i was just in pittsburgh, pa, where i saw the steelers win and where i laid eyes on an amazing graphic art and activism exhibit called, “signs of change.” keeping reading for a review of the exhibit and to check out pics of the rare movement posters currently on view at miller gallery (carnegie mellon university).
opening quote #1: frederico, of the argentinian stencil crew “run don’t walk,” takes us to school on why we need to engage in arts-based activism. “when you are in the streets all day, you see an invasion of the city by these ads,” he says. “when you paint in the streets you are taking the streets back, making the city yours.
opening quote #2: professor singh brings us home with, “these gorgeous expressions of rage by torchbearer creators are not taught in our schools. ” (both quotes are excerpted from a book review i wrote for wire tap magazine and the nation, read the whole piece: here. )
what is the exhibit, “signs of change,” about: “signs of change: social movement cultures 1960’s to now.” the description on the program reads, “hundreds of posters, photographs, moving images, audio clips, and ephemera bring to life over forty years of activism, political protest, and campaigns for social justice.”
where is the exhibit now: miller gallery, carnegie mellon university (till march 8, 2009). it was at exit art in nyc (9.20.08-12.6.08) and, after being in pittsburgh, will be at the arts center of the capital district in troy, ny (3.27.09-6.5.09).
guest curators of the exhibit: dara greenwald + josh macphee
my take: the exhibit manages to be exhaustive without being exhausting.
the walls are jam packed with colors, shapes, ink breathing in a new world. josh macphee has his hands on an emerging intersection, namely, art and activism. macphee is out there collecting art based activism the world over, documenting, and loving what he does. the love shows. “signs of change,” is a bullseye sharp exhibit, spinning webs of history, knitting years of yarn, spitting pure and rare movement history through posters from movements spanning 39 countries and 4 decades. succinct placards, with dope breakdowns of movement history, dot the wall at about hip height, around one placard for every 4 posters. slow down with this exhibit, fight the urge to speed through because its images you’re looking at- new york heads, i know how it is, but leave your brisk concrete walk in the closet with them salt coated tims, take your time with this exhibit and you won’t be sorry.
much love to my girl, dj baglady, who spun at the winter harvest reception and who shouted out my parents with a personal invite to the pittsburgh affair. also, love to josh macphee. last year, i wrote a review of “realizing the impossible,” his recently released collection of anarchist art and art history. i learned a lot from that book and at “signs of change,” so im digging his approach.
feel free to take a second, relax, bask in the photography love from yours truly, political poet: roopa singh.
8 photos from “signs of change.” (images and commentary: roopa singh)
1. a comment on class: we have found new homes for the rich.
2. starbucks workers: we have the right to organize.
3. a mural in ireland honors the struggles of others in palestine and south africa.
4. unite: south africa emerges from beneath apartheid.
5. we care about iran.
6. just cause: what will happen to black west oakland?
7. chile: it only takes one match to start a fire.
8. lgbt rights: every star is a sun, every sun is a world won.
stay tuned for more.