If you've ever surveyed the longlist of social problems in the morning paper and wanted to blame someone orsomething for them, then Loudmouth Press, a nonprofit startup focusing on bookson social justice and politics by artists and writers, is the press for you.
Founded by Gregory Ayres, anartist and New York City teacher who creates curricula on social justice andworks to bring contemporary artists into the school system, Loudmouth Press willpublish two books a year that document conceptual art projects that highlightpolitical and social issues. The press will be distributed to the trade byConsortium.
The first book from the new house,The Office of Blame Accountability byGeoff Cunningham and Carla Repice, documents a conceptual project the authorsstarted in 2007. The performance artists set up at an ordinary desk with a redphone and typewriter that is placed near areas where they say there is, "a highfrequency of collective blame," say at places like Ground Zero or perhaps Wall Street. Calling themselves "Blame accountants," the two artists sit at thesimple desk and encourage the general public to place blame for whatever is bugging them—the recession, globalwarming, poor schools—and document them. Complainants fill out a simple form intriplicate and record their accusations on the red phone. The results—one person blames McDonald'sfor "the creation of poor quality food that everyone loves"—are often funny andoddly thoughtful.
The book collects these forms aswell as a variety of essays by a wide range of writers along with interviews,graphs and statistical information offered in a visual and satirical format tohighlight both the importance and the absence of social accountability. The Loudmouth Press website offers moreinfo on the press's upcoming titles.
"The book documents an artperformance that they've done for about three years," Ayres explained, "it's atongue-in-cheek project but they're very sincere about engaging people aboutblame. Basically the piece shows that we need blame to process what ishappening to us. " The Office of Blame Accountability will be released inApril. The artists will also recreate their performances at bookstores in NewYork and Los Angeles to promote the title. First printing will be 3,500 copies.And in September the house will also publish Why Are You Surprised I'm Still Hereby Bill Kaufman, an L.A.-based artist who has collected hundreds of iconichand-made cardboard signs created by homeless people.
Loudmouth Press also publishes Loud, a quarterly print and online/digital magazinefocused on social issues and popular culture, that is aimed at high schoolstudents and their teachers. Thepublication attempts to integrate issues of social justice with the schoolcurriculum and focuses on unusual topics. Loudmouth Press is run by a variety offreelance staff. While Ayres oversees the press, Paul Harrington handles salesand marketing, Gabriel Stuart oversees production and book design is by AdamWard.
Ayres has spent a decade working in the New York public schools and says the book project is an extension of hiseducational work. "I'm pretty passionate about connecting schools and teachersto social justice isssues."