Before the end of Artpolice (Shoebox Gallery Lake & Chicago)


I'm giving a talk about Artpolice, Artpolice was a little magazine I produced for 20 years starting in 1974, yea it was 36 years ago, very pre-digital indeed the Vietnam War was finally in it's end game. But we were assassinating foreign leaders per the example of The President of Chile Allende( elected to his office). The war in Nam had gone on forever, it ground our souls into poison. America had soiled it's honor, not that the VC and NVA were angels but damn what was it all for (to open the Chinese markets to our crap)? So it was a time of profound sadness and revulsion at successive US governments perpetuating  this horror, it seems like balls were in short supply when the votes are cast for war. So 1974 was very political President Nixon resigned that summer because he committed high crimes and misdemeanors and the war went on -young lifes were lost it was as if no one knew how to get out! J.Edgar Hoover was still directing the FBI he kept lists of all the dangerous groups and individuals who might want to over throw the government or something worst, this Hoover cat was poison he had something on everybody, he was a master blackmailer and he always got his man/woman.Do you think the Artpolice was on his lists? Not just because we wanted to Free Leonard Peltier and close all the Nuke plants no we were against everything the suits wanted.

 And that includes the gallery museum complex, the art schools (all created equal  ie. worthless), it seemed as if the war and racism didn't exist in the art schools as subjects except in seminars, where sometimes that was all we talked about! Anyway Artpolice was initially a protest against free speech and freedom of the press at The Minneapolis School of Art which became The Minneapolis College of Art and Design around then the new name was supposed to better brand the college and attract more tuition paying hayseed teen artists. So the fracas started with a cartoon by Joe McDonnell depicting the art school president wearing a pimp hat walking into a massage parlor named Adventures in Paradise (on Lake Street South Minneapolis.). The toon was inspired by this big black feathered hat  Arnold Herstand( art school president )had been wearing. We publishedv Joe's cartoon in the Artpolice and the battle began. I was working with Andy Baird Chris Woodward Fritz Wolfmeyer and Joe Mc Donnell in the first issues. We started in March as a broadsheet 11 X 17" everything we did was to that format which was what an AB Dick offset press would accept.  Soon Ed Rath who was editor of the student paper (Student Slant) joined our happy crew. Another factor in terms of our launch was the visit from Joseph Beuys to the art school. I think it was the first time the students had seen a real life art star. He gave his long rambling talk about social sculpture and his hopes for a more communal art in the future. But the central hope for Artpolice was a decline of the art star and the rise of   artist's groups like Artpolice, Group Material, Asco (Latin arts group Asco means nausea in Spanish.). But ego is not going away though Artpolice has a very impressive resume and it resale is fabulous though we don't get a penny of it. So the birth of the project was political, you can' have free art without free speech and something else Artpolice was funny this was unusual for an arts publication then and now. Andy Baird used to call it a print making project he was a master of understatement, in conversation it was called the collective meaning everyone made this book. For a long time Artpolice was a voice in favor of a different path less ego more collective values that art arises from all of us. And PEACE.