Black Panther Party Stamp Book
Black Panther Party Stamp Book
9.31 × 11.75 × 0.88 in
6 in stock
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University
Library of Congress (LoC)
St. Olaf College
The Northern New England Museum of Contemporary Art
The University of the Witwatersrand, Wits Art Museum (WAM), Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts
University of California, Berkeley (UCB), The Bancroft Library
University of California, Irvine (UCI)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), William Andrews Clark Library
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
University of Illinois
University of Puget Sound
University of Wisconsin, Kohler Art Library
“Most of my heroes still don’t appear on no stamp.” – Chuck D, Public Enemy, “Fight the Power”
A portfolio of 25 different stamps, printed on dry gum adhesive paper with pinhole perforation. Housed in a blue handmade clamshell box. Housed in a blue Asahi book cloth clamshell box which is screen printed with the Black Panther Party logo. Also with screen printed inside front and back pages on paper. Signed and numbered on the inside back page of the clam-shell box and on the backs of each print. The stamp pages measure 8.5 x 11 inches, and there are 20 stamps per page.
The Black Panther Party Stamp Book was in part a corrective response to the above lyric from Public Enemy’s legendary song “Fight the Power”, which first appeared on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. The piece is a tactile, introductory immersion into the history of the Black Panther Party, with its functional material form amplifying the iconic subject matter, and hopefully (as the artist fully intends) catalyzing further engagement, research and, action. Meta-note – on August 30, 2021 Public Enemy re-posted an image of the Fred Hampton stamp in honor of Hampton’s birthday.
“What I really like about this piece, aside from the fact that I like art that places BPP culture and history in public and educational collections, is that it is sort of a Trojan horse. At first glance, the piece appears to be a one-liner, but I feel it’s actually far more layered conceptually and offers a fairly trenchant commentary and context regarding the issue of the ‘authority’ of cultural icons, radical Black Power politics, and photography. The piece exemplifies what is often defined as a primary component of most artists’ books, the presence of self-referential, and in this case critical, subjectivity. This ‘meta-subjectivity’ amplifies, interrogates, integrates, or contrasts, the artwork’s material form with its subject matter. In the case of most artists’ books which are usually a codex or scroll, the form is a ubiquitous cultural icon of knowledge and/or religious practice. In this particular piece, a box set of postage stamps, the form embodies the concepts of communication, travel, and state authority and bestows the prestige and functionality of those concepts to the piece’s liberatory subject matter. Furthermore the piece functions as a conceptual artwork in (at least at this moment in history) it is a suggestion of objects (in this case, a stamp) that doesn’t actually ‘exist’, if that’s not a conceptual gesture I’m not sure what is. The piece also has obvious connections to the genres of actual stamp art and the vast imaginative practice of mail art. — Marshall Weber, Directing Curator, Booklyn, inc.
If you have further information on any of these photographs or the photographers who took them please contact Booklyn.