A syllabus

A mixed-media collage appears on a piece of what appears to be butcher paper. A cluster of printed-out black-and-white photographs of writers and artists appear surrounded by drawings and writing made in black permanent marker. The following figures appear surrounded by quotations: Fenton Johnson, followed in large text by “I am tired of building someone else’s civilization" and flanked by a photo of Paul Laurence Dunbar; Marc Chagall inside the quote “Then the angel led me to the river of the water o’ life” with angels’ wings drawn on his back; next to a self-portrait by painter Kerry James Marshall titled "The Invisible Man"; next to a photograph of Jean-Michel Basquiat with his signature crown drawn above his head next to a rendering of the tree from Van Gogh’s starry night next to a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh; above a photo of a young Franz Kafka with a beetle drawn over half his face; above a painting of Toulouse-Lautrec next to a drawing of a high-heeled leg between a photo of Herman Melville below the words “I prefer not to” and a photo of Zora Neale Hurston next to the words “Laugh to Keep from Crying” (Hughes); above a photo of Henry David Thoreau with an unshackled handcuff coming from his drawing next to the words “Do you know what makes the prison door disappear?”; adjacent to an image of Richard Wright cut out of a picture of a library and pasted back on it, leaving a brown silhouette behind him; next to a drawing of Federico García Lorca inside a drawing of the Parthenon with the words “Quemaré el Partenón para por la noche”; next to the words “Qué voy a decir de esas nubes? Mirar, mirar, mirarlas, mirarle, y nada más.” Above these words, the Rolling Stones appear next to the words “Gimme sum Sugar!” below a drawing of Nina Simone with musical notes drawn around her. Above her are two photos, one of Simon & Garfunkel, the other of Romare Bearden; next to Bearden is a photo of Georgia O’Keefe beneath a drawing of one of her flowers next to a photo of Edna St. Vincent Millay below a drawing of tree branches beneath photos of Junot Diaz and Claude Monet. Above them is a painting of Sor Juana and a space held by Blanka Amezkua; next to a photo of Claude McKay surrounded by the words: “Chaffing savage; careless seems the great avenger” above a photo of W.E.B. DuBois next to a drawing of his silhouette facing the opposite direction above the words “Dogged strength alone prevents from being torn asunder!” above a photo of James Baldwin surrounded by the words “If you don’t know my name you don’t know your own.” Below a drawing of a pulpit reads “God Is Love”; next to a photo of Jean Toomer above the words “telephone the powerhouse that the main wires are insulate” on one side and a painting of William Blake on the other between the two words “Innocence” and “Experience” below a drawing of a long outstretched hand and next to a self-portrait of Egon Schiele next to the Words “Not Choose Not to Be!” and a painting of Gerard Manley Hopkins below a painting of El Greco, a photo of Claudia Muñoz and a photo of Natalia Méndez surrounded by the words: “Nobody knew my rose of the world.”
A mixed-media collage appears on a piece of what appears to be butcher paper. A cluster of printed-out black-and-white photographs of writers and artists appear surrounded by drawings and writing made in black permanent marker.

A syllabus that posits the practice of reading together as a form of community building—as an(other) act of love.

A syllabus that doesn’t shy away from big words: ‘creation’, ‘love’, ‘inspiration’, ‘beauty.’

A syllabus that via poems, quotations, paintings, and more, follows the many traces that connect—in different directions—Marco’s own “Constellation of Influences.”

A syllabus as a work that is always in process.

A syllabus to study.

A syllabus that keeps expanding.

A syllabus as a promise.

1. Poetry

POETRY before PROSE. Fashioning Cosmos out of Chaos

Creation stories are myths and poems that connect us to what wasn’t … to show us where we are going and remember. Poetry before Prose because before I tell you what to do, before law or history, we need to establish a connection, a reason to be in community to survive and thrive. Creating at the twilight of Capitalism is a radical act against conformity, commodification and consumption.

Marco Saavedra.

Read more POETRY before PROSE

2. Art

I have been trying to answer the question: what will happen after the revolution, after the last bubble bursts, after the last great war? My hope is that the answer is also the process: Art, Creation. Most of the pieces displayed here were created during our current COVID-19 pandemic, during social distancing and quarantining. I found myself searching for the peace found in nature, the hope and promise of blooming season, and the art of others.

Marco Saavedra.

Check out Marco’s Art

3. Constellation of Influences

Learn more about Marco’s influences