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The Art of Occupy Wall Street

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Photography by Luca Mazzucato. JP Morgan building.

This time Occupy Wall Street hit the jackpot. Right in the face of the stock exchange, at the corner of Wall St. and Broad St., our heroes managed to get their hands on a huge abandoned building and turn it into a subversive art exhibition. It is nothing less than the Historic House of JPMorgan Chase, one of the “too big to fail” investment banks, the very raison d’être of the movement. The bank’s building is now under renovation, and hosts art exhibitions, but who would have thought that our heroes could hit that spot…

“We are going to post messages on our windows, so every time the traders take their eyes off their computer screens, they’ll have something to entertain themselves,” says John, while printing #occupywallst T-shirts featuring a clenched fist that is blossoming on top of the stars and stripes flag. The view from the large windows is, once again, ironic. You can peep through the curtains and if you squint you can almost see the floor of the stock exchange.

Ian McGillivray

But there’s more. JPMorgan Chase, whose building is hosting the #occupywallst show, donated $4.7 million to the NYPD last week, as a thank you note to the police for arresting more than seven hundred people, marching on the Brooklyn Bridge to protest corporate greed. Because of this mass arrest, the movement gained worldwide recognition and endorsements from Democrats and Unions. We don’t always believe in conspiracy theory, but it really looks as if like JPMorgan Chase is trying to help build momentum for the movement. The protesters tried to get close to Wall Street on many occasions but barely made it and at what price – and now they are camping in front of their nemesis, in a corporate historical landmark. We thought that would be their most clever accomplishment so far, but then we saw their very own newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal

Across the street, an army of horse-riding cops is guarding the entrance to the stock exchange. But the tourists can’t help thinking that the cops are looking after the revolutionaries instead. The horses are turning their backs to the stock exchange and a mountain of horses**t is piling up. The smell gets unbearable after a few seconds. Which makes you wonder, could the protesters come up with a better metaphor?

The art exhibition, hosted by “Loft in the Red Zone,” was about to be shut down on Sunday night, but as we talk to Ingrid de Granier, one of the curators, she tells us that it has just been extended to Friday October 14th. On Thursday night, a big #occupywallst party is planned. So there’s plenty of time to take a look at it, if you haven’t done it yet! “This space is in very high demand,” the silk-screen guy John explains to us, “but we are trying to buy all the other renters out and keep it for a while.”

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