Mark Vallen's Newsletter. Sept. 2003
Art Activism & Social Change
Drawings by Mark Vallen
A R T  F O R   A  C H A N G E


1) - JUAREZ PORQUE... (Juarez, Why?) A special day of art for Mexico's murdered and missing Women
2) - TREINTA... 30 Years of Chicano Printmaking & Social Justice
3) - REQUIEM FOR WAR... The Paintings of Hans Burkhard
4) - AT WORK... American art about labor from 1900 to the present
5) - ¡REVOLUCION!... The art of the Cuban Poster


ARTINO's month long exhibition honoring Mexican Independence Day, ¡El Grito! - Liberacion del Espiritu, has been a great success. The exhibit's Sept. 27th. Closing Party will commemorate Mexico's murdered and missing Women of Juarez.

JUAREZ, PORQUÉ (Juarez, Why?) is the name of a very special modern dance performance to be offered by The SPONDA Dance Troupe during the Closing Party.

"JUAREZ, PORQUÉ" is a feast of nontraditional movement, spoken word, and ethereal music delivered with unbridled passion. The dance piece is a trenchant social commentary against the savage brutalization of women by men who have lost their humanity. The work commemorates the murder of some 370 young Women in Juarez Mexico who have been slain by unknown assailants since 1993.

In commemorating the women of Juarez, SPONDA avoids condemnation in favor of spiritual healing. SPONDA derives it's name from the Tantric Yoga term that describes the universal life force, it refers to a vibration that enlightens the whole being. Directed by Dancer Ruth Goodman, the troupe... Goodman, Sofia Balme, Elizabeth Sullivan, Beth Lulu Stewart, and Tanja Skala... will be accompanied by Musicians Shannon Machael Terry & John Ossman.


Lankershim Art Gallery
5108 Lankershim Blvd., NoHo Arts District. North Hollywood, CA 91601

TREINTA: 30 Years of Chicano Printmaking & Social Justice is an exhibit of new & vintage Prints from the collection of Self-Help Graphics & Art in East L.A..

Organized by Christina Ochoa, the exhibit will focus on Prints created over the years having to do with social justice issues... war, labor struggles, and self determination for the Chicano community. Artists include Barbara Carrasco, Ricardo Duffy, Chaz Bojorquez, and many others. Works by Mark Vallen will also be on display.

Self Help Graphics

The Opening Reception will be held Saturday, Sept. 20th., from 7 to 10 pm. The opening will include a special performance by Guillermo Gomez-Peña. The exhibition runs until October 12th, 2003. Self-Help is located at 3802 Cesar E. Chávez Avenue. Phone (323) 881-6444. Web:

Painting by Hans Burkhardt

REQUIEM FOR WAR, a retrospective of the works of Hans Burkhardt now on view at the Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Gallery in L.A.

The collection of paintings focuses on the subject of war... and Burkhardt has seen the face of war from WW1 to the first Gulf War. More than a few of Burkhardt's paintings caused a controversy over the years.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art took down one of his paintings in the early 1960's ("One Way Road"-shown above) when reactionary patrons complained that the work was "communistic" (due to it's red road leading to a red sun). Another work shown at Northridge University in the 60's was attacked by a woman who succeeded in slashing the large canvas in two places. The work, "War, Agony in Death"... was a general condemnation of war the artist painted in 1940.

Burkhardt painted works about the Spanish Civil War along with condemnations of Hitler and European Fascism. He painted expressionist visions of hell on earth with his "Hiroshima" and "Bikini" paintings. He railed against the imperialist adventures in Korea and Vietnam... producing a modern art masterpiece with his painting "My Lai"... a sculptural painting that made use of actual human skulls affixed to the canvas. He focused on the U.S. backed wars in Central America and their bloody massacres. Late in life, he even managed to protest against the first Gulf War, creating a series of mixed media American flags sullied and stained in blood and oil.

These and other paintings are quite astonishing for their visceral anger and anguish. Taking in the many paintings in the show is mentally exhausting. Sometimes Burkhardt's works veered over into the inaccessible area of abstract expressionism were the representational dissolved into fields of color and the artist's action painting technique. But overall Burkhardt relentlessly confronts, challenges, and provokes. "Requiem For War" runs until Sept. 30th, 2003. The Jack Rutberg Gallery is located at: 357 North La Brea Ave. Phone: (323) 938-5222. Web: ___________________________________________

AT WORK is an exhibit that explores the rich history of Art as it pertains to California Labor history. Actually two separate exhibits, "At Work" traces the importance of Worker's struggles to artistic output throughout the 20th century. "There was a time when all the famous artists in California made art about labor," explains Mark D. Johnson, Professor of Art at San Francisco State University. Presenting 100 recent and historical pieces, the exhibition includes work by Diego Rivera, Rupert Garcia, Emmy Lou Packard, Tina Modotti, Dorothea Lange, and Otto Hagel.

The exhibition runs at the San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery until Oct. 11th, 2003 (where the contemporary works are located), and at the California Historical Society (CHS) through Dec. 20th, 2003 (where the historical works are housed). For more information on this groundbreaking show, visit the CHS webpage: ___________________________________________

¡REVOLUCION! - Cuban Poster Art, is an amazing new book from graphic designer/archivist, Lincoln Cushing. Whatever you may think of Cuba's government, it must be acknowledged that the modern Cuban Poster reached the highest artistic standards, impacted the global community, and helped to transformed the world of graphic design.

In the years following Cuba's revolution, the new government sponsored the publication of over 10,000 public Posters, and Cushing presents 120 beautiful examples in his book.

Cuban Posters are a far cry from the dreary official propaganda one might expect from an authoritarian regime. The Prints are colorful and energetic works that are the result of a striving, not just for a new society... but for a new independent aesthetic. Sometimes humorous, oftentimes acerbic, but always thought provoking, Cuban Posters are full of surprises. Cushing's book presents Posters opposed to the U.S. war in Vietnam, for third world liberation struggles and proletarian internationalism, as well as Prints extolling Baseball, Dance, and Cinema. Anyone seriously interested in the theory and practice of a socially committed art will want to make this unprecedented book part of their collection.

To find out more about the book and how to purchase it, 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...
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"I am a citizen artist, not a bohemian. I don't believe in a world where each artist is a little God, each one with his own philosophy, each one with his own little kitchen to fry his abstract ham and eggs. The only bad painting is the one dominated by the individual ego." ~ David Alfaro Siqueiros.