THE EVENT OF THE SCREW – July 12, 1962

As a counter-culture activist, Aldo Tambellini wrote, edited and published a newsletter called “The Screw” with its slogan “Artists in an Anonymous Generation Arise.” Written mostly in poetry form, it was first published it in 1961 and consisted of a mimeographed legal sized yellow sheet of paper sometimes folded in half. Each issue, of which there were six, had a different variation of an image of a hardware screw and was sold around the neighborhood for 10 cents. The newsletter was created to raise the social consciousness of the artists. Aldo Tambellini voiced his objection to the manipulation he saw in the art establishment which used the artists as a commodity and financial investments rather than cultural entities.

The “Event of the Screw,” a protest in the form of a performance, took place on July 12, 1962, in front of the Museum of Modern Art. Aldo dressed in a black suit and tie with a gold screw tie-clip, read the “Manifesto of the Screw.” The Belltones, a Puerto Rican Trio from the Lower East Side neighborhood, also dressed in suits and ties, accompanied Aldo by singing acappella the “Song of the Screw.” Elsa Tambellini danced in leotard inside a five-foot Papier-Mache screw. Mira Fine symbolically presented one museum official “The Golden Screw Award” which was a hardware screw dipped in gold paint and placed on a black cushion. Similar awards were given that day to the Whitney and Guggenheim Museums.