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Guide to the Ben Morea and Aldo Tambellini Papers TAM 530

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Peter Filardo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 15, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical/Biographical Note

Painter Ben Morea, and artist and sculptor Aldo Tambellini were both anarchists active in the artistic and political counterculture in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s. Aldo Tambellini edited and published a newsletter called The Screw with its slogan "Artists in an Anonymous Generation Arise." In 1966 Ben Morea and the poet Dan Georgakas founded a Dada-influenced art group called Black Mask along with elements of another group called Angry Arts. Black Mask produced a broadside of the same name and declared that revolutionary art should be "an integral part of life, as in primitive society, and not an appendage to wealth." In May 1968, Black Mask changed its name and went underground. Their new name, Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers, came from a poem by Amiri Baraka. Often referred to as simply "the Motherfuckers", or UAW/MF, they were an anarchist affinity group based in New York City's Lower East Side. They contributed to New York City's counterculture by setting up crash pads, serving free food, starting a free store, and helping radicals connect with doctors and lawyers. This "street gang with analysis" was known for its direct actions in the fields of politics and the arts, and is said to have inspired members of the Weather Underground and the Yippies.They were opposed to and resisted on principle any attempt to impose order on the political demonstrations they participated in. Among other things, the Motherfuckers instigated brawls with Maoist groups such as the Progressive Labor Party.