Working Groups celebrated the MAC’s permanent installation of books and other materials assembled for the OccuLibrary project. The exhibition contextualized these materials and reviewed some of the accomplishments of the Occupy movement and its offshoots, seeking inspiration for next steps in both art and “reality.”
Installation view. Along the right is the GlamROccuLibrarymentary Quotations Wall; along the left are panels on the New York and Dallas Occupy camps and some of the working groups that arose in them.
One wall of the exhibition offered photos and other graphics as well as texts describing the Occupy camps in New York City and in Dallas (where the exhibition took place), the accomplishments of some of the working groups that arose in the camps, and the OccuLibrary project.
Included were materials regarding the Occupy Sandy group, which by many measures provided Hurricane Sandy victims more relief more quickly than any governmental agency or the Red Cross; the Debt Collective, which as of 2018 had accomplished among other things the discharge of nearly $32 million in tuition and medical debt; and Occupy the SEC, whose 324-page comment letter in the wake of the 2008 financial crash helped produced tighter bank regulation. The exhibition also included a complete set of the 52 Shades of Greed deck commissioned by the Alternative Banking Group and an original issue of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.
The other section of the exhibition presented a participatory video project, the GlamROccuLibrarymentary Trailer Shoot. A selection of thirty quotations from great artists and other thinkers was compiled, a camera was set up outside the gallery, and the public including passers-by were invited to either bring their own favorite quotations or to choose one or more of those already compiled, and then to read them for the camera. The resulting clips were then edited together to create a video. The related installation displayed the compiled quotations, numbered and in a large font so they could be easily selected and read by participants, and then also presented the resulting video.
The OccuLibrary project was originally initiated in 2011 following the eviction of Occupy camps across the U.S. and the destruction of the libraries that had spontaneously sprung up within them (more than 3,000 books were lost in New York City alone). The project was conceived as a rolling collaboration in which various artists were invited to create reincarnations of the destroyed libraries, "using aesthetically-informed strategies to lure awareness toward empowering info."
Such reincarnations have taken the forms of, among other things: mobile and “secret” libraries; an exhibition of works by internationally-known artists re-imagining such spaces as the economy, the media, history, etc.; a reading group on art's power to influence reality; a series of children’s programs; and the GlamROccuLibrarymentary Trailer video shoot. Collaborating artists have included Karen Weiner, Lizzy Wetzel, Greg Metz, Danette Dufilho, Anne Lawrence, Regina Yunker Rudnicki, Oil and Cotton, Frank & Celia Eberle, Sally Glass, Cassandra Emswiler Burd, Michael A. Morris, Carolyn Sortor, and many more. Members of various Occupy working groups also contributed to the Working Groups exhibition (see below for more credits).
The physical OccuLibrary library was assembled through donations and comprises books on art, politics, economics, philosophy and other subjects as well as fiction, zines, drawings, and other materials. These have now found a permanent home at the MAC and are available for use by the public.
In addition to the opening and GlamROccuLibrarymentary shoot, two ancillary events were also organized in connection with the exhibition.
2018-02-16, 2PM: Screening
All Day All Week: An Occupy Wall Street Story (2016), by Marisa Holmes (101 min.), with the artist skyped in for Q+A. In 2011 occupations of public spaces were taking place around the world, as people rose up in response to the global financial crisis and for real democracy. Marisa Holmes was centrally involved in the Occupy movement and shot footage from its beginning through the eviction of the OWS camp from the heart of the world’s most important financial center. Her beautiful and moving film gives an intimate view of aspects ignored by traditional media, shedding light on the movement's highs and lows as well as on next steps.
2018-02-23, 2PM: Conversation
Please join Working Groups artists Carolyn Sortor and Michael A. Morris together with artists Janeil Engelstad and Vicki Meek for a conversation about the exhibition, libraries, art, and activism. More info about the participants here.
Works included in the exhibition:
GlamROccuLibrarymentary Trailer Shoot, Vols 1 + 2, (2012-19)
HD video, total 19 min., documenting participatory incarnation. Passers-by were invited to read their choice(s) from a compilation of quotations from great artists and other thinkers. Concept and compilation by Carolyn Sortor; editing by Michael A. Morris; videography by Morris and Sortor. As of 2019-02-25, the video can be seen via Glasstire here.
Please go HERE for reader credits, quotations, and sources.
Shoot 1: Sally Glass + George Quartz
Shoot 2: Andrea Tosten (voter registrar), Kimberly Alexander,
William Sarradet, + Dinah Waranch.
GlamROccuLibrarymentary Quotations Wall (2018)
Installation prepared for use in the Vol. 2 shoot; inkjet prints on paper mounted on the wall or on cardboard boxes, and wooden shelves. Concept and design by Sortor with background image derived from 2011 photo by Steven J. Syrek; but this and other components of the exhibition could not have been executed without the support and assistance of Morris.
Working Group Panels + Works (2018)
A series of six panels (all 2019) giving an overview of some of the accomplishments and lessons of the Occupy movement and a few of the "working groups" that arose within the camps. The panels themselves contain more detailed credits for the texts, photos, and other materials incorporated into them. Except as otherwise noted within the panels or below, all research, texts, and design by Sortor:
(Right-click on the image and re-size your browser window for a larger view.)
Panel, OWS-NY, inkjet print.
Occupied Wall Street Journal, Issue 6, May 2012, by independent journalists Arun Gupta, Jed Brandt, and Michael Levitin.
52 Shades of Greed (2011), deck of playing cards commissioned by the Alternative Banking group, representing various figures within the financial sector.
Panel, Occupy Dallas, inkjet print on paper.
Panel, Occupy Sandy, inkjet print on paper.
Panel, the Debt Collective, inkjet print on paper.
Panel, Occupy the SEC, inkjet print on paper; text prepared by Akshat Tewary.
Panel, the OccuLibrary, inkjet print on paper.
artists express their deep gratitude to the MAC for its support for this exhibition and for providing a permanent home for the OccuLibrary library.
The artists also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Kimberly Alexander with the exhibition installation, as well as the participation and assistance of the many others who have helped create the various OccuLibrary incarnations. For more about their contributions, please go here or see the OccuLibrary. For more info about artists Carolyn Sortor and Michael A. Morris, please go here.
For more info about the OccuLibrary project, see the OccuLibrary.