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Graphic Liberation Conversation Series

February 8, 2021

I’m very excited to present the 2021 Graphic Liberation Lecture Series! I was invited by the Art and Art History Department and the Christian A. Johnson Foundation at Colgate University to organize a series of lectures for the Sprint 2021 season (as part of a larger project around the history of political graphics I’ll be doing at Colgate over the next year). Over the next few months I’ll be working with students to do interview a set of some of the most important political image makers of the past 50 years: Avram Finkelstein (Silence = Death Project and Gran Fury), Alison Alder (Megalo Print Studio and Redback Graphix), Emory Douglas (Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party), and Melanie Cervantes & Jesus Barraza (Dignidad Rebelde and Justseeds Artists Cooperative).

Each hour long conversation will be unscripted and open-ended, with a focus on each artist/designers contributions to the field of political graphics, but also their relationships to social movements and political organizing, the history of political image making, and issues arising from reproduction and copyright. Each of the conversations are open and free to the general public, and can be registered for HERE.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 5-6pm: Avram Finkelstein

Avram Finkelstein is a founding member of the Silence=Death and Gran Fury collectives. He has work in the permanent collections of MoMA, The Whitney, The New Museum and The Brooklyn Museum. He is featured in the artist oral history project at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and his book for UC Press, After Silence: A History of AIDS Through its Images was nominated for an International Center of Photography Infinity Award in Critical Writing and Research.

Wednesday, March 2, 2021, 5-6pm: Alison Alder

Alison Alder is a visual artist whose work blurs the line between studio, community and social/ political art practice. She has worked within community groups, art collectives, research institutions and Indigenous organizations. Her research is focused on empowering communities through the visualization of common social aims primarily using screen-printed posters as her medium of choice. Alder was a key member of Redback Graphix, whose ethos and screenprintedposters are the subject of a monograph published by the National Gallery of Australia.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021: 5-6pm: Emory Douglas

Emory Douglas worked as the revolutionary artist and minister of culture for the Black Panther Party in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967 through the early 1980s. In addition to creating iconic posters and postcards, a key part of Douglas’ responsibilities included art direction, design, and illustration for the organization’s newspaper, The Black Panther. Douglas’ work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions at the 2008 Biennale of Sydney; Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); The African American Art & Culture Complex (San Francisco); an the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), among others. In 2015, Douglas received the American Institute of Graphic Art lifetime achievement medal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021: 5-6pm: Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza

Melanie Cervantes (Xicanx) and Jesus Barraza co-founded Dignidad Rebelde in 2007, a graphic arts collaboration that produces screen prints, political posters and multimedia projects which are grounded in Third World and Indigenous movements that build people’s power to transform the conditions of fragmentation, displacement, and loss of culture that result from histories of colonialism, patriarchy, genocide, and exploitation. 

Melanie has exhibited extensively including at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco); National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago); and Museum of Modern Art (New York), among numerous others. In 2016, Cervantes received The Piri Thomas & Suzie Dodd Cultural Activist Award from Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice for her work with Dignidad Rebelde.

Jesus has exhibited at Galeria de la Raza (San Francisco); Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe); El Paso Museum of Art (El Paso); de Young Museum (San Francisco); Mexican Fine Arts Center (Chicago); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); and internationally at the House of Love & Dissent (Rome); Parco Museum (Tokyo); and Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez (Mexico). He received the “Art is a Hammer” award in 2005 from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

These conversations will be recorded and become part of an evolving project I’m working on focusing on the history and reproducibility of political graphics. It will likely culminate in a book published at Colgate in the Spring of 2022.

[Presented by the Art and Art History Department and the Christian A. Johnson Foundation. The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Artist-in-Residence was established in 1986 as a challenge grant in support of the arts at Colgate. The residency program permits one or more artists or scholars in each of the areas of fine arts, music, and theater to become part of the Colgate community every academic year.]

Anti-capitalismCulture & MediaFeminisms & GenderHistoryQueer LiberationRacial JusticeSocial Movements

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