Book signing this Sunday!
Founded in New York City in the mid-1960s by self-educated ghetto kid and painter Ben Morea, the Black Mask group melded the ideas and inspiration of Dada and the Surrealists with the anarchism of the Durruti Column from the Spanish Revolution. With a theory and practice that had much in common with their contemporaries the San Francisco Diggers, Dutch Provos and the French Situationists—who famously excommunicated three of the four members of the British section of the Situationist International for associating too closely with Black Mask—the group intervened spectacularly in the art, politics and culture of their times. From shutting down the Museum of Modern Art to protesting Wall Street’s bankrolling of war, from battling with Maoists at SDS conferences to defending the Valerie Solanas shooting of Andy Warhol, Black Mask successfully straddled the counterculture and politics of the 1960s and remained the Joker in the pack of both sides of “The Movement.”
By 1968 Black Mask dissolved into “The Family” (popularly known as Up Against The Wall Motherfucker—the name to which they signed their first leaflet), which combined the confrontational theater and tactics of Black Mask with a much more aggressively “street” approach in dealing with the police and authorities. Dubbed a “street gang with analysis,” they influenced everyone from the Weathermen to the “hippy” communal movements.
By the end of the 1960s, facing increased police attention Ben Morea “disappeared” into the rural communal movement and anonymity. Galvanized by the current Imperial wars, he is starting to re-emerge to talk of the legacy and history of Black Mask and The Family and their relevance to the struggles today.
About On the Ground:
In four short years (1965-1969) the underground press grew from five small newspapers in as many cities in the U.S. to over 500 newspapers—with millions of readers—all over the world. Comprised of stories told by the people involved and over 100 full-color images taken from a broad range of underground newspapers, On the Ground provides a true window into the spirit of the times.
Hope to see you there…it’s gonna be a dope night.
Please help get the word out; reblog, facebook, tweet, take a picture of your computer screen with instagram, all that shit…