How Can We Save The Joiner Institute?

How Can We Save The Joiner Institute?

By Caleb Nelson

We march single file around the war memorial. A guy carries a tuba. Most people hold signs saying, “Programs Not Parades” and “No More Cuts” and “Fund the Joiner Institute” and so forth. We’re at the edge of Columbia Point, by a mucky estuary of the Boston harbor this misty spring morning, stopping one by one in front of the granite obelisk. We read aloud the names of people from the area who died sixty years ago in the struggle over Vietnam, etched in the rock. After each name the reader rings a brass bowl with a wooden chime, and the vibrations dissipate into heavy silence. We’re here because UMass Boston faces a deficit, and in lieu of raising tuition and fees further, administrators look to Institutes that UMass has incubated on campus since the 80s, to generate capital. The Joiner Institute is facing major cuts.

15 Years Ago, a Lion Pride Roamed the Streets of Baghdad

15 Years Ago, a Lion Pride Roamed the Streets of Baghdad

By Irwing Lazo

One of the benefits of working in a school setting is that I get to learn from students, as they learn from me. Last fall, I heard one of our high school seniors discussing a book. I overheard the words “Baghdad” and “Saddam.” I was curious about the discussion. It turned out to be about a graphic novel based on the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I confided with the student about my tour in Iraq and we engaged in a short discussion about the book and my experience—another day of learning from one another.

Later, I read the graphic novel myself. Published in September 2006 by award-winning writer Kevin Vaughan and artist Niko Henrichon, Pride of Baghdad is a 136-page graphic novel inspired by true events. Four lions freely roaming the streets of Baghdad shortly after the 2003 invasion tell a story of survival, rapid change, and a first casualty of war, innocence.

Opening Remarks from Two Veteran-Writer Performances at AWP 2018

Opening Remarks from Two Veteran-Writer Performances at AWP 2018

By Kevin Basl 

Two introductions I prepared for AWP 2018 (Association of Writers and Writing Programs), an annual conference attended by over 10,000 people. On top of an off-site performance at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, Warrior Writers and the Combat Hippies had two on-site events: Subverting the Stereotypes: Performances by Warrior Writers and Combat Hippies and Humanizing "the Enemy": Veterans Share Poetry of Reconciliation. Lovella Calica, director of Warrior Writers, also sat on a panel called Above, Beyond and After Duty: Teaching Creative Writing to Veterans.

100 years of the “War on Drugs”

100 years of the “War on Drugs”

By Irwing Lazo

One of Johann Hari’s fist childhood memories is one in which he futilely tries to wake up a family member from a drug overdose. Hari went on to graduate from Cambridge University in England and practice journalism. After becoming an award-winning journalist, Hari embarked on a thirty thousand mile trip, across nine countries, over the course of three years, doing research on the War on Drugs. The result was a New York Times bestselling book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.

Generosity, Despite

Generosity, Despite

By Aaron Hughes | From MCA DNA, the blog of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

An American Iraqi-Jew and an American Iraq War veteran walk into a bar . . . What sounds like the start of a bad joke is actually the start of a collaboration, mentorship, and friendship between Michael Rakowitz and fellow Chicago-based artist Aaron Hughes. In conjunction with Rakowitz's first solo museum exhibition at the MCA, the MCA invited Hughes to reflect on their relationship as well as his involvement with projects like Enemy Kitchen.

Say Again: Language, Politics & the Veteran Art Movement,      Part 1

Say Again: Language, Politics & the Veteran Art Movement, Part 1

By Kevin Basl | From Praxis in Color, the blog of Frontline Arts.

George Orwell—whose works are having a moment thanks to the doublespeak of the current presidential administration—writes at length about how language is not only a reflection of reality, but also a means for changing it: words, to a great extent, control what we see (or don’t). ...

A Brief History of War Imagery in Printmaking

A Brief History of War Imagery in Printmaking

By Kevin Basl | From Praxis in Color, the blog of Frontline Arts.

The Frontline Arts team recently viewed On War, a holding of the Richard Harris Collection, at C.G. Boerner in New York. The exhibition features several print portfolios essential to understanding the history of war-art and, more broadly, printmaking as a political act. Tracing the evolution of imagery and form apparent in the exhibition (and drawing from other sources) can help us better understand how prints have been used to record the horrors of war, while also giving us a deeper appreciation for today’s socially-engaged printmaking. ...

Art and Activism at Standing Rock: An Interview with Eli Wright

Art and Activism at Standing Rock: An Interview with Eli Wright

By Kevin Basl | From Praxis in Color, the blog of Frontline Arts.

In 2014, the Lakota/Dakota Sioux at Standing Rock Reservation began resisting an oil pipeline, scheduled to cross under their water source, the Missouri River. Fearing not only polluted water but also the desecration of sacred sites, water protectors (as they called themselves) established camps near pipeline construction areas, for prayer and resistance. In late 2016, several thousand U.S. military veterans came in support. ...

The Craft School as Community Model

The Craft School as Community Model

By Kevin Basl | From Praxis in Color, the blog of Frontline Arts.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I visited the Hammer Museum for Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933-1957, a collection of educational tools, photos, and works from famous (and not so famous) patrons of that experimental and influential Appalachian school. John Cage, Anni and Josef Albers, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, R. Buckminister Fuller, Charles Olsen, Robert Creely—this impressive list of artists and intellectuals who taught and studied there goes on. Leap Before You Look filled some gaps in my understanding of 20th century American art, while deepening my appreciation for the U.S. tradition of studio craft schools....