recent news//

Recap, Recall, Retrace & Reform

June 2010

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//


Clinton Fein: Please Lie to Me
Art Mur 15th Anniversary Exhibition
Montreal gallery, Art Mur is located at 5826 rue St-Hubert. "Please Lie to Me," features Clinton Fein along with a group of talented artists, including the highly controversial Chinese artist duo, the Gao Brothers
Saturday November 5, 2011 - December 17, 2011

Berkeley Says "No" to Torture
Defying Torture - The Art of Dissent
A conversation with historian/critic/activist Peter Selz and artists Clinton Fein and Richard Kamler. Location: UC Berkeley Art Museum Theater, 2621 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Wednesday Oct 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Clinton Fein: Recap
Toomey Tourell Projects, San Francisco
June 4- August 7, 2010

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

Recap, Recall, Retrace and Reform
June, 2010

To all my dear friends and email list.

Tonight, Toomey Tourell Projects -- an extension of Toomey Tourell Gallery where I launched my career and with whom have had three solo shows to date -- opens its doors at 575 Sutter. Their inaugural exhibition, Clinton Fein: Recap will draw selections from a decade of my work, or as they expressed it so well, "the artist's prismatic political output, reinvigorating his (seemingly) temporally bound bodies of work by a pointed recontextualization." If you can make it tonight, it would be great to see you.

But first, an apology. I have neglected you horribly. Many of you thought I had either ceased to exist or had taken you off my email list for some reason. Many of you have even missed these emails!

Although quite a bit has happened, (including why the image above is not of me as I usually do, but of BP's CEO, Tony Hayward) I have been working on my next exhibition, Full Disclosure, which will be my first major exhibition since Torture, which was back in 2007.

As an artist, there is pressure to show as frequently as possible and artists usually jump at the opportunity to show their latest work. Although Toomey Tourell and Michael Petronko Gallery have been extremely gracious and willing to give me the space and opportunities necessary, I have elected not to exhibit because I haven't been as compelled to present as I have been to observe. Twice, I have postponed exhibitions, not because I am a diva, but because I did not feel I was ready to communicate what I wanted to say, and was having a difficult time translating my thinking into artistic expression and output., which has always been a valuable vehicle of expression for me has also suffered somewhat from my unwillingness to pontificate on anything and everything happening, as has been my history. And yet I have toyed with other social media outlets, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pandora, Amplify and others as I have tested to see what they offer and what they take. As well as the rapidity with which they have grown, developed and become mainstream.

For the most part, participation in social media seems free, but it comes at a considerable cost. A cost to our privacy. And a cost to our appreciation of what that privacy is and why it remains so vital. My upcoming show, Full Disclosure, tackles these issues head on. It is a dark, nightmarish multimedia journey that explores the rise of social media and the extent to which it has obliterated our understanding and sense of privacy, catering to the most shallow, insecure and narcissistic instincts of our nature. The sharp yin and yang of it. How it helps as much as it hurts and connects as much as it isolates and pleases as much as it disappoints.

But in the interim, Clinton Fein: Recap will draw selections from a decade of my work, with a few new pieces and snippets from what's next.

I am very fortunate. Recap is an opportunity for me to recontextualize the three shows from Toomey Tourell. Although there have been other shows and exhibitions, notably WARning! at Axis Gallery in New York, the exhibiting of Torture in Beijing with Michael Petronko Gallery, and The Wall for Hanna Regev's curatorial powerhouse, Banned and Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship (currently on the road through the California Exhibition Resources Alliance [CERA] ), the three shows -- Clinton Fein's, Numb & Number and Torture -- serve as pivotal evolution points in my artistic direction, and allow me, and now you -- should you choose to engage, to recalibrate things slightly.

I know that in previous emails I kept making promises to write more frequently that I then immediately broke. As I have engaged on Facebook, Twitter etc. it seemed there was way too much to say and to way too many people. As I write this, and review the names of those on you on this list that existed long before Facebook, I realize I can write more personally and more profoundly than I can or do on any of those social networks, because I know you (almost every one of you). I tried doing the same on Facebook, and in fact ended up having to create a distinct public vs private persona so that keeping up to date with friends really was that.

Below are my Facebook details and Twitter etc. These services have definitely made it easier to spout off things quickly and easily without the effort and energy it takes to put together the emails I have been sending you for years. But something is lost in the translation. And I would tell you to join, or follow me, or befriend me, but I'm not sure you should. And I'm not sure I want to be the one to prompt you to whore your privacy for quicker access to my pearls of wisdom, because no matter how much it may benefit you, there is an unequivocal cost. And like real whoring, once you do it, you can't undo it. Even though these emails are sporadic, and are sent to a whole bunch of you, they truly are to you. No one else. That in and of itself, is becoming quite remarkably unique.

And I will continue to write them.

Would be great to see you tonight if you're in the Bay Area, and apologies for the delayed response.

For now.

Same Persona, Different Locations

Facebook: Clinton Fein: Artist/Photographer

My public persona on Facebook. I have rejected countless friend requests, because with one or two exceptions, I know everyone I have friended, and actually enjoy staying in touch and reading updates. But in so doing, I have isolated and distanced myself from people who don't know me, but know my work and want to keep abreast of what I am doing. As I prepare for my next exhibition, all about online privacy, I need to use Facebook as a vehicle, and don't want to communicate to and with my friends in the same way. So, please, if so inclined, join my public persona, which is focused on my work and the media, controversies and criticism around it.

>>Clinton Fein: Artist/Photographer

Twitter: @clintonfein

Pearls of wisdom in 140 characters or less. AKA microblogging. Followers are people who follow you. With a few exceptions I don't know most of the people who follow my "tweets." Followers supposedly represent popularity which supposedly equals influence. I'm about as influential as a mute cow. The big unanswered question about Twitter is whether it is better to influence a few, and trust a few, or communicate to thousands without being heard at all. There is no such thing as reputation managment in this Twitterverse and there are as many twats as there are tweets. If it were to crash tomorrow, I wouldn't shed any tears. The hopelessly self-absorbed among you should definitely join. You have the potential to tell hundreds of thousands of people that you're waiting for your luggage. Or that the baby crying is annoying you.


Amplify: Clinton Fein: Amp'd

Less known than Facebook and Twitter, this social network site is technologically smooth and functional and appears to be populated by people who are smart and literate. It allows you to easily capture and excerpt information from any site you chance upon, and comment on what you found interesting or relevant about it. Aside from a few minor issues relating to their newsfeed which can make it a bit too much (same as Facebook's news feed and Twitter in general) the guys who run the site are active participants and it shows. It allows you to aggregate content in ways that cause the likes of Rupert Murdoch to have apoplectic fits, but that's a good thing in my books. If they play their cards right, they're worth watching, and if you like sharing stuff you encounter on the Interwebs, this is a great way to show it and engage it.


Other social networks

There are still my old places of communication that continue to grow organically as time passes. My blog, Pointing Fingers is a quicker, easier way for me to comment than the editorials on And I continue to blog for SF Gate and my favorite of all, Redroom, which is run by their remarkable CEO, Ivory Madison, who I will be writing about more in the future, as she is unique in her approach to online content and privacy. We could use more of her type -- online and off. Of course there's my YouTube channel, and my much-ignored MySpace presence. Last, but not least, the definitive Clinton Fein repository,, which is surpassed perhaps only by my Wikipedia page, but that one's for you to manage and enhance, not me! More on all of these in my next update. Soon, I promise...


Recent Solo and Group Exhibitions

Banned and Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship

African American Library and Museum at Oakland
Sept. 5 - Dec. 31, 2008

In a first-time collaboration, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) and the San Francisco Center for the Book (SFCB) are presenting an exhibit, curated by the ubiquitous and unstoppable Hanna Regev, which features work from more than 50 artists working in a variety of media.

Participating artists interpret a censored text of their choice. The project provides a unique forum for visual artists to respond to the suppression of literary art.

An exhibition of art inspired by banned books -- or in my case -- inspired by Pink Floyd's unforgettable film and album, The Wall.

In Oakland, works by the following artists are on display:

Jody Alexander * Michael Bartalos * Milton Bowens * David Broom Victor Cartagena * Mitchell Confer * Luis Delgado * Jordan Essoe Rodney Ewing * Clinton Fein * Liz Hager * Charles Hobson Justin Hoover * Richard Kamler * Lisa Kokin * Naomie Kremer Pat Lenz * Jose Ramon Lerma * Malcolm Lubliner * Kara Maria Mary V. Marsh * Barbara Milman * Douglas Minkler * Eileen Moderbacher Sasha Mosalov * Daniel Newman * Penny Nii * Priscilla Otani Anne Hicks Siberell * Elizabeth Sher * Sandra Ortiz Taylor Bryan Keith Thomas * Kathleen Walkup * Kazuko Watanabe Tanya Wilkinson * Noah Wilson * Jan Wurm

>>Banned & Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship

The Other Mainstream II: Selections From the Collection of Mikke and Stanley Weithorn

The Arizona State University Art Museum
Sept. 27, 2008 - January 4, 2009

The Arizona State University Art Museum presents The Other Mainstream II: Selections From the Collection of Mikke and Stanley Weithorn, on view through January 4, 2009. The Other Mainstream II is the second exhibition at the ASU Art Museum that focuses on the adventurous contemporary art collection of Valley residents Mikki and Stanley Weithorn.

True to its name, the exhibition reflects the dominance in the contemporary art world of artists from diverse backgrounds working with new issues of identity - a new mainstream. With most of the works in the exhibition created since 9/11, the collection is bold in its commentary on global concerns and in its figurative imagery. The paintings, drawings and sculptures reach beyond simply examining the assigned powers in politics, gender, and race, and move to a broader examination of our humanity through humor or fantasy or blunt honesty.

Artists include: Emma Amos, Sanford Biggers, Iona Rozeal Brown, Gordon Cheung, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Edward del Rosario, Tjorg Douglas Beer, Tom Duncan, Nekisha Durrett, Edouard Duval-Carrie, Marcel Dzama, Clinton Fein, Luiz Flavio, Chitra Ganesh, Amiee Garcia, Deborah Grant, Elizabeth Huey, John Jodzio, Ai Kijima, Min Kim, Machida Kumi, Marcia Kure, Carter Kustera, Maximillian Lawrence, Dinh Qa, Monika JM Lin, Whitfield Lovell, Paul Marcus, Bradley McCallum, Dominic McGill, Vik Muniz, Brett Murray, Chris Ofili, Lamar Peterson, Moritz Schleime, Claudette Schreuders, Rachell Sumpter, Jacqueline Tarry, Masami Teraoka, Mickalene Thomas, Jamie Vasta, Tran Trong Vu, Roy Wasson Valle, Caleb Weintraub, Amy Wilson, Su-en Wong, Zhang Xiaogang, Steve Yazzie.

>>The Arizona State University Art Museum


Anton Gallery, 701 Hawthorne St., Monterey
October 15, 2008 - November 4, 2008

A culture full of noise...political, environmental, social, the topic of an exhibition curated by Patrick Frank and presented by the Anton Gallery in Monterey, opening October 16 as part of the national Art of Democracy movement ( Eight artists: Jesus Aguilar, Anthony Discenza, Clinton Fein, Richard James, Patrick Jennings, Tony Sheeder, Lisa Solomon, and Heather Wilcoxon work with issues as diverse as the use of torture at Abu Ghraib (Fein), horror of firearms (Solomon), environmental destruction (Wilcoxon), abuses of the internet (Aguilar) and moribund urban design (Jennings). Coming from Sacramento, Sausalito, San Jose. San Franciso and Oakland, the NOISE artists share only a willingness to confront the issues that most concern them.

I come from South Africa. I was aware from the time I came into adulthood of apartheid and its implications...When I left the country, you could be arrested for quoting Nelson Mandela. So the First Amendment is very important to me, that it be real. You have to work to make sure free speech is protected, and the people's right to know...And that led to the lawsuit, Apollo Media vs Reno...I don't think that artists have to do work that deals with issues. I do think that artists can bring issues to the table in a unique and powerful way. (My quote from the program.)

>>NOISE, Anton Gallery

Face It - Torture in the 21st Century

1651 18th St
Santa Monica
October 19 and October 20, 2008

Created by artist-educator Robert Adanto, this unique evening of theatre, art and discussion will examine the use of torture by the US armed forces and the CIA, and the Bush administration's redefining of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The evening's program begins with a performance of Harold Pinter's 1984 award-winning "One for the Road." Set in a police state, it is a chilling study of power and powerlessness.

The production will feature photographs from "Torture," a recent series by the controversial South African artist-activist Clinton Fein, known for his notable Supreme Court victory against Janet Reno, challenging the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act in 1997, where Fein's right to disseminate his art was upheld in a landmark victory for First Amendment rights.

Following the performance, Michael Rapkin, an ACLU attorney who has sued both the President and the Secretary of State while representing his client, a suspected enemy combatant held in Guantanamo Bay, will lead a discussion concerning torture in the 21st century and various legal avenues pursued by the Bush administration to justify and maintain its coercive interrogation program, and the response by Congress and the courts.

In addition, noted documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Pena and digital media artist, Peggy Weil, who will share their latest creation, Gone Gitmo, an installation of Guantanamo Prison Prison in the virtual reality environment, Second Life.

>>Face It - Torture in the 21st Century

Peace Billboards: Artists Collaborate with the United Nations

Peace Billboards: Artists Collaborate with the United Nations
May 26, 2008 - Jun 22, 2008

The University of San Francisco (USF), under the direction of Associate Professor of Visual Arts, Richard Kamler, presented Peace Billboards -- a project of Seeing Peace: Artists Collaborate with the United Nations, an innovative public art installation project. Seeing Peace is a visionary international initiative that seeks to bring the imagination of the artist to bear on the most pressing global issue of our time, peace.

Peace Billboards brought the imagination of 10 visual artists, one each from a member state of the United Nations to engage in a dialogue of international peace through the creation of culturally construed images as to what peace looks like on full size outdoor advertising spaces, billboards, in San Francisco. The images of peace created by the participating multinational artists were intended to engage the publics' imagination by being showcased on 10 different highly visible billboards in San Francisco.

The artists are from South Africa (Clinton Fein), Iran (Taraneh Hemami), Burma (Kyi Win), El Salvador (Victor Cartagena) , U.S. (Richard Kamler), Puerto Rico (Rafael Tesseles), Cuba (Tonel), Ukraine (Igor Gustevev), Japan (Betty Nobue Kano) and Uzi Broshi (Israel).

"This public installation of 10 distinct images on different billboards in San Francisco will press members of our community to reflect on peace and challenge their own vision of peace. I am convinced that if we do not have a vision, a complex, multi-national vision, as to what peace looks like, we might never get there," said Richard Kamler.

The project has the potential for a significant impact on our community as it will not be confined to the walls of a museum but will be in public space for any and all to see.

There is a rational explanation as to why I used an image from my Torture series.. Here are some conversations on my billboard taken by members of the public and uploaded to YouTube: Fein Dialog
By thisisthenewmovement Fein Dialog
Artist Clinton Fein's billboard for the Peace Billboards Project
By thisisthenewmovement Fein Dialog
Artist Clinton Fein's billboard for the Peace Billboards Project
By thisisthenewmovement

>>Seeing Peace Billboard Project

Clinton Fein at Southern Oregon University

Controversial Art at SOU
Apri 17, 2008 - May 2008

The Department of Art and Art History at Southern Oregon University (SOU) is presenting an exhibition of the politically controversial work of Clinton Fein in the Thorndike Gallery of the Art Building. His political images have been immersed in controversy and dissent for a number of years. Fein is a native of South Africa who lives in San Francisco. He left South Africa at the height of the harsh climate of apartheid and censorship, hoping to find free expression in the United States.

The exhibition at SOU harshly criticizes the foreign policy of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Horrifying high-resolution images of carefully staged photographic reenactments of the torture of prisoners by the American military at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq set the tone for the exhibition. Fein felt that the photographs shown in the press that were taken by American soldiers who participated in the Abu Ghraib abuses veiled the actual horror of the events. He concluded that only sharp, high-resolution images could convey the full impact of the humiliating atrocities and expose the policies of torture that the Bush administration routinely endorsed. The images are horrifying, but Fein would argue, not as horrifying as torturing other human beings or tolerating it as a national policy.

Another image depicts George W. Bush crucified on a cross with the caption "Who would Jesus Torture?" A phallic missile wrapped in an American flag emerges from his loin cloth. Other derisive images portray Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration in similarly scathing situations.

In 1997, Fein filed suit against Attorney General Janet Reno to challenge flaws in the application of the First Amendment of the Constitution. He maintained that the First Amendment protected the right of an individual to annoy. Furthermore, he asserted that indecency was one of the most effective tools to counter public apathy. The suit made it to the Supreme Court, and Fein won the case.

The exhibition was organized as a senior capstone project by Phoebe Peterson, a graduating art history student. She noted that Fein's work "deliberately provokes reaction and is meant to make people think about what is really happening in the political world." Peterson added, "[Fein] wants us to be disgusted and horrified, as the current state of American foreign policy should make us feel." She also noted that the exhibition was suitable only for mature audiences with open minds.

The exhibition continues through May 16. Fein has accepted an invitation to present a lecture on his work in early May. The date, place, and time will be announced.

>>Clinton Fein at Southern Oregon University

This is a monthly (more like quarterly) 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

Email: contact

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.