Tonight, over 40 protesters staged an intervention inside the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan during Saturday night’s pay-what-you-wish admission hours.
Today’s NRA press conference was repulsive to everyone except the most die-hard gun lovers who don’t see why anyone would do anything to regulate, prohibit, or curb their distribution. Our favorite irreverent anti-war activist group, Code Pink, disrupted the proceeding a number of times, interrupting the staged event (not much of a press conference really since there were no questions) with screams of “The NRA is killing our children” and “The violence begins with the NRA!” (both said by Tighe Barry) and a large banner. It was a surreal event and it was amazing that Barry was able to disrupt the presentation for a significant amount of time. The sign, unfurled clearly for the cameras, strangely didn’t feel out of place. The whole event, in reality, felt artificial.
The recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” may be the most internet-friendly image of a protest movement that locked itself for a week in the clocktower of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan’s Astor Place, but that wasn’t the only work being made by the eleven art students who were fed up with the school’s plans to upend a 150+ year tradition of free education.
You’re furious at the plans to end free education at Cooper Union, an institution long applauded as one of the progressive beacons of 19th-century education. You’re an art student and join 10 other art students in a protest action that includes the occupation of your school’s clocktower. Now, how do you symbolically choose to end your occupation? Stage Leonardo’s “Last Supper,” of course.
What is the connection between art and social change? I’ve pondered this question for many years. Art is a deed staged not to accomplish a social or political goal but as an end in itself. Yes, an act could be art, but what about activism?
LOS ANGELES — It’s Tuesday, Day 11, and the honeymoon period for Occupy LA seems to have ended. There is much spirited debate about what actions to take and disagreements over how the General Assembly should facilitate discussions. Occupiers who have been around since the beginning are restless from the movement’s week-long dithering while news of conflicts with police in Boston, Seattle and elsewhere have made emotions run high among protesters. Still, the occupation is now 269 tents strong and the amount of creative dissent increases everyday.
I was heartbroken to find the pool of signs gone at Zuccatti Park, yes, they are currently on display at No Comment, the OWS-affiliated art exhibit, but there was something beautiful in that space for art making and signage that made the whole square more human. There are still some other signs to behold but the pond of peoples’ words was my favorite part.
LOS ANGELES — Four days into #OccupyLA, a small community is growing near the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, where protesters have set up camp. The site contains first aid and media tents as well as stages for performers and speakers. In the afternoon, some protesters screenprinted clothing while others worked on paintings for a public gallery. The scene in Los Angeles is a flurry of activity with artists working together to build a more visible movement.
On the 14th day of Occupy Wall Street, the movement has seen its biggest turn out yet. in the midst of protesters conversing, eating, sleeping and going about their daily business, art and creativity was also thriving in the park. Young kids joined in making cardboard posters to add to the street collage, while an older set of protesters folded paper cranes as a gesture of peace. I briefly caught up with Alexandre Carvalho, one of the main organizers of the Arts and Culture Committee at Occupy Wall Street to find out more about how the protesters are utilizing artistic practices to express their political and personal viewpoints.
On Friday and Saturday night I traveling to the Occupy Wall Street action in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to document the signs created by the protesters and their supporters. I was impressed that this small island of protest had quickly created a library and an art station for protesters to share their thoughts with the media and the world.
Today I walked the picket line with members of Occupy Wall Street who are in their seventh day of protest against big banks and corporations. As rain clouds darkened, a group of protesters began to assemble and lead the way out of Liberty Plaza, with several cops bringing up the line. Things remained under control and relatively peaceful, but there was plenty of tension in the air.
In classic Chairman Mao fashion, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had his face plastered everywhere in the country as pro-government propaganda. In cities overtaken by Libyan rebels, artists are turning those same images against Gaddafi in works of street art.