Category Archives: Arts

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

These are the times that try men’s souls

On December 23, 1776 Thomas Paine wrote his most famous words and painfully appropriate words: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

The seventy-seven words that follow those eight are equally appropriate: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

The  reality of life is that trying times give us the opportunity to Rise up!

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

What is INDECLINE? Their webpage‘s answer is simple: INDECLINE is an American Activist Collective founded in 2001. It is comprised of graffiti writers, filmmakers, photographers and full-time rebels and activists. INDECLINE focuses on social, ecological and economical injustices carried out by American and International governments, corporations and law enforcement agencies. INDECLINE is NOT an anarchist group.

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE


Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

What are some of INDECLINE’s projects? In August 2012, the group installed a billboard on Interstate 15 in Las Vegas with Dying for Work in black lettering on a white background and a dummy hanging from it by a noose; a companion billboard, also with a hanged man, read “Hope you’re happy Wall St.”

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

In April 2015, eight people spent six days creating the largest piece of illegal graffiti in the world: “This land was our land”, painted on a disused military runway in the Mojave Desert.  Click the YouTube link below to watch the project.

In October 2015, in response to Trump calling Mexicans “rapists”, the group spray-painted a mural depicting him with the slogan “¡Rape Trump!” on an old border wall on US territory approximately a mile from the Tijuana airport.

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

In March 2016, members of the group glued names of African-Americans killed by police over names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and also glued the Indecline logo to the stars

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

The project that garnered the most media attention was the Trump statue. Trump statues actually. August 18, 2016, life-sized statues of Trump appeared on sidewalks in Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

The combination clay/silicone sculptures were unflattering to say the least. The artist depicted a very overweight old person whose face appeared discomforted and had varicose veins, a very small penis, and no scrotum.

Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, the artist, entitled each as The Emperor Has No Balls. In some instances the city removed the statue, in others local merchants bought them.

The New York City Parks Department stated that it “stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE

One of the statues was set on the roof of a warehouse overlooking the New Jersey entrance to the Holland Tunnel, where Indecline also placed an inverted US flag.

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE


There most recent project is entitled “Death Metals.” They  “re-purposed a gold ore processing facility on the Mojave National Preserve that was closed in 1994 and declared a Superfund site.”

There are many other videos of their work that can be viewed at the group’s site.

Activist Art Collective IИDECLIИE
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Hervey White Maverick Festival

Hervey White Maverick Festival

August 24, 1915
I have blogged about the many 1969 festivals with the Woodstock Music and Art Fair as the keystone. It continues to confuse people that that iconic event was not in Woodstock, but Bethel, NY.

Woodstock was the obvious choice. By 1969, Woodstock, NY had become a magnet for Boomer artists of all type. It had been that magnet for nearly a century. 

Today's blog is about an festival that actually took place in Woodstock, NY. Not in 1969, but in 1915.

Hervey White Maverick Festival

Hervey White

Hervey white was born in 1866 on a Iowan farm. He began his college education at the University of Kansas, later transferred to Harvard University, and completed his degree there in 1894.

He traveled to Europe and the social reform movements he observed there influenced him for the rest of his life.

Back in the United States, White began work at the Hull House in Chicago. Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star had founded Hull House in 1889 as a place to educate  poor immigrants. She also encouraged them to express themselves through the arts.

Shared views

While working at the Hull House, Hervey met others who shared his views of helping talented young people become artists despite economic poverty. Carl Eric-Lindin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead were three of these fellow travelers. 

Byrdcliffe Arts Colony

Whitehead invited White to the Catskills to help him establish an artist colony. In 1902, Whitehead purchased 1500 acres near Overlook Mountain and Woodstock, NY

The group built houses, studios, and workshops. Established artists became teachers to young aspiring artists. Hervey White married Vivian Bevans in 1903. She was a printmaker and one of the Colony's students.

As an interesting aside, in 1965 a Mr Bob Dylan moved to a home that was once part of Byrdcliffe. 

Maverick Art Colony

Many artists have a wide perspective, but are short-tempered. In 1905 Hervey White left Byrdcliff and with Frits van der Loo purchased a farm near Ohayo Mountain, also near Woodstock.

He hoped it would be a place of creative freedom, a freedom he felt Byrdcliff's strictures limited.

By 1910 the farm had become a year-round residence for the Whites and several other artists. Art can be a full-time preoccupation and Vivian White left the colony with their two sons. She never returned.

Hervey White Maverick Festival

In 1915, resident musicians suggested to White that the colony organize a festival to help pay for a needed well. The Maverick Festival was born.

The festival became an annual one and became the primary way the colony supported itself.

The festival continued until 1931 when the economic issues of the Great Depression forced the festival's cancellation. The colony continued but struggled, never again to be the vibrant artist residence it had been. 


White, as many before and more since, found the Catskill winters too much of a challenge and he purchased a farm in Georgia. His heart remained at the Maverick Colony and he returned every spring.

He died on October 20, 1944.

Another festival

25 years later, another Woodstock resident had an artistic idea: build a recording studio there for the many young musicians who had discovered the area's beauty and serenity.

Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts, and Joel Rosenman formed Woodstock Ventures the spring of 1969 for that purchase.

You might be familiar with the rest of their story. The funny part is that Woodstock, NY continues to be famous for their festival despite the fact that the event occurred 60 miles away in Bethel, NY.

If you'd like to read more, here's a 2006 article from Harvard magazine.

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Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project

                     The Town of Woodstock was established in 1787. By the late 1800s it had begun to attract artistic groups such as the Hudson River School painters. In 1902, the Arts and Crafts Movement arrived and in 1906, L. Birge Harrison and others founded the Summer School of the Art Students League of New York.

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project

Maverick Festival

                     Michael Lang wrote in his The Road to Woodstock that in 1915 the town was the site of  “the first annual Maverick Festival. A flyer promised ‘wild sports going on‘ and the dancer Lada, who illumes beautiful music like poems, and makes you feel its religion…you cry, it is so esquisite to see….All this in the wild stone-quarry theatre, in the moonlight, with the orchestra wailing in rapture, and the jealous torches flaring in the wind! In the afternoon, there is also a concert, with a pageant, and strange doings on the stage….There will be a village that will stand but for a day, which mad artists have hung with glorious banners and blazoned in the entrance through the woods.’ ”

                     Sounds a bit like that 1969 event, yes?

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project


                     In the late 1960s there was a series of shows known as Sound-Outs. Local musicians and the friends of local musicians such as like the Blues Magoos, Tim Hardin, Kenny Rankin, Richie Havens, Paul Butterfield, Dave van Ronk and Van Morrison  performed. 

                     The local success of these shows likely were partly inspired Michaal Lang and Artie Kornfeld’s idea to construct a recording studio in Woodstock and to finance that construction with a festival.

                     And also part of that stew that encouraged the arts was the…

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project

Bob Liikala

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Proj
House occupied by Group 212 during the late sixties

                     From the Roots of Woodstock site: The 212 project ran summer retreats from 1967 to 1969 in the old Holiday Country Inn midway between Saugerties and Woodstock on Route 212. It was briefly home to professionals in the visual arts, music, performing arts, film-making and sciences. The collective fostered a collaborative meeting point and simplified time and space constraints for the participating artists. It encouraged them to experiment with the diverse new media and helped them to explore and synthesize the exploding potentials then being articulated through happenings, expanded cinema, environmental music and multimedia theater, dance and sculpture. Some of the projects that emerged in 1967 included Meredith Monk’s Blueprint, which was presented at Montreal’s Expo 67; Horse Play, a happening incorporating animals and audience members by Yayoi Kusama; and Dump Tour, a multimedia event directed by Franklin “Bud” Drake that featured a “deluxe” buffet, champagne, an art auction/burning, an airplane assault involving paper airplanes and White Mass choreographed by Norma Lusk. 

                     Group 212 was a manifestation of the exploding Woodstock artistic scene—as were the Sound-Outs. Bud Drake’s mother, Pan Copeland, presided over the latter on her farm just up the road. According to Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to “Woodstock,” Pan hoped to craft these concerts into a Newport festivals of rock. 

                     Nina Yankowitz, a Group 212 artist remembers that she “loved Group 212’s fearless collaborative spirit, and remembers that she first installed her draped paintings on the trees in the surrounding Group 212 landscape. She says that Group 212’s propulsive and adventurous style of mixing music, painting, sculpture, photography, electronic sounds, poetry, and performance art opened her up to embrace new technologies and emerging artistic disciplines. For example, she met Ken Werner, a musician, at 212 in the summer of 1968, and she recalls their collaboration. Werner made an audio rendition to realize Nina’s desire to include sound that would mimic the musical score,Oh Say Can You See, on her draped canvas. This embodied the concept of hearing and seeing sounds as they unfolded from her draped paintings. The installation was exhibited later that year at Kornblee Gallery in New York City.” [my emphasis]

                     In other words the artistic freedom that the Woodstock area demonstrated in the late 60s allowed people like Lang and Kornfeld to think a music festival that included art…a fair…a Woodstock Music and Art Fair…was possible.

The following video shows many of the projects that Group 212 helped sponsor.

Bob Liikala Group 212 Inter-Media Project

Bob Liikala’s site


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