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


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.

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.”

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

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 an obvious choice. By 1969, Woodstock, NY had become a magnet for Boomer artists of all types.

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 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.

Hervey White Maverick Festival

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.

Hervey White Maverick Festival

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.

Hervey White Maverick Festival

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 had 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 excluding family 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 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.

Hervey White Maverick Festival


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.

Hervey White Maverick Festival

Another festival idea

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.

Hervey White Maverick Festival


Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson

Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson

June 8, 1891 — February 20, 1996

The podcast 99% Invisible inspired this blog entry. I strongly suggest you listen to the well-told story as well as read my brief bio about this person who many have seen but few know.  [99% Invisible…producer Avery Trufelman]

Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson
Civic Fame” atop the New York Municipal Building, 1913
Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson

Rochester, NY

Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson

Audrey Marie Munson was born in Rochester, NY in 1891, but moved with her mother to New York City after her parents divorced. It was there that photographer Ralph Draper saw 15-year-old Audrey. Her beauty inspired him to ask Audrey’s mother, Katherine, if he could introduce Audrey to sculptor Isidore Konti. Konti was equally enchanted.

Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson

Audrey’s visage blooms

In short order, Audrey’s visage blossomed in scores of New York City locations. From the Keith New York City blog: When wealthy patrons needed an angel for their mausoleum, Audrey sprouted wings. When the Hotel Astor on Times Square wanted a statue of The Three Graces for their lobby, Audrey danced as a trio. When Wisconsin built a new capitol building, Audrey stood atop its dome. When a monument to the USS Maine was commissioned, Audrey graced its base in stone and its top in gold. And when the Municipal Building was constructed in 1913 to house Greater New York’s city government, a 25-foot-tall Audrey was perched 580 feet above the city streets.”

Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson

San Francisco

She was also the Muse for the sculptures of the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. It invited her to pose and soon Audrey was everywhere.

While in California, she became part of the nascent film industry. Munson’s relaxed attitude toward nudity, though contrary to norms of the day, allowed her to became the first woman to appear fully nude in a non-pornographic moving picture, Inspiration. Her limited acting ability (sometime they used a stunt actress for non-nude scenes) ended her movie career and she and her mother moved back to NYC.

Dr Walter Wilkins

In 1919 Katherine and Audrey Munson rented a room in the home of a Dr. Walter Wilkins. Wilkins became infatuated with the model, but Audrey did not reciprocate and before the doctor could act on his infatuation, Audrey and Katherine moved.

Shortly afterwards, Wilkins killed his wife. Though he initially claimed that burglars had killed her, investigations, included speaking with Munson and her mother, revealed his guilt.

from the March 25, 1919 edition of the New York Times

Wilkins was sentenced to death, but hung himself in jail.

Victims of scandal 

The scandal destroyed Audrey Munson’s career and she and her mother moved back to upstate New York. They barely could earn livings and life in the small town for the nationally famous model was difficult. It didn’t have the city life that Audrey had become accustomed, nor did its rural citizens have the relaxed attitude toward such modeling the Munsons had.

On May 27, 1922, depressed, Audrey tried to kill herself by ingesting mercury bichloride. Emergency medical treatment saved her, but soon after her mother committed her to Saint Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg, New York.


Though briefly released many years later to live in an old folks home, her continued contrary behavior forced authorities to send her back to Saint Lawrence.

She died there on February 20, 1996. 105 years old.

The Most Visible Person You Have Never Seen. Short film on Munson. Directed by Leslie Napoles.

Visible Invisible Audrey Marie Munson