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Chicago panel discussion: The Book as Weapon: Agitprop in Print

October 22, 2010

If your in Chicago tonight, come check out “The Book as Weapon: Agitprop in Print”
panel discussion with Maureen Cummins (Fall Visiting Artist), Steve Woodall and Nicolas Lampert

Friday, October 22: 6PM
Columbia College
Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts
1104 S. Wabash

The term “agitprop” was coined in the Bolshevik era to denote interventionist political strategy designed to co-opt discourse. Over the past 40 years writers and artists have taken up different versions of that same strategy to great effect. In particular, political artists who make prints, posters or books have found it to be one of the most effective means of production and distribution available to them, and they often used shock or humor to make their points. In this program, Maureen Cummins will discuss the ways in which she has strategically used beauty and humor to draw readers and viewers into difficult subject matter. Steve Woodall, director of the Center for Book & Paper Arts, will discuss the work of Zephyrus Image Press, active in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s. Finally, Nicolas Lampert will discuss how his own artistic, and often interventionist, strategies relate to the activist tradition of agitprop.

Maureen Cummins is a graduate of Cooper Union in New York, and has been making limited edition books for over a dozen years. Her work is in public collections in the US, Canada, England, New Zealand and South Africa. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn. As part of a Torture Awareness campaign at John Jay College in New York City this October, Maureen Cummins is curating an exhibition of the work of over forty artists, entitled Ordinary Torture.
Nicolas Lampert is a Milwaukee/Chicago based interdisciplinary artist and author whose work focuses on social justice and ecology. His print-based work has been exhibited at the MOMA, MASS MoCA, and Philagraphica, among others. He works collectively with Justseeds Artist’s Cooperative (, a worker-owned collective of 26 artists in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Lampert has also collaborated on creative actions with Rain Forest Action Network (Chicago), Tamms Year Ten, and Iraq Veteran’s Against the War (Chicago Chapter).


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