Wigwam blog

Ben morea from up against the wall and the motherfuckers talking about the family..
June 18, 2011, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Art, Uncategorized

Last Friday i attended a pretty surreal and fucking cool little event at l.a.r.c in east London it was Ben Morea speaking about his life in the Lower eastside during the late 60’s early 70’s. The whole thing was pretty informal and mainly done on a question based format Ben seemed to be uncomfortable with just talking at people about his life. He quite rightly felt it was better to just accept questions and managed to fill in the gaps on various people’s knowledge about his time as an activist and what not. There was also a guy from the king mob whose name escapes me right but he managed to fill the blanks in Ben’s memory which was useful. I thought what was actually really quite interesting was how similar the Motherfuckers were to modern day anarchist affinity groups they had lawyers, set up crash pads, dumpster dived, a free store, served free food and did various actions. This group was originally a radical dada influenced group called the Black Mask and then changed it’s name to the motherfuckers. It took a short while for the ball get rolling and the questions started to rapidly flow which generated some really intriguing replies about anything from scams with danone yogurts to the commercialization of art also his hatred of Andy Warhol. I remember him also saying that he despised the term ‘artist; despite being a painter himself he deems it to be elitist and alienating. Although the group’s roots lay firmly in the art world they throughout the history carried out some notable political actions like forcing their way into the Pentagon, the occupation at Columbia University and the cutting of the fences at Woodstock which they considered to be very much a connected action to all the more openly anarchist actions they did. They did lots of work within the community of the lower eastside, alot of gigs were put on tot reduce tension with polarized groups of people that lived in the area. They did also alot of actions which were really just directed at their disgust at art like the quasi mock assassination of Kenneth Koch except he wasn’t in on the joke and genuinely thought he had been shot! They managed to periodically fuck with the art community during their existence and pulled all sorts of insane pranks on them.What was also interesting was his speaking on his friendship with Valeria Solano from the S.C.U.M which just sounded quite bizarre! However things started to get serious with state surveillance in 71 and it was time to move on some motherfuckers went onto other groups Ben went to the mountains with his wife on a horse for 35 years only to return to New York in 2004.

I will leave you with this anecdote from the man himself

“my friend Valerie came up to me and asked what do you think would happen if i shot someone, i said it depends who it is and if you kill them, a week later she shot Andy Warhol”


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