Tag Archives: wealth

Occupy Wallstreet Continues

The Occupy Wallstreet movement continues and is growing, in both numbers in New York, support around the country, as well as drama from New York’s finest. The movement has finally gained coverage on the mainstream news circuits, however it may be more to do with sensationalization of police brutality than with any interest in covering the real issue: why they are protesting. They are protesting against the corporate bailouts, greed, and inequality that has caused the current financial crisis, in case you were wondering.

Occupy Wallstreet garnered media attention Saturday, September 24th when a police officer pepper-sprayed a group of female protesters that had been penned (“kettled” I guess) in. These women were not threatening nor violent in any way and by most accounts the incident was entirely uncalled for.

1968 Protest Poster, Paris

The situation escalated when approximately 700 protesters were arrested October 1st while marching on the Brooklyn Bridge. The arrests were made because the protestors left the footbridge and entered the traffic lanes due to overcrowding on the walkway. If anyone has been in a large crowd, it is understandable the massive amount of confusion, as many believed the road had been blocked and they were allowed to walk on it…unfortunately it was not the case. In addition, police warnings were not heard by many of the protestors due to chanting. Further information on this incident can be found here. For more information (and great pics) check out the Occupy Wall Street website.

Similar movements have sprung up all over the nation in the financial districts of Chicago, LA, and Boston. These have largely remained smaller and more peaceful.

To support the movement remotely, participate in the virtual march on Wall Street Oct. 5th by clicking here!

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Art & Headlines: Wall Street Protest

The Occupy Wall Street Movement began Saturday September 17th with about 5,000 protesters (read more here). As of now there is an ongoing contingent of protesters that continue to occupy the plaza and parks in the surrounding area and are gunning for the long haul. While I do support the protest as a substantial first step for us to wake up to our situation, my biggest problem is with the media blackout. The U.S media has completely blocked out this protest and is making it quite evident whose side they are on, nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds them- which is exactly the problem. We have the right to protest but the convenient loophole is to just ignore it and it will go away. But this shouldn’t go away, if significant change is to happen, then the people must unite- they have to demand it. The wealth disparity and the people’s lack of power is not new, but that does not mean it should continue.

So today I thought I’d connect the Wall Street protest to various artworks that deal with the persistent wealth gap and with the desire to revolutionize our position.

Niki de Saint Phalle, Tirs 1960s; mixed media

1968 Poster from the Paris Protests

Victor Burgin, Possession, 1976

Erwin Wurm, Fat Convertable, 2005; mixed media


Art & Headlines

The art: Asger Jorn, Paris by Night, 1959

The news: “Police Scramble to Fight Flash-mob Mayhem,” Ashley Fantz, CNN

In what could be a scene from a dystopian futuristic film like Mad Max flash-mobs are erupting all over the world. The police seem to be powerless to control the mobs due to lack of technological expertise. Young people are organizing via social networking sites in order to meet up, loot, and/or assault pedestrians .These flash-mobs are symptomatic of an underlying sense of powerlessness endemic to youth today. The only way to feel power is to undermine capitalism’s societal norm with the anonymity provided by mob behavior. How else can young people attract national attention? It seems that the youth cannot but be negatively portrayed in the media and this is the result. These acts are subversive outcries in the battle of disparity waging everywhere.

Asger Jorn’s ( Danish, 1914-1973) Paris by Night, is a Detournement that subverts the capitalistic art object by defacing the type of cliche painting commonly sold to tourists on the streets of Paris. Jorn and the Situationists were using art as a means of rebellion from the invasion of American-style Capitalism in the Post-war period. This work depicts a kind of graffiti scrawl over the painting in shapes that resemble a mushroom cloud in the upper left over the city of Paris and a chaotic overflow of smoke in the foreground. The figure leisurely watches Paris burn from the safety of his balcony even as it sneaks up behind him. We cannot look at the collapsing of the world markets without seeing how it is affecting us right now. One of those ways is how youth has come to feel powerless as jobs become scarcer, corporations get tax payer bail outs, school seems pointless as higher education is skyrocketing in cost without concrete benefits-  the future is bleak.