Other Organizations Commemorating 1968

Interview with other Chicago organizations having ‘68 anniversaries

This year was the 40th Anniversary of the tumultuous year of 1968. You decided to mark that year with an exhition at DePaul University. Why?
“Anniversaries are often artificial markers of elapsed time, but in this case there seemed to be many reasons to revisit the history of 1968, and to consider some parallels to and differences from the present moment. Our exhibition focuses on the response of artists to the events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention, certainly a turning point in American social and political history, when many artists here and elsewhere addressed  the war, the convention protests, and related issues of race, gender, and violence.  Some artists radically transformed their usual means of expression (like Barnett Newman), others participated in exhibitions in solidarity with protesters, some (like Claes Oldenberg) marched in the streets of Chicago.  Those events brought controversies in the art world to a head: should art express overt political content? Is abstraction a means to avoid political issues? How should artists, and for that matter anyone, respond to political controversy?  Like the coincidence, forty years later, of another charged presidential election with an unpopular war overseas, these issues are still very much with us, and the perspective of time may help us sort them out individually and collectively.”—Louise Lincoln, DePaul University.

Louise Lincoln is Director of the DePaul University Art Museum and an adjunct faculty member in DePaul’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture.

This year was the 40th Anniversary of the tumultuous year of 1968. You decided to mark that year with an exhibition and special ‘68 edition of Lumpen Magazine. Why?
“Many point to the events surrounding that year as the closest we came to a global rebellion against The Man. In these dark times we need to remember insurrectionary movements despite their many let-downs and mistakes just to give us some hope. Lumpen magazine’s recent contribution to the mania of ‘68 included some interviews with lesser known figures of the era. It showed how the movements they were part of never ended but evolved. Our 40 Years issue also contained some reprints of an issue from 1996 that claimed it was reprinted from a 1968 issue of Lumpen (a commentary on the underground paper, The Seed). In 1996 the city of Chicago hosted the Democratic National Convention and we satirized and glorified events and individuals from ‘68 to provide inspiration and fodder for the forthcoming counter-convention that we helped organize during the DNC. It was a useful exercise. By reprinting our fictional Lumpen 1968 issue that was printed in 1996 in 2008 we were able to romanticise our own little contribution to the mythos of 1968. And to me that is what the 40 years commemoration is all about. Romance with idealism, dreams and possibilities.”—Edmar, Lumpen Magazine

Lumpen Magazine has been publishing in Chicago since 1991. www.lumpen.com