Artists Call

“By simply witnessing the destruction of another culture and doing nothing, we are sacrificing our own right to make culture.”- Organizing statement for Artists Call, 1982

Artists’ Call Against US Intervention in Central America was a nationwide mobilization of writers, artists, activists, artists organizations, and solidarity groups that began in New York in 1983. Group Material’s exhibition, Luchar! For the People of Central America, presented in the summer of 1982, was an early galvanizing point. Quickly mobilizing artists and their organizations across the country, Artists Call collectively produced over 200 exhibitions, concerts and other public events over a period of 12 months. These events increased awareness of our government’s involvement in state terrorism across the hemisphere, linked the notion of aesthetic emancipation to revolutionary politics and provided concrete resources for the cultural workers and public intellectuals in the region and in exile. Thousands of dollars were raised and sent to cultural organizations that were part of the moment for self determination in the region.  Posted here is Doug Ashford’s collection of ephemera and some photographs, which stands as a partial archive of this massive undertaking. Doug Ashford and Julie Ault worked as part of the NY Contingent of Artists Call and also, with the other members of Group Material, produced Timeline: An Exhibition for the People of Central America which can be seen elsewhere on this site.  Elsewhere on this website are texts written by Ashford and others on the project.

Lucy Lippard: “Revolting Issues,” review for The Village Voice, July 27, 1982. p 75_ (link)

In 2014, Ashford’s collections of ephemera and photographs were exhibited as part of  “A Chronicle of Interventions,” organized by Inti Guerrero and Shoair Mavlian for the Tate Modern in London and, TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica _(link). Ashford’s documentation of the later can be seen here _(link).

In 2017, Ashford’s collections of ephemera and photographs were exhibited as part of  “Dream of Solentiname” organized by Pablo León de la Barra for Museo Jumex, Mexico City _(link)   booklet: _(link) – and 80 WSE Gallery, NY. (review in Brooklyn Rail, February 2018. _(link); 80 WSE catalogue _(link)

In 2022, Ashford’s collections of ephemera and photographs were exhibited as part of  “Art for the Future” organized by Erina Duganne, Associate Professor of Art History, Texas State University and Abigail Satinsky, TUAG Curator & Head of Public Engagement at Tufts. _(link)

Images of publications, Group Material’s LUCHAR!, and Artists Call exhibitions, publications and street actions