For the past 3 weeks Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has shaken up our nation in what one protester called a “protest movement not seen in America since the 1960s.” Having gained support from veterans and students alike, OWS is now reaching out to artists to contribute to the massive momentum. The movement, which originated with thousands of Americans frustrated with high levels of unemployment and low government support, has now spread to the art world with ‘The Wall Street Occupennial.’
The Occupennial is conceived of as a horizontal power structure in which there are no leaders, just co-organizers. Currently the movement is picking up steam through meetings at Zuccotti Park, posts on a Tumblr account and hopes to fundraise using OWS’s Kickstarter model–A model which has raised OWS tens of thousands in just 3 weeks. You can keep up with events and goals on their website.
The Occupennial mission statement reads:
“The Occupennial is founded on the belief that artists have a crucial role to play in helping to elaborate and sustain the democratic public space that is currently being created by the occupation of Liberty Plaza and other sites across the globe.”
Their Tumblr contains a call to artists asking for contributions to the protest in any way shape or form, from Zombie-painted faces to a puppet show.
An additional facet of the OWS art movement was born yesterday with Occupy Art World, tweeting from an unknown source and applying the OWS demonstration against economic inequality and mass underrepresentation to the art world. They repeatedly refer to the controlling power as the “1%,” and fight its totalizing power over art sales, galleries and museums. Some recent tweets read: “The 1% hijacks art” and “Do art museums serve the public or 1% art collectors and their investments?”
Occupy Art World and the Occupennial illustrate the constant proximity between artist and activist. Whether with new pieces that capture the spirit of the ever-changing movement or with new guidelines to prevent the dilution of future works, the artists of OWS see the high-profile protest as an opportunity to start conversations elsewhere.
Editor’s Note: The Occupennial’s Tumblr site announces the first event organized by the Occupy Wall Street ARts & Culture working group: MONDAY OCT 3RD Corporate Zombie March
Please forward and circulate on Facebook events/Twitter/Google+/etc.
Please do not edit or add
We, of the arts and culture working group, of OWS, encourage all protesters on monday October 3rd, to dress as corporate zombies.
*As we in part are reacting against the unquenchable greed of the corporate system in place now, the zombie seems an appropriate metaphor to embody, as a reflection for those that work in the area, to perceive their actions with a new understanding.
*We encourage participants to dress, if possible, in corporate- esque attire (suits and ties for men, corporate wear for women). As it is Halloween time, white face paint and fake blood can be readily found. Get creative. Maybe the Zombies are eating monopoly money, or drinking from what looks like oil, etc. Maybe you are more of a Thriller Zombie that just wants to boogie.
See a related article at artinfo.com: http://blogs.artinfo.com/artintheair/2011/10/06/occupy-wall-street-gets-its-own-biennial/