recent news//

Lipstick, Six Packs, Pigs and Plumbers

October 2008

London, Miami and Art in America

December 2007

From Abu Ghraib to Beijing

September 2007


December 2006

Sending Sexy Back

September 2006

Hide and Leak

April 2006

Who's Your Shepherd?

February 2006

With Intent to Annoy

January 2006

'Tis the Treason

December 2005

Things Fall Apart

November 2005

Executions and Evacuations

September 2005

recent news//


Rules of Engagement
Marcia E. Vetrocq, Art in America
June/July, 2008

A Call to Arms
Maureen Davidson, Metro Santa Cruz Weekly
October 8, 2008

Buy into It
Michael Leaverton, SF Weekly
May 20, 2008

Kamler also asked South Africa's infamous Clinton Fein to contribute. You remember him: last year, his wall-sized photographs re-creating Abu Ghraib torture scenes reverberated like mortar bombs throughout the 49 Geary art complex. Imagine what he could do with a white dove.

Billboards bring peace message to city streets
Heather Tirado Gilligan, Bay Area Reporter
May 29, 2008

San Francisco billboard display peace messages (video)
Heather Ishimaru, ABC News
May 27, 2008

Wheatpaste for peace: SF Peace Billboards Project launches
Ariel Soto, San Francisco Bay Guardian
May 26, 2008

Night + Day: Calendar Picks
Janine Kahn, SF Weekly
May 26, 2008


Bridge: Chicago fair launches first London edition
The Art Newspaper, London
October 12, 2007

Fein Downfall, China
September 2007

Iraq inspires surge of protest art
By Peter Beaumont, The Observer
September 9, 2007



Clinton Fein's blog on SFGATE, the San Francisco Chronicle's new experiment with community blogging. An irreverent look at what's happening in the world of pop culture. Check it out...

Listen to Clinton Fein talking to Richard Kamler on his radio show, Art Talk

'NY Times' and the WCHA Dinner
By Clinton Fein, Letters, Editor & Publisher
May 1, 2007

The Horror of Torture, Reinterpreted through Art
By Kenneth Baker, The San Francisco Chronicle
January 20, 2007

Precision Strike
By Michael Leaverton, SF Weekly
January 17, 2007

The Bigger Picture: 'Torture': Photographer restages
infamous images from Abu Ghraib

By Reyhan Harmanci, The San Francisco Chronicle
January 11, 2007

Looking at Torture
By Andrew Sullivan, Time Magazine
January 2, 2007


"Who says what's officially annoying? Is that a business we really want our government to be in?" -- Clinton Fein, purveyor of the website, complaining about a bill in Congress that would make it a federal crime to "annoy" someone over the Internet.

Time Magazine, February 26, 2006

Cyberstalking law opens debate on what's annoying

"It's a stupid law that has slipped in under the radar," says Clinton Fein, a San Francisco-based artist who runs, a website that he says offers "unique and irreverent" commentary on politics and culture.

Richard Willing, USA Today, February 14, 2006

New cyberstalker law raises criticism

Clinton Fein, who runs the Web site, is also aghast. His site is specifically set up to annoy people through, among other means, anonymous postcards sent through the mail that direct the recipient to read the sender's message at the site. Fein calls the new legislation annoying.

Reid Goldsborough, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 29, 2006

Is it illegal, or just annoying?

The nation's new cyberstalking restrictions started this month. The legislation updates laws designed to protect people from harrassment. The updated law makes it illegal to use the Internet to harrass someone. But a provision of the legislation also adds the word "annoy" to the types of communication that's illegal.

Listen in RealAudio

One of the people who picked up on this new language is the creator of the Web site Clinton Fein calls himself a political artist. He's based in San Francisco. He photoshops irreverant and frequently offensive digital postcards for users to send anonymously to whomever they want--the attorney general of the United States, for example, or perhaps your boss. Fein readily admits to pushing legal boundaries. But he wonders who, under the new law, decides what is legally annoying.

Art Hughes Interview, Future Tense, January 20, 2006

Does New Cyberstalking Law Criminalize Free Expression?

First, we will discover what Section 113 truly means when someone challenges the law. A candidate being mentioned on the Internet is; the site offers a "service by which people send politically incorrect postcards without being required to furnish their identity."

The site owner Clinton Fein has a history of "seeking declaratory and injunctive relief" against the Communications Decency Act of 1996 through which "indecent" computer communication that is intended to "annoy" was criminalized. Fein believes Section 113 "warrant[s] a constitutional challenge."

Wendy McElroy, Fox News, January 17, 2006


Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime. It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

Clinton Fein, a San Francisco resident who runs the site, says a feature permitting visitors to send obnoxious and profane postcards through e-mail could be imperiled.

"Who decides what's annoying? That's the ultimate question," Fein said. He added: "If you send an annoying message via the United States Post Office, do you have to reveal your identity?"

Declan McCullagh, C|Net, January 9, 2006


Clinton Fein responds to new legislation making it a crime to send anonymous email with an "intent to annoy."

Read more

US criminalises cyber-harassment

Civil liberties groups have vowed to fight the legislation in the courts under the First Amendment, claiming that it would make it impossible for whistleblowers to operate without putting themselves at risk.

Clinton Fein, a South African activist who runs, was scathing about the new law.

"It appears that one is guilty of a crime if one were simply to 'utilise' a telecoms device 'with intent to annoy' a person regardless of the content or even in its absence," he said. "A conduct rather than a content crime; perhaps waving a BlackBerry in someone's face."

Iain Thomson,, January 10, 2006

Photo: Clinton Fein, June 2007

London, Miami and Art in America
December, 2007

Happy New Year.

I end 2007 on a good note, happy to say. My Torture exhibition, which opened at Toomey Tourell Gallery in January 2007, has had a pretty good run so far, and there is still more to come. You'll be pleased to know that I am working on a new body of work (so that I'm not forever associated with Torture) which also includes an amazing billboard project as well as a book, the details of which I will share in my next update.

Following a successful and fascinating exhibit at Art Beijing with Michael Petronko Gallery in September, the show went on to London in October, at the invitation of Bridge Art Fair, and finished the year, again with Toomey Tourell at the Bridge Art Fair in Miami during Art Basel. The cherry on top was a great review by the renowned Peter Selz in the December 2007 issue of Art in America.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement throughout the year. Have a happy and healthy New Year.

Till next year.

Torture on the Road

Art Beijing

Arriving in Beijing, where I exhibited the Torture series with Michael Petronko Gallery, I was not sure what to expect. The exhibit was very well received, and if I was to have based success on the amount of people who took photographs of my photos, I would have to say that it was pretty spectacular. While I had no problem predicting responses -- both negative and positive -- in the United Sates and England, I really did not have a clue as to how it would be received or perceived in China.

There were two things that really struck me. The first was, as one Chinese woman told me (through a translator), she thought the original Abu Ghraib images were just anti-American propaganda by the Chinese government. Upon seeing my simulated images, it dawned on her that what happened at Abu Ghraib must have been real. The notion of simulations serving to make real what the actual images failed to do was something I never would have occurred to me.

The second was that unlike either England or America, the Chinese seemed to have no qualms about allowing their children to study the images, which many did quite intently.

>>Art Beijing Photos: Reactions

Bridge Art Fair, London

Bridge Art Fair in London took place at the Trafalgar Hotel on Trafalgar Square. Although the opening night was somewhat disappointing owing to United Airlines managing to "misplace" a 12 ft x 10 ft photograph, it arrived the following day, and did make quite an impression in the lobby/bar of the hotel if I say so myself. It was also great to have the help of fellow artists "manning" my room for me, giving me much-needed breaks, particularly such talents as Monika Lin, Matthew Picton and Mark Paron.

>>Bridge London Art Fair

Bridge Art Fair, Miami

Bridge Art Fair Miami took place in December during Art Basel, and based on the responses, again, proved a success in both response and sales. I'm sure the Art in America review didn't harm either. The fair took place at the Catalina Hotel and Beach Club, which looks a damn lot better with great art gracing their walls than it does when it isn't. I hope the owners are paying Bridge to host the art fair in their hotel.

>>Bridge Art Fair, Miami

Most Recent Reviews/Commentary

Peter Selz, Art in America

Clinton Fein currently exhibits horrifying high-resolution C-prints depicting (through carefully staged reenactments) the torture of prisoners by the American military at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. For some time Fein's political images have been immersed in controversy and dissent. A native of South Africa, he left that country, with its harsh climate of censorship during apartheid, for the U.S., hoping to find truly free expression. Becoming aware of deep flaws in the application of the First Amendment of the Constitution, he filed suit against Attorney General Janet Reno in 1997, seeking declarative and injunctive relief from the provisions of the Communications Decency Act. The suit made its way to the Supreme Court, and Fein won the case. He insists on the fundamental right to annoy and created a Web site in pursuit of that end, maintaining that indecency is one of the most effective tools to counter public apathy.

>>Peter Selz, Art in America, December 2007

Art Basel: Miami 2007, Clinton Fein, and The Abu Ghraib Prison Tortures

Anyway, the piece that really impacted me was located in the Bridge Art Fair at the Catalina Hotel, where all the hotel rooms became galleries. As you would walk from hotel room to hotel room you looked at what each gallery had to offer. With in this labyrinth of art, The Toomey Tourell Gallery showed Clinton Fein's Torture Exhibition [...]

[...] I casually saw two huge photographs of Abu Ghraib tortures in the hallway of the hotel, we continued to stroll in to the room where the gallery was showing Clinton Fein's work. As you walked into the room you saw four people talking, but it was as if they were not there because the most eye-catching piece of art was Fein's "Rank and Defile 1." Right after I saw the photograph, I turned around to see the other pieces in the room, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the picture.


Patricia Helena Micolta, Eclectic Fusion, January 13, 2007

Art Basel - Bridge Art Fair Opening

Sprinkled through the Collins Avenue hotel's faintly musty halls were Clinton Fein's in-your-face, politically-charged digital depictions of torture that you couldn't pass without a glance or thought, even if you wanted to. On the first floor, a 60-by-45 shot showed a naked model of an Abu Ghraib prisoner with a sack over his head on his knees forced to perform oral sex on another.


Miami New Times, December 7, 2007

Oh My Ami

Though in the higher category, the three standouts of the week were works by photographer Clinton Fein (showing at Toomey Tourell who had stands at two fairs). The work, a partial commentary (sort of a brutal homoerotic take) on Abu Ghraib, were striking, visceral and bloodied bodies, masculine, pretty raw stuff. Nothing else quite like it in the fairs.


TJ Norris, UnBlogged, December 11, 2007

Bridge: Chicago fair launches first London edition

Spread across five floors of the Trafalgar Hotel in the shadow of Nelson's Column, the Bridge Art Fair is offering a range of contemporary work from paintings to video. First launched in Chicago, mainly with local dealers, the fair has expanded with editions in Miami and New York; this year it comes to London for the first time with over 70 dealers, as well as rooms devoted to individual artists' displays. Determined to make an impact, the fair has not shied away from promoting controversial works. [...]

[...] In one of the artist's project rooms, Clinton Fein (517) has re-enacted the photographs of US soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib in his own high resolution, wall-sized prints.


Helen Stoilas and James Knox, The Art Newspaper, October 12, 2007

Pointing Fingers

Twas the Night After Christmas

Iraq still a quagmire, he felt a strong urge
To tout the success of Petraus' surge
If not for the violence and political mess
No one could argue the scale of success.

So goddamn upsetting he wanted to cry
Or break a few laws, maybe eavesdrop or spy
On citizens, idiots, who thought they were free
Duped by "reporters" who wrote for a fee.

The flag waving patriots who've never seen war
Were clinging at straws like they had once before
Christmas Eve fun for the troops in Iraq
Their kids home alone, simply shit out of luck.

First Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld then Ashcroft and Meyers
Gone were the assholes that started the fires
Ridge and Alberto now just ghosts from the past
His legacy dead, for the die have been cast.

Twas the Night After Christmas: Expanded

Kids Who Kill Dogs

Not much to say about this loser that hasn't already been said. The new rising star of the Republican presidential hopefuls is a former governor of Arkansas with a few choice attributes that make him the perfect Republican.

He equates homosexuality with pedophilia and necrophilia (perhaps an association made by spending too much time in Church), refused to retract his absurd 1992 comment that people with AIDS should be quarantined, and is one of those self-appointed soldiers for Christ, to whom the fringes on the religious right gravitate like flies to feces.

As revelation after revelation of the CIA's torture policies under the Bush administration swirl with headline grabbing attention, Mike Huckabee released a Christmas campaign ad in which he states: "What really matters is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ."


Kids Who Kill Dogs: Expanded

My 10th Anniversary!!!

Since most people would qualify me as single, I began to think of the ramifications. My choosing to be single is a perfectly legitimate social choice. When I made the decision to refrain from long-term relationships, I forfeited the opportunity for my friends and family to celebrate my choice. There have been no registries, no toasters, no fabulous silverware, or any of the items that are usually given to help sustain a new relationship. As my siblings married, they were given gifts designed to strengthen their bonds, but really just saved them having to go out and buy a bunch of shite for the house. I never received anything, despite my household being just as plagued by bachelorhood, and just as capable of benefiting from many of the same upgrades, simply because I've chosen to avoid contractually binding myself to a long-term, supposedly monogomous nuclear family structure.


My 10th Anniversary: Expanded

Unbearable in Sudamn

"She got a very light punishment...Actually, it's not much of a punishment at all. It should be considered a warning that such acts should not be repeated."

Thus spake Rabie A. Atti, a Sudanese government spokesman referring to the conviction and sentence of British teacher, Gillian Gibbons, who was sentenced to 15 days in prison and a deportation. She could have spent months in jail and been lashed 40 times, after she allowed her 7-year-old pupils name a class teddy bear Muhammad.

Call me multiculturally insensitive, but isn't lashing a woman forty times just slightly more offensive than naming a stupid teddy-bear Muhammed?

Unbearable in Sudamn: Expanded

Rupert and Rudy

Giuliani's response to the Judith Regan lawsuit, was to dismiss it as sounding like a "gossip column story," and one not worthy of his response. That strategy might have worked for George Bush Senior when asked about his adulterous affair, but Giuliani might not be so lucky. For one, even his Republican opponents are already all over it, and more importantly, it's not only a gossip column story, it's a lawsuit alleging criminal conduct on behalf of News Corp. executives in the name of protecting the presidential ambitions of Rudy Giuliani.

It makes sense really. The smutty programming produced and aired by Fox coupled with the smutty lifestyle exemplified by Giuliani is a match made in heaven...or hell.

The only thing worse than a world run by George Bush and Dick Cheney, would be one run by Rupert Murdoch and Rudy Giuliani.


Rupert and Rudy: Expanded

Drowning in Hypocrisy

California's Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's decision to join Senate Judiciary committee Republicans in approving the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for Attorney General is nothing short of disgraceful.

Much like her decision to sponsor legislation that would desecrate the constitution by criminalizing flag burning, Feinstein has shown her true colors yet again.

Waterboarding, a torture technique that Mukasey refused to state unequivocally was just that, despite calling it "personally repugnant," has been considered a war crime for over a century under the United States and international law.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, refused to vote in favor of Mukasey, stating that: "The president says we do not torture, but had his lawyers redefine torture down in secret memos in fundamental conflict with American values and law."

Drowning in Hypocrisy: Expanded

The Genius of Genus

Although this has nothing to do with me whatsoever, aside from being a rabid fan, I was privileged to receive a generous invitation to Paris to see Genus, an incredible ballet performed by Paris Opera Ballet at Palais Garnier, which was composed by my friends Joby Talbot and Benjamin Wynn (Deru) who in turn had collaborated with choreographer Wayne McGregor to create (or should I say evolve) an audio visual masterpiece based on Darwin's theory of Evolution. An accompanying video sequence by Ravi Deepres was a great complement.

Annoyingly, I missed the world première owing to a wildcat strike by technicians over proposed pension revisions (who would have thought, in France?), but the performance I did end up seeing was nothing short of genius.

- Joby Talbot
- Benjamin Wynn (Deru)
- Genus
- A small sample of Genus

Contact Information

Art Beijing


478 West Broadway
New York, NY 10012

Michael Petronko


Tuesday - Sunday:
11 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Monday by appointment

Bridge London/Miami


49 Geary Street San Francisco, CA 94108

Stephen Tourell

Nancy Toomey

Todd Bennett


Tuesday through Friday:
11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This is a monthly online newsletter by Clinton Fein. You receive it because we're friends, family, know one another, or you have requested to be on this list in order to keep up with what I am up to. If for any reason, you don't want to receive this, please just hit your reply button and enter the word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line, and your name will automatically be removed from the list.

Clinton Fein


I try and send out updates about once a month, but am not alway able to be so fastidious. I will respond to all and any emails I get from anyone, so please respond when you can.

Feedback is not just welcome, it's encouraged.