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Gowanus art collective is the epicenter of ‘Occupy’ art

The Brooklyn Paper

Occupy Wall Street wants to occupy your wall space.

A collective of poster printers in Gowanus is attempting to help reignite the social movement’s flames for a May 1 “General Strike,” with a handful of new pin-ups it hopes will be as arresting as the image of a ballerina atop a bull that kicked off the whole protest in September.

“Imagery and posters are part of the general mix of culture that helps bind people together and make social movements more than a sum of their parts,” said Jesse Goldstein, a CUNY PhD student and lecturer, and one of the founders of the “Occuprint” collective, which has been producing and collecting arresting visuals related to the anti-corporate movement. “Posters fit in because they’re a nice bridge between the digital and physical spaces.”

The group has been funding itself through an online campaign on the website Kickstarter and it has already surpassed its $16,800 goal, with eight days left in the effort.

The money, Goldstein says, will be used to fund the group’s printing effort in advance of the May Day protest, as well as the production of a high-end portfolio of screen prints the group is selling to museums, libraries and archives around the country.

The posters designed and curated through Occuprint, whose founders also created the all-poster edition of the Occupied Wall Street Journal in the fall, draw on many traditions and styles of political posters and protest art.

Artist Molly Crabapple’s poster of a lady striking a match has a vaguely art nouveau aspect to it, while others draw on sources as diverse as the">Cuban Revolution and the Black Panthers.

Many simply play off American advertising and movie posters — a connection that is hardly subconscious in the mind of their creators.

“As a society we privilege the visual over all the other senses,” said Josh MacPhee, who founded Occuprint with Goldstein and co-runs the Gowanus archive that gives it a home. “Images are important to Occupy in same way they are to other entities: they’re a tool to cultivate our ideas, they’re advertisements to come join us, and they can also function as warnings to those that oppose the change we desire.”

Check out some posters from Occuprint, as well as other social movements, at the Interference Archive (131 Eighth St. #4 between Second and Third Avenues in Gowanus) on Sundays from noon to 5 pm. For more info, or to make a viewing appointment, email

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Malembi from BK says:
What a load of dog——.
March 26, 2012, 12:02 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
"As a society we privilege the visual over all the other senses,” . “Images are important to Occupy in same way they are to other entities: they’re a tool to cultivate our ideas, they’re advertisements to come join us, and they can also function as warnings to those that oppose the change we desire."

Statements like that are exactelly why the Occupy movement is struggling. This is complete liberal arts college gobbldy-goof. Speak English! Get out and Protest. Man the Baracades! Spitt out mish mash statements that men nothing are not helpful. Put the Bong down and learn to convey your ideas in speech and the written word
March 26, 2012, 1:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Actually, OWS is still doing protests today. Just last weekend, they were over at Zucotti Park doing their usual protests. More importantly, they were recently by that shady deal arena protesting it in the name that both that and the Atlantic Center Mall across the street are products of corporate welfare and kleptocracy. I really liked when they said what corporations really represent and the way they showed Ratner's face for what he really is. By no surprise, some websites like Nets Daily, which is very much in favor of the project, condemns them for making the protests. One other thing, that protest was even recorded and uploaded by Rumr, the film company that made the famous film, The Battle for Brooklyn.
March 26, 2012, 4:24 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
I know OWS is still out there. I've marched a few times myself lets say my employer would not be happy if I got noticed doing this. I'm behind them, I just think this hipster art school crap is pointless when people are needed on the front lines. And Gowanus ain't the front lines. It would be a shame if the movement got defined as an exclusively hipster movement and frankly, these hipsters don't help
March 26, 2012, 6:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I just heard that OWS chaining the subways for free rides according to the Daily News, which shows that they are still doing protests.
March 28, 2012, 4:09 pm

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