Mark Vallen's Newsletter © July update '04
Art Activism & Social Change
Artworks by Mark Vallen
A R T  F O R   A  C H A N G E


1) - MORE THAN A WITNESS... Mark Vallen's retrospective exhibit runs through August 26th, 2004
2) - WHAT'S GOING ON?... Vietnam War exhibit mounted by The Oakland Museum of California
3) - SID VICIOUS BACK FROM THE DEAD... Gallery displays punk rock memorabilia
4) - OILY PORTRAITS... The National Portrait Gallery of London and Big Oil
5) - LEGACY AND LEGEND... Siqueiros and America Tropical - Censorship Defied
6) - FRIDA KAHLO... The 50th anniversary of her passing
7) - CALL FOR ART... Shows to enter!

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"African American" Oil painting by Vallen
"African American" Oil painting by Mark Vallen

Now through August 26th, 2004

A Shenere Velt Gallery/
Workmen's Circle

Hiroshima Day Slide Lecture
by Mark Vallen
. Fri. Aug. 6th, 8 pm.

Mark Vallen will present a Hiroshima Day slide lecture on the subject of art and its intersection with political and social issues. Vallen will address matters pertaining to art in times of war, censorship, and the function of the artist as both social historian and leading light in the development of social progress (program is free).

"Mark Vallen has become an accomplished Social Realist for the early 21st century. He honors his predecessors by focusing on the pressing issues of our own perilous times. Proud to embrace the same label, he does in the late 20th and early 21st centuries what generations of political artists accomplished
during their own turbulent time
- Paul Von Blum, author of The Critical Vision.

"... LA artist Mark Vallen establishes himself as one of the most profound political artists of our time."
- review

"For art that reaches both the heart and mind and has something relevant to say about the city we inhabit, this exhibit is a must see."
- LA Alternative Press

The A Shenere Velt Gallery in Los Angeles is located at:
1525 S Robertson Blvd
, Los Angeles, CA 90035.
Telephone: (310) 552-2007


Vietnam war exhibition mounted by
The Oakland Museum of California

As the ghosts of the Vietnam war continue to haunt the world, The Oakland Museum of California presents a timely and comprehensive exhibit entitled, What's Going On? California and the Vietnam Era. The huge 7000 square foot exhibit contains more than 500 historical artifacts, including photos, posters, artworks, film clips, music, and oral histories from war veterans and refugees. In the words of the museum, the show explores, "Cold War politics and California's economy; social activism from the Right and the Left; the rise of the feminist, African American, Chicano, and veterans' movements; Vietnamese refugees; media images of the war; and the legacy of those years on the entire nation."

The University of California Press has released a 220 page companion book for the exhibit containing
127 black and white photographs.

Support Art For A Change by purchasing the book!

Southern California artist, Sergio Hernandez, spoke of his participation in the
anti-Vietnam war Chicano Moratorium protests and how he came to be included in the Oakland exhibit: "I painted a portrait (4' x 6') of slain LA Times reporter Ruben Salazar for the Sept.16th, 1970 parade that the Con Safos magazine group carried in protest of his murder. This portrait got away from us and it became the focal point of the march and the subsequent riot... but it survived. I was recently contacted by the Oakland Museum of California and asked if they could borrow it for their Vietnam show, which has a section on the Chicano Moratorium and it's aftermath."

This historic exhibit runs from August 28, 2004 to February 27, 2005. The Oakland Museum of California is located at 1000 Oak Street, Oakland CA 94607.
Phone: 510-238-2200. Web:


Drawing of Sid Vicious by Vallen
Drawing of Sid Vicious by Vallen

Gallery displays punk rock memorabilia

Artifacts from the late 70's UK punk explosion are about to go on display as art in a London gallery.
The materials to be displayed are part of a major collection documenting the heady days when punk launched a revolution in clothing, art, and music. Much of the exhibit focuses specifically upon the personal possessions of Sid Vicious, the doomed bass player for the infamous Sex Pistols.

The London gallery, The Hospital, brainchild of musician Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame), and Paul G. Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), will host the exhibition. Andrew Wilson, deputy editor of Art Monthly and Paul Stolper, a contemporary art dealer... labored for 15 years on building a collection of original clothes, handwritten lyrics, posters, and flyers belonging to Vicious. Aside from those items, the exhibit will also feature clothes that had been designed by Vivienne Westwood and sold at the Kings Road punk shop called Seditionaries, run by Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. The exhibit at The Hospital will run from September 24th, to January 23rd, 2005.

The National Portrait Gallery
of London and Big Oil

This past June, artists and activists in London protested in front of the National Portrait Gallery to condemn British Petroleum (BP) being the sponsor behind this years National Portrait Awards.

Protesters in front of the National Portrait Gallery
Protesters in front of the London
National Portrait Gallery

On July 21st, as the invitation only crowd of elite art lovers arrived at the National Portrait Gallery for the awards ceremony, they found the gallery had become the target of a demonstration. Four art activists eluded security and effectively blocked the entrance of the gallery by chaining themselves to the doors. The British minister for culture, Chris Smith, unceremoniously climbed over the human chain and squeezed through the door... but the remaining wealthy and influential guests were eventually forced to use a side entrance to the gallery. Protesters unfurled banners and gave out leaflets that exposed BP for environmental crimes and profiteering from the invasion and occupation of Iraq. "It's time to strip away the greenwash; in fact it's time to save the whole planet from these robber barons with their bloody oil wars, climate chaos and massive pay hikes. We know there are better worlds out there, and they don't include profit or fossil fuels (or an art market, for that matter)."

The protest was the culmination of a week of activity organized by London Rising Tide and Burning Planet. The events included a parade of "true portraits of an oil company" consisting of political artworks held aloft in a march from BP headquarters to the National Portrait Gallery just off Trafalgar Square. Art activists also leafleted a BP sponsored production of Faust at the Royal Opera House.

Official poster for the Legacy & Legend project
Official poster for the
Legacy & Legend project ©

Siqueiros and America Tropical
Censorship Defied

In 1932, El Maestro David Alfaro Siqueiros painted America Tropical at Olvera Street, the birthplace of Los Angeles. This work was the first grand scale outdoor public mural in the United States, launching what is now a significant universal art form. While this historic artwork opened to great artistic and critical acclaim, it was soon whitewashed because of its political content, setting off a debate over art, ideology and censorship that would reverberate for more than half a century.

For the first time, a major exhibition will honor Siqueiros and his lasting influence on the aesthetics and cultural life of Los Angeles, known today as the "Mural Capital of the World." Legacy & Legend: Siqueiros and America Tropical - Censorship Defied will broaden awareness of this renowned Mexican artist, his contributions to the art world, and his only remaining outdoor public mural in this century. You can help make it happen. To learn more, visit:

The 50th anniversary of her passing

This past July 13th marked the 50th anniversary of the death of the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. With the artist now the victim of crass commercialization, it should be remembered that Kahlo was a social activist and communist until the end of her life. Kahlo had no formal art training, but she eventually managed to become skilled enough to gain the attention of Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, the founder of Surrealism, André Breton, and of course the man
she would marry, Diego Rivera.

Self portrait by Frida Kahlo
Self portrait by Frida Kahlo

Kahlo befriended Tina Modotti, a fiery Italian-born American marxist photographer who introduced Kahlo to a circle of leftist artists and intellectuals. Kahlo met Rivera in this group and joined the organization he had founded, the Young Communist League. The highest price Kahlo ever received for one of her paintings during her lifetime was $300. She had a single exhibition in her native Mexico, which came during the last year of her life. Kahlo's final public political action was to protest the US backed coup against the democratically elected government of Guatemala. The rebellious artist died seven days later on July 13, 1954, at the age of 47.

This year the 50th anniversary of her death is being commemorated in Mexico with many cultural events. The newly restored Casa Azul (Kahlo's childhood home and now The Frida Kahlo Museum), inaugurated a comprehensive exhibit of 46 oil paintings by the artist this past May. The Palacio Bellas Artes in Mexico City is also mounting a major exhibit of Kahlo's artworks that will open on July 28, 2004. ___________________________________________


SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: an evening of audio/visual activism to be held August 28, 2004 at Inshallah Gallery, 244 South Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles benefiting the Adbusters Media Foundation and the Political Action Committee. We are seeking expressions of political awareness in whatever medium you choose to work for this collaborative one night show. Space and time will be made available to showcase as many audio, visual, performance, and conceptual artists as possible; provided such work presents some form of reflection, commentary, or action against electoral apathy and political disenfranchisement.

If interested in participating as an artist, please contact Wesley Cook at with a brief bio, artist statement, jpeg images (no larger than 2mb) if a visual work, description of work you wish to perform if a performance piece or mail a demo CD if interested in musical performance, or spoken word to 411 S. Main #618 LA CA 90013 attn: Situational Awareness. All submissions must be received no later than July 31, 2004. Artists will be notified no later than August 6 with further details. If interested in participating as an assistant curator, general volunteer, benefactor, or attendee and you would like more information please contact the above e-mail address.

ELECT THIS! is an exhibit being planned by SPARC Gallery in Venice California. Mounted to coincide with the national elections, the aim of the show is to "celebrate freedom of expression, provide creative commentary, reveal the unseen, and to tell the truth." The exhibit and benefit auction will open September 11th, 2004, and run until election night, Tuesday, November 2nd. Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2004. For complete guidelines on submitting art, visit:


Mark Vallen's ART FOR A CHANGE © website serves as a resource center for Art Activism. It encourages and promotes the creation of artworks that envision a just, peaceful world. Please inform others of this site, and forward this notice to all appropriate lists and individuals. If you wish to be added or removed from the AFC mailing list, or if you'd rather receive a text only version of this mailing... send an e-mail request to
"Radicalism: noun. The conservatism of tomorrow injected into the affairs of today."
US author & satirist, Ambrose Bierce