Artists, Scholars Help Revitalize OWS

09/13/2012 1:26 PM |

OWS at the Berlin Biennial, Press photo for Occupy Your BFF
  • OWS at the Berlin Biennial, Press photo for “Occupy Your BFF”

As Occupy enters its second year and plans for a full weekend of events, it gets another boost from well-known intellectuals. As of this writing, several hundred signatures have been added to an open letter intended to “[p]rove the corporate media are wrong when they say Occupy is over.”

This echoes last year’s wave of bold declarations, which helped give the movement steam: n+1‘s free OWS gazette, the consistent and in-depth dialogue from Village Voice critics and reporters, Ben Davis’ argument for Occupy Museums in the normally reticent ArtINFO, and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges’ commanding call to arms: “Join…or stand on the wrong side of history.”

The new list again includes figures from n +1 and also Bookforum, along with cultural influencers such as philosopher Judith Butler and Marxist political theorist Slavoj Žižek, plus art world figures like Martha Rosler, Paul Chan, Thomas Beard, and Trevor Paglen (who might not make it out to the celebrations, as he’s preparing for a space launch next Wednesday).

While esteemed names will be key to helping this people’s movement as it enters its second year, check out the variety of thinking people who’ve added to the list. It seems disproportionately loaded with the educated proletariat: artists, writers, philosophers. Let’s see some more doctors, architects, and lawyers on this thing.

The second-year convergence already reflects a massive improvement in focus since last September, with targeted initiatives (this letter, for instance), and a range of goals around which most New Yorkers can hopefully rally, from debt resistance to scrutiny of fossil fuel use. Brooklynites won’t have to go far to join. Starting tomorrow, Momenta Art will be holding a month-long series of events titled “Occupy Your BFF.”