Various Artists

An expanded “double-pamphlet” with contributions from a range of key artists and poets of the period, Manifestos was published roughly halfway through the arc of the Great Bear series, and as such stands as a kind of de facto centerpiece. The contents are equal parts revolutionary intent and subversive wit, ranging from a call to arms by socialist youth organization the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs and Oyvind Fahlström’s “Take Care of the World” to Al Hansen’s “Lettuce Manifesto” (“Lettuce bring art back into life…”) and Nam June Paik’s broadcast schedule for a utopian TV station. Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as “a poor man’s keys to the new art:” a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.

Öyvind Fahlström, Robert Filliou, John Giorno. Al Hansen, Dick Higgins, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Nam June Paik, Dieter Rot, Jerome Rothenberg, Wolf Vostell, Robert Watts, and Emmett Williams
5 x 8 inches
32 pages
December 2007

Managing Editor: James Hoff