The Yoko Ono Lennon 2010 Courage Awards for The Arts winners

On Sunday 28 March 2010, Yoko Ono Lennon  presented the 2010 Courage Awards for the Arts to

The award for Émile Zola was accepted by the PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Program.

Yoko Ono Lennon says about this year’s awards:

“I am very honoured to be giving the courage award of year 2010 to such a deserving group of artists! With your courage, our world is getting brighter every day. Thank you.”

The Courage Awards took place at a private ceremony at The Modern, New York City, on Sunday, March 28.

About the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Awards for The Arts

The Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Awards for The Arts were established in 2009 to honor individuals and groups in the arts who have shown extraordinary courage with their work and interests, defying censorship, public doubt or even scorn in pursuit of their visions. Last year’s recipients were the collectors Gilbert and Lila Silverman, and composer and light installation artist La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela.

Pictures from the night

Guerrilla Girls

The Guerrilla Girls use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose discrimination and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture. Just in the last few years, they have appeared at over 100 universities and museums around the world. They created a large scale installation for the Venice Biennale, brainstormed with Greenpeace, and participated in Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign in the UK. They unveiled anti-film industry billboards in Hollywood, appeared at the Tate Modern, London, and created large scale projects for Istanbul, Mexico City, Athens, Rotterdam, Bilbao, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Shanghai. They dissed the Museum of Modern Art at its own Feminist Futures Symposium, and examined the museums of Washington DC in a full page in the Washington Post. They did actions at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Los Angeles, the Bronx Museum, outside galleries in Chelsea, and in Ireland, Nova Scotia and Montreal. They just finished their fifth book, The Guerrilla Girls’ Hysterical Herstory of Hysteria and How it was Cured. Their previous books — about art history, stereotypes and museum culture — are taught in hundreds of schools and universities. Last month, they spoke at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where the Guerrilla Girls, Yoko Ono, and many other women artists are in the museum’s most popular exhibition ever, [email protected]

What’s next? They’re doing new work on global women’s issues, and traveling the world, talking about new ways to be an activist.

Guerrilla Girls On Tour

Guerrilla Girls On Tour is an anonymous touring theatre company of 26 women trained in a variety of comedic theatre techniques who develop unique and outrageous activist plays, performance art and street theatre. The troupe has presented over 200 performances and workshops around the world addressing reproductive rights, war, sex trafficking, hunger, herstory/history/hirstory and violence against women. They will work with feminists in Slovenia on a collaborative performance of their new play “If You Can Stand the Heat: The History of Women and Food” at the City of Women Festival in October.


Toward the end of the 20th century, the Guerrilla Girls sought out new frontiers in their fight for truth, justice and the feminist way, forming three wings to accommodate their broadening interests. GuerrillaGirlsBroadBand, , one of these sister organizations, is a diverse band of next-generation feminist artists. “The Broads” combat sexism, racism and social injustice, exploring such taboo subjects as abortion and armed forces recruitment tactics through their website and interactive activist events.

Committed to bringing dead women artists back to life by taking their names, the GGBBs involved in this project include Gerda Taro, Umm Kulthum, Minnette De Silva, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Josephine Baker. For more on these fascinating characters please visit

Printed Matter, Inc.

Printed Matter was founded in 1976 by a group of artists and art writers with the idea of creating a democratic distribution of art through the medium of low-cost artists’ publications. Thirty-four years later, Printed Matter represents over 5,000 artists and 15,000 titles from some 44 countries, and democracy continues as its major theme. Continuing its history as an alternative visual arts organization, Printed Matter promotes artists’ publications that reflect a shared sprit of monetarily-accessible and distribution-friendly artwork. Recent activities have strived to support the voices of under-recognized and socially-engaged artists, and to encourage conversations throughout the art publishing community. In the past few years a number of new initiatives have expanded Printed Matter’s influence in the world: Printed Matter’s newly-established Awards for Artists gives financial support directly to diverse and under-served artists working within the field of artists’ publishing. Printed Matters Publications by Artists Series publishing program has included Fierce Pussy, an interactive archive of posters by the queer activist group; Group Work by Temporary Services, containing interviews of both artistic and political collaborative endeavors; Queer Zines, an archive of underground gay publications; and Sweaters that Talk Back by Lisa Anne Auerbach, a pattern book of knits with political slogans. Printed Matter’s Artist and Activist Pamphlets provide an unedited forum for artists, and are given away free to the public. The NY Art Book Fair, now entering its fifth year, has created space for the gathering of people participating in independent arts publishing while sharing with the public at large: 20% of stands are provided for free and admission to the fair is free. The 2010 Fair will feature 200 exhibitors from more than 20 countries; Friendly Fire, a curated section of independent voices; and the Contemporary Artists Books Conference, organized together with the Art Librarians’ Society, a two-day celebration and scholarly investigation of the artists’ book.

Émile Zola

Émile François Zola (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was an influential French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J’Accuse.

Émile Zola risked his career and even his life on 13 January 1898, when his “J’accuse” was published on the front page of the Paris daily, L’Aurore. The newspaper was run by Ernest Vaughan and Georges Clemenceau, who decided that the controversial story would be in the form of an open letter to the President, Félix Faure. Émile Zola’s “J’Accuse” accused the highest levels of the French Army of obstruction of justice and antisemitism by having wrongfully convicted a Jewish artillery captain, Alfred Dreyfus, to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. Zola declared that Dreyfus’ conviction and removal to an island prison came after a false accusation of espionage and was a miscarriage of justice. The case, known as the Dreyfus affair, divided France deeply between the reactionary army and church, and the more liberal commercial society. The ramifications continued for many years; on the 100th anniversary of Zola’s article, France’s Roman Catholic daily paper, La Croix, apologized for its antisemitic editorials during the Dreyfus Affair. As Zola was a leading French thinker, his letter formed a major turning-point in the affair.

Zola was brought to trial for criminal libel on 7 February 1898, and was convicted on 23 February, sentenced, and removed from the Legion of Honor. Rather than go to jail, Zola fled to England. Without even having had the time to pack a few clothes, he arrived at Victoria Station on 19 July. After his brief and unhappy residence in London, from October 1898 to June 1899, he was allowed to return in time to see the government fall.

The government offered Dreyfus a pardon (rather than exoneration), which he could accept and go free and so effectively admit that he was guilty, or face a re-trial in which he was sure to be convicted again. Although he was clearly not guilty, he chose to accept the pardon. Zola said, “The truth is on the march, and nothing shall stop it.” In 1906, Dreyfus was completely exonerated by the Supreme Court.

The 1898 article by Émile Zola is widely marked in France as the most prominent manifestation of the new power of the intellectuals (writers, artists, academicians) in shaping public opinion, the media and the State.

From Emile Zola Wikipedia page.

PEN American Center

Founded in 1921, PEN is the world’s oldest human rights organization and the world’s oldest literary organization. PEN also distinguishes itself as the only association dedicated to the defense of literary writers. PEN American Center, founded in 1922, is the largest and most influential of the 145 International PEN Centers. By mobilizing its membership of this country’s most distinguished writers, PEN American Center acts to secure the liberty and safety of imprisoned and persecuted writers and journalists around the world, protect freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, and promote a diversity of literary voices from this country and abroad.

Through its Rapid Actions Network, Freedom to Write, PEN’s human rights programming, takes actions to stop the hands of torturers, prevent disappearances, and force fair and open trials. Its sustained case-based advocacy annually monitors the cases of more than 1,000 endangered writers and journalists in 90 countries, and actively campaigns on behalf of more than 150 imprisoned writers. PEN’s Core Freedom’s Campaign brings its international campaign experience to bear on challenging First Amendment and human rights abuses of the Patriot Act, including serving National Security Letters to libraries and bookstores to examine patrons’ reading habits, restricting publication of materials from countries under U.S. trade embargoes, denying entry of writers and scholars whose views the U.S. government disfavors, and the use of torture, arbitrary detention, and extraordinary rendition. PEN World Voices is this country’s only international writers’ festival. Its week-long programming and related year-round events gather socially engaged writers of great literary distinction for a global dialogue on today’s most pressing political and cultural challenges to promote literary translation and a more informed world view.