One Radical Archive Offers a Hands-on Approach to Activist Art

“The intensified activism of the 1960s fueled by the Vietnam War and struggles over class inequality, women’s rights, and black liberation drove the rapid growth of the underground press. Between 1965 and 1969, the five indie counterculture newspapers scattered across the United States multiplied to over 500 around the country, representing and communicating the voices of feminists, the Black Panther Party, gay activists, psychedelic aficionados, and other social movement groups with their art and design as radical as their messages. Rebel Newsprint: The Underground Press at Interference Archive in Gowanus is digging into this historic period with over 100 newspapers from across the sixties underground. The exhibition of ephemera is curated by Sean Stewart, the editor of On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. (2011), and was drawn from his own collection, with yellowed and folded issues of newspapers like the bilingual community publication Basta Ya started in San Francisco in 1969, the experimental San Francisco Oracle published from 1966 to 1968 out of Haight-Ashbury that reflected the area’s psychedelic scene in trippy rainbow ink and spiritual poetry, and the sexual revolution sourced Screw: The Sex Review co-founded by pornographer Al Goldstein. Most of the newspapers are held in plastic and suspended from the walls of the Interference Archive’s small space, a cascade of counterculture messages like ‘End the War Now,’ ‘Don’t Mourn, Organize,’ and ‘All Power to the People’ blaring out from vibrantly hued cover art and rapid fire text. One issue of the East Village Other, responding to the 1967 storming of hippies convening in Tompkins Square by police has an image of a man with a bloodied face, his hands handcuffed and stretching down while text frames him on two sides: ‘My God! My God! Where is this happening? This is America!’ (You can see this and some other covers in detail on the Interference Archive blog.) …”
Rebel Newsprint: The Underground Press

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Feminist, Haight-Ashbury, Newspaper, Poetry, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s