Propaganda 2.0: They Hate Our Freedom

PROPAGANDA 2.0
the 'THEY HATE OUR FREEDOM' art show

This is an open call for submissions of POLITICAL ARTWORK.

But first, a little background...

Two years ago, START SOMA hosted an art show called PROPAGANDA, and the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER included a feature story on the exhibition. According to the article:
One would expect an art exhibition entitled PROPAGANDA held in a barely above-ground gallery space to be just another platform for far lefties, Bush haters, and anti-corporate types, particularly in an ultra-lib town like San Francisco. That's why John Doffing, founder of upstart gallery space START SOMA, Propaganda's south of Market headquarters for the next two months, says he kept the show's submission guidelines, as well as the curating process, as loose as possible.

Doffing, a tech industry vet and impassioned art patron, believes the definition of propaganda varies drastically from one person to the next. For that reason, he says he kept the call for submissions vague, so rather than imposing his own ideas on what constitutes propaganda on the artists, they each get a chance to define it for themselves...Doffing says he was expecting a fairly broad range of political stances, but admits that even he wasn't prepared for the monstrous mix of varying messages and ideologies, both conservative and radical, that he received...

"I wanted to put together a show that people would walk into and just go, 'Wow,'" he says. "Politically, I disagree with probably 80% of the stuff on the walls but it wasn't about me, it was about freedom of expression and providing a real forum for open exchange."

"I wasn't purposefully trying to piss people off." he says. He pauses for a moment and smiles. "Or maybe I was. I don't know. I just wanted to make people think."
A few years ago, a rookie curator in San Francisco could put together a political art show, and tilt at windmills on the left, the right, and in between. It was all good fun.

But times have changed.

A few weeks ago, police in Los Angeles shut down an art show in the middle of the opening, on the grounds that it was "offensive and aggressive in nature." The offending works were culture-jammed corporate logos. Last month, the Secret Service dropped in to investigate an art show in Chicago. The FBI recently seized equipment in New York from a renowned artist collective who produce multimedia work examining the role of technology in modern life. And a portrait by artist Christopher Savido created such a stir at the Chelsea Market, that the market's managers shut down the 60-piece art show that was scheduled to stay up for the next month.

Even 'ultra-lib' San Francisco has not been immune. Last year, a gallery owner shut her doors permanently after receiving death threats following the exhibition of an oil painting depicting torture at Abu Ghraib. Our own Hotel des Arts just received a CEASE + DESIST letter from a global multinational, demanding that we destroy one of the dozens of murals in the art hotel because it featured a corporate logo.

There is definitely a chill in the air when it comes to FREEDOM OF SPEECH + ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.

The United States was founded in the name of democracy, equality, and individual freedom. An ongoing exchange of diverse + competing viewpoints in the marketplace of ideas, coupled with untrammeled freedom of expression, are central to our democratic ideals.

Now, in reference to the ostensible BAD GUYS, it has been said that THEY HATE OUR FREEDOM. This may well be true.

But lately it is becoming increasingly difficult, at least as far as the First Amendment is concerned, to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys.

John F. Kennedy observed that "the arts incarnate the creativity of a free people - when the creative impulse cannot flourish, when it cannot freely select its methods and objects, when it is deprived of spontaneity, then society severs the root of art." And concluded that "If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him."

Taking this outlook as our inspiration, we will be selecting FIFTY works of new art from FIFTY artists. All media will be considered, and artists from around the world are encouraged to submit work. The show opens in August in San Francisco.

The ONLY criteria?

The work must confound all those who HATE OUR FREEDOM.

Kindly send sample jpegs with a description directly to john@startsoma.com.
Selections will be made by July 1, 2005