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Art & Politics / Public Talks Archive

January 25, 2017

Art & Politics: Packard Jennings

Visual and conceptual artist Packard Jennings talks about his work, through which he has reimagined and revisualized the world around us, shaking up our concepts and assumptions of how things are through humor and the reappropriation of pop culture imagery. Packard talks about his work which ranges from digital subversions to quiet mail-in actions to large scale, space interventions on billboards. He also speaks about work that gets made and that which doesn’t.


Video here.

September 28, 2016

Art & Politics: Jenny Odell,
Art as Archiving, Archiving as Art

Jenny Odell brings us an update on her ongoing project, the Bureau of Suspended Objects, which seeks an archaeological approach to the present by researching and archiving everyday discarded (or about-to-be-discarded) objects. First displayed at the dump, the objects are seen as true artifacts: crystallizations of a whole set of desires, economic contingencies, material availabilities, and abstract valuations that are more specific to their time than we could possibly realize now. As a result, all objects come to seem "limited edition," and the present is understood as imminently historical.

February 24, 2016

Art & Politics: Mauro Ffortissimo with Dean Mermell

While squatting a South Park Gulch apartment in the 1990s and experimenting with urban guerrilla art, at some point Argentinian-born artist Mauro Ffortissimo began collecting pianos. He took them apart, pushed them off rooftops, and set one ablaze on the bluffs of Half Moon Bay after a series of sunset performances. Together, Mauro and Dean Mermell now bring pianos to the streets and gardens of San Francisco. Including an excerpt of Twelve Pianos.

November 4, 2015

Art & Politics: Guillermo Gomez-Peña

The Mission District's incomparable Guillermo Gomez-Peña performs his latest screed, “Notes from Technotopia: On the Cruelty of Indifference” along with a brief retrospective of his work, followed by an open conversation with the audience traversing the complicated borders in which his work resides.

September 30, 2015

Art & Politics: Nato Green

The boundary-pushing, “wickedly funny” comedian and formidable foe Nato Green breaks our Art & Politics tradition by giving a stand-up performance during our Talks series. It’s a free show, followed by conversation with the man… Get your brain stimulated while laughing your head off… critical thinkers, contrarians, and ne’er-do-wells welcome! Also featured Irene Tu.

Audio embargoed for now. Will be posted in future.

March 4, 2015

Art & Politics: Sirron Norris

Sirron Norris has been splashing his satirical cartoon characters around the Mission and San Francisco for years. From biting social commentary to whimsical commercial art, his work spans a range that challenges the boundaries of art and politics.

February 11, 2015

Art & Politics: Rene Yañez

Rene Yañez has been at the epicenter of the Mission’s multiple art movements going back to the 1970s. Our Art & Politics series puts him in the spotlight for a retrospective of his life’s work, a free-ranging discussion of the politics that informed his work, and how his work has shaped the neighborhood and the City to which he has contributed so much.

November 12, 2014

Art & Politics: Janet Delaney

Janet Delaney has been documenting the changing South of Market since its days as a recently deindustrialized district in the early 1970s to its present boom in luxury residential towers.

April 30, 2014

Art & Politics: Yolanda Lopez

Yolanda Lopez, Judy Drummond and Donna Amador cover the dynamic history of Los Siete de la Raza and Mission District politics of the 1970s. Yolanda dissects the popular iconography of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the context of racially exploitative advertising over the past few decades, to reveal her own creative processes that have produced beautiful "Virgin"-inspired representations of working Chicana women and more.

March 26, 2014

Norman Nawrocki — Cazzarola!

Cazzarola! is a gripping, epic, political, historical, and romantic novel spanning 130 years in the life of the Discordias, a fictional family of Italian anarchists. It details the family's heroic, multigenerational resistance to fascism in Italy and their ongoing involvement in the anarchist movement. From early 20th-century factory strikes and occupations, armed anarchist militias, and attempts on Mussolini's life, to postwar student and labor protest, and confronting the newest wave of contemporary neofascist violence sweeping Europe, the Discordias navigate the decades of political, economic, and social turmoil. Norman Nawrocki, acclaimed comedian and performer, takes us on a wild ride in and out of history. Co-sponsored by PM Press.

January 22, 2014

Songs of Freedom celebration

Songs of Freedom is the name of the songbook edited by James Connolly and published in 1907. Connolly's introduction is better known than the collection for which it was written, containing his oft-quoted maxim: “Until the movement is marked by the joyous, defiant singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the most distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement, it is the dogma of a few and not the faith of the multitude.” Though most of the songs were of Irish derivation, the songbook itself was published in New York and directed to the American working class, explicitly internationalist in its aims. Songs of Freedom is a celebration of the life and work of James Connolly, the Irish revolutionary socialist martyred by the British government for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916. It is at once a collection of stirring revolutionary songs and a vital historical document. Please join editor and composer Mat Callahan along with vocalist Yvonne Moore to indulge in the life, times, words, songs and contemporary relevance of James Connolly. Co-sponsored by PM Press and Freedom Archives.

April 24, 2013

Art & Politics: Rebar

In recent years, much has made about the opposition between urban strategies and urban tactics. One is supposedly rooted in technocratic control of the city by a planning elite, the other is the response of artists and activists determined to reclaim the right to an environment generated by, and for, citizens themselves. Rebar has explored this territory through tactical urban interventions -- both sactioned and unsanctioned -- but is also interested in going beyond the simple opposition between strategy and tactic. How can people both inside and outside positions of power help the city benefit from the possibilities that urban art, tactical interventions, and other creative actions produce? Rebar founder and principal Blaine Merker will talk about their projects and others that are gaining new ground in the ongoing fight for the right to the city.



November 7, 2012

Art & Politics: Clarion Alley Mural Project

Established in 1992 by a volunteer collective of North Mission residents, the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) was directly inspired by the mural cluster in Balmy Alley focused on Central American social struggles. Over the past two decades artists of all ages and levels of experience representing every social and ethnic group have created over 350 pieces on this one block street. Fresh from celebrating 20 years at the Clarion Alley Block Party on October 20th, CAMP collective members will talk about how their project has gone beyond outdoor public murals to gallery installations, indoor murals, and international exchanges.


May 16, 2012

Art & Politics: Amy Franceschini

Amy Franceschini is a pollinator who creates formats for exchange and production that question and challenge the social, cultural and environmental systems that surround her. An overarching theme in her work is a perceived conflict between humans and nature. Her projects reveal the ways that local politics are affected by globalization. In 1995, Amy founded Futurefarmers, an international collective of artists. In 2004, Amy co-founded Free Soil, an international collective of artists, activists, researchers, and gardeners who work together to propose alternatives to the social, political and environmental organization of space.


May 9, 2012

Rock, Posters, and Politics!

Mat Callahan and Lincoln Cushing present an incredible slide show of dozens of rock and political posters from the 1960s and1970s, discussing the role of music and art in the politics of the era, and the way the commercial culture worked to co-opt and reintegrate that burst of creativity into the demands of consumer capitalism.

April 18, 2012

"Reel Hood Heroes": Conscious Youth Media Crew

A night of Conscious Youth Media Crew's latest collection of films by youth, "Reel Hood Heroes", chronicling the lives of everyday heroes who work to create a brighter future for the young people in our San Francisco and Bay Area communities. Conscious Youth Media Crew encourages youth to become life-long learners and positive, productive community members. Through our unique San Francisco-based digital multimedia training program, youth participants learn multimedia arts and filmmaking, develop creative voice through storytelling, gain marketable technology skills, and become involved in the community as media producers and young leaders.

March 21, 2012

Jess Curtis: Body of Work

Dancer, Choreographer, and Director, Jess Curtis is interviewed by celebrated Bay Area choreographer Joanna Haigood. Together they will explore Jess' nearly three decades of body-based experiments through peformance and teaching. Like Jess' dancing this will be a night investigating the 'embodied intellect'. Short video clips will be interspersed with smart conversation about the theory and practice of Curtis' Body of Work. As always, there will be a lengthy Q & A so all will have a chance to directly engage with Jess about his artistic practice and interests.

October 19, 2011

An Open Rehearsal of Trial of Lucullus

San Francisco State University's Department of Theatre Arts presents an open rehearsal of Bertolt Brecht's The Trial of Lucullus co-directed by Barbara Damashek and Joel Schechter. The play places an ancient Roman general (Lucullus) on trial for his leadership of a military invasion in Asia. Originally written for radio, subsequently staged as an opera, the play in this production includes songs and dialogue.

May 25, 2011

Lost Murals, Political Posters, Underground Comix: Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-78

A dramatic visual presentation of the lost murals, forgotten political posters, and underground comix made in San Francisco during the 1970s, based on visual essays in Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-78. With contributors Lincoln Cushing, Tim Drescher, and Jay Kinney.

February 9, 2011

Art & Politics: Eric Drooker and HOWL

Eric Drooker, who designed animation for the recent film, "Howl," and the new book, Howl: A Graphic Novel, written by Alan Ginbserg gives a visual and musical tour through Eric's years of graphic work for the New Yorker, street protests, and Alan Ginsberg, including a visit to the West Bank.

October 27, 2010

A Staged Reading of Money, a WPA Comedy from 1937

Money: A Comedy with Music is a satiric portrayal of an economically troubled society in which an American banker tries to explain how money works. The new play written in 2010 in San Francisco moves from Brazil to New York, from scenes of wealth to scenes of bankruptcy, accompanied by cabaret songs, chicanery, and financial chaos. Indebted to the Living Newspapers of the Federal Theatre Project from the 1930s, Money incorporates puppetry, film clips, news headlines, music, circus, and more as production elements explore ideas about capitalism, supply and demand, and the burning question of happiness. The cast of characters includes such crazy and noted celebrities as Stalin and Hitler, Huey Long, and F.D.R., along with a seventeenth-century Elizabethan and a W.C. Fields-like banker. Presented by the SFSU Drama Department.

September 22, 2010

Art & Politics: RIGO

Rigo 95, Rigo 23, Rigo Rigo Rigo! He’ll be here to give us a taste of his amazing work, from huge mosaics and building-size murals, street sign satires, and commemorative sculptures. Rigo is one of the giants of our local scene, who also happens to be an international star, and yet is one of the most relaxed people you’ll ever meet. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

May 19, 2010

History of San Francisco's Carnaval

Willy Lizarraga gives an incredible one-man performance of the history of San Francisco's Carnaval. Fast-changing hats and voices, accompany a slide show of historic images from Lou Dematteis and others of those early days.

March 10, 2010

Socially Engaged Printmaking Today

A dozen political print and poster makers discuss Josh MacPhee's new book Paper Politics, as well as the current state of political graphics making: What are we doing? Why? And is it working? Short presentations by a couple of the artists followed by a large roundtable discussion with audience participation.
Co-presented by PM Press.

February 17, 2010

New Emerging Political Artists: Art & Politics

Featuring Melanie Cervantes, Jesus Barraza, and Zachary Karnazes

Melanie Cervantes has made a life long commitment to being an artist for the people. Trained by library books, family, peers, and experimentation, she produces her work in pen and ink, acrylic, screenprinting, embroidery, fiber arts, and spraypainted stencils. Melanie infuses her indigenous internationalist worldview, spirituality, and politics into all her art. She follows the tradition of such artists as Juana Alicia, Malaquias Montoya, Judy Baca, Emory Douglas, Mujeres Muralistas, and Diego Rivera.

Jesus Barraza is an activist printmaker and digital artist based in San Leandro, California. Using bold colors and high contrast images his prints reflect both his local and global community and their resistance in a struggle to create a new world. Barraza’s work continues the tradition of graphic art in the spirit of Jose Gaudalupe Posada, OSPAAAL, and Juan R. Fuentes. In 1998 Barraza was a co-founder of ten12, a collective of digital artists. He has also worked as Graphic Designer for the Mission Cultural Center/Mission Grafica, where Calixto Robles, Juan R. Fuentes, and Michael Roman mentored Barraza in various screen printing methods. In 2003, he co-founded the Taller Tupac Amaru printing studio.

Zachary Karnazes was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is very active in local community and politics designing original artwork for The Really FREE Market, Food Not Bombs, SF Bay Area Community Exchange, Haiti Action Committee, CCSF Green Corps, and other progressive organizations. This is part of a series of artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

January 20, 2010

Patricia Rodriguez: Art & Politics

Patricia Rodriguez has been involved in San Francisco’s public art movement as an original member of Mujeres Muralistas and as an anchor from her home on Balmy Alley during the 1970s and 1980s to that remarkable flowering of public art, of which she was a major participant. She’s a window into the Chicano art and politics of decades past but also the present! This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

December 9, 2009

Keith Hennessy: Art & Politics

Twenty years ago, in 1988/89, Keith Hennessy created Saliva, an interdisciplinary dance performance-ritual under a freeway in downtown San Francisco. Deep within the rage and grief of the AIDS crisis, Hennessy performed a ritualistic reclamation of the body, the queer male body, as holy. Video excerpts, live performance, and special guests Kirk Read, Philip Huang join the conversation. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

November 18, 2009

Philippines: Immigration Politics and the Body

What do people really know about the history and culture of the Philippines? How does a history fraught with war, Spanish colonization, American imperialism, historical erasure, and racism affect the ways Filipinos perceive and experience the body? Aimee Suzara, founder of the Pagbabalik Project and CounterPULSE Performing Diaspora artist, discusses the experiences of women and effects of diaspora on them, colonization/decolonization and creation of cultural forms and transnational and shifting identities, and the political economic relationships historically and now between the Philippines and US. Aimee Espiritu, visual artist, designer, and educator and Jorge Emmanuel, author-activist join in to consider what it means to decolonize through art and literature. Presented in conjunction with CounterPULSE's Performing Diaspora Program.

September 23, 2009

From India to the Bay Area: Culture and Economy

Devendra Sharma, playwright and CounterPULSE Performing Diaspora artist, and Jaysi Chander, a physician and kathak dancer/tabla player, poet, and activist, in conversation on a variety of issues surrounding the Bay Area Indian community. Topics include: immigration politics, women in forced marriage, Indian Invitro industry, the political economy of Silicon Valley and Indian outsourcing industries. Presented in conjunction with CounterPULSE's Performing Diaspora Program.

September 16, 2009

Conscious Youth Media Crew: Art & Politics

Meet the Bay Area's next generation of filmmakers with a screening of selected short films: "No Justice No Peace" by Chantal Renous about the Oscar Grant BART shooting; "Hustla" by Michelle Sieng is a story of a young girl struggling with her attraction to the streets; in "A Choice of Weapons" CYMC 2009 examines the Bayview's redevelopment plan; "Grind for the Green" is an exploration by the CYMC Summer Youth Crew of who's really going green in the 'hood. This is part of a series of artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

May 27, 2009

Susan Greene: Art & Politics

Susan Greene - a public artist, activist, educator, and clinical psychologist - has an extensive background in community mural painting, teaches art in the San Francisco County jail, and is founder of the Break the Silence Mural Project, a 4-story high community mural project between Americans, American Jews, and Palestinian youth and artists in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in occupied Palestine. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

April 15, 2009

Russell Howze: Art & Politics

With dynamically illustrated perspectives across the art form of stencils, hundreds of photographs and numerous essays have been curated by StencilArchive.org’s founder, Russell Howze in Stencil Nation. This great contribution builds upon published works to give the most extensive and up-to-date history of stencil art, as well as how-to tips from the artists. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

March 18, 2009

Jet Martinez: Art & Politics

San Francisco-based muralist Jet Martinez hails from Mexico originally, and he paints magical realist images of nature, incorporating metallic paints and repetitive geometric patterns (that in turn evoke both pre-industrial textiles and industrially homogenous designs) with natural forms from trees, leaves, and more. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

February 18, 2009

Doug Minkler: Art & Politics

Doug Minkler was one of the first political artists to embrace the Mac and he’s been making scathing collages and edgy, often hilarious posters for several decades. Learn how he’s kept himself going all these years! This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

October 8, 2008

San Francisco Print Collective: Art & Politics

The San Francisco Print Collective has been postering striking silk-screened images on the City’s walls for years, speaking to politics, police, immigration, and much more. This is part of a series of artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

September 10, 2008

Art as Intervention

Dr. Milton Rand Kalman of the Billboard Liberation Front and Xago Jaurez and Rosa Gonzales of headRush/hip-hop theater highlight creative works that disrupt mundane expectations of daily life as critique or education such as guerrilla art, street installations, and flash mobs and talk about possibilities for youth creative empowerment. This talk was part of Expo for Independent Arts (www.artsandmedia.net/expo/) and co-presented by Independent Arts & Media

March 19, 2008

Favianna Rodriguez: Art & Politics

Favianna Rodriguez has been making art to make change for years. She presents remarkable posters, illustrations, stickers, and more. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

February 20, 2008

Eric Drooker: Art & Politics

Eric Drooker’s art has provided iconic imagery for countless political initiatives, as well as showing up on covers of the New Yorker, and in a number of gorgeous graphic novels. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

January 16, 2008

Andrew Schoultz: Art & Politics

Andrew Schoultz’s distinctive murals full of strange animals, twisting buildings, and floating birdhouses caught the angst of modern life. Lately he’s gone to a surrealistic sea. Hear him describe this shift. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

October 17, 2007

Hugh D’Andrade: Art & Politics

San Francisco artist Hugh D'Andrade presents a slideshow of his diverse body of work, ranging from rock posters to anti-war flyers to original paintings, and talks about the ways his politics have informed his art— and vice versa. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

September 19, 2007

Mona Caron: Art & Politics

Mona Caron presents a slide show of her famous Bay Area and Peninsula murals and many other illustrated works, from the Duboce Bikeway mural to her Critical Mass poster celebrating 10 years of the ride to her recent work in Noe Valley. She talks about the politics of her art, and her ideas about the relationship of art and politics. This is the first in a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

September 12, 2007

Grant Funding for the Arts in San Francisco: A Discussion

San San Wong of the SF Arts Commission, John Killacky of the SF Foundation, Frances Phillips of the Walter & Elise Haas Sr. Foundation, Jessica Robinson of CounterPULSE, Colleen Marlow of Art Head, and Krissy Keefer of Dance Mission discuss the question, “$56 million a year and Where’s The Art?” or where all the big money spent on the arts in San Francisco is going. From city arts entitlements to grantmaking by private foundations, funders struggle to be fair, while local artists and arts organizations are torn between their creative mission and market forces. This event was co-presented by Independent Arts & Media as part of the annual Expo for the Artist and Musician.