The period of April 26th to June 2nd 1968, remembered for the protests that began in major cities around the world, also resulted in a fascinating global movement of graphic protest design. World capitals saw their walls flooded with protest posters, most made with techniques such as screen-printing, linocut, stencil or lithography. These techniques, usually reserved by artists for their work, was put to the service of protest.
The exhibition focuses on the graphic posters made in Paris and Mexico City in 1968,over the course of the extended protests in both cities. Strikingly, the exhibition highlights the allusions to the Olympic Games held in Mexico that year, both in the Mexican posters and in several French posters made in solidarity with Mexican students after the Tlatelolco massacre. Although in each country students and artists had their own methods for making these posters, interesting aesthetic parallels emerge in the work produced in both cities. In the case of the Mexican posters, the influence of the work of the Popular Graphic Workshop is clear.
kurimanzutto presents a set of more than 60 original posters that covered the walls of Paris and Mexico City in 1968. The posters were made by students, teachers and workers in makeshift workshops—in Paris, in the classrooms and lecture halls of the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where in May alone 500,000 posters covering 400 different topics were produced.
Graphic poster art, which began as a means to disseminate images and ideas, was reinterpreted outside of the art market during 1968. Much current contemporary art combines artistic activity with political thought and social action, and such dialogues are present in exhibitions, critical texts, and artistic approaches. The context of current tendencies in contemporary art makes the posters produced in 1968 even more prescient. 50 years ago it was revolutionary for images to spread radical ideas and mobilize millions of people. The graphics presented in this exhibition are striking when considering our current global political climate.
kurimanzutto thanks Galería Caja Negra for their collaboration on this project