The latest Global Uprisings film chronicles a year of resistance and repression in Turkey in the wake of last year's Gezi uprising. It looks at the continuing protests against urban redevelopment projects, police repression, and the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Erdoğan, as well as the Kurdish struggle for democratic autonomy.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, photo courtesy of the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michigan
Here is another excerpt from A People's Art History of the United States. This excerpt starts at the beginning of the chapter and discusses the Paterson Pageant in 1913 and the alliance of IWW strike organizers, silk workers, and Greenwich Village avant-garde artists.
Blurring the Boundaries Between Art and Life
On June 7, 1913, an event occurred that completely blurred the boundaries between performance and protest. Journalist and poet John Reed led a procession of more than a thousand striking workers through the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, to board a special thirteen-car train destined for New York City. When they arrived in the city, they gathered for a rally at Union Square, followed by a march up Fifth Avenue toward Madison Square Garden, while the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) band played “La Marseillaise” and “The Internationale.” On top of Madison Square Garden’s tower, the IWW initials glowed in red lights. Inside, the venue was transformed into a Wobbly hall, with red IWW banners, sashes, and ribbons throughout the building.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA These are known as "sharrows", a type of lane-sharing marking that cities often use on streets where bike lanes won't fit (or for other mysterious municipal reasons). Usually sans rider, or featuring a male-gendered icon riding, local folks put a woman on these bikes!
I’m deep in preparation for my upcoming solo show at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland. The show is called “Traps, Flows, Echoes” and it opens Nov 6th, running until Nov 28th. There’s an opening reception Thursday Nov. 6 in Gallery 214 in the PNCA main campus, 1241 NW Johnson St. in Portland. Here’s the text I wrote for the flyer-
Portland artist Roger Peet will open a show of new installation, video and print work in Gallery 214 at PNCA on the 6th November. The show, entitled “Traps, Flows, Echoes” focuses on the idea of the trap, in both the physical and cultural realms. Much of the show will focus on Peet’s relationship to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he has worked for several seasons to promote community conservation through art. Some of the work addresses Peet’s complex relationship with his father, who faked his death to go AWOL from the British Air Force and to fly helicopters for the CIA’s interventions in Congo in the 1960’s, an event which Peet recreates in a video collaboration with Portland director Jodi Darby. In his travels and work in Congo, Peet experienced first hand the disastrous consequences of the history his father had helped to shape, and this show will contain vivid and evocative print, installation, and sound pieces that evoke the trauma and brutality of that trap of history, as well as the ways that he and the friends that he made in Congo are trying to get out of it. The work also features sound collages and poetry by Portland MC Mic Crenshaw.
This year marks the 38th annual Raza Day at UC Berkeley. It is a day of workshops and activities intended to encourage middle school, high school and community college students to pursue higher education.
I will be speaking at this year's event at 9:30 am on Nov 1st in Wheeler Hall.
It is free and open to the public so bring your kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors etc.
This is the poster I designed that will be give out to all the youth in attendance.
culturalorganizing.org recently posted a review of my book A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements. Here is the full text:
Review: A People’s Art History of the United States
Posted on October 18, 2014
By Nicolas Lampert
New York: The New Press, 2013. 345 pp. $35.00 (hardcover).
The newest in a long line of people’s histories inspired by the work of Howard Zinn, A People’s Art History of the United States by Nicolas Lampert uncovers the many ways that the visual arts have served as a space for political action and resistance throughout US history. With hundreds of images of political art from across the past five centuries, this book makes a compelling argument that art and politics — often seen as separate realms — have always been intimately and inextricably intertwined.
Despite the cover image, which brings to mind a framed work of art, this is not a story about political paintings hanging in museums. Instead, it is a story about how popular and public forms of art — from posters and photographs to cartoons and statues — have always been a part of civic and political life. When professional gallery artists do show up, they are likely to be organizing a union or protesting against the gallery system.
Back in 2011 I published a couple posts looking at the covers of New Century Publishers, a Communist Party-run press that published from the 1940s into the 1960s, and appears to have been the progenitor of the more recent and still existent New World Paperbacks. While much of their output is standard Stalinist muck, there are some gems in the pile (check out my earlier looks at NCP HERE and HERE). The well-known labor historian Herbert Aptheker wrote a number of pamphlets for the press, I've found three of them. The nicest cover is on John Brown: American Martyr, a pamphlet published on the hundredth anniversary of John Brown's death. The unattributed image is taken from the cover of a 1959 edition of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, which in turn was based on an 1859 daguerreotype attributed to Martin M. Lawrence. The designer smartly uses red, white, and blue, as well as a border of small stars, to conjure the American flag, and thus paint Brown as both a patriot and deeply American. This publication is from 1960, showing just how long the Communist Party-USA kept promoting the idea that Communism and the Left were fundamentally centrist and patriotic positions.
Our comrades at Monkeywrench Books in Austin, Texas have been operating for 12 years and they're looking to renovate their space. Help spread their Indiegogo campaign and kick down some dough for a great radical bookstore!
Support an all-volunteer collectively-run radical bookstore in Austin!
Justseeds will be participating in this years Prints Gone Wild! in Brooklyn!
Mark your calendars.
Billy Keniston (aka Taylor Sparrow), who wrote the introduction to Justseeds' Firebrands book, has a new writing/editing project in the works about radical community organizing in Chicago in the 1970s. Like everything Billy writes, it'll be good, and he needs support now to make it happen. Click the link, check out the video, and pre-order a book!
Campbell Hall, NY (Thanks to Kevin, who says this sign was "Installed on a newly tar and chipped road upstate. Super dangerous conditions for motorcycle riding, I was thankful someone put a sign up.")
W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) is proud to announce the launch of W.A.G.E. Certification, a paradigm-shifting model for the remuneration of artistic labor.
Initiated and operated by W.A.G.E., Certification is a program that publicly recognizes non-profit arts organizations that demonstrate a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees—it is also the first of its kind in the U.S. that establishes a sector-wide minimum standard for compensation, as well as a clear set of guidelines and standards for the conditions under which artistic labor is contracted.
As many followers of Justseeds know, today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In the United States, today is a federally-recognized, national holiday known as Columbus Day. In much of Latin America, today is celebrated from a slightly different perspective and called Día de la Raza. While the latter is less problematic than celebrating the violence of Columbus and settler-colonial regimes put in place by those who came in his wake, Día de la Raza is also linked to colonial logics of de-indigenization and, particularly, the anti-Indian logic of people like José Vasconcelos, who in 1925 published La Raza Cósmica.
For the past decade I've slowly been collecting all kinds of paperbacks published about and within Africa. Last year at the Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City I ran across a selection of books by a small publisher in Tema (just east of Accra), Ghana—Ghana Publishing House (GPH). GPH barely exists online, there is almost no information about them, but I suspect they were founded in the 1960s, post-Independence, like many similar sub-Saharan publishing projects such as East African Publishing House in Nairobi, Mbari in Ibadan, or Tanzania Publishing House in Dar es Salaam. Like much of the output of African publishers, part of what attracts me to these books is how much they do with limited means. The covers are rarely full color, but complex constructions in duotone or tritone; the registration is often done by hand, and thus imperfect; the type is limited by creatively deployed; and photographs are rare, with unique illustrations far more common. All these things add up to unique, strange, and powerful covers.
From Left to Right: Winona Laduke [Anishnaabe], Wicahpiluta Candelaria [Rumsen Ohlone], and Comandante Ramona [Tzotzil Maya]. Art by Rafael Moreno.
I am really pleased to share some beautiful pieces made by my friend Rafael Moreno. He has been screen printing for several years now and it is wonderful to see his cultural projects blossoming. Indigenous People's Day (NOT columbus day) is next week and he has some wonderful suggestions for thoughful ways to spend the day.
"Columbus day is coming up soon, a day where folks honor the “discovery” of the Americas. However, I choose not honor this holiday in the name of a man who brought forth genocide, rape, colonization, displacement etc; this list can keep getting bigger. As oppose to viewing the history of Indigenous people solely through hardships and heartaches, I like to view these histories through resistance. Indigenous peoples have always resisted, and through resilience they have won tremendous victories to continue to claim lands and traditions which belong to them." Read more here: http://rafaelmorenosf.com/2014/10/07/indigenous-peoples-day/
Part of Self-Determination Inside/Out, Interference Archive and the CUNYGC Center for the Study of Women and Society present “Prison is a form of violence against women.”, a video program and discussion about the motivations for and processes of organizing against prisons as gender violence. With Victoria Law, Cecily McMillan, Amy Meacham, and Sharon Richardson.
[image from a rally to free Joan Little, 1978 via At the Dark End of the Street photo gallery: http://atthedarkendofthestreet.com/photo-gallery/joan-little-gallery/]
This fall, I've been working with long time cohort Stuart O. Anderson to develop a customized souvenir penny smashing machine (also known as a penny crusher, penny press, or "elongator"). It's invigorating to finally see this project develop into something tangible, as we've had many fits and starts since originally developing the concept back in 2008. Back then, Josh encouraged me that we should really make this penny press soon, "before someone else does it and theirs sucks"...
Check out Point and Shoot at the Milwaukee Film Festival tonight and Thursday. It is an enthralling story of one young American’s grappling with notions of masculinity and self-definition that happens to take place amidst one of the most tumultuous time periods in the modern history of the Middle East. More info here
A brief break from the longer entries, I wanted to share this amazing cover from Susy Smith's ESP (Pyramid Books, 1962). I can mostly let it speak for itself, but there is just something so infinitely creepy about the single eye through the hair on the back of the head of a crudely drawn naked woman, as if we are supposed to be allured in by the sexiness and then shocked by the eye. Blech. I love this cover because it must have been so weird and fun to design (by T. H. Chibbaro, by the way). Enjoy!
I recently completed the art and cover design for an exciting new book by Nora Barrows-Friedman on the U.S. student movement for Palestine Solidarity including the rich history of Palestinian-American activism for justice and equality for nearly a century in this country.
In the years following Israel’s 2008–9 “Operation Cast Lead” assault on the Palestinians of Gaza, a new kind of student movement emerged on US campuses, in support of the idea that Palestinians should gain the full exercise of their human and political rights within their historic homeland. This new movement of students for justice in Palestine has helped to put “BDS,” the worldwide campaign supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel until it abides by international law, firmly onto the national map.
In 2013 and early 2014, journalist Nora Barrows-Friedman crisscrossed the United States interviewing the young activists who form the core of this movement, and their voices ring out strongly from every page of her new book. In Our Power reveals the rich political legacy these students are building. This new student movement in support of Palestinian rights faces many challenges from on and off-campus opponents. But the strength and intelligence of the voices revealed in the pages of In Our Power show us that truth, justice, and “people power” are capable of withstanding such attacks and continuing forward to victory.
Pre-order the book here http://justworldbooks.com/in-our-power/
I'm going to try to be a little less complete-ist than I've been in the past, hopefully making these posts a bit easier to compile. To that end, this is hardly the complete output of Ramparts Press, but a dozen covers I've found over the years. They published at least double this amount, likely even more. While a fair amount of information about the Ramparts magazine is available (see HERE), I've found very little about the book publishing wing, and I have little knowledge about who the editors were, who decided on design, etc, etc.
Before I was noticing publishers much, I stumbled upon a copy of Majorie Heins' Strictly Ghetto Property, which is a great, and possibly the only, history of Los Siete de la Raza. Los Siete were a group of seven Chicano youth, mostly activist college students, framed for the shooting of a police officer in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, the book has long been out of print, and although you can find copies online, the only one I've ever seen in a used bookstore is the one I bought a decade ago in SF (at Dog Eared I believe, back when they were cheap!). I've always loved the cover, designed by someone using the pseudonym MEAT (!), which falls right into the visual trajectory of Chicano printmaking. I have no idea who MEAT is, but the graphic could sit comfortably next to early work by Rubert Garcia, Malaquias Montoya, Juan Fuentes, or any of the Bay Area printmakers of that era.
Join me at the Oakland Museum of California for the public unveiling of Reflections of Healing, a large-scale art installation created by artist and educator Brett Cook with participation from the community. The installation, which will be visible from across Lake Merritt, features portraits of notable Oakland healers, who through practice or legacy demonstrate healing in their work. I am honored to be one of the people selected whose teen portrait will be included in this project. Join the celebration on 12th Street/Lake Merritt Boulevard in the parklet between the Museum and the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, and enjoy food trucks, music, wellness activities, art making, and more during Friday Nights @ OMCA. The celebration is Free to the public.
I wrote this article for Bitch Magazine in the leadup to the recent People's Climate March, thinking about futility and frustration and the reasons we do the work we do.
If I were making a list of things that felt absolutely futile to protest, I'd put climate change at the top. And if I were making a list of organizations that have failed in their efforts to get the world to care about climate change, I'd put the UN near the top, too.
But this weekend, I’ll be part of the People's Climate March, America’s largest ever climate-related protest. The gigantic rally on Sunday rally in New York City is targeting the international bigwigs in town for the UN's Climate Summit. I’ve spent the week in a warehouse in Brooklyn, along with many, many other people, making arty props and propaganda for the event. Sometimes, this work doesn't seem to make much sense.
We'll be there! More information here...
An in depth look at the events that unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri following the police murder of Michael Brown, a black teenager. Also features an exclusive interview with former Black Panther, Ashanti Alston, about the state of black “America”, abolishing penile power and taking care of your peeps in the muthafuckin resistance.
Scanlan's Monthly was a New Left political/counter-cultural magazine that ran for eight issues and less than a year, March 1970 to January 1971. It was co-founded and co-edited by Warren Hinckle III and Sidney Zion. Hinckle had been an editor at Ramparts, an extremely influential New Left monthly that grew out of the Catholic left in the early 60s, and went on to become the Time or Newsweek of the 60s and 70s social movements. I'll be discussing Ramparts more next week, when I start looking at the covers for their publishing imprint.
Like Ramparts, Scanlan's was intended to be a relatively slick and cleanly designed magazine, as opposed to the much scrappier underground press that was dominant at the time. There is not a lot of info online, and the old issues are difficult to track down at any affordable price. The focus was on muck-raking journalism rather than the music and drugs that were at the core of many other publications. Supposedly the title comes from a pig farmer, and Scanlan's was one of the first places to publish Hunter S. Thompson's more "gonzo" stories.
I recently completed the poster to promote the first ever Howard Zinn Bookfair that will be held at San Francisco’s Mission High School on November 15th 2014. It is a celebration of the books that make us rethink our roles in the world and connect people with hidden histories...
A number of venues have been collecting the posters and graphics produced in solidarity with Gaza over the past couple months, and I thought it would be cool to share some of the links. All of these include posters created by Justseeds artists and friends:
The French newspaper l'Humanité has been publishing them in the paper, and collecting them online HERE.
Print Magazine published a collection online HERE.
Handala Has a Posse is a more DIY affair, a great tumblr of Gaza images, HERE.
(the image to the right is my poster "Toward Freedom" published in l'Humanité)
The ongoing blog series where I ask Justseeds members for five things that have been inspiring them lately. This one from Josh MacPhee in NYC:
The People's Climate March - billed as the largest climate march in history - is days away - this Sunday, September 21st in NYC. The Flood Wall Street action takes place the next day on Monday. On Tuesday the UN meets and is dedicating a full-day discussion to global warming. Demonstrations are taking place in hundred, if not thousands, of cities across the world on Sunday in solidarity with the People's Climate March.
To get the word out on the PCM a number of us in Justseeds created free downloadable graphics. We also coordinated with 350.org a 30-host wheatpasting action across N. America where hosts put up 4'x6' images by Favianna Rodriguez, Josh MacPhee, Chip Thomas, various collage elements, and their own work. Last week I posted the first installment of some of the photos that hosts sent me. Here is the second installment.
I worked on this mural last week in order for it to be ready for today, Mexican Independence Day. I teamed up with graffiti writer "Homie" who did a super clean job on the lettering. Banner reads Howard Zinn's quote "There is no flag big enough... to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
I just got some photos from this past weekend's opening of the first annual Screenprint Biennial, in Troy, NY. My ______ Manifesto diptych was included, which I'm really excited about. There's a couple more photos if you click below, and you can find more info on the Biennial HERE.
For the first four weeks of looking at the output of Curbstone Press, I broke the books into semi-distinct categories: Roque Dalton and Curbstone's origins, Claribel Alegría and other Latin American Literature, the Art on The Line series, and the crossover with Danish artists and writers. This final week is everything that fell through the cracks.
While the above makes up 80% or so of Curbstones early output (I'm really only looking at 1975-1995 in these posts, but Curbstone continued to publish, and still nominally exists as an imprint of Nortwestern University Press), there were other interests as well. I assume because of physical proximity, it appears that the editors were in close contact with socially-engaged poets who taught at the University of Connecticut. Richard Schaaf was one of those, and his 1975 poetry collection Revolutionary at Home must have been one of Curbstone's first books. The cover is really charming, with Schaaf pictured up on a later tuckpointing a building (maybe his home?). The image brings forward the multiple possible meanings of the words in the title, both "revolutionary" and what that entails, and "at home."
Well hello again friends, Sounds of the Week is back, even if only for a brief moment, (hopefully I'll find time for this more often). I've been stuck on some new music that I felt compelled to share so here goes: