Masterful cinema usually leaves little to accident. With the film world completely oversaturated by works that are intellectually lazy and yet somehow overwrought with production costs, this is easy to forget. Many would say that the age of the auteur is behind us. It’s overly glib, but also understandable.
Throw in a film that cuts against this, where everything is well-placed and intentionally so, and a film-going public hungry for something that hits the sweet-spot between smart and emotionally satisfying will not be able to stop talking about it. Enter, like an unexpected guest who has been hiding in your basement, Get Out. Read More
Shirin Rastin is an Iranian-born artist based in Orange County, California. She is exhibiting her latest series, Forced Entry, at the Dollar Art House in St. Louis, Missouri. The exhibition opens on Friday, March 24. The Dollar Art House interviewed her about her work before the exhibition opening.
Dollar Art House: In this series you combine commercial puzzles with puzzles you’ve made using images from the news media. In particular these include puzzles that show an idyllic “western” or “American” life (the former) and puzzles that depict the ongoing refugee crisis (the latter). Can you tell us something about how you arrived at this concept? Read More
Imagine, if you will, aliens, grey ones, with those big eyes, travelling through the universe and finding a capsule in the sky, representing the people from the planet Earth, a peaceful place (or so it looks from space). On the capsule, the aliens find a recording – it is “Johnny B. Goode”, the 1958 ur-narrative of rock music, Horatio Alger as channeled through the experience of Southern working class youth. “He never learned to read or write so well,” sings Chuck Berry, who died on Saturday at 90 years old, “but he could play his guitar just like-a-ringin’ a bell”. A sort of rock folk-tale, young Johnny can’t do much except play guitar. Read More
Madeline loves it Read More
And sits as Mother would.
The priest like her Father
Dressed all in grey,
Palms fluttering with
Life was smithereens of decisions and constant problems and challenges. And so were her stories. She stuck the smithereens of stories together with home-made glue, with the cracks between them still visible and the glue all pungent, and made a novel.
Someone else kept a diary the old fashioned way, with smithereens of thoughts jotted into a notebook he kept tucked under his pillow. And Eduardo Galeano wrote history as a series of little stories in Memories of Fire, and in Children of the Days he wrote one vignette for each day of the year. Read More
Stephanie Dinges is a working-class socialist, artist and activist running as a Green Party candidate for alderperson in the 13th ward of St. Louis. Dinges is running against a largely absentee pro-corporate law-and-order Democrat. On March 7th the aldermanic and mayoral primary was held in St. Louis. The general election takes place on April 4th. Red Wedge’s Adam Turl interviewed Stephanie about her campaign in late February. Read More
In 1871, Parisian workers famously brought down the Vendome Column in the city’s first arondissement. It was an iconic event – in more way than one – for the Paris Commune. The Column, erected sixty years previously in commemoration of Napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, was torn down at the initial suggestion of the legendary artist Gustave Courbet. Courbet called the Column “a monument devoid of all artistic value, tending to perpetuate by its expression the ideas of war and conquest of the past imperial dynasty, which are reproved by a republican nation's sentiment.” Read More
Colonial domination, because it is total and tends to over-simplify, very soon manages to disrupt in spectacular fashion the cultural life of a conquered people. This cultural obliteration is made possible by the negation of national reality, by new legal relations introduced by the occupying power, by the banishment of the natives and their customs to outlying districts by colonial society, by expropriation, and by the systematic enslaving of men and women.
Three years ago at our first congress I showed that, in the colonial situation, dynamism is replaced fairly quickly by a substantification of the attitudes of the colonizing power. The area of culture is then marked off by fences and signposts. These are in fact so many defense mechanisms of the most elementary type, comparable for more than one good reason to the simple instinct for preservation. Read More
The very idea of “President’s Day” has always been a farce. But in the age of Trump the idea of celebrating the American presidency’s unchecked power just feel bitterly ironic. Red Wedge isn’t the only one feeling this irony; today, in several cities, “Not My President’s Day” rallies are taking place.
When our editorial board adapted the text below and designed its accompanying image, it was intended as a reward for our fall fundraising drive (which we are in the process of mailing out as we write this). It is now available exclusively to anyone who joins the Red Wedge Patron program at ten dollars or more each month. Read More
In 1969 a group of artists, critics, museum workers and others formed the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC). One of their many achievements was to force the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to have a free admission day – to democratize access to the musuem’s collection. So it is fitting that last night, during MoMA’s “Free Friday" (February 17), a group of a few dozen protesters – joined at times by hundreds of other attendees – erupted in protest in MoMA’s lobby – demanding the removal of Larry Fink from the board.Fink, CEO of BlackRock, Inc., is also a member of President’s Stratigic and Policy Forum – a collection of “business leaders” who advise the revaunchist Trump administration. The protesters have rightly taken a position against any normalization of the Trump presidency. Read More
black on black on Black on Read More
an interruption – no,
a reminder to the Columbus-ing ass fuckboys
(and girls) that
We need money to make all of this happen. In years past, we’ve accomplished this by undertaking fund drives for a few months, soliciting our readers for one-time lump sums so that we can continue operating for the next year and/or pay for a particular project. It is, frankly, an exhausting and nerve-wracking way to fund a publication. Which is why this year we are going to try a different approach. Read More
The question “what can a poem (actually) do?” has been a part of the philosophical debate about art for a long time. It is impossible to know when it was first asked, but I’m willing to bet that it had something to do with the onset of the Industrial Age, and the coming of age of Capitalism. That the lack of a definitive answer, or any recognizable material profit tied to its production hasn’t stopped people from either writing or reading it, is probably answer enough, but in the Fall of 1977, I moved from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies to Winnipeg, Manitoba – the MidWest of Canada. My step-father was working with the Canadian government and so, we were migrating. Read More
To rise to and consolidate power 20th century fascism invoked crude race and national origin myths. This is part of what led Breton to pose the problem of counter-mythology, a different set of stories; stories that would animate resistance – that would bring the weight of the past crashing down on the enemies of socialism and the working-class. As Walter Benjamin wrote, the hatred and sacrifice needed for revolution is nourished “on the picture of enslaved forebears.” For Breton this was bound together with Surrealism and its intersections of chance and plan, individual and collective psychology, dream and consciousness, individual and collective action. As our contemporary far-right movements have gained ground they have brought back the “belligerent gods.” And among the neo-fascist “alt-right” there is a return of esoteric occult fascism in the “Cult of Kek” and its Pepe the Frog fascinations. So, just as before, we need our own animating counter-mythologies – our own stories for living and fighting in this world – for ridding it of the “myths of Odin." Read More
“After one has enjoyed the first taste of Marxist criticism, one will never again be able to stand ideological hogwash.” – Ernst Bloch, Spirit of Utopia, 1918
The relationship between art and society has always been a central question for artists, thinkers and activists on the Left. In the twentieth century, it was commonplace to believe that art has the power to change the world. It was this conviction that motivated Georg Lukács to defend the literary realism of writers like Thomas Mann over the stylistic innovations of a James Joyce. For Lukács (1977: 33), literature was “a particular form by means of which objective reality is reflected,” and as such it was “of crucial importance for it to grasp that reality as it truly is.” By displaying social reality in all its contradictory complexity, Lukács believed, art could serve the interests of class struggle and social emancipation. Read More
The comic “La Trompestad” by Michelle Sayles is the perfect illustration of what it feels like to live in the first week of Donald Trump's America. Although we may feel defeated, we must remain vigorous in our fight against Trump and his administrations' spectacle of “alternative facts”. Michelle Sayles is an artist and community organizer living in Burlington, Vermont. You can find more of her work on her blog. – Craig E. Ross Read More
Here we are. Inauguration Day for Donald Trump. We are through the dystopian looking glass. And now “resistance” isn’t just something that would be nice if it happened. It is a necessity. From working people, from students, from community members, and yes, from artists. By any means necessary.
Trump took the White House for two reasons. 1) The failure of the Democratic Party. And 2) The mobilization of bigotry. America’s “political center,” in the form of the Democratic Party, was unable and unwilling to explain the crises of neoliberal austerity, to mobilize people on the basis of social class and solidarity. This political failure is also a cultural one – of avant-garde and popular culture alike. Read More
John Berger is dead. There are very few people who, when they pass on, leave you at such a loss for words. Mostly because there are so few as versatile and prodigious as he was. Art critic, painter, poet, novelist, socialist. And he was consistently brilliant in every one of these roles. Often, he was more than one simultaneously. His first novel A Painter of Our Time was available for a month in 1958 before the publisher withdrew it under pressure from the anti-communist Congress for Cultural Freedom. When he won the Booker Prize in 1972, he donated half the prize money to the Black Panthers. Landscapes, a recently published collection of his works, nestles musings on Cubism next to moving tributes to Rosa Luxemburg. Read More
Count us among those who wish to drive a stake into the heart of 2016. This was a year in which the world definitively became a darker, more impoverished place. We lost battles and we lost friends. Trump won. Aleppo fell. The Ghost Ship burned and looks to have opened a rash of low-level war against DIY art venues. Some great artists left us and some important comrades. There were victories, and important ones at that (Standing Rock, the defeat of a few authoritarians at the polls in Europe), but too few Read More
The student butterfly that flapped its wings in Paris, May 1968 led to an earthquake which shook factory walls across western Europe in the 1970’s. Out of the dust emerged an ugly snarling rodent called punk rock.
The 1970s in the UK was a time of open conflict. Strike leaders sent to prison and then freed by a massive strike wave, teenagers fighting in the streets against each other, against the police and against the army in Ireland, miners strikes, power cuts, three day week, women battling for equal rights, Tory government brought down. The working class – loud, proud and winning. Read More