Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires

My work pivots from the following ideas and concerns:

  • Art was shamanistic in origin (under primitive communism).

  • The present day avant-garde is a “weak avant-garde” (see Boris Groys) detached from both the modernizing and utopian impulses of the modern avant-garde.

  • The solution to this weakness is a popular avant-garde that deals with the lives and concerns of the majority of the world (the working-class, the exploited and oppressed).

  • A viable strategy to combat the weak avant-garde is “narrative conceptualism;” putting the stories of working-class people up front in experimental artwork.

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To the Litter Box of History

These pastiche posters portray the victories and transformations of cat-kind following a revolution that has overthrown all relations in which cat is a depraved, enslaved, abandoned or despised being. These repurposed propaganda posters attempt to capture the aesthetic energy and radical, transformative hope of the 20th century revolutions while criticizing the social order that they both replaced and created. The works attempt not to rewrite or document history but rather to create hopeful images of a world in which creatures have escaped the logic of history and point toward a real-possible future.

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What's Next?

Artists today are also caught in the Neo-Liberal expectations of competitive self-promotion, which generally exclude the disabled, economically-disadvantaged, lower-classes, aging, female, gender and/or identity non-conforming.  The expected commodification of an artist's work and life is profoundly alienating to anyone who doesn't fit, into either mainstream society or mainstream artists' societies. But there have to be spaces for all art; as there has to be a place at the table for all peoples, or it is no longer art (but an extension of imperialism). 

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Arboreal Compilations

These compositions are the latest in a growing body of work exploring connections between humans and nature in contemporary society. I work part time in the shipping department of a small company, and witness a surprisingly large amount of paper waste. As an artist, and avid environmentalist, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the paper left behind from generating shipping labels. This paper contains a waxy coating, allowing the sticky label to be removed easily while preventing easy recycling. These mixed media works consist of photographs printed on those label backings.

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The Barista Who Could See the Future

This video is part of Adam Turl's installation, The Barista Who Could See the Future, on display as part of the Exposure 19: Jumbled Time exhibition at Gallery 210 in St. Louis through December 2, 2017 (also featuring artists Lizzy Martinez and Stan Chisholm). The installation and short video “documentary” above center around the story of Alex Pullman – a coffee shop worker and artist who claimed he had visions of the future. A zine accompanying the installation, supposedly written by Pullman, reads as follows.

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Wanted: My Oppressor

I have always believed that art and magic were the same thing. In magic, you can manifest power by manipulating objects. These objects (such as images, symbols, and signs) could be utilized to induce activity on the forces of nature and create different mystical phenomena. 

This is the main reason why the majority of my works are expressionist ink sketches with figurative representation of resistance against capitalism, patriarchy, racism, imperialism, and other backward manifestations. I believe expressionism is a product of resistance against impressionism and academic art; an art movement charged by emotions, spirituality, and mysticism.

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Art for the April 1st Strike

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is leading a one-day strike on April 1st. In Illinois, leaders of both political parties have orchestrated an artificial budget crisis. Under the pretext of this false scarcity of resources people like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner are firing teachers, closing schools, and wreaking havoc on public education.  

Something particularly notable out this strike is that it is not just the CTU out there today. The strike is being billed as a call to action for entire city. This makes it unique.

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Graphics Of the Women's Revolution

The Chicago Women's Graphics Collective, much like the Chicago Women's Liberation Union and its Rock Band, is one of those neglected facets of the feminist movement in the 1970's. That is beginning to change with the release of films like She's Beautiful When She's Angry, as well as a broader interest being shown by a younger generation of feminists in their roots and history. The Graphics Collective created stunning work, some of which has found itself into the most well known iconographic annals of "the Long Sixties," even if its creators are far too infrequently acknowledged.

The text below is from Estelle Carol, a founding member of the CWGC. Still a feminist and socialist, she is now one half of the political cartoon duo Carol-Simpson, as well as a web designer in suburban Chicago. She also helps maintain the CWLU Herstory Project.

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EC Comics: Post-War Gothic Naturalism

EC Comics (or Entertaining Comics), published a series of horror, crime, satire, science fiction and military comics in the 1940s and 1950s. These comics had a strong undercurrent of naturalism, echoing the novels of Emile Zola, albeit in fantastic circumstances (such as the Tales from the Crypt series). During a time of increasing political and cultural conformity EC Comics often struck a defiant tone, especially under the leadership of Al Feldstein, that echoed the Pop Front culture of the then recent past. That defiant tone frequently got the writers, editors and artists of EC Comics in trouble with the censors at the Comics Code Authority (CCA).

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An Uprising In Pictures

About two weeks ago, a group of six of us from Syracuse joined other Black organizers, cultural workers, healers, etc. from all across the country for a weekend of national action in Ferguson.  According to the organizers, “the Black Life Matters Ride was organized in the spirit of the early 1960s interstate Freedom Rides to end racial segregation.” Prior to going to Ferguson that weekend, like many other people, I could not take my eyes off of what was happening there. When my friend and colleague Sherri Williams, a PhD candidate and journalist asked if I wanted to, I gave a resounding “yes!”

We arrived in Ferguson on the Saturday of the nation-wide march. Even though I had seen the footage, the photos, read the reports, I still wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived. We parked our van in a shopping center and then we walked down West Florissant, a main street in the city. As we walked to place where everyone was gathering to meet for the march, we passed by a number of boarded up storefronts with messages thanking The gray skies and clouds that hung low above our heads seemed to capture our collective state of grieving and mourning not just for Mike Brown, but for so many black folks that have been so violently killed and brutalized at the hands of the state.

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