New Demands? presents silk screened posters, digital prints, cloth banners, and a neon sign inspired by historical demands of the American labor movement, from approximately 1890 to the present. Drawing primarily on archival research into flyers, posters, placards, and advertising produced by the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU)— historically the largest and most important union representing workers in the women’s apparel industry — this exhibition explores the struggle for better working conditions in the garment industry, the winning of rights and benefits by the ILGWU, and the eventual demise of the entire American textile industry.
New Demands? connects past and present struggles for workers’ rights, and reminds us that there was a time when American workers fought for and won historical rights including the right to a regulated, eight-hour work day and the 40-hour work week; vacation and overtime pay; collective bargaining rights and the right to freedom of association; and pension and health care benefits. These rights have been dramatically curtailed; since the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of full-time, well-paid, unionized positions have been lost here in the US, yet workers continue to fight for living wages, better working conditions, and the right to organize. This exhibition is part of a larger, ongoing series of work under the title New Demands? initiated in 2011, and incorporating public performances, text based installations, neon, printed works, and participatory workshops.
New Demands? will kick-off with a Gallery Talk with Lisa Vinebaum at 6:00 p.m. on May 6, followed by the Opening Reception.
New Demands? is one the last of three Residency Exhibitions, a series of solo exhibitions that feature the 2015 Spudnik Press Resident Artists and the new work they each produced through theSpudnik Press Residency Program.
Dr. Lisa Vinebaum is an interdisciplinary artist, critical writer, and educator. Her studio practice incorporates text-based installations and work with neon, performance and site specific interventions, textiles, video, photography and protest tactics. Current research and artistic investigations explore labor, performance and collectivity in the larger context of economic globalization and cutbacks to workers’ rights. Lisa Vinebaum holds a PhD in Art from Goldsmiths, University of London (UK); an MA in Textiles also from Goldsmiths, and a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal.