July, 2010Globe gif

Gene Elder of San Antonio has declared July, 2010, "Political Art Month."

Elder describes himself as an "artist, businessman, Texan, American, Defender of the Faith, and Homoiousian" and is the fearless leader of the MUD underground (credited with, among other things, the AlamoCam, below), Director of the HAPPY Foundation archives, and founder of the Wedding Cake Liberation Front.

Re- Political Art Month, Elder writes, "Our goal [among others] is to alert galleries across America to devote some thought and time to either political, social or religious subject matter for July. . . . Join us now and add your name to the national list and start planning what [your city] will be exhibiting." To be listed, please e-mail Gene at elder4tomato at yahoo dot com.

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For inspiration, check out Glasstire's List: Art Activism.


From Political Art Supporters:


The YES MEN have said "Yes" to Political Art Month and will help head up the movement between now and July, 2010 to alert all galleries, museums and art institutions across America to plan some form of Political Art presentation. Of course, writers and filmmakers and symphonies are welcome as well.
"We are delighted to join the San Antonio art community and Gene Elder in taking this course of action," stated the YES MEN. "We are always glad to help other artists who want to change the world."

Gene Elder, the Texas artist who announced July as National Political Art Month said, "See, all it takes is a good idea and others will always respond to it. I look forward to working with the YES MEN in helping artists take over the world. I mean, What would Jesus do? He was an artist! And he wanted to take over the world. So hey, Art happens."


“Throughout history, many of the most outstanding artists have made work that expresses a socially relevant viewpoint, and this is very true of numerous artists who are currently working in the twenty-first century. Gene Elder’s initiative to showcase art with a point of view promises to stimulate worthy dialog and will undoubtedly contribute greatly to our cultural life.”
-- David S. Rubin
The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art
San Antonio Museum of Art


-- Ronald P. Guyer, Texas lawyer, San Antonio


"All art is inevitably political because it influences how we see our worlds. But this connection often goes unrecognized. Good art is about changing the status quo – 'cause, God knows, the world needs improvement. Good art seems to arise from a collective, unconscious mind that sensitive artists are able to tap into. Political Art Month makes the connection clear and reveals the kind of change that is bubbling up from the Earth's unconscious mind."
-- Toby Johnson
Author, Gay Perspective, Two Spirits, Secret Matter, and more...
former editor, White Crane Journal


"Bravo for Michael Moore's letter, Gene. And can you tell me how the hell I can peel off Obama's picture and election slogan from my car without tearing up the paint?"
-- Eleanor Antin, artist


"I have met Art and he is humbled that there will be a month honoring his political work.
He gets no respect from people who are where they are because of him, so this is a long overdue and richly deserved retrospective. I hope he can make it, but he was recently seen in Iran doing chalk drawings in front of Ahmadinejad's house, then nothing."
-- Kate Clinton, comedian/activist

"A few centuries ago, the Catholic Church declared comedy a sin in order to get female mimes off the streets. Obviously, the Catholic Church recognized that all art is political, as it can question, influence and change minds."


"Humor is the razor sharp edge of the truth. It is pain and anger-made funny. That is why when someone tells a homophobic joke, or racist joke, or sexist joke, they are not kidding. There is no such thing as 'just kidding'."
-- Robin Tyler, comic/activist


"Although I must disagree with your statement "Art is political for starters. Your art is your politics." if I follow it to its logical conclusion, then all art is political. Any celebration of art is a celebration of political art. Seems a bit wishy washy to me.
"At first, I thought your idea of a political art month was interesting but the more I thought about it, the more I was afraid it was just a way of highlighting propaganda or extreme didacticism and, if you know my work at all, that is something I am trying to break apart. Virtually nothing is black or white. And art that takes these positions is uninteresting and often preaching to the converted. If, however, Political Art Month is about highlighting art with a complex and nuanced political focus, then I am all for that. Although I wonder if relegating political art to a particular month only helps to marginalize it and castrates it of some of its power . . . just a thought."
-- Chris Sauter, artist, San Antonio


"When a totalitarian government takes over a country one of the first things they do is go after the Art. They know Art's power. We should celebrate our freedom by supporting our Art.
"How's that, my friend.
"Love, Bonnie Reed"


"Political Art reaches into the soul and spirit of every human being and gives emotion to otherwise intellectual issues."
-- David Mixner


"Dear Gene,
As long as I am in San Antonio, July has been reserved to being the month for culture. Now we are moving to the culture of politics. It will be great to have an entire month devoted to politics – and also bring some "culture" to it. It can be done and we would be – again – paving the way. My vote is for bringing culture into politics and everybody will win.
-- Dr. Angelika Jansen
Representative San Antonio-Dresden Alliance
San Antonio and Berlin


"I once asked the inimitable New York writer Grace Paley what makes a writer 'political' and she answered without hesitation, 'Tell the truth!' Words to live by."
-- William Jack Sibley, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, journalist

"I was just sitting here at my desk gazing at a wonderful Daumier lithograph (it never loses its fascination for me) and thinking that Daumier couldn't have wished for a more colorful landscape from which to draw his satire than the readily available fodder we in our generation have to choose from; then again, perhaps he wouldn't want to be here witnessing the demise of newspapers as we know them, and most likely joining the hordes of the unemployed in the bargain."
-- Princess Cook, Texas artist


-- victoria shackelford LPC


"Political Art?! In some respects it's only too easy. One has merely to set about observing anything closely enough to tease out some element of truth and a line is crossed. Subversion of a fantasy narrative. A political act. That said, I'd like to see what it is that especially concerns artists. Bring it on."
-- James Cobb, Texas artist


"I worked for two weeks at Early Voting and again on Election Day during the recent Amendments Election. I noticed that nearly everyone who came to vote was confused and asked questions. (Of course, an election worker cannot give any advice.) I can, however, give an opinion now. We need elected officials who will say what they mean and not try to obfuscate, not try to confuse, nor, dare I say, try to trick the voting public.
"We need a new constitution in the state of Texas which gives responsibility to elected officials who can be held responsible."
-- Marilyn Lanfear, poll-worker & San Antonio Art League Artist of the Year 2010


"Gene's initiative 'Political Art Month' is a great opportunity for local artists to express their and our views through Art. Perhaps a more sensitive, lasting, and significant freedom of expression than those yelling and screaming non-sense."
-- Patricio Espinoza, Alamo City Times


"Gene Elder is the artistic 'fly' in the ointment of civil, social and political nerve of the Alamo City's cultural scene. If you give him his way he will only team up with the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center to make all that issue raising contemporary art, GOD! will we all regret the day, ol' Gene made us think and we become aware of accountability!
"'Ya all have fun now, Ya Here! I think Abraham Lincoln said that.
You can be in my dreams if I can be in your's. I said that.' -- Bob Dylan."
-- Tim Summa


"I think that when art is not about politics, it is often the politics of indifference."
-- Glenna Park, artist, Washington, D.C.


"Political art is central to the cultural dialogue in any great democracy. Let's do PAM and pretend we are one."
-- Sarah Fisch, art critic


"Can Art ever be divorced from Politics? I would think not. The lengthy history of 'Art' and 'Politics' from the dawn of time demonstrates that the two are irrevocably entwined. Whether through language, words, or images the presence of a peculiar human mode of expression is undeniable. Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern, and Asian and so-called 'Modern culture' betrays a common sensibility linking the two apparently dissimilar forms of human expression. At least in my humble opinion."
-- Alex Caragonne, architect


"I've always been skeptical when an artist – or anyone else, for that matter – claims to be apolitical. Politics greatly determine the course of life, and life makes the artist, so how can you divorce one from the other? Art can provide a platform for creative examination of society’s difficult questions. I’m so glad Gene is encouraging this kind of public discussion."
-- Bett Butler


"Gene is always creative and I am glad he came up with the idea of National Political Art Month. I am looking forward to July."
-- Joan Grona
Joan Grona Gallery, San Antonio, Texas


"Art ultimately renders a portrait of civilization, how can that not be political?"
-- Ron Feldman
Feldman Gallery


"I think performance for me has been a really useful way for political issues and community voices to come bursting forward! I believe my mission – should I decide to accept it – as an artist and a gay man is to give witness to this challenging time, to live out loud and give that voice to my community, and to throw down a big bejeweled Liberace gauntlet to our backward society. One of the things I think performance can do quite well is to gather community into over-heated rooms in order to shine a light on systems of prejudice that are just so damn unfair. The sweaty reality of live performing has been a great place for me to cast my personal creative high beams on the tasty pleasures and nasty injustices that queer folk face. I feel lucky that I get to gather with people in cities all over the country at my shows to raise awareness, encourage activism, stir the dating pool and test-drive strategies for lesbian and gay equality. The right-this-instant heat of live performing is an especially handy cattle-prod to encourage people to get behind that steering wheel and hit the road."
-- Tim Miller, TimMillerPerformer.com


"I may not know politics but I know what I like! And anything that expresses political views through art, or any other thoughtfully and intelligently executed creative process, gets my juices going! Bring on the PoliArt!!!"
-- Jack Hyman, New York actor, writer, and Native Texan


"During such an important time in our history, what a wonderful time to enlighten us all with Political Art Month."
-- Del Shores, Del Shores Facebook Fanclub


"The definitions of 'Reactionary' are 'opposed to Progress, revert to former state'. All are Reactionaries who merely wish or whine about political wars/debts/deceits.
Actions can be Solutions of Political Problems with Artistic Creativity. Visual satire posters in World Wars & Yippie humor demonstrations in 1960's were effective then.
But now marches & protests are gassed & arrested. The M.I.C.: Military Industrial Complex are as successful as Mickey Mouse, as ubiquitous as mice, & as iniquitous as bubonic rats.
"The M.I.C. control Media & Museums; words & paintings don't hurt them. Modern Millennium needs immediate ecological & economical corrections, not more powerless complaints.
"Political changes are made during extremes – the best or worst of times. Let this depression be a springboard – to Remodel corrupt systems & bad attitudes.
Artists have focused on Personal Rights to retain Voice & Choice. Artists can also inspire Communal Responsibility to assist Earth & Peace.
Artists could evolve imagery beyond Corporate Brands & Socialist Realism to DEMOCRATIC IDEALISM & GAIA ACTION.
"M A R A J A G R A H A M"


"I dreamed in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love—it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words."

-- Walt Whitman, "I Dream'd in a Dream" (1860; collected in Leaves of Grass, 1900)
Submitted by Jonathan Ned Katz, Co-Director, OutHistory.org


"Think outside the FOX."
-- Tim Lapping


"Gene: Yes, I love you and all of San Antonio and the HAPPY Foundation. Of course I am in total support of politcal art. What other kind is there?
"Love and Kisses to all."
-- RuPaul


"I love doing art projects that have a political motivation. Its really a huge part of the fun. The bigger the issue, the bigger the satisfaction. I simply like trying to make the world a little more how I like it to be. I highly recommend the experience to everyone.
"Good luck!"
-- Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D. Feminist, Sexecologist, Ecosexual


"I may not know politics but I know what I like! And anything that expresses political views through art, or any other thoughtfully and intelligently executed creative process, gets my juices going! Bring on the PoliArt!!!"
-- Jack Hyman, New York actor and writer, and Native Texan


"PAM is a must. I mean seriously – look at the WORLD."
-- naomi shihab nye


"Often, great Art is often about the taboo. That is what makes it great……Unbelievable talent mixed with earth shattering stark reality. Otherwise it is nothing more than a picture, unless it is about the unimagined. If that is political art, then so be it."
-- Russell E. Wilson
Manager Geophysics, Century Exploration Houston, Inc.


"Together, we can change the world, one mind at a time."
-- Tommy NEWS


"Democracy depends on, even demands, its artists. It is the role of art to provoke, as much as to entertain or edify."
-- Dr. Lois Leveen, writer and performer


"An artist sees with an immigrant's eyes, and makes novelty of the autochthonous. Like the immigrant, the artist reliably infuses society with cultural dynamism, and as reliably receives a measure of society's mistrust."
-- Chuck Barnes
Portland, Oregon PAM Committee


"I've always been skeptical when an artist – or anyone else, for that matter – claims to be apolitical. Politics greatly determine the course of life, and life makes the artist, so how can you divorce one from the other? Art can provide a platform for creative examination of society’s difficult questions. I’m so glad Gene is encouraging this kind of public discussion."
-- Bett Butler


"Congratulations to Gene Elder for using his organizational skills to create Political Art Month. There is no better time for this than July. It is sure to set off fire works and produce sizzling art work."
-- Terry Gay Puckett, artist


"I believe we can make the world better, and I'm pretty sure we’ve got nothing better to do."
"There's no greater art project than trying to shape the world."
-- Carolyn Sortor, c-cyte


"It is always the really sick people that try to take over the world. The rest of us are content to just give a couple of cocktail parties."
-- Gene Elder


"Like everyone else, I always enjoy seeing the new talented MFA artists showing off at the galleries every year. All of this is great fun, until the Titanic hits the iceberg; then all this creativity seems very frivolous and silly. And the artists that keep doing the same old stuff and only read Art in America for their information are not going to be the artists that the world needs. I want San Antonio artists and the artists from all 50 states to be the artists that the world needs."
-- Gene Elder


Join the MUD underground.