United States: The Art of the Occupy Movement

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

The creative cadre of the Occupy Wall Street movement envisions a world where people are free to express their ideas of freedom, equality, and outrage at the system of greed interlocking corporate interests and government. Actors, artists, writers and musicians pay homage to the #Occupy muse and are calling for an international day of creative action on February 12, 2012.

Occupy Visual Arts

The Los Angeles Occupy movement erected a mural depicting a monstrous octopus representing the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States with tentacles reaching into people's lives and homes. The tentacles are so long, they reach across global borders. No one's home can escape its grasp.

Fed Monster Mural in Los Angeles

'Fed Monster Mural' in Los Angeles. Photo by Mikey Wally on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

While the actual encampment has met its end and is prohibited from occupying public space, the mural has gained the protection of Los Angeles city officials, including the mayor, who have designated the mural as a historical artifact. There is currently a bidding process to find a new public viewing space for the mural through the sponsorship of a cultural organization.

Feeding of the 320 Million: The Revolution Will Not be Privatized by Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung.

Occuprint.org is archiving posters created for the different occupy camps across the nation and the world.Artist Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s interpretation of the movement (see right) includes “Feeding of the 320 Million: The Revolution Will Not Be Privatized” and is available for download from his website.

The vivid language of the poster is a chaotic amalgamation of American icons. Lady Liberty walks forward ready to face any challenge. The systems of all-consuming power do not hold her back. She is thankfully wearing comfortable shoes, since it may be a long journey!

Artist Paul-Felix Montez is campaigning online to build a 40-foot monument in New York's Zucotti Park based on his own Occupyface design that he has reproduced in posters, masks, sculptures and paintings.

Occupy Literature

The People’s Library is a collective, public, open library coordinated by OWS. They posted an online poetry anthology (PDF) which contains written impressions by the movement’s supporters in no particular hierarchy or arrangement. Among the works in their most recent anthology is Lost Highway by author Masha Tupytsin. The author speaks about the movement in a more subtle and nuanced tone: two lovers in a world where it's OK to express emotion without fear of judgement.

In sleep, in love, we dozed in and out of each other, in and out of the world, lanes criss-crossing, like characters in Lost Highway, except I wasn’t the dark playing off the light, or the the dark playing off the blonde (you). And for the last forty minutes, after the coast was clear, when all the bullies were finally gone, we cruised along the asphalt and held hands under the music. The astral road was stripped of cars, lit up and silver, like the path in the Redwood forests of E.T. or the moon over Elliott’s levitating bike, and it was just us, a punk-rock version of Adam and Eve, us against everything, us there first, or last, except I didn’t come from you or any garden.

Occupy Music

A compilation of musicians supporting Occupy Wall Street is available through the Music for Occupy site. One of the bands, Aeroplane Pageant, sings about greed symbolized as the “Little Bad Wolf.” The band My Pet Dragon sings a “Love Anthem” as an antidote to class warfare. They also feature the work of singer songwriter Jackson Browne who performed in Washington, D.C. last December. His interpretation of the song  “I Am a Patriot” is featured on YouTube.

Occupy tunes browsing is also available on the @OccupyMusic Twitter feed where independent musicians post links to their edgy lyrics and recordings on an ongoing basis.

Occupy Theater

Independent theater groups and performance artists staged a 24-hour demonstration on Friday, December 2, 2011 in New York City’s Paramount Plaza (a.k.a. the “People’s Performance Plaza”) located in the Broadway theater district. The video Occupy Broadway by GammaBlog, a blog on New York politics, architecture and street art, offers a glimpse of the thespian dissent.

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

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