PRINT September 2004


FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF THE INDELIBLE Abu Ghraib photographs this past spring, Richard Serra produced Stop Bush, a print that he has distributed widely both in art venues and in mainstream publications, as well as on the Internet. Serra insists that the piece is not an artwork but rather a “way to just get the message out,” a tack that inspired Artforum to invite other artists to take up the cause. Our brief was simple and open-ended: We asked fourteen artists to make an original contribution to these pages on the occasion of the American presidential election. A few, like Tom Sachs (whose presidential seal adorns this month’s cover), redesigned and formatted a preexisting piece specifically for reproduction here; yet most made a wholly new work, including James Rosenquist, who went so far as to paint The Xenophobic Movie Director or Our Foreign Policy from scratch. In either case, the artists were working in demanding circumstances. With invitations coming in early July, individuals were afforded just a few weeks to prepare their submissions—a significant obstacle that Rachel Harrison and Barbara Kruger overcame by actually producing their contributions in the Artforum offices, barely two blocks from Madison Square Garden, site of the Republican National Convention. Perhaps these last occasions best provide a sense of the project’s urgency. Setting aside the matter of whether the portfolio would “preach to the choir” or exist on the peripheries of artistic or mainstream political discourses, artists felt absolutely compelled to concentrate their efforts and “get the message out.”