Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) opens Dec. 8

From the EV Grieve inbox...

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) will open its doors to the public on Saturday, December 8 at 3pm following a year’s effort by community members and the museum’s all-volunteer staff. This museum and archive of urban activism is itself the latest instance of the collaborative spirit of New York City’s East Village.

Originally slated to open in mid-November, MoRUS was forced to push back its grand opening date due to flood damage following Hurricane Sandy. In the days following the storm, MoRUS created a cell phone charging station for the community using a bike generator lent to the museum by environmental group Time’s Up! Volunteers are now in the process of restoring the damaged basement. MoRUS is on track to open on December 8.

Saturday’s afternoon events include a chain-cutting ceremony, museum and community garden tours, slideshows, and presentations by community organizers. The grand opening party starts at 8 pm and will feature food, drinks, and music, including an appearance by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, East Village’s own radical marching band.

Co-founded in 2011 by Bill Di Paola, director and founder of environmental organization Time’s Up!, and Time’s Up! volunteer Laurie Mittelmann, MoRUS is located in the building also known as C-Squat, a former squat that is part of the very history the museum aims to preserve. C-Squat is now in the process of becoming a low-income housing cooperative, and its residents are among those who helped build the

MoRUS will share the story of the East Village’s radical evolution through three main programs: walking tours of the neighborhood’s community gardens, squats, and sites of social change; photograph, video and article exhibits; and events featuring local artists, activists, and skill share workshops.


[Flyer by Eric Drooker via the MoRUS Facebook page]


Uncle Waltie said...

I absolutely have to get one of those posters.

Shawn G. Chittle said...

Eric Drooker that poster is BAD ASS!

EV Grieve said...

UGH. I just deleted several pending comments... including the one here about why the woman in the flyer is naked... You make a good point. I'm sorry that I fucked up... if you felt like leaving it again... I won't make the same mistake again...

Anonymous said...

@Grieve, I think you are talking about my post in which I said that, as a woman, I found this poster be be exploitative and sensationalist, and wondered why there had to be a totally naked giant female towering over the East Village. I mentioned how squatters, even the female ones, usually worked on their buildings wearing work clothes and construction boots, and that I found this use of such an irrelevant image to be unworthy of the values MORUS claims it espouses. There was a reason why Rosie the Riveter wore clothing; I think showing this woman in her birthday suit, rather than "empowering" her, instead relegates her to a sexist wet dream, to be leered at rather than admired.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon

Thanks for reposting the comment...

esquared™ said...

Apropos of nothing (or something), but is it just me or does anyone else notice that the museums are now adopting a real-estatesque acronym name. This one for example, MoRUS. And there's MoCCA -- Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and MoMI -- Museum of Moving Image. I can only recall that MOMA is the only one that is known by its acronym.

As for the poster, reminds me of a naked or stripped Maria in Metropolis.


john penley said...

I agree with Anonymous and there was always a problem with sexism in the squatter movement.

Anonymous said...

That's an iconic figure, not meant to be realistic...andthe human body is nothing to be ashamed of. I don't think she is sexy but a figure of raw power, really androgenous in physique.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12;39 - "Androgynous"??? She has breasts and no penis, that sort of narrows it down, don't you think? And no one said anything about realism - it's just a gratuitous depiction of a naked chick. She would have looked even more powerful dressed in work clothes and holding a hammer or with a crowbar over her shoulder. And if it's so wonderful, why not have a naked guy with huge privates depicted instead? Yeah, that sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?

Eric Drooker said...

I created this celebrated poster (entitled, Loisaida) shortly after the NYPD violently evicted the squats on 13st St. & Ave. B, back in 1995. The poster was my response to newly-elected Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who sent a military tank into the Lower East Side to intimidate neighborhood activists. Having grown up a block away, I took the incident personally.
During this era of confrontations with police, we would sometimes pull our clothes off and dance in the streets as an act of uninhibited resistance, which made the police in their riot gear look ridiculous.
Many of my posters have nude men in them. Many have powerful women (fully clothed) swinging sledgehammers at cinderblock tenements.
The woman in the poster is a composite of several heroes of mine from the Lower East Side, mainly Emma Goldman, who lived on east 13th street, just three blocks from where the squats (pictured in poster) were evicted. Emma loved the human body, and did much to liberate it from Victorian strictures. My grandmother (born on 5th street and Ave B) was a radical activist for many long years, and felt that the human body was something to be worshipped. And my mother (a public school teacher on east 11th street for over 30 years) also felt very much at home in her body, and never felt in any particular hurry to conceal its beauty.
The woman who posed for the poster (a Brooklyn-born activist who’d kick your ass), insisted that I depict her in the nude for maximum impact.
The poster was plastered all over the neighborhood, and soon became a favorite image in the international activist community, most notably within the radical feminist movement in Europe, which is less repressed, apparently, than many here in the U.S.
Art need not be taken literately. Like poetry, art uses metaphor, dream imagery . . . and humor. A nude work of art isn’t synonymous with a sexist work. When considering material claimed to be “sexist” or “obscene,” it is well to remember the motto: Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil to him who thinks evil).

- Eric Drooker

A feminist example:

Lu57 said...

@anonymous Eww. You're everything that's wrong with feminism. That's obviously a pro feminist poster, your just bickering with your own people to feel important. Makes you look like the feminists in the movie PCU. That type of hypersensitivity, makes you seem vulnerable an emotional not militant. Makes everyone in your camp look stupid. Just so that everyone know's that YOU have an opinion. Speaking as a man, I don't find the image sexual at all. It evokes emotions of strength and resistance and hope.

BT said...

Eric - thanks for your post. I still don't know quite what the word is for people who see ANY naked woman and automatically scream "SEXISM!!!!". Brainwashed, reactionary, immature, I'm not certain what is appropriate. I've long since quit worrying about it.

It's a cool image - and it and your information are appreciated.

john penley said...

Regardless of whether or not the poster is sexist THERE WAS a problem with male domination and sexism in the squatter movement. This is what people seem to be avoiding in this discussion. I was there and think most women who were part of the movement would agree with me.

john penley said...

This is a link to my photo of the police tank used in the 13th. Street eviction...http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamiment/3983643625/in/set-72157620867253660. Eric could you post links to other art you did in association with the squatter movement. PS Eric was the best and most widely circulated art associated with the squatter movement except for perhaps some of Missing Foundation's work.

Eric Drooker said...

The poet, Audre Lorde, sheds more light:
“The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, and plasticized sensation. For this reason, we have turned away from the exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with the pornographic. But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling…. In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.“


P.S. No one can deny that sexism existed in the squatter movement, nor can anyone deny that women played a leading role in the housing movement on the Lower East Side for over a century.

P.S. No one can deny that sexism existed in the squatter movement, nor can anyone deny that women played a leading role in the housing movement on the Lower East Side for over a century.

Anonymous said...

I had one of these posters on my wall when I lived on Ave. C (it got tattered in many subsequent moves) and always loved the image. To me the figure is one of power, facing the riot squads who, for all their armor and gear, dwarf in comparison to her. I always thought of the figure of the woman as embodying the spirit of the movement, the people, the city, the land that it's on, and as such her nudity was meant to be more an expression of something primal than designed to titillate. At least that's how I perceived it. And if qualifications are being demanded, I'm a woman and a feminist.

Sarah K. Hogarth said...

Of course there was sexism in the squatter movement. Lots of it. But that does not necessarily mean that this image is sexist.

I've always been appreciative that Eric's images of that time include many powerful portrayals of powerful women. Too much of the existing narrative of our movement tends to just leave us out. Personally I always thought the nudity here was an important aspect of what's being portrayed. As women standing up to the brutal forces of government and gentrification we were uniquely powerful and vulnerable at once. We fought them with the only things we had - our bodies, our will and our courage. Doing it often felt naked. But we were strong anyways. It's pretty indescribable really. For me, this image does a great job of portraying some complex ideas.

I love this image - and others that Eric created of that time (which included many clothed men and women, and many naked men and women).