New Book Highlights People's History through Poster Art
San Francisco, California - There's a good chance that during some point in your life you've seen a Celebrate People's History poster decorating the walls of your classroom, community center or neighborhood book shop. Initiated by Josh MacPhee in 1998, this far-reaching project uses poster art to document the hidden history of social justice movements. For the first time ever, a complete set of these posters will be released as a paperback in November 2010. To kick off the West Coast premiere of Celebrate People's History: the Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution, a release party will be held in San Francisco at 7pm on Saturday November 20. Hosted by the Center for Political Education, 522 Valencia near 16th Street, the event will include a retrospective exhibit of People's History posters and a panel of Bay Area artists signing books. The event will also feature two speakers, historian Lincoln Cushing and artist Favianna Rodriguez, who will talk about the rich legacy of Bay Area printmaking.
Published by the Feminist Press and edited by Josh MacPhee with a foreword by Rebecca Solnit, Celebrate People's History reprints over 100 posters along with many new designs commissioned for this affordable, 256-page volume. A visual tour through decades and across continents, the book documents feminist organizers, civil rights leaders, indigenous uprisings, union struggles, LGBT activism and much more. According to editor Josh MacPhee, "the best way to learn history is to visualize it. These posters are a celebration of resistance and a public recognition of those who fought for freedom in the face of injustice."
Bay Area history stands out prominently in the book with tributes to the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz and the 10-year anti-eviction battle by Filipino seniors at the International Hotel. The posters also honor San Francisco's youth-led demonstrations of 2008 against immigration raids and the successful defense of Los Siete de la Raza, a group of Mission activists who were framed for the murder of a policeman in 1969.
Artistically the posters are as diverse as the topics. Screenprint, woodcut, illustration and graphic design are featured in full color. The book includes talented Bay Area printmakers Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes, Eric Drooker, Fernando Marti, and Jos Sances along with many well-known national artists such as Cristy Road, Nicole Schulman and Swoon. A seamless welding of art and politics, Celebrate People's History is sure to excite the history junkie, art enthusiast and social activist.
Josh MacPhee is the author of Stencil Pirates: a Global Study of the Street Stencil (2004) and co-editor of Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority (2007) and Reproduce and Revolt (2008). Guest speaker Lincoln Cushing is the author of Revolucion: Cuban Poster Art (2003), co-author of Chinese Posters (2007) and Agitate! Educate! Organize! (2009) and editor of Visions of Peace & Justice (2007). Guest speaker Favianna Rodriguez is the co-editor of Reproduce and Revolt, co-founder of two youth art programs, the East Side Arts Alliance and Visual Element, and the president of a bilingual design studio, Tumis Inc.