Occupy Bay Area
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Curated by Julio Morales and Betti-Sue Hertz
July 7 - October 14, 2012
Since its inception in September 2011, the Occupy Movement has generated both praise and condemnation. A direct response to the financial instability, subprime mortgage crisis and the decline of trust in the government’s ability to effectively address the problems in the labor market, it continues to resonate in the American consciousness. In response to the significant output of art and documentation produced in support of the Occupy Movement in Oakland and San Francisco, YBCA has put together an exhibition of works that have proven to be particularly effective in supporting the goals and aspirations of the Movement. Impressively, various political poster artists devoted their talents to messaging the politics and culture of the movement by creating iconic images — designs that were a call to action, or posters announcing an upcoming event. In many ways these works, by twenty-five Bay Area artists, carry forward the region’s long tradition as a leader in political struggles, from the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, to struggles by communities of color in the 1970s, to AIDS activism in the 1980s. The exhibition also includes a selection of photojournalistic and documentary photography and video that serve as a record of the events around the Occupy Movement.
We Are The 99%, Megan Wilson, protest signs in 52 languages, acrylic on 1/4" plywood, 2012
Additionally, to connect to earlier movements and provide a historical context for the project, the exhibition includes posters and photographs from other political struggles, including the Black Panther Party, I-Hotel in Manilatown (1968–77); the ARC/AIDS Vigil at City Hall (1985–95); the Occupation of Alcatraz (1969–71); the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley (1964–65); and the San Francisco State University protests, to gain an Ethnic Studies program and Black Student Union demands (1968–69).While these earlier movements certainly differ in ways from Occupy, they all are the result of a deep desire for marginalized peoples to be represented and treated fairly. This exhibition is not meant to represent a fully executed social history, but is a testament of the power of images to evoke the emotional expression of popular and wide-spread sentiments. By localizing our efforts, we also pay special tribute to the role that Bay Area artists have played in giving voice to the 99% and utilizing art as an effective vehicle for social change.
Poster artists: Rich Black, Zerena Diaz, Cannon Dill, Digniad Rebelde (Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza), Eric Drooker, Alexandra Fisher, Dave Garcia, Ronnie Goodman, Jason Justice, Gabby Miller and Miriam Klein Stahl, Nuclear Winter Art, Occupy Design, Political Gridlock (Jon-Paul Bail), Cristy C. Road, Faviana Rodriguez, Chris Shaw, Colin Smith, Winston Smith, Chuck Sperry, Xavier Veramontes, Gregoirire Vion, Fred Zaw, Anonymous artists
Aligned artists: Sergio de la Torre, Kota Ezawa, Eric Drooker, Megan Wilson, Suzanne Lacy, Sanaz Mazinani
Artists of historical posters & photographs: Robert Bechtle, Emory Douglas, Rupert Garcia, Ilka Hartmann, Steven Marcus, “Indian Joe” Morris, Rachael Romero, Sheila Tully, Anonymous artists Photojournalism and video artists: Li Chen Ewen Wright
BIG THANK YOU to Christopher Statton and Jake Thomason for helping with the installation!!!