Jan 25–Jan 25, 2024

Published and distributed by F


*the print version of the January 20 2017 project instigated by a conversation between Peter Fend and Wolfgang Staehle about Peter Gay’s 1968 book “Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider”

On January 20, 2017, a Shadow Cabinet was launched in New York City by a group of artists, scientists, and radical professionals, who each took on real and imagined positions of the US Executive Cabinet, as Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, Treasury, Media, Justice, etc., offering alternative proposals to that date's incoming Administration. In anticipation of Inauguration Day one year from now, these proposals have been collected, printed, and released in the volume SHADOW CABINET: A Loyal Opposition Response.

Published and distributed by F
Publication Date: January 2024
6.75 x 4 inches, saddle stitched
48 pages + cover, b/w Risograph
Edition: 200 (numbered)  

Copies available by request: office@fmagazine.info

On November 22, 2016, amidst great uncertainty about the direction of the United States in the next four years, a proposal erupted: to launch, as is parliamentary custom in Britain, a Shadow Cabinet.

The Shadow Cabinet, as in Britain, would serve as a voice in contrast with, but not in denial of, the incoming Administration. On occasion, there could even be similar views; we do not yet know. We aim now to put on record the views of members of the most-forward thinking sector, the daring pioneers, of the US. For some, this sector is called the "avant-garde." In downtown Cleveland, there's a monument to the "Advance Guard." These are the soldiers, there in the Civil War, who make the first probes into the future. Most of them die. But they're needed. They're essential to the victory. Such a role can be taken in US history by the "avant-garde." These are labeled as "artists and writers." But they could be more. They produce the images and technologies of the new economy, and even political economy. They could lead the way. In the book "Weimar Culture," a Columbia University historian concludes that the avant-garde of post-WW I Germany almost deliberately chose to not respond to that country's economic and political crises. They could have. They should have. They did not. So, we had a frustrated artist lead the country, and all of Europe, into the world's biggest war. Can the avant-garde in the US come to the fore, take responsibility for its new ideas, and lead the way to a viable, survivable future? We start with a serious, genuine effort: setting up a Shadow Cabinet, and finding the avant-garde individuals who can fill its posts.

We launch Shadow Cabinet on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017. Some people go on strike. We do not. We do the opposite. We go to work, in loyal opposition. We acknowledge that an election has taken place, within its rules, and unless compelling proof can be found of manipulation, we will take as de facto the Administration of Donald J. Trump. To protest that would be to protest the US Constitution. It would be to protest ourselves. That was not provided for in the First Amendment. One must allow the Administration to start, without rancor, without questioning its legitimacy (unless compelling evidence emerges otherwise). For now, we accept that the Administration of Donald J. Trump is de jure.

Therefore, our actions in response are those of a Loyal Opposition, in line with long-standing traditions of the country from which the United States spun off, declaring independence: Great Britain.

Therefore, we call for the Avant-Garde of the United States, the pioneering thinkers and inventors and visualizers, to not object to what has happened, but to project what could instead happen.

Up to four years may be required to wait for enactments.

Shadow Cabinet, 2017