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Art and the “Occupy” Movement

A little over a week ago I touched on the idea of the need for political art in the article; Political Art for a Much Needed Time. If you have been watching the news, or the lack thereof in most cases, the “Occupy” movement is growing bigger and spreading to cities all over the country, and in some cases has inspired movements for change in other countries [1. Occupy Wall Street Protests Spread to Ireland]. It’s a very exciting time and I look forward to seeing what positive changes occur. I have also been keeping my eyes open to see what role art plays in these new movements.

Popping up in various areas in San Francisco the past few days is an image made by Eddie Colla. The image (shown above) features the iconic Guy Fawkes face, currently being used by the group Anonymous and many protestors at Occupy events. The mask was made popular again via the 2006 movie V for Vendetta. It’s a great looking mask, and I think the idea of being anonymous along with a recognizable image is a smart idea. What I find interesting is the idea that this mask is owned by Time Warner, one of the largest media outlets in the world, and every time a mask is sold they are paid a licensing fee [2. Masked Protesters Aid Time Warner’s Bottom Line]. It seems to be a difficult situation, as the overall message is against corporate greed, but the mask is now a symbol of the movement. The good thing is that Eddie Colla does not help Time Warner rake in more cash, and he is giving people to ability to download high resolution images of the posters, one for each city, and paste them around. Get one here

Finally, the “Occupy Art World” movement seems to be starting as well [3. ‘Occupy Art World’ Movement Emerges on Twitter]. A new twitter account, @OccupyArtWorld, created by an anonymous source has popped up and is pushing for change in the art world. The idea that the larger art world needs to change, and artists need to make more money and be taken care of is an old fight. The account is not very old, so let’s see if it sticks around.

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  • Reply
    Oct 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I like what my brother had to say about the mask: “Occupy Wall Street protesters, stop wearing Guy Fawkes masks. You clearly have no idea who he was or you wouldn’t be wearing that mask to protest against corporate greed. Guy Fawkes is not someone to be admired. He was a Catholic radical who hated protestants and wanted to restore a Catholic monarchy in England.”

  • Reply
    Oct 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Although I will say the popular meaning of a symbol is more important than anything and if that mask is something people can rally behind then more power to them. Plus it does look very intimidating.

  • Reply
    Oct 14, 2011 at 6:24 am

    reappropriation of signs with new meanings is the most common thing in our century…

  • Reply
    Oct 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

    It seems to be spreading in other forms as well.

  • Reply
    #Occupy Art History: Are the Protests Inspiring Much Originality? | BURNAWAY
    Nov 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

    […] fence set up at Frank Ogawa Plaza and rebuilt it as a stacked, minimalist sculpture, and a poster featuring a red, white, and blue Guy Fawkes mask has been adopted by the Anonymous and Occupy […]

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