Graphic Liberation! digs deep into the history, present, and future of political image making. The project is centered around an ongoing series of conversations between Josh MacPhee (co-founder of both the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative and Interference Archive, and the 2020/21 Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Art and Art History at Colgate University) and key political graphics producers. The discussions will revolve around a set of core questions related to individual vs. social expression, image reproducibility/ownership/copyright, and responsibilities between artists and movements.
The initial four conversations were organized online over the course of Winter/Spring 2021, with an additional six being planned for Fall/Winter/Spring 2021-2022. Recordings of these discussions will be housed here, and a publication project will follow the completion of this, the first phase of the project. The second set of conversations will be announced in the Summer of 2021.
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 screenprinted posters 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.
Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 4:30–5:30pm: Daniel Drennan ElAwar/Jamaa al-Yad
Jamaa al-Yad is an artists’ collective. The idea for this collective has been around for many years, if not decades. We describe ourselves in our bylaws and charter in the following way: Jamaa al-Yad is a cultural association the aim of which is the research, implementation, dissemination, and re-establishment of various cultural manifestations including but not limited to craft, design, and art, by focusing on the local, vernacular, indigenous, and popular, using methodologies and means that ideologically reflect models of collaboration, co-operation, and communality, in the belief that such works and such actions are historically shown to, and continue to be likely to, bring about beneficial social change and a betterment of the commonweal.
Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 4:30–5:30pm: Tomie Arai
Tomie Arai is an American artist and community activist who was born, raised, and is still active in New York City. Her works works consist multimedia site specific art pieces that deal with topics of gender, community, and racial identity. She is highly involved in community discourse, and co-founded the Chinatown Art Brigade.
Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 2–3:30pm: Sandy Kaltenborn/Image-Shift
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 4:30–5:30pm: Judy Seidman
Wednesday, April 24, 2022, 4:30–5:30pm: A3BC Collective
The entire series is 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.