Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Conversation About AI: Humans Fight Back

It’s happening.

Artists, Writers and Activists Open Petition Against the Use of AI Artwork’ the initiative is led by Molly, Hypebeast reports.

The conversation has gone mainstream. Artists are fighting back. And the people, it seems, are waking up.

“AI Machines Aren’t ‘Hallucinating,’ But Their Makers Are’ reports Naomi Klein at The Guardian.

Writers, journalists and other creatives are reacting to this new AI hell-scape too…

“Artists, journalist and writers are leading the fight against employers who seek to replace them with AI,” says columnist Brian Merchant at the LA Times. His latest column, ‘Your Boss Wants to Replace You: The Writers’ Strike Shows How to Fight Back,’ discusses the Hollywood strike by the Writers’ Guild of America. Writers are heading to the picket line!

The first organizational steps are now being taken by the Freelance Solidarity Project of the National Writers Union.

“Every day, another place that used to hire human artists has filled the spot with schlock from [AI image generator] Midjourney. If illustrators want to remain illustrators in two years, they have to fight now.”

Molly Crabapple

Time to act! Support the Writers’ Guild today.

In Solidarity,

—Vee.

Artist On the Frontlines: A Conversation About AI

Molly recently traveled to Perugia, Italy to speak at the International Journalism Festival about the threats we face with the rapid development of AI technology.

Molly sat down with Marisa Mazria Katz of the Center for Artistic Inquiry and Reporting to have a conversation about AI and the outright theft being committed by Artificial Intelligence art generators like DALL-E and Midjourney. These conversations about AI not only have to be had, but also should include those directly affected by its rapid deployment.

We must resist! We have put together a call to arms. We are calling for the restriction of AI image generators and illustrations in publishing.

Please join us. Add your signature today.

Sign the AI Open Letter.

ArtNet News reports:

‘Molly Crabapple Has Posted an Open Letter by 1,000 Cultural Luminaries Urging Publishers to Restrict the Use of ‘Vampirical’ A.I.-Generated Images’

Because generative-art AI is just the beginning.

Because humanity should come first.

Because we must fight back.

Never surrender,

—Vee.

Parli Italiano? La Petizione

NEW MURALS!!! Come find us.

Brightening our city one artwork at a time!

Molly and I recently completed some new murals in Brooklyn. Why not go for a scroll and come see them in person?

a view of Quimby's NYC bookstore storefront with a new mural of a woman reading a poetry book

First stop: the much beloved Quimby’s NYC Bookstore in Brooklyn. No boring books allowed!!! Stop in for the best selection of alternative press, zines, records and various curiosities.

a mural is being applied to a wall via wheat past on a NYC street

The process begins. It always attracts lots of attention.

This construction guy knew the Arabic poem in Molly’s mural. Everyone likes to stop and ask questions when you’re putting a mural up.

the characters in the mural demand justice and more color in the world with fists in the air in solidarity
The people demand color!
a hand paints a street art mural of a colorul cat
kitty supervisor looks out onto a New York street through a glass door

Our supervisor looks on curiously. Does she approve of her portrait? I think so.

a badass woman stands next to a completed street art mural of a woman holding a book and a cat and a NYC landscape

The end result… a more beautiful world!

The night, the horses and the desert all know me; as does the sword, the spear, the paper and the pen. I am the one who can be seen even by the blind. Al-Mutanabbi street art mural

“The night, the horses and the desert all know me; as does the sword, the spear, the paper and the pen. I am the one who can be seen (even) by the blind…”

Al-Mutanabbi
Street art mural of woman reading a Al-Mutanabbi poetry book with a cat looking on with colorful NYC buildings

We also stopped by the incomparable Queen of Crowns Tattoo in Brooklyn, owned by Molly’s old friend, Lux Berlin, whose family comes from Ukraine. Molly drew this image of a destroyed Russian tank in front of the golden domed Mikhaelovsky monastery when she visited Kyiv last summer. .

tanks appear in Kyiv street art mural in New York City

The message is clear… “GLORY TO UKRAINE!!”

glory to Ukraine street art mural in New York City
Come find me.

2022 Year in Review

Goodbye Maiden Lane

The big news was… we moved. Or rather, we were kicked out. A shadowy LLC bought the building where me and Fred had been for the last twelve years and promptly evicted everyone who lived there. We had ninety days to pack up our lives. The place is now locked up, the electricity shut off. In a few years, they’ll probably tear it down.

we had one hell of a party to send our old place off. We left some love notes on the walls

We’re in South Williamsburg now, where I lived when I was twenty and which will always be Los Sures in my heart. I’m drawing portraits of my neighbors.

Bodega king
Ralphy and his crew

Sad as I was to move, I love my new home so much more.

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral with Some Captured Russian Death Machines. Drawn from life in Kyiv

–       I visited Ukraine this August, during the short spell when the war seemed to have been pushed back to the East. I travelled by night train through this magnificent country, to Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa, and also to Bucha where Russians committed some of their most notorious atrocities.  I wrote about the experience for New York Review of Books. I got to speak more about my trip on Democracy Now, alongside my friend, Ukrainian motorcyclist Anna Grechishkina. Anna is now volunteering in Kherson. You can send her money here.

The Bund Memorial in Warsaw

–       I also travelled around Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to research my book on the Jewish Labor Bund.

Riga! Just look at it!

I drew Riga’s art nouveau splendor.

Lukiskis prison in Vilnius, which is now an arts center
Vilna Choral Synagoguethe last working shul in a place once called the Jerusalem of Lithuania

I used my Yiddish to talk to old men in near abandoned synagogues in cities whose names used to be Dvinsk and Vilna.

The new NYC DSA HQ (how’s that for alphabet soup?)

–       I made murals at the DSA HQ, and also at both locations of the scrumptious Georgian restaurant Cheeseboat

Those pants have so much paint on them they could stand up by themselves
Cheeseboat on N9th between Bedford and Berry. Try the khachipuri!

–       I wrote about the corporate theft behind generative “art” AIs for The LA Times. I raged at the murder of Roe for Forever Wars. I gave an elegiac portrait of New York’s last secular Yiddish bookstore, CYCO books for The New York Review of Books (the store has since been saved). I also wrote the introduction for Katherine Dunn’s long-lost early novel Toad, and a catalog essay for Boris Lurie’s exhibit at the Center for Jewish Heritage.

Hy Wolfe, gentleman king of CYCO books, drawn for The New York Review of Books

–      I started a series of portraits of my beautiful friends, in my great grandmother’s wingback chair. I decided that I needed more beauty in my life, overall.

–       I drew a last glimpse of Exarchia before the government destroyed the square like they always wanted to. You can buy a print to support the neighborhood’s ongoing fight for self-preservation.

Exarchia, I miss you
My man Tipu rallies the crowds from atop a taxi

–      My 2021 piece “How the Taxi Workers Won,” co-published by The Nation and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, was awarded the 2022 Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize, along with a bunch of other prizes that I forgot about. The best part was how the drivers came to the awards ceremony.

–       I did dozens of portraits to help promote my friend Stephen Thrasher’s new book The Viral Underclass

–       I signed to illustrate Tiger Slayer, a young adult book about Mughal empress Nur Jahan by my dear friend and the great historian Ruby Lal. I can’t show you our art yet but it is sumptuous.

Most of all, Fred and I built out our new place here in Brooklyn, a place I hope is as legendary and notorious as that old loft on Maiden Lane. It was such a wreck when we moved in, and so many friends have helped make it into a home. I wake up and feel surrounded in love.

Me, now in Brooklyn

Limited Edition Print for Exarchia, Greece

This new limited edition print is only available through the Anarchist Book Review.

All proceeds go towards the ongoing, multi-level struggle against gentrification and police repression In Athens, Greece, and support the legal fees of the vengefully persecuted activists, protestors, and residents of this unique and endangered community.

GET YOURS HERE AND HELP SUPPORT EXARCHIA

Click here to learn more about Exarchia, which has since faced even harsher treatment by Greek police

“Beware a world where artists are replaced by robots. It’s starting now”

“AIs can spit out work in the style of any artist they were trained on — eliminating the need for anyone to hire that artist again. People sometimes say “AI art looks like an artist made it.” This is because it vampirized the work of artists and could not function without it.”

Molly’s op-ed about the dangers of AI generated artwork is up on the Los Angles Times.

READ IT HERE

New Murals in NYC

Molly recently completed three new murals in the NYC area

This installation is now on view at the Lower Manhattan offices of the Democratic Socialists of America. Check out their calendar for regular organizing and community events.

And now at BOTH locations of Cheeseboat, are these murals based on the piece “New York Nestan Darejan” (currently available as a print in the shop)

Cheeseboat is the best place in New York to get authentic Georgian comfort food, and their menu is full of some of the most delicious, cheesy food in the city. Stop by, eat a cheeseboat, and enjoy the new art. On view at Cheesetboat in Williamsburg and Hell’s Kitchen.

Photos by Jake Salyers @jakesalyers

Take a look at Molly’s murals and installations page to see more

India’s First Female Leader: Crafting History and Art

Thursday, November 24, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
100 Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St George St Toronto, ON M5R 2M8

Ruby Lal, award-winning and acclaimed historian of India, and Molly Crabapple, National Book Award nominated artist and celebrated journalist, are collaborating on Tiger Slayer, a young reader edition of the author’s biography of Mughal Empress Nur Jahan, widely regarded as India’s Cleopatra. Ruby and Molly will be joined in conversation with host, novelist Randy Boyagoda, discussing history and artmaking, and the craft of women’s collaboration as artist and writer.

Upcoming Events

Monday October 24th, 7pm

McNally Jackson Seaport

Yasmin El-Rifae presents Radius, in conversation with Molly Crabapple and Sarah Leonard

“A haunting, intimate account of the women and men who built a feminist revolution in the middle of the Arab Spring.”

RSVP HERE

Wednesday, November 2nd 7pm

The Center for Fiction, and on livestream

Join Naomi Huffman and Molly Crabapple in discussion of Kathrine Dunn’s (Geek Love) posthumously released novel Toad.

“A brilliant precursor to the book that would make Dunn a misfit hero and a refreshing take even fifty-some years after it was written, Toad demonstrates Dunn’s genius for black humor and irony, her ecstatic celebration of the grotesque.”

RSVP HERE

“How the Taxi Workers Won” Awarded the Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize

We are very proud and honored to announce that the 2021 piece “How the Taxi Workers Won,” co-published by The Nation and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, has been awarded the 2022 Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize.

“The Bernhardt Prize promotes journalism that furthers the understanding of the history of working people. The event and the prize honor the vision of the late Debra E. Bernhardt, who worked in so many different realms to share the hidden histories of working people.” – Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

“The Viral Underclass” By Steven W Thrasher

Molly created a series of portraits promoting Steven W. Thrashers’ new book, “The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide”, available now.

Each of the portraits represents someone featured in the book, including the cast of the film Parasite. One of these five portraits could be yours if you enter this contest before August 31st. No purchase necessary, and you must be 18+

“An irresistibly readable and humane exploration of the barbarities of class…readers are gifted that most precious of things in these muddled times: a clear lens through which to see the world.”
—Naomi Klein, New York Times bestselling author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

“Living Within Our Means” interview series for Earth Overshoot Day 2022

Molly illustrated five pieces for Earth Overshoot Day, to accompany a series of interviews by powerful women explaining how gender equality and healing our environment are linked.

Read All Five Interviews Here

An “Overshoot Day” is the date by which, per person, a country’s natural resource consumption surpasses the earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources in the space of one year.

This series of interviews was produced by The Heinrich Boell Foundation.

“On the occasion of Earth Overshoot Day 2022, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC is publishing a series of short interviews with feminist change-makers committed to fighting for people and the planet. We aim to elevate their views on what needs to change in global consumption patterns and how a structural feminist transformation to a more just and sustainable world can be achieved. The interviews feature not only feminist perspectives on economic, political, environmental, and social transformations, but also highlight approaches on how to maintain individual resilience and well-being in a time where many of us feel overburdened by the breadth of global challenges.”

“You Have Not Yet Been Defeated”

Join Molly, Sanaa Seif, Rosaline Elbay, and Sharif Abdel Kouddous for a reading of “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated” by Alaa Abd el-Fattah at McNally Jackson Seaport on April 25th.

RSVP Here

“A fiercely independent thinker who fuses politics and technology in powerful prose, an activist whose ideas represent a global generation which has only known struggle against a failing system, a public intellectual with the rare courage to offer personal, painful honesty, Alaa’s written voice came to symbolize much of what was fresh, inspiring and revolutionary about the uprisings that have defined the last decade”

Molly to illustrate “Tiger Slayer” by Ruby Lal

LATimes Book Prize Finalist and professor of South Asian history at Emory University Ruby Lal’s TIGER SLAYER, a young reader’s edition of the author’s biography of Mughal empress Nur Jahan, often considered the Cleopatra of South Asia, is to be illustrated by National Book Award-nominated artist and journalist Molly Crabapple, to Simon Boughton at Norton Children’s, in an exclusive submission, by Bridget Wagner Matzie at Aevitas Creative Management for the author, and by Alice Whitwham at The Cheney Agency for the illustrator.

“How the Taxi Workers Won” wins Best in Show from the Society for News Design

Molly’s story “How the Taxi Workers Won” in the Economic Hardship Project won Best in Show from the Society for News Design in the micro newsroom category.

Judges praised the “gorgeous, emotional portraits of the taxi drivers.” saying “Molly Crabapple’s work reminds me how much I have in common with every other human who shares this earth. In these images, she showed struggle and joy in one stroke.”

If you haven’t read the story of how NYC taxi drivers launched a successful hunger strike to have their debt renegotiated, you can read it here.