Friday, September 7, 2012

Poster of the Week

Ricardo Flores-Magón
Carlos Cortéz
Linocut, 1978
Chicago, Illinois

CSPG’s Poster of the Week by artist, activist and poet Carlos Cortéz (1923-2005), commemorates Ricardo Flores-Magón (1873-1922), writer, anarchist, and an organizer in Mexico prior to the 1910 Revolution.  It also brings attention to the 4th annual Anarchist Bookfair taking place in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Carlos Cortéz (August 13, 1923 – January 19, 2005) was a poet, graphic artist, photographer, muralist and political activist.  For six decades he was active with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the “Wobblies”. In 1998, he received CSPG’s “Art is a Hammer” Award.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1923, the son of a Mexican-Indian Wobbly union organizer father and a German socialist pacifist mother, Cortéz spent 18 months in a U.S. prison as a conscientious objector during the World War II, refusing to "shoot at fellow draftees." Cortéz joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1947, identifying himself as an anarcho-syndicalist, writing articles and drawing cartoons for the union newspaper the Industrial Worker for several decades.

Ricardo Flores-Magón founded a newspaper entitled, "Regeneración" (Rebirth) which aroused the workers against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz in Mexico. As a result of his activism, Flores-Magón was expelled from Mexico in 1903. Because the paper was also too controversial in Mexico, he began publishing it in the United States.  It was then smuggled back into Mexico and read by the forces of Emiliano Zapata, among others. Zapata took Flores-Magón's slogan "tierra y libertad" (land and liberty) and made it his own battle cry. Flores-Magón lived and organized in Texas, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. Because of collusion between the Mexican government and the U.S. government, the U.S. eventually arrested him in 1918 for seditious activity and jailed him in Leavenworth penitentiary where he died under mysterious circumstances.

The paper in Flores-Magón's hand symbolizes his theory on art.  While in prison, he wrote a treatise in which he clearly opposes the idea of art for art's sake.  Because he felt such a reverent admiration and love for art, Flores-Magón lamented what he interpreted as the "prostitution of art" by those who were unable to communicate.

This "art for art's sake" is absurd and its defenders have always burned my nerves. I feel a reverent admiration and love for art that it hurts me see it prostituted by those who do not have the power of making others feel like they do or think what they think, they hide their impotence under the motto of "art for art's sake.”
                    —Ricardo Flores-Magon

Please visit CSPG’s table at the Anarchist Bookfair, Saturday, September 8, 2012

10 am – 6 pm

The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
PRESENTATIONS, WORKSHOPS and PANELS ALL DAY, including a performance about Ricardo Flores-Magón at 12:30 pm.

CSPG will be on site selling posters, catalogues and t-shirts!

Please join us!
For more information:

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