This Thursday, January 16, Boo-Hooray’s exhibit OPPOSITION: BLACK MASK, BEN MOREA, AND U.A.W.M.F begins. It will remain up until Friday, February 14.
Black Mask was the original name of a group formed in 1966 by painter Ben Morea and poet Dan Georgakas. Initially influenced by the Dada movement, Black Mask’s participants soon began to issue a publication of the same name, calling for revolutionary art to be part of life, “and not an appendage to wealth.” Black Mask’s first demonstration was, accordingly, held against New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Before long Morea and his fellow participants became more and more confrontational at public appearances and demonstrations. In May 1968, Black Mask changed its name to Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers (the phrase originating in a poem, “Black People” by Amiri Baraka (1934 – 2014). The Motherfuckers, set up a crash pad on the Lower East Side in order to distribute free food, legal advice, medical assistance, and to plan political demonstrations and actions.
As the political and economic climate of the country changed at the start of the 1970s, the Motherfuckers slowly came to an end as a group. What they did during their existence, though, has not often been told — so, great ready this week (and next) to listen.