Industrial Harvest

The Stealing of Nothingness by sarah kavage
December 14, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: Selections from the Piazza archive | Tags: , ,

This is in the Piazza archives from Elizam Escobar, a Puerto Rican artist (see more about Escobar in this post).  Titled “the Stealing of Nothingness”, it’s noted “E’s introduction to anthology.” It is the first couple of sentences that are most compelling:

“The search for status, prestige, legitimization, roots, raison d’etre, etc., is in a certain way a search for permission.  That is, the favor of God or men, the favor of the oppressed or the oppressors, the favor of my conscience or yours.  The justification of a path (or deviation) in order to do what must be done is also an impotence of accepting responsibility for one’s acts.” 
. . .
“We do not need permission, we need freedom, but a freedom based on commitment and responsibility.  A freedom passed through fire.”

Dedicated To…/Dedicado a… by sarah kavage
December 12, 2009, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Selections from the Piazza archive | Tags: , , ,

The first stanza of Dedicated To, a poem by Elizam Escobar:

I dedicate this poem to dedication
and to those who dedicate their works to others.
Dedicated to the day and the night
to the hours that pass and those who laugh at us.

Dedicado a…
Dedico esta poema a la dedicacion
y a los que dedican sus obras a otros.
Dedicado al dia y a la noche
a las horas que pasan y a las que rien do nosotros. 

This was the first page I turned to in the Piazza archives.  It’s dated 1980.

Born in Puerto Rico, Escobar was arrested in 1980 and tried and jailed on charges of seditious conspiracy.  He and 10 others were accused of being members of the Armed Forces of Puerto Rican National Liberation and plotting bombings.  He served time in an Oklahoma prison, continuing to write and make artwork during that time.  Axe St. Arena, Piazza and co.’s gallery / gathering space in Logan Square, exhibited his work and apparently maintained a close relationship with Escobar during this time.  Piazza’s archives are filled with Escobar’s exhibition postcards, writings and letters. 

Escobar was given clemency in 1999 by President Clinton.  He is one of Puerto Rico’s most well-known artists and teaches painting at the School of Fine Arts in San Juan.  Shortly after Piazza’s death in April 2006, Escobar dedicated his solo show at Polvo to Piazza.