Join me (Lincoln Cushing) Thursday, February 7th at 7PM for a rousing talk about McCarthyism, the counterculture, the New Left, and various movements of liberation in shaping the visual propaganda of the Bay Area. Marin History Museum, San Rafael. Much of the content is based on the All Of Us Or None poster collection at the Oakland Museum of California and a catalog by the same name by Heyday. There will be an admission fee.
These three titles each provide ample evidence that graphic artists of the American West, and especially the San Francisco Bay Area, have been passionate social antennae adept at revealing early on social issues that presage national and even international ones. [LMC]
Hobos to Street People: Artists’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present, by Art Hazelwood. Freedom Voices Press, 2011.
Curated and edited by Art Hazelwood, this book also serves as an illustrated catalog for a travelling exhibition. It examines social stereotypes about our populations that have fallen through the “safety net” from the Great Depression to our current Wall Street-fueled miasma. Social justice artists from the 1930s are mashed up with those of today, including Doug Minkler, Jos Sances, David Bacon, and Eric Drooker. More than just an aesthetic examination, it explores the analyses and community-based institutions that challenge this tragic byproduct of capitalism.
Notes from a Revolution: Com/Co, The Diggers, & the Haight, by Kristine McKenna and David Hollander. Foggy Notion Books, 2012.
The Diggers were one of the legendary Bay Area countercultural institutions of the late 1960s. They used street theater, modern communications systems (e.g., the Gestetnerduplicator), humor, poetry, and a passion for liberation to challenge the dark side of private property and corporate greed. They were outrageous, wild, and very subversive. The text includes interviews coupled with reproductions of their colorful and evocative flyers. Not indexed, but includes a helpful timeline.
Art of the Dead: A Celebration of the Artists Behind the American Rock Poster Movement, edited by Phil Cushway, 2012 (self-published)
Rather than just another rock poster book, this one explores how the dynamic evolution of a unique band – The Grateful Dead – spurred artists to push technological limits and breed a distinct graphic style. Cushway has done his homework and knows what he’s talking about, but he lets others tell the story. Interviews and annotations help the viewer to examine cryptic typography, layered imagery, and the magic of offset printing. Richly illustrated with beautiful reproductions of work ranging from the famous (Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin…) to the unknown. Indexed.
It’s hard to believe that history hasn’t been picked clean as years go by, but as an archivist I’m always amazed about new content that surfaces. Check out these color images taken during the confrontations at Sproul Hall in 1964, with the story of their accession. Thanks to FSM historian Barbara Stack for scanning and posting them.
CSA’s 2011 conference “Food Fights” included a powerful presentation by Oakland-based artist/activist Gail Myers. She’s now looking for help with a documentary “Rhythms of the Land!” about the food justice movement and the black farming experience. Check it out:
An online photo display from Occupy Oakland 2011 and 2012. Cathy has been documenting peoples’ history for decades, and brings an experienced eye to a new movement.
CSA member Lincoln Cushing will be giving a slideshow about the history of social justice graphics in collaboration with an exhibition “The Art of Protest” Thursday, January 17 4-6 PM at the California History Center, DeAnza College. http://deanza.edu/califhistory
The California Studies Association invites you to its 23rd Annual Conference:
Changing Directions in California:
New People, Politics, Cartography
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 9 AM-3 PM
David Brower Center, Berkeley, CA
More information on panels and presenters to come..