Myth and Manpower: Graphics and the California Dream; California fruit box labels, United Farm Workers
Learn about the power of graphic design to communicate ideas and shape human behavior in this original and thought-provoking exhibition rooted in California history. Juxtaposing idyllic images created for selling citrus fruits against union posters created to mobilize for workers’ rights, this exhibition explores the ways in which design principles were used to influence the American consumer. Early 20th century California fruit box labels painted a mythical picture of a sun-soaked state with pristine orchards, luxurious fruit, and glamorous women. Yet not depicted on the labels were the field laborers who often worked under harsh conditions and with few rights. Seen side-by-side, California fruit box labels from 1887-1959 and United Farm Workers (UFW) posters from 1965-1998 demonstrate the power of graphic design and offer an eye-opening look at California history.
Bill Stern, guest curator, organized this exhibition for the Museum of California Design.