Here’s a new pixel painting that I started working on for the series A History of Progress, Violence and the Modern Spectacle. It shows an image from 1950 of Gordon Basel lying beaten on the ground by fellow auto workers for refusing to admit whether he was or wasn’t a communist. The image is particularly brutal and echoes the paranoia of 1950’s McCarthyism which aimed to root out communism and destroy the unions and their ability to protect the middle class. This also paved the way for neoliberalism and the inevitable rise of the corporate elite which has plagued the American democratic process ever since. Interestingly I found this image in the book The Fifties and couldn’t find an image of it on the internet.
Category Archives: Associated Artists for Propaganda Research
A History of Progress, Violence and the Modern Spectacle: Crusade Against Communism, Sock Then Ask (Basil Gordon Being Beaten For Refusing To Tell Fellow Auto Workers Whether He Was A Communist, July 1950
Here’s a product registration card that I made; It’s based on a card that I found in a Concord Tape Recorder box. I tried to match the fonts as best as I could to mimic the original and used a rolling tool to create a perforation where the stub is. I used an old rubber stamper used to stamp dates to print numbers on it using blue ink as a test. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it but I thought that it would be fun to include with any AAPR products that I ended up giving away or selling.
Here are 2 mock-ups from January that I created for a zine that I wanted to make called A Strategy is for Street Fighting for the Associated Artists for Propaganda Research. I came up with this idea sometime in the early 2000’s but never made them. In 2012 I designed the covers for a resume that I created for the AAPR and faked the dates so that it made it seem like I made the zines in 2001 and 2003. I never made a volume 2. The covers were based on 2 old manuals, one for a CB and the other for an instruction booklet on Yo Yoing. I wanted the zines to be a scramble of information that included artwork, anarchist rhetoric, criticism, formalist writing and illustrations that all alluded to rebellion and dissent. I thought that maybe I would make a whole series but create them all together as a collectors companion so that it created the illusion that they were all made between 2001 and 2008. We’ll see I guess.
The cover for volume 1 has 4 “fighters” on it which is an image that I used for a sticker; it is actually an illustration showing different kinds of suits used against chemical weapons. Volume 3 uses an illustration of one of the first portable atomic bomb launchers;I used a similar image for a large drawing from Epicenter City called Davy Crockett (Alternate).
Here’s a new painting that I started last December and finished sometime in January. It’s part of the painting series A History of Progress, Violence and the Modern Spectacle. This one shows a pixilated photo of police officers using dogs on protesters in Birmingham, Alabama during the American Civil Rights Movement. The photo was originally taken by Charles Moore, a photojournalist from Alabama who also later cover the Vietnam War.
I thought it was important to add a fifth painting to this series in order to create a situation where an infinite amount of images could be added over time. I usually like to create closed systems for my series where a set number of pieces is pre-established in order to avoid redundancy; I thought that the subject matter of this series warranted unlimited possibilities for exploration and wanted the option to add to it over time.
This photo is actually doctored. I took the photo with a green background, cropped it and superimposed it over another pixel painting so that it has shadows and looks like it’s hanging on the wall. I also rounded the corners a little because paintings don’t have sharp corners, at least not ones that use canvas.
The Associated Artists for Propaganda Research Constitution, By-Laws, Charter and Index 2013 and 2014
Here are 2 pamphlets that I made sometime at the end of January. They are based on Mechanical Engineering pamphlets from the 1920’s that I found while working in a corporate office. I’ve been thinking a lot about archival material for an AAPR retrospective and really liked the look of these. I also like the idea of putting them under glass so that nobody knows that there are only blank pages inside. I probably spent the most time re-making one of the stamps from one of the original pamphlets so that it said The American Society of Propaganda Research. The other logo is an image that I’ve been using for a long time on other AAPR propaganda material; It’s supposed to be a corporate building but it’s actually a hospital from the side of a puzzle box for the TV show General Hospital. I also carried these around in my backpack for about a month trying to get them to look worn and used. The last thing I need to do is put on some plastic corners.
Here is a new pixel painting that I started working on. It’s part of the A History of Progress, Violence and the Modern Spectacle series. This one shows an incident from the civil rights movement in which the police used dogs to attack protestors. I was hoping to finish it and submit it for a show about Rosa Parks. This particular image is a mock up that I made by manipulating the photo to make it look pixelated and super-imposing it over another painting so that it has a shadow and looks like it’s hanging on a wall.
I made these pen and ink drawing in 2002 of various US military aircraft that use General Electric parts in them called GE: We Bring Good Things To Light. General Electric, which owns NBC, also makes engine parts for US military aircraft as well as parts for missiles and bombs used for the US military. The drawings were actually made on 22″x30″ paper that were mounted in a series of black frames that I got from work but I cropped the final images to get rid of most of the white space. I also wanted to make small plastic models about the same subject matter but I only made part of one before I quite;it was going to be a lot of work and I wasn’t totally convinced about the project. I imaged a series of 10 grey military aircrafts on a shelf. This was at a time when I was trying to find another way to use models and politics in my art. I settled on the drawings but in the end I didn’t think that they were very impressive. They weren’t necessarily good drawings and the execution was underwhelming. I don’t think that I ever proposed to show them anywhere and the project sort of went flat. I think that the idea behind the project was good but my interest in “lame” drawing at the time only proved to be a disappointment overall in the end. I wanted the politics to be important and at the same time was trying to de-mystify art which became a catastrophic combination. I also thought that by putting the project under the Associated Artists for Propaganda Research that it would be part of a more cohesive context that would protect it from normal scrutiny. I wanted the AAPR to encompass the good as well as the experimental and this is a project that definitely got lost in the mix.
In 2001 I made a video using still images of security cameras that I photographed while working at my job on a truck. I made the video by hooking my camera up to a TV and changing the image every 10 seconds while video taping it. I looped it for 2 hours. It was really boring and I only showed it twice, once the window of a gallery and again as an installation many years later. It was made sometime after 9/11 when nobody was allowed to videotape anything security related anymore and they had just passed the USA Act and the USA Patriot Act here in the USA. Here’s what I wrote about it for the old Associated Artists for Propaganda Research website:
Under the guises of safety and security the public unknowingly gives consent to a privately controlled government aimed at infiltrating and uncovering the dissident critics of the ruling class. Now, with the USA Act and the USA Patriot Act, new and unprecedented attacks are being waged against the population by slowly eroding civil liberties with new methods of surveillance.
In the video ENG, this otherwise linear system of control has been reordered by placing the tools of surveillance under a new and scrutinizing public eye. This new system of surveillance reassesses the role of the public in the wake of increasingly aggressive private and governmental regulations by challenging the traditional role of public passivity. ENG simulates a situation where control over surveillance is turned over to the public in order to accurately pursue the motivation behind private and government policies.
ENG (electronic news gathering) consists of eight digitally photographed surveillance cameras, scanned every 10 seconds for a period of two hours.
Here’s a composition that I put together of the 8 images and an installation shot. The installation is actually a composite that I made because the image on the TV was actually just static at the time the shot was taken.
In 2001 I made a couple of stamps that I wanted to use for the vast collection of paper work that I had acquired for the Associated Artists for Propaganda Research. This included a lot of drawings, maps and other paraphernalia that I had been collecting over the years. I thought about creating an AAPR archive and creating a stamp that would “make official” anything that I wanted to include in the archive; I also thought that it would be funny to also create an “approved” stamp for the objects that I agreed with. I enjoyed the idea of creating the stamps since it related to my days as a printmaker, had slightly honest intentions and was a little tongue-in-cheek all at the same time. I used these stamps on only a handful of artworks, mostly drawings and plans from my previous two AAPR installations, before retiring them. I also thought that they would be great aesthetically in a “retrospective” as ephemeral objects from a previous time. Who uses stamps anymore?
I forget that so much of what I did back then was not classified as art. This is what was so appealing about it. How could stamps from Kinkos be art? I didn’t care and I still don’t. It was fun.
Here is a photo that I took in 2011 when I was updating the AAPR website and thought that the idea was a welcome addition to my archive of imagery.
When I was in school I was a teachers assistant in the printmaking department. I loved printmaking and went to school for it but eventually broadened my interests to painting, sculpture, installation work and everything else. I mostly made etchings but I also tried my hand at silkscreening, particularly the making of T-shirts with a friend of mine. One of the shirts that I made used a drawing that I had made of 2 men wearing welding masks while looking up at the sun that says, “The Future is Now!”. I only printed 3 T-shirts at the time but in 2012 I used the same screen to make a bunch more T-shirts. I like the idea of creating an AAPR shop to sell propaganda items but I like giving things away even better. Here are some photos from 2012 of the re-made T-shirts.