24. Stand Up
AMY BERNIKER, ALISON LEW & KEN BLOOMER
1985, 10’ x 21’
In Stand Up—one of two murals still extant—the artists depict Latin Americans standing strong against the clandestine actions and damaging policies of the United States. They showed how people, despite the constant threat of death, continued to live their lives, represented by images of peace, nature, art, dance, and music.
KEN: The pig is the generic murderous fascist-swine military Latin American dictator funded by the C.I.A. The dude in the black suit and shades, carrying an attaché case overflowing with money, is a CIA bag man, although the people in the neighborhood might peg him as a main man dope dealer collecting his payments. Pretty close and, today, closer to home.
AMY: The film strip refers to the role media played in how these interventions were viewed by people in Latin America and the U.S. We considered the media a purveyor of propaganda. Ironically, in 2017, the media is under attack for not being a vehicle of propaganda for Trumpism. We realize more than ever that the media is an essential and crucial element in a democratic society.
AMY: As a way to comment on the importance of history, we preserved what was already on the wall, including the graffiti, such as the white triangles with parts extending seen at bottom right, as well as other textures and colors.
KEN: As we painted, a bunch of kids, maybe 7 to 12 years old, always came around to watch. They wanted to have a hand in the mural. That, of course, was impossible. All the paints were alkyd and the ladders could be dangerous. I went around the neighborhood and scrounged up some wax crayons. Crayola on tarred brick— nice! The kids had a blast just drawing stuff at ground level. All in all, a rather good experience.
ALISON: Painting the mural remains one of the few experiences I’ve had where art and political action came together. I loved the (often frustrating) challenge of forging a singular vision with others, and working outside in the community.
Amy left Brooklyn 16 years ago and lives with her family in Cohasset, MA. Focusing on printmaking, Amy has exhibited in several shows in New England. She is also an assistant art director at Candlewick Press, the children’s book publisher in Somerville, MA.
Alison became a graphic designer in the late 1980s, moving away from painting by the mid-90s. She established Vertigo Design “and that’s what I’ve been doing for more than 20 years.” vertigodesignnyc.com
An art therapist, Ken is now retired, but continues to make art. He and Alison have lived on Long Island’s North Fork for ten years.