Activist-Photographer Fred Lonidier’s Photos of 1972 Anti-War Protest Part of Museum of Contemporary Arts Exhibit

by on October 10, 2016 · 0 comments

in California, Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, History, Media, Military, Peace Movement, Politics, San Diego, War and Peace


Arrest of Lori “Sierra” Knight, May 4, 1972 by Fred Lonidier.

Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were very active social movements stirring in San Diego – and across the country. Here in San Diego, from the student-based anti-Vietnam war movement to episodes of local labor struggles, there was always this one guy whom some considered the “movement photographer” on the scene. And it was Fred Lonidier, with his long-lens camera dangling from his neck, always there to record it all.

There was one particular and historic event in May of 1972 where 88 students and supporters were arrested for peacefully sitting down in front of the local Naval District HQ in protest of the Vietnam war. A good number of anti-war activists from OB were there that day, as OB was a center of anti-war activity in those heady days.


Professor Emeritus Fred Lonidier ; Visual Arts, UCSD

Fred Lonidier was also there – but he only had 29 shots remaining in his camera. So, he took 29 photos of those being arrested that day.

And now those 29 photos are part of a larger exhibit, called The Uses of Photography, currently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. The show has been on since September 24th and runs until Monday, January 2nd, 2017. MCASD is located at 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037-4291, with phone as 858 454 3541.

Here is what MCASD says:

The Uses of Photography examines a network of artists who were active in San Diego between the late 1960s and early 1980s and whose experiments with photography opened the medium to a profusion of new strategies and subjects. Working within the framework of conceptual art, these artists introduced urgent social issues and themes of everyday life into that seemingly neutral territory, with photographic works that took on hybrid forms, from books and postcards to video and text-and-image installations. If photography had come to occupy a new, more prominent position in the art world of the late 1960s, largely within the context of conceptual art, much of the medium’s radical potential nonetheless remained latent.

Tracing a crucial history of photoconceptual practice,The Uses of Photography focuses on an artistic community that formed in and around the University of California San Diego, founded in 1960, and its visual arts department, founded in 1967. Artists such as Eleanor Antin, Allan Kaprow, Fred Lonidier, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, and Carrie Mae Weems, to name a few, employed photography and its expanded forms as a means to dismantle modernist autonomy, to contest notions of photographic truth, and to engage in political critique. The influence of these artists is felt throughout the global contemporary art world today, yet their common roots in San Diego—a military town far removed from the art world—has rarely been acknowledged. While these artists are celebrated internationally for their individual achievements, this exhibition is the first to explore how their practices emerged at a critical time and place.

Featuring approximately 100 works, The Uses of Photography includes photographic series, installation, slide projection, video, audio recordings, artist’s books, ephemera, and a program of film screenings. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated scholarly catalogue co-published by MCASD and University of California Press.

Artists in the exhibition include David Antin, Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Helen Mayer Harrison, Newton Harrison, Louis Hock, Allan Kaprow, Fred Lonidier, Babette Mangolte, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Lorna Simpson, Elizabeth Sisco, Phel Steinmetz, Carrie Mae Weems

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