Gowanus Art Collective Is The Epicenter of ‘Occupy’ Art

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Mar 26 2012

Location: 

Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Paper
March 26, 2012
BY ELI ROSENBERG

Occupy Wall Street wants to occupy your wall space.

A collective of poster printers in Gowanus is attempting to help reignite the social movement’s flames for a May 1 “General Strike,” with a handful of new pin-ups it hopes will be as arresting as the image of a ballerina atop a bull that kicked off the whole protest in September.

“Imagery and posters are part of the general mix of culture that helps bind people together and make social movements more than a sum of their parts,” said Jesse Goldstein, a CUNY PhD student and lecturer, and one of the founders of the “Occuprint” collective, which has been producing and collecting arresting visuals related to the anti-corporate movement. “Posters fit in because they’re a nice bridge between the digital and physical spaces.”

The group has been funding itself through an online campaign on the website Kickstarter and it has already surpassed its $16,800 goal, with eight days left in the effort.

The money, Goldstein says, will be used to fund the group’s printing effort in advance of the May Day protest, as well as the production of a high-end portfolio of screen prints the group is selling to museums, libraries and archives around the country.

The posters designed and curated through Occuprint, whose founders also created the all-poster edition of the Occupied Wall Street Journal in the fall, draw on many traditions and styles of political posters and protest art.
Artist Molly Crabapple’s poster of a lady striking a match has a vaguely art nouveau aspect to it, while others draw on sources as diverse as the cubanposterart.blogspot.com/">Cuban Revolution and the Black Panthers.
Many simply play off American advertising and movie posters — a connection that is hardly subconscious in the mind of their creators.

“As a society we privilege the visual over all the other senses,” said Josh MacPhee, who founded Occuprint with Goldstein and co-runs the Gowanus archive that gives it a home. “Images are important to Occupy in same way they are to other entities: they’re a tool to cultivate our ideas, they’re advertisements to come join us, and they can also function as warnings to those that oppose the change we desire.”

Check out some posters from Occuprint, as well as other social movements, at the Interference Archive (131 Eighth St. #4 between Second and Third Avenues in Gowanus) on Sundays from noon to 5 pm. For more info, or to make a viewing appointment, email interferencearchive@gmail.com

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