Friday, 27 April 2012

Occupy Occupy

I'm a big fan of political art, and of workers' rights, so you can probably imagine my enthusiasm for this Occupy/May Day poster.

The Americans seem so much better at underground political art than the British. Perhaps it's because socialist/class politics is so much more mainstream in the UK than the US. We're dominated by a tradition of prosaic and didactic art, and there's no real tradition of underground political art, though some places have good fly-posters. For the real thing, you've got to look to France. The US has a tradition - at least in some streets - of music posters being more artistic than informative, something I wish existed here. This poster is clearly derived from that tradition. Although I really like some of these British political posters (great exhibition), they don't appeal to the imagination, preferring to tug on familiar heart strings or to scare the voter.

This image isn't perfect: it's pretty opaque if you don't know what Occupy is, you won't learn anything. But I love the feminism, the steampunk juxtaposition of the dress and the skateboard, and the vaguely Nouveau background and the elegant Gill Sans font (or is it Johnston Sans?). It says that solidarity is cool. It's not just male miners and metal-bashers. It's not composite motions and the same dreary speeches. It's whimsical, but it's also hopeful. Over here, we've had decades of defeat as the left and the workers have been attacked as selfish dinosaurs.

What do we want in political art? More whimsy! When do we want it? Time is relative!

It's by Eric Drooker: more here.

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