Something to Say
Profiles by Richard Klin
Photographs by Lily Prince
Listen to Rich Klin and Lily Prince discuss Something to Say with Joe Donahue on The Roundtable, WAMC.
The intersection of art and politics has long engendered
passionate, wide-ranging responses. In much of the
world, though, political art—while not free from controversy—is the norm. A debate on the desirability of socially
conscious art is difficult to imagine in Central
America or the Middle East. Yet in the United States,
these issues are far from settled. Art and politics here
have had a fluctuating, complicated interrelationship. The United States, though, does have a notable, inspiring
history of artists of all stripes utilizing their craft
in the cause of political struggle and the advancement of
The intersection of art and politics has long engendered passionate, wideranging
responses. In much of the world, political art—while not free from
controversy—is the norm. Yet in the United States, these issues are far from
settled. Art and politics here have had a fluctuating, complicated interrelationship.
What is art in the service of social justice? Is an artist obligated to address the
political? This book profiles, in interviews and photographs, an eclectic group of
American artists working in a wide range of media. The focus of these interviews
is, quite broadly, thoughts on political art-making. Prince’s photography is used
to convey a deep sense of each of the interviewees in a painterly fashion.
In the words of Pete Seeger, art “may save the world. Visual arts, dancing,
acting arts, cooking arts . . . Joe DiMaggio reaching for a fly ball—that was
Interviews in Something to Say:
The late Howard Zinn • Pete Seeger • Yoko Ono • Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner •
Comedian Maysoon Zayid • Poet Quincy Troupe • Painter Freddy Rodríguez •
Filmmaker Gini Reticker • Slowpoke cartoonist Jen Sorensen •
Performance and installation artist Sheryl Oring • YA writer Jacqueline Woodson •
Chef and food activist Didi Emmons • Poet and art critic John Yau •
Punk-rock activist Franklin Stein • Klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals
“Klin is an insightful interviewer and a marvelous writer. We were delighted to have the opportunity to publish the interview with Howard Zinn from Something to Say.”
—The Bloomsbury Review
“Klin captures a subject deftly…. Most of these people may be unknown to mainstream audiences, but Klin recounts their life stories vividly, offering insight into that quicksilver phenomenon known as the creative process. Among his subjects are three legends: Pete Seeger, Yoko Ono, and Howard Zinn, the latter interviewed two months before his death. Physically slender but conceptually expansive…Something to Say offers both a compelling read and a sturdy civics lesson for the next generation of American citizens.”
“This new book is filled with a progressive humor. Zinn is here and Yoko Ono. No one can read this book without coming to a fuller taste for resistance in our culture. The photographs are intent and human, the secret themes of this volume. It is clear and beautiful...and instead of being melodramatic or sentimental, the book is tough and compressed, condensed and full of good stories. The book is part of the fight of our time.”
—David Shapiro, poet and art critic
Sheryl Oring: Taking Dictation (Jewish Currents, summer 2012)
In Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, a woman materializes in office attire straight out of the Eisenhower era: a synthetic dress and owlish, tinted glasses. She sets up shop with a lightweight table and a sturdy, compact manual typewriter — once a ubiquitous part of American life, now a relic. With a portable backdrop of headache-inducing fluorescent pink, red, and orange dots, she has, outdoors, re-created the lost world of the pre-computer office.
Read the profile
Read the profile of installation artist Sheryl Oring in Jewish Currents, summer 2012 issue.