Southern Exposure Hosts
ARTISTS OF THE 99% CONVERSATION & WORKSHOP

A Roundtable Conversation and Workshop with Artists of the 99% on Organizing Strategies for Artists
With David Solnit, Jeff Chang, Favianna Rodriguez, and Zeph Fishlyn of the Beehive Collective

Join “Artists of the 99%” for a conversation and workshop about strategies for artists participating in social justice movements, including Occupy. We will kickstart the discussion with a panel featuring: David Solnit (artist and activist, formerly of Art and Revolution), Jeff Chang (author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation), Favianna Rodriguez (artist who, along with Jeff Chang, organized Culture Strike against Arizona’s SB1070 Immigration Law) and Zeph Fishlyn (of the Beehive Design Collective, making giant collaborative graphics for education and organizing). Please bring your own ideas and experiences. Let’s compare notes and share resources!

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Issue #1 of Artist Bloc Zine

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History Hour With Mary

From the Primary Information site:

The Art Worker’s Coalition (AWC) was a loose group of artists, writers, and members of the creative community formed in January 1969 after the artist Takis protested the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) by removing his sculpture from their exhibition, “The Museum as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.” In the case with Takis, the artist was concerned with his ability to control the exhibition of his work after it had been sold (the Museum had exhibited his work against his wishes because they owned it and felt that their right of ownership superseded his rights as an artist to control its exhibition).

This initial protest was a spark that ignited the coalition—which gathered members and concerns exponentially throughout the early months of 1969. At the time, the Art Workers’ Coalition was concerned with the responsibility of museums to artists and aimed their efforts at building a dialogue between themselves and MoMA. Another early issue was better representation of Black and Puerto Rican artists in MoMA as well as the other local museums.

As the coalition grew in membership, so did its concerns, which the Art Workers’ Coalition sought to publicly discuss at MoMA. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, the coalition held an Open Hearing at the School of the Visual Arts on April 10, 1969, in which hundreds of people attended. Written statements were collected (some of which were read and some of which were not) and the proceedings were later transcribed. The statements were published in book form by the AWC under the name Open Hearing. At the same time, the AWC also published Documents 1 a collection of letters, press, and ephemera documenting the formation of the Coalition and its dialogue with MoMA. Both Open Hearing and Documents 1 can be downloaded below.

http://primaryinformation.org/index.php?/projects/art-workers-coalition/

Following the Open Hearing, AWC’s emphasis broadened to address the political and social events and concerns of its time: racism, sexism, abortion rights, Vietnam, and Kent State, among others. With so many issues, AWC eventually splintered, with groups like Women Artists in Revolution, Guerilla Art Action Group, and Art Strike addressing specific concerns while remaining affiliated with AWC. [In addition, the early 1970’s saw a very successful branch of the movement in the Bay Area, through the San Francisco Art Workers Coalition.- Mary]

Art Workers Coalition remained active through Spring of 1971, with its last protest at the Guggenheim, which had cancelled a solo exhibition by Hans Haacke, on May 1, 1971. Many of its splinter groups continued throughout the 70s and 80s and were fundamental to addressing the unequal representation of the minority and women artists in the art world—a battle that is still being fought today.

Art Workers and the Labor Movement

From Fair Labor in the Arts:

On July 29th Sotheby’s locked out its staff of over forty union art handlers. With the guidance of infamous union-hostile law firm Jackson Lewis, management came to the bargaining table with a long list of concessions they wanted from the workers. Despite making over $680 million in profit last year, Sotheby’s continues to demand cuts, including the right to replace union art handlers with low-wage laborers and to completely eliminate the workers’ retirement plan.
As the art world continues to be an integral part of this city’s economy, there is simply no excuse for jobs in the art world—especially at hugely profitable institutions like Sotheby’s—to be turned into low-wage, temporary positions.

Sign the petition to support the locked-out Sotheby’s art handlers!

http://fairlaborinthearts.com/

-Mary Emily O’Hara

History Time with Mary:

The Artist’s Union of the 1930’s was a response to dramatic economic  
fallout that hit artists after the Great Depression. The union  
agitated for change and successfully made jobs and funding a reality  
through government programs like the Works Progress Administration’s  
Section of Painting and Sculpture (began the year after this 1934  
photo was taken) and the Federal Art Project. If the 1960’s Art  
Workers Coalition was the parent group of the current Occupy  
Museums/Artists of the 99% movement, the artists of the Depression-era  
union were its grandparents.

-Mary Emily O’Hara

History Time with Mary:

The Artist’s Union of the 1930’s was a response to dramatic economic
fallout that hit artists after the Great Depression. The union
agitated for change and successfully made jobs and funding a reality
through government programs like the Works Progress Administration’s
Section of Painting and Sculpture (began the year after this 1934
photo was taken) and the Federal Art Project. If the 1960’s Art
Workers Coalition was the parent group of the current Occupy
Museums/Artists of the 99% movement, the artists of the Depression-era
union were its grandparents.

-Mary Emily O’Hara

"Does Money Manipulate Art?"
Questions for the art world, published in 1969 by the NYC Art Workers  
Coalition.

-Mary Emily O’Hara

"Does Money Manipulate Art?"
Questions for the art world, published in 1969 by the NYC Art Workers
Coalition.

-Mary Emily O’Hara

7 notes

Now that’s a nice banner :)

Now that’s a nice banner :)

From the October 29th, 2011 banner making party and subsequent Occupy Solidarity march in downtown SF.