Tuesday, April 29, 2008

[HvEXAS] May Day Radical Poster Art Show Benefit for the Sanctuary for Independent Media

Second Annual Mayday Political Print & Poster Art Show
A Benefit for the Sanctuary for Independent Media
Kismet Gallery, 71 Fourth Street, Troy, NY 12180
Thursday May 1st 6pm-9pm

This year's political poster art show is brought to you by the letter F…for freedom: the freedom to display controversial radical art and not be censored by small minded school administrators and petty politicians. Sadly, not everyone here in Troy seems to agree with that idea. This certainly became apparent to us at Kismet after Iraqi born digital artist Waffa Bilal's video game, Virtual Jihadi, was censored at two art venues in the city. In the video, the artist casts himself as a suicide-bomber who, after learning of the real-life death of his brother in the war, is recruited by Al Qaeda to join the hunt for Bush. The exhibit was originally scheduled to be seen in a gallery at the RPI Arts Department, but administration officials caved into right-wing pressure to shut the exhibit down. The exhibit was then rescheduled to be shown at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy. A protest against both the exhibit's opening and the Sanctuary was organized by the city's Republican head of the department of public works (who oversees code enforcement). The day after the protested opening, city code officials contacted the Sanctuary to let them know that they were shutting down the Sanctuary for "ongoing code issues", necessitating closing of the space and its exhibit.

In response to this urgent issue, Kismet Gallery is sponsoring its second annual Mayday Political Print and Poster Art Show. The event will feature some of the finest radical and socially conscious work from artists all around the country. Not only with this kick the corporate ass, but it will also be priced with working people in mind. This year, in light of recent events and in the sprit of Mayday and solidarity with our brothers and sisters at the Sanctuary, we would like to extend a red hand of support and mutual aid by making this year's event a benefit to reopen the sanctuary.
Kismet, located at 71 Fourth St. in Troy, NY (telephone 518-272-1918) was established in June 2006, and operates as an artist-owned gallery and studio space. Showcased in Kismet's 3,500-square-foot gallery are the works of over 150 local, national and international artists and artisans. Kismet's philosophy is to bring fine art to the masses without being pretentious, showcasing work that is both enjoyable and affordable. In 2007, Kismet was voted the Best Art Gallery in New York's Capital Region. On the last Friday of every month, we have an opening and reception at the gallery in conjunction with an art walk in downtown Troy. These opening nights are consistently attended by up to a thousand people.

Kismet Gallery is a new breed of bottom-up retail enterprises, where we pride ourselves on doing things differently. Unlike other retailers, we never sell anything made in a sweatshop—just one-of-a-kind handcrafted items which are sustainable and manufactured by our family, friends, and neighbors in our community. At Kismet, we stand for principles over profit; idealism over hype; values over image; and mutual aid over competition. Unlike retailers at the mall, for every dollar spent here at least 60 cents goes back into our community to pay our artists; the rest goes to keep the gallery open.

As owners, we see ourselves primarily as activists fighting back against the corporate takeover which is running roughshod over our communities. We view the corporate flagpoles dominating our streets and the city outskirts as being representative of conquest, not community. Our once-bustling downtowns have been left derelict, once-plentiful resources have been pillaged, and once-promised jobs have been axed in favor of sweatshop labor. The time is now to kick the corporations to the curb and to reclaim our communities.

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