Installations, media and painting series by Adam Turl
Turl uses coffee the way other artists have used wax, or thread, or honey—as a way to tell a story. 13 Baristas is a tale about a fake arts collective, but also a narrative about activism, social realism, post post-modernism and art history. It’s a theatrical commentary about workers in society, a 3D graphic novel in which the viewer walks among the pages. Despite the doomed, political outcry of the 13 Baristas, their show is, finally, hopeful. Instead of the hammer-and-sickle, Turl gives us hammer-and-palette. (Dawn-Michelle Baude, review from Las Vegas Weekly)
The 13 Baristas Art Collective were a group of radical artists and coffee shop workers who were "disappeared" by the authorities following the Chicago uprising of 2037. They chronicled their stories, their dreams and those of their co-workers in paintings and manipulated objects.
From the final edition of the 13 Baristas newspaper (2037):
IN 2028 two art school drop-outs and baristas formed the “13 Baristas Art Collective.” While we always claimed to have 13 members, largely for narrative purposes, we never had more than four members at any one time.
Maggie Cromwell, now missing, and Sidney Williams, the son of the late painter Calvin Williams, were the main force behind the “collective.”
Four years ago Amy Sverdlov moved into their southwest side studio. Maggie and Sidney met during the 2025 strikes. Amy, a former coffee shop employee and adjunct art professor, joined them after the planning meetings for the 2033 relief demonstrations.
The goal of our collective was always to elevate the complex narratives of oth- er “proletarians”—not reduced to some abstraction, nor seen in isolation from social class.
Maggie believed that our work should serve two purposes:To assert the pathos of proletarian morality in the present. And if we failed to abolish the current order, serve as a cultural building block for those remaining, those who would rebuild in the ruins.