OWS Anniversary Through the Arts
Occupy Wall Street started near the very tip of Manhattan but became a broad, national movement within weeks. The one-year anniversary of OWS is September 17, and starting this weekend, the movement will reassemble where it was born — in NYC’s financial district.
There will be education sessions, celebratory gatherings, assemblies to discuss procedure and problem solving, and, of course, acts of civil disobedience through September 22. A schedule of events near Wall Street and around Manhattan is available on the website titled #S17NYC.
The movement forced a shift in the national conversation, which would be carried on in private and public spheres far beyond the protests and encampments. Naturally, the art world translated this conversation into photographs, documentaries, poetry and more. On OWS’s one-year anniversary, see how artists have collaborated and affected the political movement and similarly how Occupy has affected their work. Arts and protest have always been intertwined, and this revolution is no different.
Images from the first months of the Occupy Wall Street protests, taken by professional and amateur photographers, have been curated by Manhattan’s International Center of Photography for this exhibition. Photos, strung clothesline-style along the walls, capture mass gatherings from Zuccotti Park to Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge to Times Square. Individuals’ emotive expressions and creative handheld signs stand out among the jumble of masses. A video projection shows a protest at Lincoln Center, before a performance of Philip Glass’ “Siddhartha.” The Governors Galleries are on the east side of Governors Island, which is reached on weekends via a free ferry service.
Occupy has inspired countless artists to produce visionary collaborative projects, short art films and sweeping documentaries capturing the spirit of the movement. At Anthology Film Archives, downtown’s premiere independent cinema, Occupy the Film Festival brings the most compelling and innovative films of the movement to the East Village.
“Ruptures: Forms of Public Address” explores politically vital issues surrounding the struggle for democracy and public space. Situated within the context of the upcoming U.S. elections and the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement, the exhibition explores the urgency, promise and fragility of public and fearless speech within the aftermath of the 2010-11 demonstrations that have erupted across the world in city streets, university campuses and urban centers.
In an early performance in The Civilians Occupy Wall Street series, one singer sings “Dump the Bosses Off Your Back.” Video courtesy of TheCiviliansNYC.
The Civilians: Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy #S17: One Year Later
Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The Civilians, the award-winning theater company that investigates real life topics, presents a special cabaret evening at the intimate Joe’s Pub, part of the Public Theater. Material will explore how the dynamic call to action by Occupy Wall Street has evolved over the past year and what the future may hold.
OWS Anniversary Concert
Foley Square, Worth and Centre streets
Sept. 16 from 1 – 6 p.m.
Artists, musicians and others affiliated with the Occupy movement present a concert on Sunday at Foley Square, where thousands had gathered on Nov. 17, 2011, to rally for the 99 percent. Jello Biafra, the lead singer and songwriter of the legendary punk band Dead Kennedy’s is the MC. Artists scheduled to perform within sight of imposing courthouses include Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Peter Yarrow, Das Racist, Michelle Shocked and My Brightest Diamond. The concert and other pop-up art events are organized by a working group of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
OWS Pop-Up Art Spaces
Washington Square Park on Saturday and in Foley Square at Worth and Centre streets on Sunday
Sept. 15 and 16
Banners, puppets and signs will enliven downtown this weekend, and artists and puppeteers and sign makers will be show others how to build and create some political pageantry of their own. Add your own artistic expression to the OWS anniversary.