Last Thursday night at Housing Works Bookstore, Occupy Wall Street affinity group Arts & Labor organized a panel of New York art writers to discuss the labor of art criticism. Village Voice and New York Times critic Martha Schwendener opened the round table with the question, “What is the labor of writing?” Schwendener and Arts and Labor proposed a discussion about the working conditions of art criticism in an effort to dispel some prevailing myths, which she framed as power, authority, and allure. She then started things off with an open question to the panel about how they became art critics.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement, the protest that popularized the now-ubiquitous term “99 percent, began last year on September 17. The events in Zuccotti Park kicked off an international storm of activism, and though the movement has been less visible as of late, the one-year anniversary is quickly approaching. As part of OWS’s #S17 anniversary plan, the movement is asking for volunteers to host Occupiers through a new website.
It all started last fall, with the bat signal seen round the world. On the November 17 Day of Action, a group of Occupy Wall Street activists projected a series of phrases and statements onto the Verizon building near the Brooklyn Bridge. “99% … Look around, you are part of a global uprising,” the statement read in part, the words silently imprinting themselves onto a symbol of corporate power and from there onto viewers’ minds. It felt like an exciting, game-changing moment. Plus, this was something OWS-related that the media could easily latch onto, an image! The story went viral.
Artist Otto Von Danger (aka Otto Ewen) has created “The Burn Wall Street Project” at this year’s Burning Man and set it on fire.
Hyperallergic devotees may remember that the Occupy Wall Street Arts & Culture Working Group camped out at our headquarters for a two-month residency earlier this year. Now Occupy with Art, an affiliate of the working group, is taking up residence for three months at Bat Haus, a new coworking space in Bushwick, and launching the Occupational Art School (Node #1).
Anonymous anti-Barclays street art appears at the newly coined Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway stop in Brooklyn.
Occupy.here uses a wifi router to create a network for discussion for only a locale audience. By bypassing the traditional internet, Phiffer is working to make a free, open, unregulated and community based platform for exchange.
The impetus for the Bushwick Open Studios weekend is the concept of the “open studio.” It’s an opportunity for artists, curators and dealers to visit and talk to artists about their work in their spaces. But this past weekend, 56 Bogart Street served as a microcosm of the new Bushwick, where dealers with commercial galleries and artists with studios were presenting work to the public together, creating a larger event in which artists and dealers were functioning both in concert and at cross purposes at the same time.
The massive Frieze art fair landed on Manhattan’s Randall’s Island and not everyone was happy. Pro-union protestors and members of Occupy Museums showed up to protest but they were pushed so far away that you have to wonder if anyone noticed.
Yesterday’s May Day protest in NYC might have failed to shut the system down, but it did successfully galvanize Occupy’s disparate interest groups into one powerful amalgamation, proving the movement’s lack of cohesion, more accurately its complexity, is a strength that defines it.
Mounting an exhibition anywhere in the neighborhood of occupation aesthetics can be precarious nowadays, for people are increasingly fed up with the same reiterations of ideological conceptualism and the ultra–politically correct, derivative works that skim the surface of real world problems precipitated by global capitalism, government incompetence, dictatorship and injustice. But Beijing-based artist Chen Shaoxiong had a rather pragmatic impetus for reconsidering — through art — global phenomena from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to democratic elections that have sprung up in remote Chinese villages.
It’s not right that you should have so many people willing to work for free and so many more people willing to take advantage of them.