If until now no bold-faced art world names have jumped into the #OccupyWallStreet ring, Shepard Fairey has officially become the first major artist to throw his artistic support behind the protests by designing the invitation to tomorrow’s “The Occupation Party” in Times Square. WNYC’s Brigid Bergin has the full story.
Take action now! Occupy Wall Street has issued an EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION in order to stop the city of New York from evicted the protesters from Zuccotti Park under the premise of “cleaning” the park area.
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.
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.
“Today is day 5,” read a sign in the midst of thousands of people camping out at Liberty Plaza yesterday, steps away from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. It’s been a week since the Occupy Wall Street protests have gotten underway, and the protesters are not backing down, pledging to continue on for months if necessary.
British news sources are reporting that nearly a dozen protesters “set off alarms and threw fake £50 notes in the air at Sotheby’s before unfurling a large banner bearing the words ‘orgy of the rich.'” Another protest outside staged a mock auction of public workers. The actions were in response to the UK government’s proposed cuts to public services and the arts.
The Smithsonian Board of Regents met on January 31st with Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough to discuss the fallout from the recent censorship scandal at the National Portrait Gallery. In its released report, the Board fails to make a strong statement against the censorship but suggests several ways forward for better practice in the future. Secretary Clough isn’t going anywhere.
Los Angeles — With a cardboard cross and draped coffin, a group of activists and artists assembled in front of downtown LA’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel to stage a “Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression,” where Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough was speaking as part of the Town Hall Los Angeles public issues series on “New Perspectives at the Smithsonian.”
The funeral procession was organized in large part by the art protest group LA Raw and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), in response to Clough’s ordered removal of David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition in late November 2010.
Last Thursday January 13, there was a panel discussion at LA’s Fowler Museum titled “How Does Street Art Humanize Cities?” Organized with Zócalo, the event featured curators, artists, and reporters, most of whom were associated in some way with the LA MOCA’s upcoming street art exhibition, yet to everyone’s surprise the topic of the Blu mural whitewash wasn’t even discussed. But that’s not to say it didn’t come up in other ways. A new protest group, LA Raw, handed out condoms branded with MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch’s name on them to remind those in attendance that the erasure of artist Blu’s mural is not forgotten. One source told us that he estimates 80% of the audience to the Fowler event received one of the protest condoms as they walked in and additional condoms were placed around the venue.
Even if LA MOCA thinks the Blu Mural Censorship controversy is going to go away, it isn’t. The institution has not responded to Hyperallergic’s requests for comments on the issue or an unedited interview on the topic of the Blu mural censorship. And now, LA Times‘s Culture Monster reports on the latest action by some street artists, including Chicano artist/Vietnam War veteran Leo Limon and Joey Krebs (aka The Phantom Street Artist), equipped with projectors at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary wall.