Political graphics of the “long 1960s”


Hell no, nobody goes. 1967. Frank Cieciorka, artist. Poster. Collection of Oakland Museum of California.

“Posters are among the significant ephemera of the long 1960s. Synonymous with rebellion and visual wit, these fragile documents were densely packed cultural viruses capable of transmitting such abstract concepts as ‘solidarity,’ ‘sisterhood,’ or ‘peace’ all over the world. Political posters did not blossom as a cultural form until the mid-1960s. In the United States, the chilling effect of the Cold War and McCarthyism during the 1950s made it too dangerous to produce political content for public spaces. The socially-conscious graphic artists had turned inwards, continuing to create limited-edition prints shared among friend and displayed in shows, and only occasionally did something agitational make it to the streets. The Civil Rights Movement imagery was limited to a few placards, such as the iconic ‘I AM A MAN’ placard – characterized by use of simple type and without illustration. The Free Speech Movement, vibrant though it was with song, poetry, and theater, did not produce a single poster. It was not until the rock and counterculture posters exploded on the scene in the San Francisco Bay Area that public appetite for these visual expressions spread to political posters. Similarly, the visually radical new imagery from the Cuban film institute ICAIC inspired the other Cuban political publishing agencies to push their own design work in new directions. Although these documents were often produced in the thousands, social neglect and physical impermanence have reduced their numbers to a ghost. Huge voids in scholarship remain to be filled. A handful of community-based archives and special collections – most notably among them the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles and Michael Rossman’s AOUON Archive in Berkeley – have taken on the huge task of drawing these artifacts out of the woodwork, arranging them, cataloging them, and making them accessible to scholars and the public. The following series of images, in chronological order, are a sampling of this enormous genre.  – Lincoln Cushing, Docs Populi”
Docs Populi
Docs Populi: Up Against the Wall – Berkeley Posters from the 1960s
Psychedelia and the Psychedelic movement 1960-1975
W – Drowning Girl (1963), Roy Lichtenstein


Roy Lichtenstein – Drowning Girl (1963)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Chicano, Civil Rights Mov., Cuban Revolution, Feminist, Free Speech Mov., Happenings, LSD, Mao, Marijuana, Mexico, Paris, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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