulated market in the world, with contemporary art sales estimated at around $18 billion a year. (….) Boosted by regiments of nouveau riche collectors, and serviced by a growing army of advisors, dealers and auctioneers. As Andy Warhol once observed, ‘Good business is the best art.’”-from The Mona Lisa Curse
I could almost hear the toast in Miami Beach, "To the death of Art."
Tonight the African Diaspora Film Fest in NYC is showing a hard to see documentary about 1960s/70s African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral (which is playing with a doc about Frantz Fanon as well!). It's rare to be able to see any footage of or about Cabral, so this is a rare treat. Cabral's book Return to the Source contains a number of interesting essays exploring the connections between African liberation (particularly in his native Guinea Bissou) and culture. Details about the film and screening are HERE.
A cool short video of Iraq Veterans Against the War putting up mud stencils in Ft. Hood in October:
Our friends at Irregular Rhythm Asylum in Tokyo have mounted an art show/installation/social movement archive/hang out space called activism3cream, which based on all the photos (see HERE) is awesome. Hidden in there is some Justseeds work.
With all the occupations and protests going on in University of California system, particularly at UC Berkeley, I thought it would be interesting to throw up a couple of posters from a part Berkeley movement, the anti-war student occupations in 1970. Soon after students were killed by the National Guard at Kent State and Jackson State, and Nixon began bombing Cambodia, there was a national student uprising and a call to strike. At UC Berkeley, the faculty at the College of Environmental Design encouraged the use of their department as a screenprint workshop, which created an estimated 50,000 copies of hundreds of works. For more info on the workshop, go HERE. To see the whole collection of posters from that era, go HERE.
Here's a couple of photographs from an epic day of screen-printing, Roger of Justseeds and Heather of Flight 64 cranking out hundreds of individual letters for Katherine Ball's (of SEA Change gallery in Portland) banner project.
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.
If you are in Portland this Thursday Dec 3rd be sure to stop by this show. Alec Icky Dunn and Pete Yahnke from Justseeds both have some work in this benefit show. Here are the details from the Dill Pickle Club:
Join us at the Eyeful Gallery (NW 6th & Everett) Thursday, December 3 at 6PM, during the First Thursday art walk for the opening of WORK | PROGRESS, an art show, pop up bookshop and event series to benefit the Dill Pickle Club. Cape Perpetua and Niekrasz/ Jenkins Duet (of Why I Must Be Careful) provide live music, while Ninkasi Brewing generously serves libations.
WORK | PROGRESS features 24 socially-engaged artists creating replicated works, including:
Icky A, Brad Adkins, Moe Bowstern, Carye Bye, Bill Daniel, Dyslexxis, Harrell Fletcher, Sarah Gottesdiener, Sam Gould, Anna Gray, MK Guth, Ariana Jacob, Kendra Larson, Ian Lynam, Eric Mast, Justin Scrappers Morrison, Michael Parich, Ryan Wilson Paulsen, Brittany Powell, Khris Soden, Bwana Spoons, Matthew Stadler, Nim Wunnan, Pete Yahnke
Justseeds members Chris Stain and Swoon recently traveled to Stavanger, Norway to participate in the Nuart Street Art Festival. The folks that organized the festival are creating a documentary and have posted this request, below, for some advice on distribution.
We're currently looking for distribution and screenings of our fabulous up close and personal street art documentary, Eloquent Vandals. Get in touch if you have any smart ideas about how we can get it out there.
Nuart is an annual international street art festival based in Stavanger on the West Coast of Norway. From the first week of September an international team of street artists start to leave their mark on the city's walls as well as contribute to a one month long indoor exhibition.
I created this print to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of all Tribes and share them with the community. I designed and printed a poster last year to give away at the sunrise ceremony at Alcatraz. It was a lot of fun giving away poster and people's reaction when i told them they were free. We wanted to do something similar for this years sunrise ceremony on Thanksgiving day. This year we made 300 small posters to give away to the community and an edition of large screen printed posters to share with the organizations that help make the ceremony possible.
Oliver Ressler has a new, interesting looking documentary out. Right now you need to be in Vienna or Ljubljana to see it (see below for dates and locations), but hopefully it will circulate farther soon:
WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?
A film by Oliver Ressler
118 min., 2009
“What is democracy?” is not one question, but is actually two questions. On the one hand, the question relates to conditions of the current, parliamentary representative democracies that are scrutinized critically in this project. On the other hand, the question traces different approaches to what a more democratic system might look like and which organizational forms it could take.
New animated print videos by my friend Nathan Meltz. These are amazing, defininitely take the 15 minutes to watch them!!!
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.
Here's some wood blocks Chris is working on for the install of the project (above), and my latest hand painted sign is below:
Here's Chris and a couple students up on ladders sketching out the cityscape backdrop we've built in the gym. Man, these ladders are scary! And here is the cityscape getting painted in:
For the past week Chris Stain and I have been living, working, and teaching on a small island in Norway called Halsnøy! We're at the Sunnhordland Folkehøgskule (a small arts oriented "peoples" school, which is a Scandanavian program where people can get a year of specialized schooling between high school and going to university or entering the job market). We're here working with 80 students and 5 teachers on a project around consumerism and capitalism, which will culminated in a student show on Sunday integrating visual art, performance, dance, and theater. It's been interesting and a challenge, and I'm not even sure how to process it all, so I think I'll just post some photos for the next couple days...
I have decided to start a new blogging series about art and culture I have appreciated recently. I can't promise it will be a series actually but at least there is this post....
©Dewayne Slightweight. Used by permission.
Dewayne recently sent around an announcement for his upcoming show and included a digital repro of one of his paintings. I really love this piece and all of the different kinds of work that Dewayne does: music, performance, publications, and more. Dewayne makes beautiful and moving work and exhibits it with other radical artists often through self-organized exhibits and tours. A little more about Dewayne is here.
On the Poverty of First Grade Art Assignments
A six year old relative recently detourned his very limited art assignment and of course he got censored. Given a predetermined scene that itself has ideaology built into it, his response reflects on the assignment, what it represented, and our culture at large. The "art activity sheet" has a picture of man, a woman, and 2.5 children with the prompting question, "What are these people looking at?" The student is meant to draw in a picture of what it is they are looking at. My young friend drew in a typical pastoral sublime: mountains, a sunset. Then he put in thought/speech bubbles with the man saying "I heart beer," and the woman saying, "me too." This, he and his parent were told, was inappropriate. To me it seems an extremely clever reflection on the banality of family life, the creeping in of consumptive desire even at times when we are supposed to be having transcendent moments looking at natural beauty, and a joke about sight itself. The assignment only asked what they were looking at, NOT what they were thinking or saying. Often when we look, we also are elsewhere, thinking about our next beer.
Lincoln Cushing has just added a new essay, "Political Graphics of the Long 60s" to his Docs Populi site. The essay was also published in the new book New World Coming: The Sixties and the Shaping of Global Consciousness, edited by Karen Dubinsky, Catherine Krull, Susan Lord, Sean Mills and Scott Rutherford, Between The Lines Press, 2009. Check it out HERE.
Image: Frank Cieciorka, “Stop the Draft Week,” Stop the Draft Week Organizing Committee, 1967.
Tonight! I'll be giving a presentation about Justseeds and the Voices From Outside: Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex.
Monday, November 16, 7pm
at Black Sheep Books
5 State St
In 2006, Justseeds a radical art distributor transitioned from a project run by its founder to a cooperatively run business and collective committed to creating and distributing socially engaged artwork. Over the last three years Justseeds has produced posters, calendars, print portfolios, exhibits, books, and collective installations tackling numerous contemporary themes and celebrating radical history.
Come join member Kevin Caplicki for a presentation on
the trajectory of the artist-owned and run Justseeds
Cooperative and an exhibition of "Voices From Outside:
Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex",
Justseeds portfolio project 2008.
Our friends Temporary Services have just launched a new project called Art Work, including a newspaper with a piece about Justseeds in it, as well as something by Justseeds member Nicolas Lampert. Check it out:
Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics
November 20 - January 15, 2010
SPACES hosts Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Politics, produced by Temporary Services, an independent, Chicago-based collective comprised of Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin, and Marc Fischer. Art Work is a newspaper and website that uses SPACES as its distribution hub. It consists of writings from artists, activists and academics on the topic of working amidst depressed economies and how that impacts artistic process, compensation and artistic property. The newspaper will be distributed throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
Our friends Vanessa Renwick and Jem Cohen have short films in a screening at the New York City Mix Fest going on right now. Here's the info on Bulldozed:
Gentrification is the talk of the town. It is rapidly changing the demographics and aesthetics of every major city in the world. It is apparent and controversial, but it is by no means new. From Brooklyn to Berlin to Nova Scotia, the films in this program trace different histories of gentrification and corporate takeover from the late 1960s to present day. Some are tender, delicate tributes to histories and landmarks erased and the communities disappeared and displaced. Others turn the lens inward towards the artist, examining personal longing for “home” and examining its elusive nature. There is humor, spirit and courage in these films to search for what was, to hold one’s ground and to celebrate the vibrancy that survives vacancy.
Curated by the Festival Programming Committee. TRT: 78 min.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Films by Vanessa Renwick, Jem Cohen, Leigh (Jen) Fisher, Liss Platt, Dana C. Inkster, Niklas Goldbach, Jack Waters, Samara Halperin.
More info HERE.
Justseeds members will be tabling at Expozine 2009, Montreal's Annual Small Press, Comic and Zine Fair
Saturday, November 14 & Sunday, November 15, 2009, from 12-6 p.m. at
(Église Saint-Enfant Jésus, between St-Joseph and Laurier, near Laurier Métro)
This incredible event brings together nearly 300 creators of all kinds of printed matter – from books to zines to posters and graphic novels – in both English and French. Over the past seven editions, Expozine has grown to become one of North America's largest small press fairs, attracting thousands of visitors as well as exhibitors from across Canada, the United States and Europe.
Chris is following his usual themes of the importance of the individual's experience and the struggle of daily life. Here's some new work that will be on view at Art Basel in Miami during the first week of December.
Put the fun between your legs: Become the Bike Bloc
Bristol and Copenhagen Nov – Dec 09
An irresistible new machine of resistance will be launched during the COP15 UN summit protests in Copenhagen. Made from hundreds of old bicycles and thousands of activists' bodies 'Put the fun between your legs: Operation Bike Bloc' is a collaboration between Climate Camp and art activist collective The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.
Some old English comrades, a few I met in Mexico over 8 years ago, are in NYC giving some presentations on the Bristol Radical History Group, a project they've been doing since 2006:
The 'History Workshop' movement was founded in 1966 in Ruskin College, Oxford, U.K. by the Marxist academic Raphael Samuel, a champion of 'history from below.' He famously defined this movement as being "the belief that history is or ought to be a collaborative enterprise, one in which the researcher, the archivist, the curator and the teacher, the 'do-it-yourself' enthusiast and the local historian, the family history societies and the individual archaeologist, should all be regarded as equally engaged."
In 2006 in the U.K., Bristol Radical History Group was formed with a view opening up some of the hidden history of their home city to public scrutiny, to challenge some commonly held ideas about historical events and approach this history from 'below'. Unlike Samuel's 'History Workshop,' the group actually came 'from below' its genesis being in an expanded sports club rather than in the academy. As a result it has been able to successfully integrate both the formal lecture with street performance, the organic intellectual with the academic and engage the public in the excitement of radical history by the use of different media.
David Bacon just sent out a nice set of photos and a short text on the hotel worker's strike going on right now in San Francisco. One of the things I really like about the photos he's taken is that they capture some of the joy of the picket line, workers laughing and playing with each other, not simply marching around in circles with dour faces, which is so often the images of contemporary labor unrest.
Our NYC readers might be interested in this conference coming up this week:
The Internet as Playground and Factory: A Conference on Digital Labor
Thursday, November 12, through Saturday, November 14, 2009
The New School, 66 Fifth Avenue at 12th Street, New York City
veralistcenter.org | digitallabor.org
This conference confronts the urgent need to interrogate the concepts of labor and value in the digital economy and seeks to inspire proposals for action. There are currently few adequate definitions of labor that fit the complex, hybrid realities of the digital economy. The Internet as Playground and Factory poses a series of questions about the conundrums surrounding labor (and often the labor of love) in relation to our digital present. It is the first in a series of biennial conferences titled The Politics of Digital Media.
My friend Zoeann just sent me a link to this site Americans Who Tell the Truth. It's a series of painted portraits of lefties from the US by Robert Shetterly, and has a Celebrate People's History posters quality to it. Most are fairly traditional and painterly, and quite nice, esp. this James Baldwin one. Check out them all HERE.
An interesting looking show opening in Los Angeles:
Avenue 50 Studio, Highland Park, CA
Artist's Reception: Sat. Nov. 14, 2009, 7-10 p.m.
Avenue 50 Studio asked 15 artists to create artworks that provide insight into the first year of the Obama Administration. Issues of race, class, war, health care, the enrivronment and the economy, plus other global challenges - are explored in this timely exhibition. Given the escalating war in Afghanistan, Vallen painted a glimpse of Obama's Guantánamo - the notorious U.S. military prison at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. The prison holds more than 600 detainees designated as "unlawful enemy combatants"; individuals that in some cases have been held for years without charge, legal representation, or due-process rights. In February of 2009, the Obama administration began a $60 million expansion of the Bagram prison so that it could potentially hold as many as 1,100 suspects.
Sunday, November 15th
1:00 - 4:30pm
Eastside Cultural Center, 2277 International Blvd. (at 23rd Ave.) Oakland, CA 94606
FREE. Donations accepted.
Creating Radical Graphics is a one-day mini-conference for Bay Area political printmakers to reflect on recent campaigns, define shared goals and plan a strategy for the future. This event will include a panel and a community meeting, featuring:
Melanie Cervantes, member of Taller Tupac Amaru, an Oakland-based, printmaking studio
Greg Morozumi, co-founder of the Eastside Arts Alliance
Eric Triantafillou, former member and co-founder of the SF Print Collective
Ten Days for Oppositional Architecture
Towards Post-Capitalist Spaces
New York, November 12-21, 2009
Gair Building No 6, 81 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (York Stop on
the F Train)
The transformation of the urban landscape within the last decades has increasingly been dominated by the demands of capitalist utilization. Due to the current crisis, however, which goes far beyond a mere crisis of the real estate and financial market, these neoliberal politics and attendant forms of production of space have been subject
to a loss of legitimation. For this reason, not only do the dominance and promises of the privatization model, the free market and private property have to be questioned, but also the conventions of the space-producing professions that follow and materialize these policies.
Here's a couple of shots of a large piece I am working on for the Justseeds show at Sea Change Gallery in Portland. The show opening is on first Thursday, a big night for art openings in downtown Portland, and our first endeavor with this monthly event. Roger, Icky and I are all painting some large scale pieces, and we will be filling the walls with Justseeds art relating to the theme: the opposable thumb; the human hand at work. We also have a show opening that same night at Reading Frenzy. The Reading Frenzy show is work around the theme: Education and Literacy.
Here's a couple in progress pictures of my piece. I am painting this in my larger in progress project: a back porch on my house that I have been constructing over the past year out of 100% reclaimed salvaged wood, and bricks foraged from the forest of forgotten bricks.
here's a flyer for the show Icky made:
625 NW Everett Street
Portland, OR 97209
the show is open from 5:30 – 10pm
921 SW Oak St. ~ Portland, Ore 97205
the show is open from 6-9pm
[Full disclosure - the author of this article has been employed multiple times in the Education Department of the Andy Warhol Museum as recently as June 2009, teaching screen-printing to high school students.]
Last week, Shepard Fairey opened a massive retrospective exhibition at Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum. "Supply and Demand" drew a sold-out opening night crowd that watched Fairey DJ alongside Z-Trip while sporting a swank three-piece suit. In the months prior, Fairey and his team toured around Pittsburgh wheat-pasting his familiar designs on building facades both permitted and not, and across from the museum he installed a temporary mural over top of a pre-existing mural by a younger local artist. The silent, creeping presence of Fairey's designs around the city felt eerily similar to the lead-up for the G20 summit this past September, in which faceless PR firms delivered meaningless graphics touting business and lifestyle opportunities to cover dozens of vacant storefronts in downtown in an attempt to scrub the visual landscape. All of this new wallpaper gave an impending and queasy feeling to anyone paying attention: Pittsburgh, once again and without consent, would play host as a playground for the powerful.
Sunday, October 25th was the Public Ad Campaign's second whitewashing and takeover of unsanctioned billboards in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Public Ad Campaign acts on the assumption that public space and the public's interaction with that space is a vital component of our city's health. By visually altering and physically interacting with the public environment, residents become psychologically invested in their community.
Outdoor advertising is the primary obstacle to open public communications. By commodifying public space, outdoor advertising has monopolized the surfaces that shape our shared space. Private property laws protect the communications made by outdoor advertising while systematically preventing public usage of that space.
The above billboard was done by the BoomCrash collective, on N7th & Bedford Ave in, knowingly amidst many of the unfinished luxury residential projects in Williamsburg. Yet unknowingly on the 80th anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash.
"1917, Day of the Revolution, soldiers on [maybe a street name?]"
This is a postcard set detailing the Revolution(s) of 1917 in Russia. Someone was auctioning these awhile ago and I kept the images. The October (Bolshevik) Revolution was only 92 years ago today!
My great grandparents were Armenians in the Russian military on the Turkish front, and had to flee the country following the revolution. I only bring this up because these images seem like forever ago, but my grandmother was with them and is still alive—this all happened within a lifetime! Anyway, my Russian is pretty spotty, and I am especially bad at reading cursive (also the resolution on these images is not so good) but here are some vaguely, hopefully, accurate translations!
Out good friends at the Groundswell Design Collective havee been having some computer troubles as of late, but they are now fully back online. If you've never checked them out, or haven't been in awhile, take a peek at their design site HERE and blog HERE.
Our friends and awesome t-shirt makers Liberation Ink are struggling to survive at the moment, and need our help! Liberation Ink is an Oakland-based artist and activist run shirt shop that has created a number of shirts by Justseeds artists, including Favianna Rodriguez, Fernando Marti, and myself (Josh MacPhee), and always gives a portion of the money they bring in to local political projects. They have just set up a membership drive in order to raise the capital necessary to keep the gears turning, so if you're into political art on shirts, check them out, become a member, and buy some shirts!
Here's their call:
Join Liberation Ink as part of our new Membership Program and help us continue to sustain and grow our business to support social justice organizing! Your membership will help cover the basic overhead costs so that we can keep Liberation Ink open. So please join today and help us spread the word. We need to sign up 200 Members by October 31! For as little as $30 a year, you can help sustain and grow Liberation Ink and our efforts to fund social justice organizing from the grassroots.
Join at $30 a year (includes a free tee shirt) or at $50 a year (for free shirt and additional discounts). Click HERE.
"The purpose of this little program is to expose the seductions of rhetoric, not to criticize actions taken. Despite my admiration for many of the actions taken in the name of insurrection, I'm suspicious of how easy it is to substitute style for substance in the communiques describing these actions. And this is not to say that all "insurrectionist" texts are meaningless, despite its difficulty, I found the Coming Insurrection to be, with all its excesses, a serious (if contentious) contribution to revolutionary thought. And, to point out just one other exemplar, the recent "Communique from an Absent Future: The Terminus of Student Life" is by and large an excellent piece of analysis. This program is intended only to demonstrate the pitfalls of language which sounds too good to be meaningful."
No More Corporate Bullshit-Fuk Wall St
Gowanus, Brooklyn. 2008
This was an artists response to last years economic crisis and collapse. Below is a more recent photo of the response of someone with money to burn on brown paint.
Its interesting, that, whomever buffed this building only had a problem with the overt statement and not the self aggrandizing throw-ups. Is offending Wall St. bad for property values? Couldn't the financial institutions be blamed for valueless land and homes?
Funny, bankers and graffiti artists supposedly have the similar effects on a neighborhood. I'd rather read the walls any day than have the mystery and of the market impact my neighbors.
The drama with Shepard Fairey continues…While the position that some of the Justseeds' members take on the work of Fairey is public knowledge (see Mark Vallan's 2007 essay, written with Josh MacPhee, Favianna Rodriguez, and Lincoln Cushing or see Favianna's blog or Liam O'Donoghue's article), recent news stories continue to look bad for any "progressive" street artist-turned capitalist entrepeneur.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Fairey admitted to using Mannie Garcia's photo of President Obama as the source for his famous HOPE poster. While Fairey has greatly benefitted from this poster, Garcia has received little. Today's LAT states:
"Les miettes " (Crumbs) directed by Pieree Pinaud in 2007.
I projected this silent film last night at my work, in a program of new French shorts. It's a beautifully made, aesthetically retro, allegory about capitalism, solidarity, and (even) the necessity of armed self-defense.
Well worth a half hour of your time!
The Guardian UK recently posted a short but interesting piece on the art, design, and technology used in the recent protests in Iran. The article is called "The art of protest in Iran: From cartoons of potatoes to boycotts of Nokia, Iranian political dissent is finding endlessly creative expression," and you can check it out HERE.
My friend Sam Sebren is in this show, looks promising:
Curated by Nancy Mahl of Progressive Culture Works
October 24 - December 5, 2009
Opening Reception, with performance, October 24, 7-10 PM
Panel Discussion and Screening: Saturday, November 7, 2009
73 Market St Newark NJ 07102
What is Art Without Money?
Filthy Lucre examines the transformative power of valuation upon art and the people who make it. The artists, performers, and writers participating in the project have investigated the definitions and functions of art as a commodity and queried the practice of artmaking from inside and outside the realm of monetary exchange. The work, from the purely theoretical to the frankly hilarious, is by artists representing a broad spectrum of age, background, education, and commercial success. Particular focus is brought to unsalable art and what becomes of it, the effects of commercial success on artmaking practice, the spiritual function of art, defining the consumer of art, the difference between precious and valuable, the economic element in definitions of high, outsider, and folk art; and the ever-fraught relationship of artist and patron.
My old friend Jasson Perez is making a name for himself in Chicago as 1/3 of the political hip-hop crew BBU (Bin Laden Blowin' Up, or Black, Brown & Ugly). They're great, and I did a logo for them a little while back, using a Chris Stain handstyle....There's a nice piece on them in this weeks Chicago Reader (check it out HERE), and for those in NYC, definitely check them out at CMJ Music Fest, they're playing Thursday Oct. 22nd. Check out some songs HERE, and check out this video, too:
So while we've been dealing with G20 fallout here, there's been a bit of stir over in the UK related to the G20 as well. British art crew the Space Hijackers were arrested for impersonating the cops at the G20 protests in London back in April, and now their going to court. Below is part of a letter from the Hijackers, and a story from the Times UK can be found HERE.
Hello, Robin from Space Hijackers here, I'm not sure if you're aware but the hijackers are currently in a bit of bother.
As you may have seen in the news, we've recently been arrested for the spurious charge of impersonating police officers at the G20 demonstrations. It seems the police didn't quite find it as funny as we did to discover us rolling around in our tank, playing Ride of the Valkyries whilst ridiculing the oppressive police tactics on the day of the protests.
I came across this project while reading Kathleen Hanna's (of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and Julie Ruin) blog! They are a project by an Argentine artist which received a grant to design shoes built to assist immigrants with making the dangerous trek across the U.S.-Mexico border. From the BBC
The trainers are adorned with unusual items.
"The shoe includes a compass, a flashlight because people cross at night, and inside is included also some Tylenol painkillers because many people get injured during crossing," Werthein says.
The artist was commissioned by a cross-border arts exhibition called inSite to develop a project that "intervened" in some aspect of border life. While researching her project, the Argentine native became fascinated by illegal immigrants' primary mode of transportation - their feet. An Aztec eagle is embroidered on the heel. On the toe is the American eagle found on the US quarter, to represent the American dream the migrants are chasing. A map - printed on the shoe's removable insole - shows the most popular illegal routes from Tijuana into San Diego.
There is also an article at Delete the Border.
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!
I've always wanted to go to one of these CSPG annual events, but am never in LA at the right time. If you're in LA check this out and let us know how it went!!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
800 North Alameda
6:30 PM - Music & Silent Auction
Original art, vintage & contemporary posters
Music: Marcus L. Miller with Freedom Jazz Movement
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Buffet Dinner
On Location Catering
8:00 PM Program & Live Auction
Emcee: Sandra Tsing Loh
Auctioneer: Robert Berman
Just a quick shot of a poster in Mexico City using the art of Rini Templeton. Her work is still getting around! If you don't know about Rini, check out the RiniArt site, built by Favianna R. and Jesus B.
To go along with Mary's posting about media coverage at the G20, here's an awesome remix of the police order to disperse, heard in the streets of Pittsburgh during the G20.
Thanks to whomever put that together. Its funny cos I was just listening to WFMU the other day, and heard a song called Resist. It was a DJ remix of a very popular Radical Cheerleader chant during the anti-globalisation hey-day, by Plastique Du Reve f/ Radical Resistance Cheerleaders.
These are pictures I culled from IO9 of the Red Dawn movie remake (creatively titled "Red Dawn 2010") , where Russia and China invade the old USA. This one, like the first one, seems to be really drawing on right wing fear.
I thought I might be able add something witty to this, but the pictures are kind of fascinating... an aesthetically dumbed-down Shep Fairey with thoughtful slogans like, "Be Disturbed at Not Understanding". I am!
(Pictured: Pontiac, Michigan)
The Esplanade is a narrow strip of land that lies between the Willamette River and Interstate 5 in Portland (OR). In 2001 the City of Portland remodeled this into a riverfront parkway, with some public art, a partially-floating bike/jog path, and some new boat docks. This area (near rail lines, social services, and with plenty of bridges and overpasses) has also been a long time spot for homeless camps, car campers, train hoppers, and also (of course) skate boarders & graffiti.
I put up a blog posting a couple weeks ago about a public art install, Live Debris, which occurred in this area. It was organized by the group Red Semilla Roja, and one in "a series of international events sharing reuse traditions as a means of reducing stigmas around garbage, poverty and street culture."
I went down late on a Saturday, added some art to the wheat paste wall, sat on a woven-from-garbage hammock, and looked out over the river. I then wandered back down the Esplanade and checked out all the different projects that were part of Live Debris. I was impressed and inspired by the project and interviewed Taylor Stevenson from Red Semilla Roja for the Justseeds blog via email on September 25th, 2009.
(photos taken from Live Debris website)
The Israeli Socialist Organization, better known by the name of its publication, Matzpen (Compass), formed in 1962. It was the first organization in Israel founded on principles of anti-Zionism. Its membership joined Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs to resist Israel’s apartheid policies. Matzpen challenged Israeli manifest destiny for twenty-five years, and its legacy continues to animate anti-Zionist organizing within Israel and around the world. The poster was designed by climate and social justice organizer Joshua Kahn Russell and anti-imperialist author Dan Berger. Russell and Berger interviewed each other over the recent Rosh Hoshana (Jewish New Year) about the poster, Jewish radicalism, and Palestinian self-determination.
September 20, 2009
Dan: Hi Joshua. Happy new year!
Joshua: Hey Dan, Shana Tovah. So we made a poster, huh? I hear 5770 is the year of liberation-history education through social movement art.
Dan: Cultural work on a variety of levels has been so important to interrupt the false consensus around all Jews supporting Israeli colonialism.
Joshua: Art is always and important medium and vehicle in social movements, but I think this is particularly so among Jews learning to challenge some of the dominant myths around Zionism. Artists like Israeli-born, Detroit-based rapper Invincible are creating amazing multimedia to tell stories and narratives of the occupation and colonialism, with songs that include extensive interviews with displaced people, footage of demonstrations and military violence, etc. I think this is partly because the subject is still (though increasingly less) taboo; art and creative expression is like the sugar that helps the medicine go down for an uncomfortable subject. We’re talking here about basic Jewish values: self-determination, social justice, freedom, interconnection and interdependence. Unfortunately, talking about them in the context of the harsh realities of the Israeli military and State make it confusing and difficult for Jews to speak frankly and honestly.
I have been taking a bunch of flicks of the Read fire extinguisher tags, here's one of em. You may see Boans, Reader, Read More, or other stuff. If you find em, let me know. I'd like to compile a bunch more!
In 2003, I took to the road and drove around the Northeast and Midwest United States and interviewed about 2 dozen radical artists about their work. I posted an edited section of the interview with Nicolas Lampert (one of our Justseeds members) about a year ago. So, here is the second installment...an interview with Josh MacPhee. Keep in mind that this is six years old, and as such, is dated. I will be posting others over time, so keep your eye out!
These interviews became a rough draft/sketch for the chapter I edited ("Subversive Multiples") in Realizing the Impossible, edited by Josh MacPhee and Erik Ruin and published by AK Press in 2007.
John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods has argued that American workers do not deserve a health care system. We believe that heath care should be affordable for everyone, not just rich people.
A group referring to itself as the “Greenwash Guerrillas” claimed credit for the banner, and prior to a hasty departure threw leaflets down onto the stalled traffic articulating their demands:
* We know a highly-developed campaign has been launched in the United States by the worst transnational corporate polluters, Wall Street financiers, and well-funded professional enviros along with their lesser-funded camp-followers to pass a bill, any bill, possessing the namesake of ‘the climate’;
* We hold that polluting corporations have never advocated for anything that would harm their bottom line, their short-term profits or their shareholders;
* We recognize that Wall Street financiers, responsible for a world-wide economic recession due to a speculative bubble collapse, have set their sites on a $14 trillion carbon trading system as a means of reviving their fortunes;
* We know that corporate polluters have effectively defanged the mainstream US environmental movement. Many organizations that appear to publicly support environmental defense are welcoming disastrous policy within the US and the leadup to the December COP15 Climate Talks in Copenhagen. The mainstream environmental movement has become little more than a sounding board for corporate sponsors of profit-generating climate change legislation.
As a people, we cannot define the systematic destruction of our environment, the unprecedented exctinction crisis, and oncoming impacts of climate catastrophe as a money-making opportunity. We will not forget or forgive those who mindlessly, selfishly advocate a cap-and-trade system. The False Solutions agenda of the corrupt circles of government at home and abroad will meet resistance.
Agent Simple Green
The Greenwash Guerrillas
This just in from Not My Government:
Paul Barron’s community memorial mural of Gary King Jr. was buffed by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) September 24th, 2009. The mural was painted at the end of 2007, after police officer Patrick Gonzales beat, tazered, and shot 20 year old, unarmed and innocent, Gary King Jr. in the back. Gary passed away in hand cuffs next to this pillar, while his young cousin had to watch, unable to put pressure on the wounds because officer Gonzales put a gun to his head and said that he would kill him if he touched Gary. Gary ran a construction company with his father and was a productive member of the community. His life was stolen before he got to see the birth of his baby girl.
While the G20 is meeting in Pittsburgh right now, the General Assembly has been meeting at the United Nations in NYC. This week, Sept 20-26 has been called Climate Week NY by folks organizing various kinds of symbolic actions and demonstration.
I was asked by the 350.org campaign if I could make some last minute placards for a demonstration. I hadn't heard much about the organizing or demonstrations for the week, which probably should be taken note, since any outreach on activity like this would come across my radar. Anyhow, I was happy to be able to support and participate from the periphery.
Impressions for Change:
35 Years of Political Posters from Red Sun Press
This anniversary exhibit of posters printed by Red Sun Press highlights progressive activism of the past thirty five years – focusing on peace, justice and a sustainable world.
Jamaica Plain Open Studios
September 26-27, 2009
11 am-6 pm
94 Green Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Saturday, September 26, 6-8 pm
From the Mobilization for Climate Justice:
Bryant Park – Climate SOS, New York Climate Action Group, and members of Rising Tide North America protested what they called “a greenwashed U.S. climate agenda” at the opening of NYC Climate Week. Activists distributed their version of the ACESA (American Clean Energy and Security Act) bill to event attendees and media in the form of fake $2 trillion bills which subtly depict a collusion of prominent Green NGOs (NRDC, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund among others) with corporate backers of the bill (BP, Shell, Dow, and others). Climate SOS organizers Dr. Rachel Smolker and Dr. Maggie Zhou engaged ceremony patrons with a pointed critique of the bill’s corporate-friendly implications.
Citing the overwhelming embrace of business CEOs at the upcoming climate summit, largely closed to the public, Smolker states:
“At the national and international level, special interest corporate lobbyists have held a stranglehold on climate policymaking. “Solutions” being offered are those most profitable and convenient to corporate polluters and their acquiescent faux ‘Green’ NGO allies. The panoply of cap-and-trade, emissions offsets, genetically engineered organisms, and carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS) form a pipe-dream constellation of false solutions. That these proposals are not met with the critique or rejection offered by scientists and grassroots movements illustrates the privileged access of corporations to the halls of the US Congress and the UN.”
Another nice poster from Jared Davidson/Garage Collective in New Zealand. This one is an announcement for an upcoming art exhibition. Those in the NZ, check it out and let us know how it is!
The latest incarnation of the "Billionaire" meme, "Billionaires for
Wealthcare" struck again this weekend, as Healthcare Inc. CEOs in tuxedos and gowns "thanked" Tea-baggers for coming out for Glenn Beck's March on Washington from Sept 12th. Tea-baggers eagerly joined in on Billionaire chants of "Bring Back Bush!" and “Fight Socialism! Abolish Medicare Now!”, but the greatest crowd pleaser (and provoker) of the day, was a stirring rendition of their original song "Let's Save the Status Quo" sung to the tune of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and memorably captured in this music video:recently featured by Rachel Maddow.
Icky A, Roger Peet and I will have some work in the show "I think therefore I am" at the Goodfoot Lounge in Portland. The opening is this Thursday Sept. 24. I thought I would post images of the 2 large new prints I will have up at this show as it may be awhile till I get these on the Justseeds site.
the first is:
"Home Is Where the Cart Is" which is inspired by some of the folks at Dignity Village here in Portland and the many folks that survive living in Forest Park or in the nooks and crannies of Portland. I have seen many amazing bike carts used to carry everything from scrap metal to full size couches. I've even seen a few carts that people pull around and then sleep in at night. When I got a tour of Dignity Village last year out tour guide was extremely proud of the cart bike cart he built and used as his main hauling device for all his living needs at Dignity. This image celebrates these folks.
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.
Like Colin's weekly drawings, I decided, to post a weekly photo up here on the Justseeds Blog. I got glasses when I was in first grade, but I've always been able to read the writing on the wall. I'll be posting new and old photos I've got of the things I come across in my day, in my home, of NYC, and in my travels.
This first installment, is clearly on an awning,
Houston St, NY.
The Dirt Palace site just posted some nice-looking pics from my installation in their window, which just came down. You can check it out in slideshow format on Flickr.
The focal point of my installation were the banners i had printing during my residency at AS220. I also created with my dear friend the amazing Andrew Oesch two life-size painted-and-cut-out figures on red rosin paper and scores of painted clouds (with additional help from Susan Sakash).
The Dirt Palace window is a great place to exhibit as it faces onto the main square of the Olneyville neighborhood in Providence, and thus attracts the attention of a great number of random passers-by. I even had one enthusiastic fellow step into the window with me to chat while I was installing!
Big thanks to everyone who made my time in Providence such a dream- including all of Building 16 and AS220, Meredith Stern, Jean Cozzens for print help, Xander Marro, Andrew, Susan and Walker Mettling for delicious opening food & beverages.
Patricia Dahlman and Michael Dal Cerro have put up the 14 pieces of art they received in response to a call for art on health care reform. There's a couple nice pieces and block prints. Check out the art HERE. The above image is by Deborah Harris, "To Your Health."
“Our feelings will lead us to our theory, our theory to our action, our feelings about that action to new theory and then to new action.”- Kathie Sarachild of Redstockings Radical Feminist group, presented at the First National Women’s Liberation Conference, Chicago, November 27, 1968
Curated by our cohort Bonnie Fortune, and including Justseeds artists Favianna Rodriguez and Meredith Stern as well as Pittsburgher Hyla Willis (subRosa), "EveryBody!" opens this Friday at I Space Gallery in Chicago. For address, hours, images, and more info on the show including links to artists and organizations involved, head over to Bonnie's site!
Exhibit runs until October 10.
Support indigenous resistance!
I just got an email today from the folks at Certain Days announcing the completion of the 2010 calendar. A number or justseeds members contributed work, it's an honor to participate in such a worthwhile and timely project.
It is available now at www.certaindays.org and it will be arriving at Justseeds headquarters later this week
Global Indigenous Resistance
Indigenous resistance to colonialism is a fundamental aspect of any struggle for liberation taking place on stolen native land. Prisons are an integral part of the colonial web of domination – evidenced in the over-representation of indigenous people in both the Canadian and U.S. prison systems – and political imprisonment continues to be a key tool of repression against anti-colonial movements.
While this theme is a fitting one for a political prisoner calendar at any time, we chose to highlight it this year when the call went out from Coast Salish territory for Resistance 2010. In February, the Winter Olympics will be held on the unceded indigenous territory which Canada claims as the province of British Columbia, with dire implications for the people and the land. An impressive indigenous-led effort is underway that also includes opposition to the G8 Leader's Summit, and a meeting of NAFTA leaders as part of the so-called "Security and Prosperity Partnership." Resistance 2010 organizing
seeks to bring together analysis and resistance against colonialism, imperialism, and global capital.
Karen Fiorito of Buddha Cat Press is working with Monet Clark to produce a series of silkscreens about the role of women in the recent Iranian protests. More info at the Buddha Cat website.
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.
The Way it Was
By Justyn Dillingham
You might not know it to look at that small, trim-looking white building next to the School of Art, but inside those walls, universes are colliding.
“Confronting the Capitalist Crisis,” on display in the Joseph Gross Gallery through Oct. 7, is a display of prints brought together by the radical artists’ group Justseeds Radical Art Cooperative. It features the work of more than 60 artists from across the country, all illustrating familiar radical themes: the people against capitalism, the people against globalization, the people against “the prison-industrial complex.”
In the next room, the Lionel Rombach Gallery, Chris McGinnis’s “Heritage” is on display until Sept. 9. It’s a startling work: twenty-nine wooden panels spread across the floor (with one on the wall), all painted with eerie, evocative images of industrial America.
In terms of style and intent, these two exhibits are about as far apart as you can get. But their physical closeness is fortuitous. Spend an afternoon walking back and forth between the two rooms, taking in their ferociously detailed images, taking in their messages, and you can begin to imagine the two exhibits having an argument of sorts.
From anger to ambiguity
Slogans scream at you from the walls of the Joseph Gross Gallery: “Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” “How Many Dead Are Too Many,” “Strike While It’s Hot.” Engraved faces, emaciated and stark, glare out at you with despairing eyes — members of the “people’s history” the exhibit celebrates. It’s a striking and haunting compilation of images.
The energy and emotion that went into “Capitalist Crisis” is palpable. If you stand there long enough, you might begin to feel the eerie contrast between the silent noise conjured up by the emotional images and the stillness of the gallery itself.
What “Capitalist Crisis” has not done is find an original way to express its vision. It speaks the familiar language of the Old Left: flags, marches, fists clenched in solidarity. They seem archaic and clichéd because they are. You can almost hear Woody Guthrie strumming his guitar in the background.
Some of the prints are striking — the grim “Hope,” the Soviet-esque “Strike While It’s Hot” — but they’re drowned out by the deafening roar of the rest of the images, all clamoring for your attention. In a way, the visual blare of “Capitalist Crisis” is simply another version of the crass world of mainstream politics; it speaks in absolutes, and if your answers aren’t theirs, there’s no place for you.
Jared Davidson of the Garage Collective in New Zealand has just posted this short video about early labor history in NZ. It's a nice short piece collaged from historical photos, documents and narrative:
Two artists with prints in the Paper Politics show, Patricia Dahlman and Michael Dal Cerro, are organizing an online art show of art works for health care reform. Here's what they sent me:
Due to the right wing loud voices and lies concerning the Health Care Reform Bill, Mike and I are organizing an online exhibition of artists' work titled "Artists for Health Care Reform." We are interested in seeing art work that is pro Public Option, pro Single Payer, art work about people and communities that are shut out of the health care system and art work in response to the lies the right wing is putting out there. I am hoping that you are interested in participating. We are asking artists to email a jpeg of their work for this online exhibition as soon as possible. The deadline is September 7. Congress will be voting on the bill September 8.email an image to them here.
There's a really nice write up on the Richmond, VA Paper Politics show on the RVA Magazine website. RVA Mag is a cool art and culture publication focusing on Richmond. I did an interview with RVA's Preston while installing and this is what came out of it, read it HERE.
(image: Refugio Solis, La Otra Campaña, screen print, 2005)
The folks over at Arthur Magazine are building a cool online archive of printed papers created by the Diggers back in the mid-60s. For those new to them, the Diggers were a San Francisco-based political counter-culture group, sort of like anarchist beatniks and hippies. They took their name from the 17th century British Diggers, a revolutionary band led by Gerrard Winstanley, who basically believed in creating economic equality through complete communal land ownership. The SF Diggers created a free food program for kids in Golden Gate Park, a Free Store, where donated and stolen goods where distributed, and free rock concerts. The existed at the same time that Black Mask was organizing in NYC and the Provos where doing their thing in Amsterdam. All 3 groups were the first big wave of 60s anti-capitalist youth organizing, setting the parameters for what would happen latter in 1968 with the global youth revolt.
The funnest source for reading about the SF Diggers is the book Ringolevio, the semi-fictional autobiography of Digger Emmett Grogan. The text can be found online HERE, but it's a book well worth having, and can be found HERE.
Arthur has been collecting the flyers produced by Communication Company, who were sort of like the Diggers publishing wing. From the Arthur site:
Most of the documents that we are presenting are broadsides originally published on a Gestetner machine owned and operated in the Haight by the novelist/poet Chester Anderson and his protege/sidekick Claude Hayward, who used the name “Communication Company,” or more commonly, “Com/Co.” According to Claude, these broadsides were then “handed out on the street, page by page, super hot media, because the reader trusted the source, which was another freaky looking hippie who had handed it to him/her.”
All of these Communication Company mimeo flyers can be found on the Arthur site HERE.
Other SF Digger info, posters and flyers can be found at the Digger Archives HERE.
A stencil grafitti direct action aimed at counteracting concerted effort by US Military to recruit in minority and poor neighborhoods.
“We are a group of anonymous culture jammers. This action marks the start of our campaign of counteracting manipulative and exploitative propaganda aimed at the most vulnerable members of our community, through non-violent direct action. We encourage everyone who watches this to think of a creative ways of engaging injustices in their communities. Do not be complacent, do not be indifferent…”
I've noticed this posted around a bit, but didn't watch it until recently. I applaud the efforts of the folks involved and they did a good job on putting together the video. That said, I think the choice of words, stenciled, are quite obvious and I'm not sure if they engage people on the street in any effective way. Do people connect them with the activities that happen in those offices? Moreover, the text painted on the roll-down cages of recruiter offices seem less intended for people wishing to enlist than passers-by of these storefronts after hours. Do the words "KILL" or "DIE" really speak to the issue being raised in the video? That recruiters focus on poor neighborhoods of color in urban areas? Is the idea to raise awareness that the ruling class is using poor folks of color to fight "their" war? Or state the more obvious fates within this apparatus.
I bring up these points not in judgment, yet to push a critique of the efficacy of this action. I am asking myself, what does this action encourage anyone else to do? (In other words, how does it help realize the agency and potential of individuals and movements?) It's exciting to hear about activity in NYC around the themes of recruitment and the continuing war, and I look forward to ever more creative confrontations!!
There are a handful of images from the "I Know There is Love" installation, by Chris Stain and Armsrock, up on the web. Check out the slideshow up on the Village Voice website as well as an interview with the two herbs that conceived it on Arrested Motion. The opening was well attended and Chris' daughter Amara made out by selling some crayon drawn portraits of the attendees. It was really inspiring having Armsrock in town for a bunch of days and we got to talk a lot about the efficacy of art, activism, and our future. He's a wiry and expressive little bugger and I look forward to his involvement in future Justseeds projects, such as our forthcoming portfolio, because of his passion for communication and social justice in this world. Thanks for comin to this side of the pond, buddy, you inspire me to create and keep on fightin!
And just so you know work is available through Ad Hoc Art. We did make these sweet zines with handscreened covers too! Also available at Ad Hoc
i recently completed a residency at AS220 in Providence, RI. during my month there I worked on a large-scale but intricate banner project. the first three weeks were entirely spent hand-cutting 6 feet of rubylith silkscreen film! i then printed a small initial edition on fabric. three of these were then incorporated into an installation in the window of the Dirt Palace in Olneyville Square.
photos of the work in progress are available here.
the intention behind these works is to provide a lending library of banners on the theme of Liberation that are available for temporary use in activist events, rallies, protests, etc. i eventually hope to produce 3 such designs. some initial funding for this was provided by the Puffin Foundation.
i'm super-excited about the potential of this project & wanted to reach out to all of my virtual friends. here's how you can help, if you're interested-
1. request a banner for an event, conference, protest,, etc. that you're involved with. requesters are responsible for the eventual return of the banners and shipping (if outside the philly area)- i hope to be able to eventually procure the necessary funds to negate that last part.
2. in order to procure the necessary time & supplies for this project, i'm attempting to sell a small number of the original edition of 12 banners. due to the price (right now i'm thinking of selling them on a sliding scale of $250- 1000) and extreme rarity of these items, i will most likely not be offering them for sale on the Justseeds site, so please send me a message here or at email@example.com if you're interested..
3. arrange for a showing of this work!
thanks & take care,
photo by Kevin Caplicki
John Fekner just sent me a link to a great photo collection he recently put up of his stenciled car husks. John started painting slogans such as "Decay" on the side of abandoned cars in Queens and the South Bronx in the early 80s. This simple act de-naturalized the collapse of these neighborhoods, reminding everyone that this was not some foregone conclusion, but the results of specific policies and actions of city officials. Check out all the images HERE.
Here's some photos from Paper Politics Richmond at the Ghostprint Gallery. It opens TONIGHT!
Paper Politics, a show I curated of political prints from around the world, is opening on Friday in Richmond, VA. Please come by and check it out if you're in town!:
Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today
200 prints from 200 artists
220 W. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23220
Friday, August 7th, 7-10 pm
show runs August 7th-August 29th, 2009
Wed-Sat, 1-7pm or by appointment
At the Justseeds retreat last weekend we discussed the importance of our website providing readers with resources/graphics/downloadable posters on current issues/struggles/etc. We will be working diligently through the next year to expand the website to include more of these kinds of resources.
To get things started I will be sharing my newest design celebrating the persistence of organizing in El Salvador through one of a few important organizations there-the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front(FMLN). Though I have many questions about whether an electoral strategy can bring about true transformational change I agree with Roberto Lovato who has noted that they "had ended more than 130 years of oligarchy and military rule over this tiny Central American nation of 7 million."
Here is some info about a print shop in Saint Louis, Missouri who are following a cooperative model.
All Along Press is a cooperative art space specializing in letterpress, screenprinting, and book arts. We are dedicated to building an environment of creative collaboration that embraces a DIY ethic. We see ourselves as an alternative to individuals and institutions that operate on a top-down basis. We are not profit-driven, but instead are driven by the desire for creative and meaningful expression.
Chris Stain and Armsrock are pluggin away, with a a handful of breaks, over at the Ad-Hoc Art Gallery. They are making a collaborative installation in the gallery and hanging some original artworks. The show opens this Friday, August 7th
Ad Hoc Art
49 Bogart St
Our friends at Inkworks Press in Berkeley have produced another great issue of their online newsletter, Hot Off the Presses. This issue features Justseeds' artist Favianna Rodriguez! There's an intro to Favianna's work, an artist statement, and images and explanations of 4 of her posters, two of them brand new.
In addition, the newsletter contains a story on the SF Mime Troupe, and a great collection of images from the East Bay Calendar of Political and Cultural Events, which Inkworks printed from 1976-1979. The Calendar is beautiful, with amazing split-fountains, overprints and duotones. I've attached a couple images of the fountain below.
I recently went to see Propagandhi play in Milwaukee. At this show I first heard about the Tar Sands, a dirtier more toxic way of producing oil than usual. Some basic information about the Tar Sands, links to more info, and a sticker design I made about the Tar Sands are below.
In the Canadian Boreal forest just downstream of the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains are the Canadian tar sands. The region contains some 2 trillion barrels of oil, but getting to it will mean destroying an area larger than the state of Florida.
Tar sands consist of heavy crude oil mixed with sand, clay and bitumen. Extraction entails burning natural gas to generate enough heat and steam to melt the oil out of the sand. As many as five barrels of water are needed to produce a single barrel of oil.
Tar sands oil is the worst type of oil for the climate, producing three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally produced oil because of the energy required to extract and process tar sands oil.
The tar sands creates a toxic landscape for first nations people and local people, threatening Indigenous rights, public health, and water quality.
There will be many new pipelines running through the us/especially midwest.
Mark Vallen, who is a painter and printmaker and runs the art-for-a-change blog, has a bunch of really nice prints for sale on his site. He just posted a Sandanista print from 1986, and when I went to look at it, I found a bunch of other great stuff, solidarity with Palestine, South Africa, and more. Check out his sale page here.
Our friend Kazembe Balagun, who runs the blog Black Man with a Library, has just posted a podcast interview he did with Black Panther artist Emory Douglas. I've embedded it below, or you can check out Kazembe's blog.
Our friends at Tadamon!, a Montreal-based activist organization, have produced a new poster in their on-going series of propaganda pieces in support of Palestine. Designed by LOKi Design, this new image is quite striking, and we hope to have some here on Justseeds to distribute soon. A high-res pdf of the poster can be downloaded from LOKi here.
I am Xicano. My family roots tie me to this land. My ancestors have moved across the Americas for thousands of years. I grew up in South San Diego just 10 minutes from the U.S.- Mexico border. Today my family still struggles to cross this (U.S.) militarized and surveilled line, sometimes waiting for hours, to cross the same land that only a few generations before they had freely moved across.
My life experiences, historical ties to this land, my spirituality, and my worldview all inform my politics. I stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and see clear connections between our common struggles for land, life and self-determination. In my role as an artist-activist I have dedicated much of my time to developing young people as leaders of our locally grounded struggles for justice. This work has included teaching how art and culture play key parts in our movements.
The group I have worked with the most, Huaxtec, I been involved with since my arrival to the Bay Area in 1994. I am so happy to support folks representing this group as part of SNAG magazine’s delegation to Palestine.
As part of my support I will be printing a second edition of one of my favorite prints called Sobreviviendo. This print features Leila Khaled a Palestinian freedom fighter. It says “Long Live Free Palestine” in English, Spanish and Arabic. Since the first edition was printed in 2004 many people have asked how they can obtain the print and this feels like the perfect reason to print a second edition.
I will be reprinting a limited edition of prints to help support the fundraising efforts. The print is valued at $100 but will be available for only $50. All proceeds will benefit the indigenous youth delegation.
In solidarity, in struggle, and with love,
TO PRE-ORDER A $50 PRINT NOW that will be available in LATE JULY (delivered to you by mail; or in person at our final Bay Area fundraising event) CLICK HERE FOR OUR PAYPAL LINK if you are already logged into Paypal. Otherwise, go to http://www.paypal.com and click on the “send money” tab. When it asks who the payment is to, type in the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
OR MAIL CHECKS TO:
Delegation c/o Snag Magazine
P.O. Box 40597
San Francisco CA 94140
We will confirm the receipt of your order by email.
This week we took our RUST youth print group to a "youth peace rally" organized by the MGR Foundation and Teens Against Senseless Violence (TASK). The kids in our group were printing posters for TASK on the spot, handing out their designs as well as teaching folks how to screenprint hands-on.
I was surprised and excited when someone in the rally handed me this brochure for the Human Rights Coalition's Fed-Up! branch here in Pittsburgh - the front of the pamphlet features Justseeds' artist Nicolas Lampert's "Missing" poster design!
A couple friends have sent along a link to a new collection of Counter Globalization Movement posters someone has put together in a online image album. It's a great collection, well over 200 posters and counting, starting with sweatshop awareness posters from 1998 and WTO posters from 99, moving up through anti-IMF/World Bank, various G8 summits, World Economic Forum, and more. Check it out here. The collector has put some info about each poster up, but a lot is missing. I'm sure they'd love it if people filled in the gaps.
From Kevin McCloskey's blog:
I was surprised to learn the man who taught the radical young printmakers of Oaxaca's ASAR-O collective was a mild-mannered seventy-five year old Japanese master printer. I had the privilege of speaking with him earlier this year in Oaxaca.
His own artwork is generally not political in nature, but he has been an inspiration to a new generation of activists/artists.
Maestro Takeda spoke about his outreach project to Oaxaca’s poor. He is devoted to the nurturing students from the underclass, the sons and daughters of “campesinos” or landless peasants. Oaxaca is among the poorest Mexican states and one of the poorest regions of the state is the remote Costa Chica. Nearly 8 hours by bus from Oaxaca City, the Costa Chica is home to Afro-Mexican communities. An activist Roman Catholic priest there, Padre Glyn Jemmott, has made it his life’s mission to raise awareness of Mexico’s racial diversity. Padre Glyn is himself of African descent, born in Trinidad, and like Maestro Takeda, devoted to expanding opportunities for the campesinos. During the 1990s Maestro Takeda arranged for some of best students go to the Costa Chica and work with Padre Glyn
When the political turmoil hit Oaxaca in 2006, Takeda challenged his students to respond to the crisis as artists. If one is an artist, then one responds to any phenonomenom, be it natural, social, or political, as an artist. He teaches his students about Mexico’s proud heritage of activist artists. He shares his own collection of books of Taller Grafica Popular prints with his students. He is impressed with both the quality and quantity of political prints his former students in ASAR-O have produced. He recalls with pride how ASARO upended the whole idea of the preciousness of art, selling their unsigned prints for just a few pesos more than the cost of the paper it was printed on.
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.
Erik is the artist and residence at my workplace right now, and we spent 20 minutes today at lunch having fun making this exquisite corpse:
For those in the NYC area, after 18 months of being open, the new New Museum is finally doing a show worth going to! They're mounting an exhibition of posters and artwork by Emory Douglas, former Black Panther Party Minister of Culture. Most of Douglas' work was originally published as graphics, covers, and centerfold posters in the Black Panther newspaper in the 1970s and early 80s, where he collaged together his drawings, found photographs, and ziptone patterns to create an amazing array of graphics in service to the Black Revolution in the US. For whatever reason (likely cannibalistic), a portion of the art world has recently taken a shine towards Emory, and I'm not going to complain, this promises to be a great opportunity to see a huge collection of difficult to find work from a political graphics master. Here's the details, and a link to more info and more images(!):
Emory Douglas: Black Panther
An Exhibition Curated by Sam Durant
7/22/09 - 10/18/09
New York, NY 10002
I just stumbled across this interesting site, a re-purposing of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis in an attempt to discuss recent events in Iran. I can't say I agree with all the content (Not that I disagree, I'm still trying to figure out what's going on in Iran), but it's fascinating how activists have taken frames from the original comic, reordered them, changed the text, and generated an entirely new story, as if it is an extension of the original comic! Persepolis 2.0 is a relatively crude re-creation, but since the original comic is so graphic, it really works. An interesting attempt at open source creativity...
You can read the whole comic (12 pages so far) here. You can download a pdf from the site as well.
I'm getting this up a little late for celebrating Pride, but my friend Sam sent me this great flyer/story made by one of the Stonewall veterans. It's an amazing narrative of the Stonewall Riot from someone who was there that night. Hopefully it'll be readable here:
Rising Tide activists dropped a 25 ft high banner off the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston. Image below, and the rest of the story here.
Hard to resist not doing more mud stencils after the energy that came out of the Tamms Year Ten mud stencil action in early June in Chicago. Here's some new images and new themes, not connected to the campaign, but in the same spirit of using eco-art to put up messages in public space.
one by Jesse:
one by Nicolas:
The Aberdeen Poster Collective is another UK poster group I've stumbled across online. This crew is from Aberdeen, Scotland, and appears to have had their heyday in the early 2000s. They have about 50 posters up online which you can download and reproduce. Some of them are quite simple and effective. Check them all out, and their manifesto, on their website.
The Yes Men were involved in another spoof paper last week, this one is an edition of the International Herald, and the re-made paper focuses on climate change and the upcoming COP15 conference in Copenhagen in December. You can check out the whole paper and download a PDF of it here.
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.)
I am so happy to share the 2009 San Francisco Dyke march poster design. Since I met Ani Rivera my contact for the Dyke March committee, a few years ago, I wanted to do the design.She was a pleasure tot work with and I am really happy about being able to visually interpret this year's theme: Dyke Rights = Human Rights, Human Rights = Dyke Rights. The best part of the experience was one day when I sent a version of the poster for feed back and I could hear all the women in the background jubilantly yelling "make her fat, make her old, make her a leather butch!"Never had I heard women embrace aspects of a woman that mainstream society marginalizes so happily. It was the best feedback session I ever had.
The 17th Annual San Francisco Dyke March 2009
Saturday, June 27th, 2009
Starting from Dolores Park, at 18th and Dolores
Rally and Stage Begins @ 3:00 p.m.
March Takes Off @ 7:00 p.m.
Dyke Rights = Human Rights
Human Rights = Dyke Rights
"At the San Francisco Dyke March, we gather to experience and celebrate our collected energies, to acknowledge our many communities, to learn from our incredible diversity, to respect each other, and to create new ways to share our resources. We have pride for good reason: Dykes participate in every aspect of political, social and artistic institutions, illuminating issues of social justice wherever we are. . . "
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).
All the talk of waterboarding, stress positions, walling, psychological assault etcetera, has put me in the mood for a little perspective. Bush endorsed "enhanced" techniques, Obama hasn't put a stop to them, oh! The wringing of hands. Folks, torture is normal. Waterboarding is for the weak. Let's have a look at some REAL torture, of the sort that culture demands. This is some of the worst shit ever.
Click here to have an unpleasant experience.
Queens Museum of Art
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
7 to Shea Stadium
opens Saturday, June 20
Red Lines is a large-scale installation that explores how we finance our living environments, and will remain on view through September 27, 2009. Opening day events include: a 3–5 pm screening and discussion of Primetime: Fighting Back Against Foreclosure, a documentary by Jennifer Fasulo and Manauvaskar Kublall looking at predatory loan practices and their aftermath, and a blow-out 5–7 pm reception. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Queens Museum Panorama of New York City has been used to map the pattern of 2008 foreclosures across the city. Red Lines is curated by Larissa Harris, and is a project of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies and the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). More information at
Check out the latest video about the Tamms Year Ten mud stencil action in Chicago that took place on June 6th.
The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University is proud to present the exhibition “Art, Archives, and Activism: Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings” from March 6-December 18, 2009. From the mid ’80s through the early ’90s, artist Martin Wong and other downtown New York artists were affected by an intersection of major historic events spanning the AIDS epidemic, urban renewal and attacks on graffiti in the city, to Tiananmen Square abroad. The exhibition explores artists who crossed paths during this particular time, influencing and inspiring discussions, art works, and activism.
The exhibition winds a story through the voices of his closest friends and peers during Wong’s time in New York City from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s. As Wong would come to portray his friends, fellow artists such as Miguel (Mikey) Pinero, Sharp, Chris “Daze” Ellis, among others within his paintings, bringing them into a world of a Lower East Side re-imagined with the fantasies of escapism and romanticism of a barren land amid towering walls of crumbling brick where they dwelt, in this exhibition, the archival materials and lasting influences of Wong’s legacy and his friendships in turn shape a portrait of the artist—re-imagined and remembered.
The artist’s work shown in “Art, Archives, and Activism” range from the early ’80s through the ’90s and have been loaned from his estate at PPOW Gallery and the collections of his closest friends. Some photos, paintings and drawings have never been shown to the public before. Working with and drawing materials from the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University along with personal collections, “Art, Archives, and Activism” presents a story of a time and the interconnectedness of the artists with the world around them through the artwork, letters, photographs, videos, postcards, posters, and flyers of participant artists. The exhibition traverses the artificial borders of these two decades, and instead is spread through the moment delineated by artists’ lives and the issues that engulfed them — their personal influences, artistic production and activism that were catalyzed from these connections and overlapping paths. The opening reception is also the reception and book celebration for the Asian American Art Symposium 2009 at NYU presented by A/P/A Institute and co-sponsored by The Noguchi Museum; The Japan Foundation, New York; The Asia Society; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; and Museum of Chinese in America.
I don't think I ever posted this project here, and it just popped back up in my head, so I thought I'd share it. Back in early 2008 designer Brian Ponto asked a number of artists and designers to create posters inspired by the Atelier Populaire posters from France in May 68, but relevant to the realities of 2008. Among those invited to work on the project were Chris Stain and myself, as well as Jody Barton, Scott Boylston, Seymour Chwast, Sun Dawang, Gwenaëlle Gobé, Finn Nygaard, UG Sato, James Victore, Brett Yasko, and John Yates. The project culminated in a newspaper collection of black and white posters which also included an essay on the form of the political poster by Carol Wells, director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. You can learn more about the project and read Carol's essay here and here. And since the posters were reproduced in black & white in the paper, I've posted a color version of mine below:
Mud stencil video by Gretchen Hasse.
Lori Waxman wrote an insightful article about the recent June 6th mud stencil event in Chicago for the online and print publication New City Chicago. Below is her text and a link to her website and the New City website.
by Lori Waxman
Dirt, water, whisk, sponge, bucket, box cutter, tar paper—these are not your typical artist’s materials. Mix the water and dirt in the bucket, lay the cut-out paper against a cement surface, and sponge on the mud, however, and the result is a handsome work of environmentally friendly graffiti.
Street artists often work with stencils, using them to shape spray-painted statements. But a chemical medium dispensed through an aerosol container reeks of toxicity, so Milwaukee-based Jesse Graves, intent on finding a more compatible way to apply his environmentally and politically conscious messages, evolved an alternate means of tagging: mud. The technique is nothing short of ingenious. Simple, cheap, graphically effective and not necessarily illegal, mud stencils, if protected from the elements, can last up to ten years; or, like all dirt, they can be washed off with water. Consistency is key, however, to achieving a bold visual with sharp edges: the mud mixture must be carefully controlled so that it achieves a viscosity akin to peanut butter or feces.
Yes, feces—like the feces sometimes smeared by inmates at Tamms prison on the walls of their cells. Cells where they are held in permanent solitary confinement, bereft of all human contact, for up to twenty-three hours a day, with breaks only for showers and individual exercise. It’s a supermax jail in Southern Illinois originally designed for the short-term punishment of violent inmates from other facilities, but one-third of whose occupants have now been locked up in extreme isolation for over a decade, with no clearly defined standards for transfer in or out. Widely believed to cause permanent physiological and psychological damage, these conditions contravene the Geneva Convention, two United Nations treaties and various other international human-rights accords. Conditions which have led inmates not only to paint their walls with shit in desperate attempts for attention, but also to mutilate themselves, to attempt suicide, and to require—for one in every ten men at Tamms—regular doses of psychotropic medication. All this for up to $90,000 a year per inmate, three to four times the cost of incarceration at other prisons in Illinois.
Josh Macphee and Kevin Caplicki collaborated on a 5-color handprinted poster for an upcoming benefit for the Brecht Forum.
The event features Noam Chomsky who will deliver a lecture called Crisis and Hope:Theirs and ours. He'll be introduced by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, and features music by Earthdriver and Mahina Movement
The event will be held
Friday, June 12
At Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive (Btn 120 & 121 St)
Sliding scale for talk: $20/$25/$30
Reception with Noam Chomsky (includes reserved seating for the talk): $50/$100/$250/$500
Special Benefit for the Brecht Forum,
Please contribute what you can afford.
The poster, a signed and numbered edition of 60, will be available for sale at the event, and tickets can be purchased through the Brecht Forum website.
I shold also mention that Justseeds will be tabling the event along with others, like our comrades from Bluestockings Bookstore
My colleague Ryan Burns has been hard at work on an ambitious project of late. It's to be a massive reliquary of the Congo mineral wars; a huge slab of excavated central African soil, displayed as if it were an archaeological find shipped to a research center in a massive crate. The dig reveals layer upon layer of exploitation and devastation, destroyed forests, rent cultures, annihilated wildlife, and gruesome paramilitary struggle for control of the stream of minerals.... These minerals, hacked by hand from beneath the Congolese subsoil by teams of preteen miners, make their way through unscrupulous chains of corporate commerce into all our modern high-tech devices, our computers, our cellphones, blackberries, i-phones, x-boxes, playstations, anti-lock brakes, and so on, and so on.
We are all complicit in this, and the fact that I'm blogging about it is the ultimate irony. None of this dissemination of information is possible without the grim calculus of total destruction that has been wrought on the lands, life and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo during the past twenty years. Blood is on our hands.
Profane Relics will be on display at the Sea Change gallery in downtown Portland, Oregon, starting in July. More details coming soon.
On Saturday, June 6th in Chicago, local artists partnered with the Tamms Year Ten coalition to protest state-sanctioned torture at the supermax prison in Southern Illinois. And they did it with mud.
Artists from Chicago and Milwaukee engaged in a non-destructive type of public messaging called “mud-stenciling.” More than 30 volunteers stenciled their message “End Torture in Illinois” in the afternoon on walls and sidewalks around the city offering fact-sheets about TAMMS supermax prison to curious pedestrians. The teams hit spots such as Navy Pier, The Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Jane Adams Hull House, Hyde Park Art Center, the Logan Square skate park, the Chicago Zoo, DePaul University, as well as sidewalks, underpass walls, and numerous other locations.
Mud as a medium is especially sensible for artists and activists who want to work outdoors with a non-toxic substance to reach a large public audience. Moreover, city governments and law enforcement agencies have little precedence in dealing with mud stencils so there is a gray area on whether it is legal or not. For if it is illegal, is it also illegal for kids to write with chalk on the sidewalk? Is it illegal to build a snowman in a park or for dirt from ones garden to touch the sidewalk? And, is it illegal to stencil with mud when the rain will wash it off?
That said, none of the 30 volunteers who mud stenciled on June 6th in Chicago were arrested or even questioned by the police.
Jesse Graves, a Milwaukee based artist who is gaining international attention for his street art, developed the mud stenciling technique and took part in the Chicago action. “I started stenciling with mud because I wanted to put environmental messages in public spaces, so it would not make sense to use a toxic material like spray paint,” said Graves. “I am using the earth, the most basic substance, to express my concerns regarding the state of the environment I am living in. I am using what sustains us to offer ideas on how we can sustain ourselves.”
Nicolas Lampert, a member of the Justseeds Radical Artists cooperative (www.justseeds.org), who helped coordinate the effort, views it as a tactical media campaign. “People first will be drawn to the stencils themselves, the medium, but it is our hope that a larger conversation evolves about Tamms and how people can get involved,” said Lampert, who helped cut the 6 foot by 9 foot stencils out of rolls of roofing paper. He feels the partnership with the Tamms Year Ten campaign is a needed collaboration: “In my view, activist movements need art, and artists need to be part of activist movements. A lot of artists do political art, but this is actually a case where artists can be part of a social justice movement itself.”
The action was designed to draw attention to the supermax prison in Illinois. Which has become the target of scrutiny by press, legislators, and even Governor Quinn, who appointed a new IDOC director last month with the top priority of reviewing the conditions at Tamms.
Prisoners at the supermax are held in permanent solitary confinement, and never leave their cell except to shower or exercise alone in a concrete pen. Their is no communal activity, no contact visits, no phone calls, an no educational or rehabilitative programming. Suicide attempts, self-mutilation, and other psychotic symptoms are common at Tamms, and are an expected consequence of long-term isolation, which can induce or worsen mental illness. Prisoners often hear nothing but constant screaming or banging and complain about the smell of feces, smeared on cells by mentally ill prisoners. The supermax was designed to be a short-term shock-treatment, but one-third of prisoners have been held indefinitely since the prison opened over ten years ago.
Tamms Year Ten, a coalition of over 70 groups throughout Illinois, initiated the campaign to end torture at the supermax last year and worked with Illinois lawmakers to introduce HB2633 that would establish accountability at the prison and prohibit mentally ill people from being held there. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on the Illinois Department of Corrections and Governor Quinn to alleviate conditions at the prison immediately.
Laurie Jo Reynolds a Tamms Year Ten organizer, who participated in the mud stencil action said, “The mud-stencils help facilitate dialogues about Tamms with people all over the city.” She reported that people were surprised to see the word torture being used in connection with the state of Illinois. “Many people don’t realize that our supermax is more isolating than Guantanamo Bay, where identical treatment has been judged by Attorney General Eric Holder to be too isolating for prisoner safety,” Reynolds explained. All prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are now provided social interaction and phone calls, in compliance with the humane-treatment requirements of the Geneva Convention. She added, “Most people agree that psychological torture can’t be justified for American prisoners of war, or for detainees at Guantanamo, and it can’t be justified for people in custody in Illinois.”
Nationally, supermaxes are on the decline with some closing or converting to regular maximum security prisons due to the unwanted consequences of long-term isolation, as well as the high cost of supermax prisons. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, the average annual cost of housing a prisoner at Tamms is about $60,000, two to three times as much as any other adult prison on Illinois.
Tamms Year Ten: http://www.yearten.org/
Jesse Graves: http://mudstencils.com/
More photos, video, and articles will be posted over the coming weeks.
This just in from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics out in Los Angeles:
High Art for Higher Purpose
June 6 - 27, 2009
Los Angeles City College
855 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Gallery Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 12 – 4 pm
From Dada to Punk, from anti-war movements to feminism and ecology, high art has been repeatedly incorporated into a visual language that ranges from the iconoclastic to overt protest. MasterPeaces shows how works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Picasso, Warhol and many others have been parodied, appropriated or altered to make statements about a variety of contemporary issues.
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 6 12 – 4 pm
Symposium: Saturday, June 20, 2009 2-4 pm
The Center for the Study of Political Graphics, students and faculty in the Designing the Political course at Otis College of Art and Design, will discuss the dialogue between the original art and the contemporary protest poster.
Quick update on a project taking place this weekend in Chicago. The Tamms Year Ten coalition is partnering with Milwaukee artist Jesse Graves to publicize state-sanctioned torture at the Tamms supermax prison in southern Illinois. The prison watchdog group and local artists will engage in a unique project this weekend called “mud stenciling.”
Mud stencils are a non-toxic ecologically-safe, non-destructive public messaging technique developed by Graves, a Milwaukee-based artist, who is gaining international recognition for his work. Mud stencils wash off in the rain, yet while they are up, they dry to a dark brown color and have a three-dimensional texture.
Below are photos of the stencils being made (the majority are 6' x 8' with one being 9' x 11'). I'll post more photos, press, and reflections on the event early next week.
The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is looking for advocates, organizations, and researchers with complex policy issues that need visual explanation. We seek advocates with a constituency who would directly benefit from an issue of Making Policy Public.
Making Policy Public is a program that pairs advocacy and policy organizations with graphic and information designers to produce foldout publications that make complicated policy issues accessible. The goal is to find organizations with issues that will advance a worthy advocacy effort but that will also engage and educate a broader public. Advocates chosen through the juried process get 1000 copies of the color publication to distribute directly to their constituents and an honorarium of $1000
Look at the Making Policy Public site for how it works
June 26 Deadline for proposals from organizations
July 16 Policy briefs posted and call for graphic designers posted
August 17 Deadline for applications from graphic designers
September 3 Publication collaborations announced
I recently completed a two color poster for the awesome Celebrate People's History poster series distributed by Justseeds. The CPH posters are a venue for radical artists to highlight social movements and examples of popular resistance that are often left out of most historical narratives. Below is the finished version of the poster I created and I want to use this post to go into a little more depth about where the imagery comes from and why I chose it. Links for more info and where to purchase the poster follow.
As I began work on this project at the end of 2007, I chose to focus on the uprising in the Mexican state of Oaxaca during the second half of 2006 that took control of the state capital for six months. It has since been compared in scale and importance to the Paris Commune. The uprising began when state police attempted to violently evict an encampment of the teachers' union in the center of the city that had been protesting the corrupt and repressive regime of Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz. When the people of the city rallied in defense of the teachers and drove the police and state government out of the city, the demonstration quickly exploded into a full on uprising against neoliberalism and the traditional power structure of Mexican politics. More specifically, I chose to highlight the crucial role that women –many of them self-identified 'housewives'– played in sustaining the rebellion and opening up new possibilities for radical liberation.
A close friend of mine, Barucha Calamity Peller, was one of the few independent journalists in Oaxaca during the uprising and she spent much of her time documenting the rebellion from the front line barricades that protected the liberated city from attack by the state. At the height of the uprising there were upwards of 3000 active barricades in Oaxaca city and many towns and municipalities in the surrounding countryside had joined the movement to kick out Ulises Ruiz. After the movement was brutally crushed by the federal government at the end of November, she returned to the states with an amazing collection of photos and testimonials from participants in the movement. Barucha and I worked together on the concept for the CPH poster and we used her images and interviews as inspiration.
Riffing off Kevin's post about art and resistance in Northern Ireland, I thought I would post some photos of murals by the Bogside Artists' in Derry, Northern Ireland. I took these photos in 2006, when I was in Ireland for a few months. These photos blew me away and had a major impact on the whole spirit of Derry. I cannot image how my walk through Derry would have changed if these murals were gone. These murals are attributed to the Bogside Artists' collective.
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.
Lincoln Cushing has just published a new short article entitled "Meshed Histories: The Influence of Screen Printing on Social Movements" on the AIGA site. Here's the first couple paragraphs, and click on the link at the bottom to read the rest.
Just like clothes or cars, media can come in and out of fashion. Screen printing—or serigraphy, as it’s called in finer art circles—has been a standard commercial process for more than a century. As a reproduction technique, it has many wonderful qualities. It requires very little in terms of equipment, and even that can be easily made by hand; it is easy to teach and to learn; and it’s very well suited to very short runs of large format objects. It seems like an obvious choice when looking for ways to create prints for the public. Yet there have been at least two periods in history when screen printing was “discovered” by artists—the first was in the United States during the mid-1930s, under the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration (FAP/WPA), and the second time during the 1960s.
When Public Art Ruled
Between 1935 and 1943 the FAP/WPA was the first, and so far, the last, great effort to put public funding into the arts. It was primarily designed to provide jobs for unemployed artists—at the beginning, 90 percent of the artists had to come from the relief rolls. As an important secondary impact it brought art and artists to the breadth of America. Teaching how to make art was a national priority, and printmaking was an obvious approach. However, conventional art techniques such as lithography or engraving posted pedagogical and technical challenges, and screen printing quickly emerged as a productive choice.
read the rest here.
After years of being out of stock, and people continually asking for them, I've started to reprint some of the older Celebrate People's History posters. I'm excited to announce that two of the most popular are now reprinted and available again, Ben Rubin's Emma Goldman poster, and John Gerken's Sylvia Ray Rivera!
My original hope was to reprint an old poster every other month for 2009, but two things have gotten in the way. On the downside, sales have dropped a little, so I don't have the cash flow to stick to that schedule. On the upside, I have been getting lots of great proposals for new posters, to the extent that for the first time ever I have a backlog of designs waiting to print. Given limited cash, and lots of new posters on the ready, I think I'll be focusing on getting the new ones out for the rest of the year. If there is an old People's History poster you would like to see back in stock, let me know, and I'll see about reprinting it in 2010. If you are an artist/designer and have an idea for a new poster, let me know as well!
Chicago has a long, sad history of buffing graffiti brown, but now it seems that political murals are getting the same treatment. Last week, Alderman James Balcer (Ward 11) ordered that a mural in Bridgeport that that he disliked be painted over in the early morning without warning.
The mural had been painted by Gabriel Villa who had worked on it for the duration of the Version Festival and was shocked to discover that the Graffiti Blasters had painted it brown this past Thursday morning. The Bridgeport Alderman did not contact the property owner, nor the artist before ordering the Blasters to erase what they even recognized and called public art. More so, the wall that the mural was painted upon was owned by the mother of Ed Marszewski, a festival organizer.
After being grilled by the press today Alderman Balcer came up with several reasons for his decision -- including that the artist did not have a permit to make the mural. Yet, permits are not needed for private buildings.
The real reason for his decision likely resided in the content of the mural which featured police surveillance cameras that are omnipresent in the neighborhood.
Ald. James Balcer was quoted saying, "You know I don't know if there was hidden gang meaning behind it with the cross, with the skull, with the deer, with the police camera's. Was there something anti-police about it? I don't know what's in his mind. That's how I viewed it."
Feel free to contact him and express your disgust with his decision:
3659 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60609
Check out the news video to hear more quotes from the artists and Alderman Balcer.
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:
Here's a relatively new site for an Indonesian project called Anakseribupulau, which seems to be a coalition of political art groups, including Taring Padi. Check out the site here. They have descriptions of the organizations involved, as well as posters, comics, poetry, songs, etc... Check it out.
Sex Education for All by Shira Rascoe
More radical teen printmaking totally!
Pittsburgh's CAPA (Creative and Performing Arts) High School students in Shannon Pultz's printmaking class visited the Signs of Change exhibition at the Miller Gallery in February. Students designed images inspired by the show on issues they are personally passionate about (sound familiar?) and learned relief printing to create these posters.
Some of them were particularly timely, as Shira Rascoe says of her print: "When I was creating my poster, many people in Pittsburgh were in the process of convincing the Pittsburgh Public Schools to adopt a comprehensive sex education curriculum, meaning not just abstinence. I feel that it is crucial for the safety of my peers to teach teenagers about contraception. The peeled banana with the condom on the bottom symbolizes exposure versus protection. Luckily, the PPS has now adopted an Abstinence Plus policy."
Here are a few more examples.
Some friends in Barcelona decided they were "fed up with the crisis, were tired of the fear that mass media communicate everyday, and sick of suffering in silence at home, [so they] decided... to go dancing at an unemployment office.":
Their statement (rough translation):
Today, Thursday April 30, we held the party Inem (Unemployment Office).
We had been preparing since the last few weeks. It was truly enjoyable! 40 people appeared at 12:00 on the Inem branch located in the street Sepúlveda de Barcelona. There we waited in the usual atmosphere of these places at this time: a mixture of stationary people (local and foreign), tired of waiting and wasting time, bored, angry and disgusted faces, full of fear created by the crisis. Less than five minutes of messing around and dancing have been required to change their crisis faces into smiling and cheerful faces. Some joined with us in the dance, and others applauded. All, without exception, have appreciated this wave of light and color, this outburst of joy and enjoy places where you least expect it: in an office job in crisis.
Our friend Sandy K. from Image-Shift sent us a communique of links and images to their recent poster project for Mayday Berlin. The project consisted of two sets of posters. The first set consisted of 6 posters, each one with a single large pink letter on white background, the letters: K, R, I, S, E, !, spell out CRISIS! in German. Each letter also has another word it stands for, K for Kapitalismus, S for Solidarität, etc. I've roughly translated the text from each poster below (with online translators, so sorry it is a little rugged!). The second set are all white text on blue background, and are specific information about the Mayday events in Berlin.
Everyone in Justseeds has been cranking out illustrations for a collaboration with Microcosm to do a series of books about influential radical people/groups in the Americas. I had to make an image of Yuri Kochiyama (long time ally of liberation struggles and political prisoners).
It's interesting to think about how to approach illustrations like this, you want it to represent the person, you want it to look like the person and maybe capture some of what you consider interesting or inspiring (their spirit). I didn't want it to look like the weird 'portraits in history' that were in the Sunday comics when I was a kid.
I came a cross some really beautiful images while looking for some visual references for a comment I wanted to post on Josh's review of Protest Graffiti Mexico: Oaxaca. Photographer, Aaron Tukey, shoots some really incredible images and writes about graffiti and the government attempts to erase political messages of the APPO. You can check out the slide show War of the Walls: Rebellion and Graphic Art in Oaxaca on his website.
Aaron compares the erasure of "street art" and the more political graffiti
in his images and essay (attached below). You may recognize a paper cut-out by Swoon in one of the images. This was installed in Oaxaca during the teacher's strike, yet before the APPO uprising. Its existence after the repression of the movement seems to support Aarons observation of selective buffing by Oaxacan authorities.
The Friendly Fire Collective in the Bay Area have been churning out some cool propaganda of late, most recently the Afghanistan poster seen below. You can download a high res pdf of the poster here. They have a ton more graphics here.
There's a great art show at Reading Frenzy right now, containing images from an upcoming book by Thistle Press. The show is about "attempts to address the marvelous nature of some of the many things that are disappearing from the world', eg- endangered species. Includes work from Justseeds' ally Vanessa Renwick and my favorite local illustrator Carson Ellis. If you're in Portland you should head down and check it (and buy some zines while you're there too).
If not the show is available online here.
Stop the Armed Forces
An Exhibition of Conscious Art and Music Against Police Brutality
Friday May 15th
8pm - 2am
2323 East Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, 90021
Open Gallery May 16th, Noon - 6pm
Jon-Paul Bail, Brianna Lengel-Bail, Alison Smith, Tim Holgerson, Louis Hennings, Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes, Ryan J. Saari, Taarna R. Grimsley, Paul Barron, Favianna Rodriguez, Frank Zio, Chuck Sperry, Ron Donovan, Emory Douglas, Contra, Yem, Ritzy Periwinkle, John Carr, Karen Fiorito, Hit+Run, 2Cents, 2Rabbits, ABCNT, David Kietzman, Josh MacPhee, Mear One, Vyal, and more...