Education Blog

Re-Education with Ian Svenonius
Aug 14, 2017

  • Ian Svenonius presents sections of his essay collection Censorship Now!! to a packed audience

    Ian Svenonius presents sections of his essay collection Censorship Now!! to a packed audience. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • An “I Survived Reeducation Camp” button, distributed during Svenonius’s performance lecture

    An “I Survived Reeducation Camp” button, distributed during Svenonius’s performance lecture. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • The audience listens and participates in Svenonius’s lecture, which called for a return of power to the people

    The audience listens and participates in Svenonius’s lecture, which called for a return of power to the people. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • The set list for Svenonius’s performance lecture

    The set list for Svenonius’s performance lecture. Photograph by Filip Wolak

With his music and writing, Ian F. Svenonius (b. 1968) has been a longstanding member of America’s underground scene. A member of various punk music bands including Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Chain & the Gang, in 2015 Svenonius published the essay collection Censorship Now!!. Through satire and snark, the essay collection pokes fun at American culture and promotes Svenonius’ anti-capitalist and anti-establishment views.

For the 2017 Whitney Biennial, L.A. based artist Frances Stark recreated pages from the title essay of the collection as a series of paintings, complete with her personal notes and underlines. These paintings were a starting point for Svenonius’s performative lecture, in which he played his guitar and read passages from Censorship Now!!.

With the same captivating presence that can be seen in his rock shows, Svenonius engaged the audience by passing out lapel buttons that read “I Survived Re-Education Camp,” and asked them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Encouraging the audience to join him in railing against corporations, Svenonius demanded that culture be returned to and for the people. 

By Tausif Noor, Public Programs Intern