Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Smack Mellon RESPOND Exhibition

And on this day finds itself as Occupy Wall Street Day one thousand and something, I think. And Occupy Wall Street is still moving fast. And so this blagh is still finding itself in all things #BlackLivesMatter land and beyond when it comes to all things Ferguson and beyond. And so this Black Lives Matter related post finds itself in the art world of a Smack Mellon RESPOND art exhibition, rather than on the streets as many of those seemingly a bazillion or more Black Lives Matter events have taken place lately across the country and even the world. And I found myself at this Smack Mellon art show in that neighborhood of DUMBO, Brooklyn the other day, an exhibition with over two hundred artists, with a line that went around the block at the opening reception to go along with it. And so like a lot of people there, I took photos, photos and more photos, and videos, videos and more videos that night, some of which find themselves posted above. And that Smack Mellon RESPOND Opening Reception Facebook event invite has something like one thousand people who clicked attending on it, and from the way the line of people waiting to get inside to see the show at the opening reception looked, it seems likely that one thousand people, may have attended the opening reception that night. And so that RESPOND Facebook event invite reads something like as follows: 

Saturday, January 17 at 5:00pm - 8:00pm in EST

Please join us Saturday, January 17, from 5-8pm for the opening reception of RESPOND.

January 17- February 22, 2015
Gallery hours: Wed-Sun, 12-6pm

Saturday, January 17, 5 to 8pm
With special performance by Eisa Davis at 7:30pm

beginning on January 23 with
Born in Flames, a film by Lizzie Borden

Saturday, January 31 at 7pm
Anthology: UK (Jack Tan), a performance by Clifford Owens

Thursday, February 5, 7:30 to 9pm
Featuring Don’t Shoot, a poetry reading curated by
Samuel Jablon, including poets: Anomalous who, Steve
Dalachinsky, Joyce LeeAnn Joseph, Patricia Spears Jones,
Yuko Otomo, Peter Rugh, and Visual Poetics.

Saturday, February 7 at 3pm
Non/Violence: The Dictionary of the Possible (Shifter and Avi
Alpert) will lead a collective discussion on the history,
meaning and purpose of nonviolent activism in the face of
state repression.

Sunday, February 8, 3pm
Brooklyn Poetry Rally
curated by Jason Koo & Brooklyn Poets.

Saturday, February 14, 3pm
Documents of Resistance III: Tough Love facilitated by
Antonio Serna and Leina Bocar. This workshop will examine
various protest letters written to cultural institution by artist
of color from 1960s to the present.

Saturday, February 21 at 3pm
Moving Spirits to Enlightenment, a dance performance by
Moving Spirits, Inc., Tamara Williams, choreographer along
with Jonathan Lassiter, Sydnie Mosley, Andre Zachary, A. Nia
Austin-Edwards and other creative artists.

Sunday, February 22 at 4pm
I Can’t Breathe, a self-defense workshop/performance by Shaun Leonardo

*Additional public programs will be planned and presented throughout the run of the exhibition.
Please visit our website www.smackmellon.org for updates.

After learning of the grand jury's decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo, Smack Mellon postponed a planned exhibition in order to respond to the continued failure of the United States to protect its black citizens from police discrimination and violence. In order to channel our outrage into actions that can facilitate systemic change, Smack Mellon's gallery space will be used to present events, performances and artworks that affirm that black lives matter, express frustration and anger with the institutional racism that enables law enforcement to kill black members of the community with impunity, and imagine creative solutions and visionary alternatives to a broken justice system.

Smack Mellon's current Studio Artists Esteban del Valle, Molly Dilworth, Oasa DuVerney, Ira Eduardovna, Steffani Jemison, and Dread Scott worked with Smack Mellon staff as lead organizers of RESPOND.

Over 600 artists working at all levels and in all media submitted work for the large exhibition that serves as the focal point of RESPOND. More than 200 voices of artists living across the country and internationally from seven countries were selected and will be represented in sculpture, video, and two-dimensional work—including emerging artists, mid-career artists, and young people exhibiting side-by-side.

Esteban del Valle, a Smack Mellon studio artist and muralist with Groundswell, will work on a mural with local teens to be included in the exhibition. Other works include: Heather Hart’s participatory drawing Skinned, where she invites visitors to press a piece of gold leaf onto the prepared surface of the drawing in exchange for a wish, responding specifically to the context of police violence; Mel Chin’s 1993 prototype of Night Rap, a weapon/tool hybrid made from an actual enforcement officer’s nightstick; and Nina Berman’s photograph Funeral for Jose Luis Lebron, 1990. Nina’s description of this image sums things up:
On January 31, 1990 at 5:30 pm, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York Police Officer Frank Albergo shot and killed 14-year-old Jose Luis Lebron, who was unarmed. An autopsy showed that Lebron was shot squarely in the back of the head. Albergo had been chasing Lebron for allegedly having robbed someone of $10.00 and claimed Lebron had been reaching for a gun. Eyewitnesses told a different tale. Four days earlier, also in Brooklyn, another police officer, shot and killed 17-year-old unarmed Louis Liranso. The two shootings touched off protest marches in Brooklyn. Both officers were cleared of any wrong doing. At Lebron's funeral family member were overcome by grief and some tried to jump into the gravesite. The 2014 killings of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley, currently in the news, top a long list of similar shootings by the NYPD that have been going on for decades. With each new killing, old cases fall deeper down the list, and are quickly forgotten except by family members and loved ones. Jose Luis Lebron is one of those cases.

Community Programs
Smack Mellon's 5,000 square foot gallery is being provided to community organizers, activists, artists, writers and performers to organize, collaborate, speak, perform, teach, lead and act.

Events will continue to be planned and presented throughout the run of the exhibition. A calendar of events will be updated regularly on our website,www.smackmellon.org.


*Special thanks to Erica Bailey and Michael Kukla for postponing their exhibitions in support of this initiative. Erica Bailey's exhibition is now slated for March 14-April 19, 2015 and Michael Kukla's exhibition is now slated for September 2015.

Exhibiting Artists as of Jan 8th :
Atikur Abdul, Derrick Adams, Doba Afolabi, Eozen Agopian, All Hands on Deck, Ben Altman, Albert Areizaga, Andrea Arroyo, Carole Ashley, Ron Baron, Amanda Barragry, Kimberly Becoat, Anthea Behm, Allison Behrstock, Daniel Bejar, Guy Ben-Ari, Jesus Benavente, Nina Berman, Sanford Biggers, Tom Bogaert, Patricia Brace, Faith Briggs, Michael Paul Britto, Elliott Brown, Melissa Calderon, Luisa Caldwell, Crystal Z Campbell, David Cassidy, Colin Chase, Bivas Chaudhuri, Mel Chin, William Claps, Tim Clifford, Tracy Collins, William Cordova, Brandon Cox, Molly Crabapple, Carla Cubit, Damien Davis, André LeRoy Davis, Sophia Dawson, Sharon De La Cruz, Rosetta DeBerardinis, Joseph DeLappe, Esteban del Valle, Elizabeth Dorbad, Luba Drozd, Oasa DuVerney, Alexander Dwinell, Louise Eastman, Melissa Eder, Savior Elmundo, Nicky Enright, Liz Ensz, Stevenson Estimé, Sarah Farahat, Danielle Faulkner, Nona Faustine, Felipe Galindo, Rico Gatson, Daniel Giles, Jessica Goehring, Kyle Goen, Tami Gold, Shane Gooding, Kearra Gopee, Risha Gorig, Morgan Green, Emily Greenberg, Sanae Guerin, Ronald Hall, Ryan Hanson, Carla Jay Harris, Christopher Harrison, Heather Hart, Sharon Hayes, Mary Henderson, Rohan Henry, YK Hong, Germaine "Coco" Howard, HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, Akiko Ichikawa, Tomashi Jackson, Shani Jamila, Steffani Jemison, Olalekan Jeyifous, Ann Johnson, Leon Johnson, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Olivia Johnston, Ayesha Jordan, David Joseph Jr, Dana Kane, Gautam Kansara, Kylene Kasch, Jerry Kearns, Coby Kennedy, Leslie Kerby, Basil Kincaid, Noelle King, Nsenga Knight, Mensa Kondo, Sandra Koponen, Anthony Lee, JC Lenochan, Jeremy Levine, Lmnopi, Dave Loewenstein, Vidho Lorville, Miguel Luciano, Kara Lynch, Jason Maas, Nina Macintosh, Maya Mackrandilal, Rhasaan Manning, Christina Massey, Rose Materdomini, McCallum and Tarry, Bud McNichol, Myra Miller, Al Miller, Amaris Modesto, Mario Moore, Ti-Rock Moore, Nyeema Morgan, Margaret Murphy, NCA 2nd Period Dance Class, NYC Solidarity with Palestine, Doris Neidl, NYC Solidarity with Palestine, Christopher Oates, Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh, Shaw Osha, Zakiya Owens, Mario Padilla, Kwan Taeck Park, Jason Patterson, Jessica Ann Peavy, Joshua Peters, Andrew Phan, Mary Pinto, Terrance Pitts, Jenny Polak, Carol Quint, Sarah Quinter, Issa Randall, Kameelah Rasheed, Nadine Renazile, Ayla Rexroth, Roberto Rischmaui, Shellyne Rodriguez, Benjamin Rojas, Margaret Roleke, Bayete Ross Smith, Russ Rowland, Jaffia Royes, Jude Rubenstein, Cynthia Ruse, Ashleigh Sampson, Sarah Sandman, Romulo Sans, Mariel Santana, SOL'SAX, Cesali Scarola, Dread Scott, Jean Seestadt, Jessica Segall, Beldan Sezen, Rudy Shepherd, Greg Sholette, Kim Sillen, Jeffrey Sims, Monifa Skerritt-Perry, Sable Smith, Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, Fedele Spadafora, Savannah Spirit, Kurt Steger, Preach Sun, Dan Tague, Megan Tatem, Mirland Terlonge, Hank Willis Thomas, Ebony Thompson, Melissa Vandenberg, Kelly Vetter, Dareece Walker, Jordan Weber, Leila Weefur, Daryl Wells, Nafis White, Michelle Williams, Divine Williams, JB Wilson, Spencer Wolff, Jave Yoshimoto, Or Zubalsky + Hương Ngô, Sarah Zucker

2012. A time for change. Is another world possible. No one is free when others are oppressed. And what, if anything, does this have to do with a No Police State? 
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