KQED Arts •May 8, 2020 • by Rae Alexandra
KQED Arts • June 26, 2019 • by Sam Lefebvre
1934 General Strike Meeting at the Redstone Building (1997) by Chuck Sperry
[Excerpt from KQED Arts, full article below]
The San Francisco Labor Temple opened in 1914, and for decades played a key role in the city’s labor movement. It was the headquarters for unions including Bookbinders’ Local 125, the first all-women union, and in 1934 was the nexus of a historic general strike. The building sold in 1968, gradually acquiring its current mix of arts, social services and cultural advocacy tenants.
In the 1990s, the Lab and the Clarion Alley Mural Project commissioned artists including Barry McGee, Chuck Sperry and Carolyn Castaño to paint murals commemorating the building’s legacy of labor organizing and community service. One of the city’s only publicly viewable artworks by the late Mission School artist Margaret Kilgallen is the Lab’s hand-painted sign.
Dena Beard, executive director of the Lab, described the murals as a prescient collection of the Mission School, a movement associated with unconventional materials, everyday forms and social commentary. “Every piece is really indicative of the artists’ styles at the time,” Beard said. “It was major recognition for what we now consider a hugely important movement.”
Detail: 1934 General Strike by Chuck Sperry
Invitation to opening reception, full list of artist collective, dedication by Mayor of San Francisco
From KQED Arts: One Year Later, How Are Artists Dealing With Trump? by Rachael Myrow on January 19, 2018.
When we caught up with him this year, he’d just delivered 4,500 posters to Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. for their respective Women’s Marches on Jan. 20. This year, he plans to be in Oakland and San Francisco distributing his posters by hand and protesting the current administration, which he calls “anti-democratic, autocratic even. We need to take back control of Congress. My efforts are aimed at preserving our democracy, which is a very basic American core issue.”
For his part, Sperry vows to continue to create art for marches and other resistance activities until the current administration is removed from power. And he knows he’s not alone.
“I have been encouraged by the commitment of people who have spoken out strongly and in no uncertain terms against the ignorance, corruption and bigotry of the government in power,” he says. “The party in power has so debased its own values that there will be a reckoning from the common-sense American voter. We need to keep on the offensive, be seen on the streets, and heard in the media.” — Rachael Myrow
KQED Arts • April 21, 2017 • by Rachael Myrow
KQED Radio, “The California Report” • September 17, 2012 • by Rachael Myrow