One year ago, a few days after September 11, someone had stapled a sign to a lamp post on 7th street in the East Village. I was taking basic Arabic at the time and could just make it out: I Love New York. The next day it was gone. It was half torn when I saw it. No doubt someone finished the job. There was a lot of misdirected anger in the streets then. There still is.
Click on the graphic above for a larger version you can print out and post on a lamp post near you.
From Common-Place Book:
“In a scheme so wacky, it could only be COINTELPRO, the FBI sent something called The Black Panther Coloring Book to families across the United States, in an effort to subvert white support for black civil rights. The drawings are fabulously blaxploitation-meets-the-revolution.
‘This coloring book, which was purported to be from the Black Panthers, had actually been rejected by them when it was brought to them by a man later revealed to have intelligence connections. Not to be troubled by the fact that the Panthers found the coloring book revolting, the FBI added even more offensive illustrations, and mass mailed it across America... [The truth was revealed] in the Congressional inquiry into COINTELPRO.’ [source]
The Cunt Coloring Book by Tee Corinne was first published in 1975. It was a Judy Chicago kind of feminist gesture, became a cult favorite in the lesbian community, and in still in print. It was controversial enough on first publication for Corinne to change the title to Labia Flowers. It continues to be controversial enough to send to US Senators.
‘Last September, one of her pioneer efforts, The Cunt Coloring Book (1975), was the subject of a right-wing political attack on James Hormell’s nomination as a U.S. Ambassador. The Traditional Values Coalition sent a packet of materials (including Corinne’s book) to all 100 U.S. Senators, noting that the materials were in the collection of the Hormell Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library. Her photocopied book and a pack of crayons were sent in an attempt to discredit Hormell, an openly gay man, who had helped to fund the Center.’ [source]”
Reprinted with permission.
“The day is not far distant,” remarked a Florida gentleman not long since, when talking with a reporter, “when the term ‘cedar pencil’ will become quite a misnomer. At the present time the average annual consumption of lead pencils is at the rate of about four for every man, woman and child in the country. During the last ten years the quantity of cedar which has been cut in our state to supply the demand of the American and German pencil makers has been enormous, the product of more than 2,000 acres of ground being consumed every year. The cedar of the state will not hold out many years longer against demands of this kind, and already experiments are being tried with other wood. Very cheap pencils are generally made of poplar, which answers fairly well, but which will never be so valuable for the purpose as the old-fashioned and long-tried cedar. Of course, Florida has not a monopoly on the supply of cedar wood, but in adjoining states, where some is to be found, the work of the destruction has been going on quite as fast as in our little commonwealth, and I doubt very much whether any of our children will use pencils made out of the most durable and most easily polished and trimmed wood we know of at the present time.”
Minnetonka News, December 14, 1894
Reprinted from Wrote.
56 posters on health and safety at work from 1910-2000, from the collections of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. The posters warn, inform, and try to change worker behavior. The page is in Dutch, so here’s a crude translation of the four sections:
From The Guardian:
“The Conservative party’s 1978 poster of a snaking line of people queuing for the unemployment office under the slogan ‘Labour isn’t working’ has been voted the poster advertisement of the century [by the trade magazine Campaign].
Created by the Saatchi brothers, the poster is cited as instrumental in the downfall of James Callaghan’s Labour administration in the 1979 election and the rise of Margaret Thatcher, partly because he rose to the jibe and complained [about the poster in Parliament]. It also marked a sea-change in political advertising as, aiming at traditional Labour supporters who feared for their jobs, it was the first to adopt the aggressive marketing tactics which characterise modern elections.
The BBC has a story on the background of the Labour poster and how the photo was faked.
“News that people in the advert were ‘actors’ and not genuinely unemployed had leaked and Healed said the Conservatives were dishonest, reaching a new low by ‘selling politics like soap-powder’.
But Labour politicians were not hawk-eyed enough to spot that the basic ‘deceit’ was compounded by using the same few people over and over. Walsh had ensured that the volunteers’ faces were out of focus and could not be recognised.
Since then the tactic of putting up a deliberately controversial poster on a few bill-boards - and then reaping millions of pounds of free publicity as TV and newspapers report the fuss has become a standard and cost-effective tactic for advertisers.
When the election was delayed until the spring of 1979 the Saatchis brought out a second version of the poster with the legend ‘Labour still isn’t working’.
After the election Lord Thorneycroft, Tory party treasurer at the time, claimed that the poster had ‘won the election for the Conservatives’.”
Found via coudal partners.
From “Beauty Tips and Politics” by Lauren Sandler in the The Nation:
“‘The error that we tend to make is that we think that women’s magazines are what editors want and what their readers want—and thus are are social inidicators—when in fact they are what advertisers want,’ says Gloria Steinhem. ‘They’re just advertising indicators.’ Steinham says this is why she pulled all ads from Ms.”
Actually, says Steinem, Ms. started turning a profit, or at least breaking even, when it stopped taking advertising. And, not just refusing advertising, the magazine ran a monthly feature called “No Comment” that drew attention to offensive advertising campaigns and practices.
Still, writes Sandler:
“The ad pages that accompany domestic and international rights abuse stories are getting top dollar in Marie Claire, largely because readers polled say these are among the pages they read most.”
Of course, polls can be misleading indicators in their own right.
“This shared web-gallery of radical arts exists to document, develop and promote the artform of the post-corporate millennium - subvertising.
Subvertising is the Art of Cultural resistance. It is the ‘writing on the wall’, the sticker on the lamppost, the corrected rewording of Billboards, the spoof T-shirt; but it is also the mass act of defiance of a street party. The key process involves redefining or even reclaiming our environment from the corporate beast. Subvertising is allot like good modern art - they both involve finding idiots with too much power and wealth, and taxing them.”
“CopyLeft means copyright except for non-profit making initiatives/organizations where the it is used to positively portray what it set out to do. If you are not sure what it originally set out to do you must ask its creator. This means that you can use the (graphics, article etc.) If you are not making money out or it and do not have the intention of doing go. If you are you must get permission from the creator to use it. This is a slightly reduced form of anti-copywrite.”
“Anti-Copyright means use freely for whatever you want, and comes from the perspective that copyright should not exist at all or that there is no need to copyright the information/image as you wish it to be distributed freely and reused.”
Got any images to contribute?
“As a part of Massachusetts Bike Week, May 2001, three Somerville artists got together and created the SUV ticket, recruited an army of cyclists, pedestrians and greens to ticket ALL SUVs!
The movement continued this year with our National Ticketing Effort, targeting 50 cities in 50 States on May11 -19, 2002. Now ticketing actions are being planned and carried out by local folks near you!”
See the ticket here (26K PDF). The campaign has generated a bit of local media coverage, made a few enemies, and even affected a purchasing decision or two. See some responses here. Of course, one good ticket deserves another.
Thanks to Jamie Leo for the tip.
“Cuba has a long tradition of producing unique and powerful posters. After the revolution in 1959, posters took on a vital social role in promoting the wide range of issues facing a small country struggling for self-determination and identity. Three agencies emerged as the primary producers of an enormous output of visual material - OSPAAAL, the Organization in Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa, and Latin America; ICAIC, the Cuban film industry, and Editora Politica, which was the publishing department of the Cuban Communist Party.”
From the Cuba Poster Project, a collaboration between the National Library of Cuba and the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley to catalogue, preserve, digitize, and exhibit printed material from Cuba. This essay on the history of Cuban poster art touches on OSPAAAL and its distribution of posters as a means of international solidarity:
“Among its many activities has been the publication of Tricontinental magazine since 1967. At its peak its circulation was 30,000 copies, produced in 4 different languages and mailed to 87 countries. Included in most issues were folded-up solidarity posters, thus establishing the most effective international poster distribution system in the world.”
“The posters produced by the ATELIER POPULAIRE are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centers of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the Factories. To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the ATELIER POPULAIRE has always refused to put them on sale. Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an ‘outside’ observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the Ruling Class. That is why these works should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, though contact with the masses, new levels of action, both on the cultural and the political plane.”
Statement by the Atelier Populaire, Paris, 1968.