Posts tagged activism
Make Art Not War: Watts and the Junk Art Conversation by Cameron Shaw
Only months after publishing The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon wrote an account of life in Watts for the New York Times Magazine. On May 7, 1966, a Los Angeles police officer had shot and killed Leonard Deadwyler, a black man whose name could easily have been plucked from Pynchon’s novel. Ruled an “accident,” Deadwyler’s death was salt in the wound of a neighborhood still smarting from its last fight with the cops. The author spoke, as he expressed in The Crying of Lot 49, of a fundamental inability to communicate—this time between black and white cultures. If, as Pynchon—an outsider himself, albeit a highly critical one—noted, “white values [were] displayed without let-up on black people’s TV screens,” what were the available tools for blacks to communicate the realities of their existence? For local black activists and educators, including Noah Purifoy and Judson Powell, the answer to Pynchon’s conundrum was art.
Your Art Disgusts Me: Early Asco 1971-75 by Chon Noriega
"What does the avant-garde look and sound like when it blooms outside the hothouse of the bourgeoisie?" When Asco, the self-named Chicano art collective, first collapsed the space between graffiti and conceptual art, their streetwise institutional critique started delivering an abundance of unforgettable answers.
Against the Wall: Remembering the Chicano Moratorium by Harry Gamboa, Jr.
I recently visited the Mexican Cultural Institute in downtown Los Angeles to see the 40th anniversary commemorative exhibition on the Chicano Moratorium, an anti-war movement that organized protests in East Los Angeles from 1969-71. The protests had been marred by rioting and historically marked by the violent death of Los Angeles Times journalist Ruben Salazar, who was fatally struck in the head by a tear gas projectile that had been fired by a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff. In the exhibit, I found myself drawn to an untitled photograph by Victor Aleman. I was riveted by the personal significance of the grainy black and white image depicting several police officers and protesters on a familiar street corner in East L.A.