Freak Power: activismo creativo y política local

Explora la complicada dinámica de postularse para un cargo público y aprende más sobre el papel que puede desempeñar el activismo creativo y la cultura visual en una campaña política.

Artboard 1

September 25th, 2020 - January 31st, 2021

3rd Floor Art Forum Gallery

Hunter S Thompson 01 Gq 8Dec16 Rex B

“Ser anormal... desviarse del estilo de gobierno que deploro hoy en Estados Unidos... no sólo es sabio sino necesario.”

Hunter S. Thompson

Corrupt politicians, hippies, and a cry for change. See how politicians used art to mobilize young people to vote and transform their local government.

Browse over 115 vintage screen-printed posters, photos, films, and texts related to the Hunter S Thompson's Battle of Aspen. which saw artists, beatniks and other concerned citizens fighting against gentrification, oppression, war, and environmental destruction.

Hunter S Thompson came home from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago disgusted yet motivated by what he'd seen: protests violently suppressed, riots, corrupt politicians and abusive cops. Back in Aspen, he found more of the same. The local police and sheriff's departments were targeting hippies, charging them with absurd crimes, harassing them on the streets and trying to push them out of town. He knew something had to be done and he realized it had to be done by people like himself. The hippies, intellectuals, and freaks had remained silent long enough. The time had come to organize and seize political power.

Freak Power tells the story of Hunter's plan to become sheriff, take control of Aspen and transform it from a conservative mining town into a mecca for artists, rebels and activists. Through original print material from the campaign, photographs and political art, Freak Power chronicles a little known period in Hunter S Thompson's life, a period when he wrote prolifically about politics, the environment, drugs, and American values. As the conservatives and Thompson led liberals battled it out, the campaign became fraught with violence, accusations and moments of absurdity that bordered on fiction. As weird a tale as Thompson ever wrote, his own forays into politics may have been his wittiest and wisest escapade of all.

This exhibition will also feature local examples of creative campaigns here in Santa Cruz County, including Hip Pocket Bookstore proprietor Peter Demma’s campaign for sheriff of Santa Cruz in 1973. Through the work of Hunter S Thompson and these local campaigns, visitors will explore the complicated dynamics of running for public office and learn more about the role of creative activism and visual culture in politics.

Freak Power collection curated by Daniel J. Watkins with original artwork by Ralph Steadman and Thomas W. Benton.

Freak Power

Freak Power tells the story of Thompson's plan to become sheriff, take control of Aspen and transform it from a conservative mining town into a mecca for artists, rebels and activists. Through original print material from the campaign, photographs and political art, Freak Power chronicles a little known period in Hunter S Thompson's life, a period when he wrote prolifically about politics, the environment, drugs, and American values. As the conservatives and Thompson led liberals battled it out, the campaign became fraught with violence, accusations and moments of absurdity that bordered on fiction. As weird a tale as Thompson ever wrote, his own forays into politics may have been his wittiest and wisest escapade of all.

This exhibition will also feature local examples of creative campaigns here in Santa Cruz County, including Hip Pocket Bookstore proprietor Peter Demma’s campaign for sheriff of Santa Cruz in 1973. Through the work of Hunter S Thompson and these local campaigns, visitors will explore the complicated dynamics of running for public office and learn more about the role of creative activism and visual culture in politics.

Freak Power collection curated by Daniel J. Watkins with original artwork by Ralph Steadman and Thomas W. Benton.

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Freak Power may not be here yet but stop by the MAH today to browse three floors of local art & history in downtown Santa Cruz.