4 more arson attacks zapped Oakkkland late Monday night and early Tuesday. $60,000 damage reported. That makes 19 alleged arsons since last Saturday. And underpaid firemen prepare to go on strike.
The Berkeley Tribe, July 3–10, 1970.
The movement sisters objected strongly, as did many of the men, on the basis that a fuck-in was cool, but a video-taped fuck-in was just another media rip-off, and exploited women as well. It was decided to confront the video freaks at the lake, and rip-off the fuck-in.
“The Black Shadow,” Rolling Stone, July 23, 1970.
The “movement sisters” had also objected strongly, in Berkeley, to an exhibition of prints by Paul Wunderlich. The reason was pretty good:
THEY SAY THEY’RE SELLING PICTURES TO SEND MONEY TO VIETNAM, BUT ALL THESE ARE, ARE PICTURES OF A WOMAN DRAWN BY A MAN. WE’RE TIRED OF BEING BODIES AND WE’RE TIRED OF BEING SOLD. WE’RE TIRED OF BEING LABELLED IN A NUDIE CUTIE ROLE. SO FOR ALL THESE MALE PRIG ARTISTS LET THIS NOW BE KNOWN: WE’RE GONNA WIN THIS TIME. WE’LL MAKE THIS WORLD OUR OWN. FOR OUR SISTERS THAT WE’RE PAINTING, FOR THE WOMEN THAT THEY DRAW, WE’RE LETTING IT BE KNOWN WE WON’T BE SOLD ANYMORE. SOUTH EAST ASIAN SISTERS DIE FROM BULLETS FROM THE GUN: MALE ARTISTS IN AMERICA DRAW WOMEN JUST FOR FUN. WE’LL WIN TOGETHER NOW, ALL WOMEN NOW ARE ONE.
It Ain’t Me Babe, July 1–25, 1970
The women picketed the show knowing all the facts. That the Phoenix Gallery was a Movement gallery. That at the same time the Wunderlich show was on the gallery was also featuring an exhibition of children’s drawings, a good many by Vietnamese children, the proceeds from which were to go to Vietnamese children. That every half hour slide and tape presentation on the Vietnam war was shown. That Movement literature was constantly available at the gallery. But sections of the women had long ago concluded that from the point of view of the Movement there was always something going on that was more important than they were. And, secondly, why should the Movement be held to even stricter regard for feminism precisely because it was the Movement? So, tactically, the thing made sense. It made sense artistically, too.
I couldn’t figure it out what Wunderlich was doing in the Phoenix Gallery in the first place. The problem wasn’t that he was far from what they usually show—the problem was that he was near to it. His prints combined a kind of tepid Surrealism with some Baconesque drawing. They had nothing new to say about anything. Some of the other people the gallery worked with were more alive, but most of them weren’t doing more with Pop art, Bay Area art, Surrealism, or Rauschenberg photo and montage imagery than had already been done. The subject matter most often concerned itself with Movement concerns, and that, I suppose is what made it revolutionary art. But why shouldn’t a Movement gallery show revolutionary art? What was it about this art that spoke to the revolution?
I thought the women were probably with me—if they were, I was with them. I thought the women were picketing the show because it was reactionary art. To the women, Mondrian must be a great revolutionary artist. Abstract art broke all those chains thirty years ago! What is a Movement gallery showing dumb stuff like this for? But if it were just a matter of reactionary art why would women picket it? Why not? Women care as much about art as men do—maybe more. The question is, why weren’t the men right there with them?˛
For a while the Phoenix wasn’t the only Movement gallery in Berkeley. During the “unrest” over Cambodia and Kent the Berkeley Art Museum had thrown open its walls to the students and a huge exhibition of poster art from on campus and off was held. I got to Berkeley after the show closed, and I was sorry I missed it. The show that Peter Selz had closed to make room for the poster show was Pol Bury’s first retrospective in this country.
Peter Selz came to the Movement in a very different way from say, Abbie Hoffman. Hoffman, for example, admits his debt to Warhol:
Well, I would like to combine his [Warhol’s] style and that of Castro… If the country becomes more repressive we must become Castros. If it become more tolerant we must become Warhols.
Selz doesn’t think much of Warhol. Like the Phoenix Gallery, Selz tends toward Baconesque and the Surrealist. New Images of Modern Man, Chicago Monster School, “Funk,” are where his heart is. A lot of posters come out of that stuff, and it must have seemed natural to Peter Selz that the place to put them was in an art museum. It would probably be the one place that would never dawn on Abbie Hoffman.
When I went, the Museum was having a two-man show: Arnaldo Pomodoro in one wing, and in the other, Pol Bury, an abbreviated version, perhaps, certainly an abbreviated installation. No one picketed the poster show as far as I know—not the women and not the men. I don’t much go for him, but it seemed to me that Pol Bury had pretty good grounds for picketing. His picket sign could have read: “This Museum thinks I am one of the great sculptors of the 20th century.” If anyone joined him they could write: “Does a museum have the right to close an artist’s show for political reasons?”