Archive for January, 2021


Sunday, January 17th, 2021


Clarksdale, Mississippi Police Force, 1964

There is something very attractive about police. The handsome guardian, a Glock at his side, a radio on his belt, perhaps a flashlight clipped to his back, a regular Batman ready to protect us. When the 2004 RNC nomination of Bush and Cheney was about to take place in Manhattan, they brought 10,000 members of the NYPD into town. At the time it was larger than many standing armies. Many New Yorkers left town, as they expected violence from the coming demonstrations. Using my NYPD press pass, affectionately called “The Shield”, I filmed for the next five days assisted by my daughter, Rebecca Lyon. A sergeant gave me his card. “If you get arrested, just call me.” A NYPD press pass is like Dumbo’s magic feather. It lets you step across police barriers, stand where you will and get up close to events that they try to keep the public away from. It’s empowering. I have worked in the field, usually with press credentials for over fifty-five years. I have been clubbed unconscious by police. I have been jailed at least three times as a journalist. I have been threatened repeatedly by police at times with their guns and rifles pointed at me.

George Washington formed the first federal police force, the US Marshals. They still exist, their job being to guard federal buildings. One of them put six stitches into my head. The 1967 March on the Pentagon was stopped with extreme police force. Men with clubs and bayonets surrounded the building which the protesters never got near. If you look closely at the news reel footage you can see the first arrest. It’s me! That is my unconscious body being dragged across the plaza by helmeted MPs. The man arrested after me with the homemade American flag is Mark di Suvero.

Seven hundred were arrested trying to reach the building. The following year’s 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago has correctly been called a police riot. Six hundred demonstrators were arrested. One hundred of them had serious injuries inflicted by the police. Both these protests were highly integrated. During the civil rights movement in the South, protesters usually dreaded the police. I certainly did. We called the FBI the Federal Bureau of Intimidation. When the 1961 Freedom Riders pulled into the bus station in Montgomery, Alabama, the police, who expected trouble, were absent. An enraged mob of one thousand greeted the integrated group of men and women with bats and bricks, practically beating some to death. John Lewis lay in a pool of his own blood when Floyd Mann, head of the the Alabama Highway Patrol appeared over his body, shot his gun into the air and yelled, “They’ll be no killing here today.”

Maryland National Guard arrest Clifford Vaughs of SNCC 1964

I don’t like any authority telling me what to do, especially police. I find it very intimidating to be confronted by an armed policeman. Yet it’s hard to imagine society without police. On January 6th, everyone knew there was going to be a march on the Capitol. Trump said so on live television. But the Capitol was not ringed with police. The mob walked right in.

In 1923 Hitler tried to seize the government of Bavaria with armed men in Munich. His group of Nazis failed because the Munich police fought back, with guns. A dozen or so men were killed. Unfortunately, the Fuhrer was not among them. Hitler emerged from jail after eight months and swore he would never try a putsch again. Hitler wanted to seize power legally. He insisted he had to be legally elected. Hitler also had a private army called the SA. What Trump instigated was not legal. And he has no private army, though some have suggested that that is what ICE is. He also, thank god, has none of Hitler’s many talents. But like Hitler, Trump has lots of very devoted followers, apparently millions of them. Can it happen here? Sure it can. All they need is the police to be on their side and not on ours.

Police are para military forces. Albuquerque, near where I live, has eight separate police forces. That includes Homeland Security, the Railroad Police, the APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriffs and Immigration. There are too many police and they are much too heavily armed. So it’s a quandary. But sometimes we need them. The police failed us miserably yesterday as they handed the Capitol of the American government over to a mob. They didn’t need machine guns to protect the Capitol. They did need the political will to have the building circled by police before the mob we all knew was coming arrived.

In a way, what happens today and in the coming days is more important than what happened on January 6th. Anyone watching television and the net could identify a dozen leaders of the mob. The police could probably identify fifty or a hundred who committed a series of serious federal crimes. Had Hitler been given a five-year sentence in 1923 he would have been finished as a politician. No World War II. No Holocaust. No hundred million dead. The friendly Munich judges gave Adolf Hitler six months and he was held for eight. Just enough time in his resort like cell to write Mein Kampf, a best seller. When he emerged he was a hero of the right and a major player in German politics. As Chancellor he returned each year to Munich to celebrate the failed beer hall putsch that made him famous. What happens now? Does the guy smashing the window with a shield go to prison or get his own TV show? Does the thug in the colorful shirt go to prison or start a company selling designer T-shirts? What about the guy that rappelled down into the Senate chamber? Five years in Leavenworth or a job with REI selling climbing equipment?

The Police are the army of the people. Whose side are they on?

Danny Lyon is a photographer, filmmaker, book maker and publisher whose work holds a pivotal place in the postwar American canon. His books THE BIKERIDERS (1968), THE DESTRUCTION OF LOWER MANHATTAN (1969), CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DEAD (1971) and MEMORIES OF THE SOUTHERN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (1992) are classics of documentary-based, socially involved art. In 2016 and 2017, the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco and the Whitney Museum of American Art hosted DANNY LYON: MESSAGE TO THE FUTURE, a comprehensive retrospective of his work. AMERICAN BLOOD, comprising almost half a century of Lyon’s uncollected writings, was published by Karma Books in early 2021, and Lyon’s most recent film, SNCC — about the early days of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Representative John Lewis, one of the civil rights group’s founders and leaders — was completed in 2020. Lyon was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and educated at the University of Chicago. He lives in Bernalillo, N.M., and New York City.


Sunday, January 17th, 2021

In 2020 I raised money for undocumented families who were especially vulnerable during the pandemic. I started by redistributing my own stimulus check to four families and then reached out to my online networks for donations. Overall I raised over $80,000 to help marginalized families with rent and food. Kenia Guillen helped me distribute funds and took some of the photographs.

Guadalupe Maravilla is a transdisciplinary visual artist, choreographer, and healer. At the age of eight, Maravilla was part of the first wave of unaccompanied, undocumented children to arrive at the United States border in the 1980s as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War. In 2016, Maravilla became a U.S. citizen and adopted the name Guadalupe Maravilla in solidarity with his undocumented father, who uses Maravilla as his last name. As an acknowledgement of his own migratory past, Maravilla grounds his practice in the historical and contemporary contexts of immigrant culture, particularly those belonging to Latinx communities.

Maravilla currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Additionally, he has performed and presented his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Queens Museum, The Bronx Museum of the Arts and many more.

Awards and fellowships include; Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 2019, Soros Fellowship: Art Migration and Public Space 2019, Map fund 2019, Creative Capital Grant 2016, Franklin Furnace 2018, Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant 2016, Art Matters Fellowship 2017, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship 2018, Dedalus Foundation Grant 2013 and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Award 2003. Residencies include; LMCC Workspace, SOMA, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Drawing Center Open Sessions.


Sunday, January 17th, 2021


I photographed these rocks at a wild shore of a Greek island. My dear friend Calliope is currently composing a piece based on Odysseus’ return to Ithaca after the Trojan war. We are thrilled to bring our work together in a live concert installation. In this first try out you see and hear the merging of test images and Calliope’s composition in the making. Last weekend she let me hear at which moment which instruments come in. I can’t wait to see the full hour being performed in March 2021 (by the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble). It will definitely be online later on.

Click the bottom right icon to expand video full frame

Awoiska van der Molen was born in 1972, in Netherlands and is a visual artist, the main focus of her work is centered on analogue images that manifest an intuitive memory of our original connection to the natural world. Her monographs Sequester (2014), Blanco (2017) and The Living Mountain (2020) are designed and published by Hans Gremmen, Fw:Books. She has participated in exhibitions including Pier24 Photography, San Francisco; Foam, Amsterdam; Les Rencontres d’Arles, France; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Huis Marseille, Amsterdam. In 2019 Van der Molen was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet award. In 2017 her work was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and was she the recipient of the Larry Sultan Photography Award 2017.

Calliope Tsoupaki was born in 1963, in Greece, she has been living in the Netherlands since 1988 and teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. She is currently appointed as “Composer Laureate of the Netherlands”. Tsoupaki’s music blends East and West into a contemplative and spiritual whole – her motivations are deeply personal and at the same time universal in their power of expression. Successes include her operas Fortress Europe and Mariken in the Garden of Delights (nomination Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2017) and oratorio Oidipous (nomination Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2014).


Sunday, January 17th, 2021

When I was 12 years old I went up this mountain with two friends and nearly fell to my death trying to cut a beautiful flowery cactus. They might have forgotten the incident, but I wonder what their lives would be like if I had actually fallen.

On our way down we met a boy wearing a black hoodie. He was hiding his face from us, and when we came close to him he covered his face with his hands. Then, he granted each of us one wish. It seemed absurd, but we were kids and went along with the game. We could wish anything in the world. But he warned us: The gifts of magic are enjoyed in a reality, in a less magical reality, an everyday reality. When we prolong the magic, we lose all the pleasure of its benefit.

Nicolás Pereda was born in Mexico in 1982. His films explore the everyday through fractured and elliptical narratives using fiction and documentary tools. He often collaborates with the theater collective Lagartijas tiradas al sol and actress Teresita Sánchez. He is an Assistant Professor in the Film and Media department at UC Berkeley.


Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Here, a mix of images with photos I recently took of “The Exorcist Steps” in Georgetown, Washington DC. At the bottom of the steps there’s a placard that reads:

We Are Washington DC


These iconic steps are featured in William Freidkins 1973 Warner Bros. classic motion picture, based on the novel and screenplay by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist. In the film’s climactic ending, Father Karras (actor Jason Miller) plummets the seventy-five steps to his death.

Commemorated on this day, October 30, 2015.

Muriel Bowser — Mayor.

Jack Evans — Ward 2 Councilmember.

Samuel Hindolo was born in 1990, in Maryland, he lives and works in New York, NY. Recent exhibitions and screenings include 15 Orient (2020), (NOTHING BUT) FLOWERS at Karma NY (2020), PEDESTRIAN PROFANITIES at Simon Lee NY (2020), Saint Heron at the Getty Museum (2019), Chapter NY at Carlos Ishikawa (2019), Deli Gallery (2018), Wysing Arts Centre (2017), and Rosenwald Wolf Gallery (2017).