Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today is a major collection of contemporary politically and socially engaged printmaking. This full-color book showcases print art that uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. Based on an art exhibition that has traveled to a dozen cities in North America, Paper Politics features artwork by over 200 international artists; an eclectic collection of work by both activist and non-activist printmakers who have felt the need to respond to the monumental trends and events of our times.
Paper Politics presents a breathtaking tour of the many modalities of printing by hand: relief, intaglio, lithography, serigraph, collagraph, monotype, and photography. In addition to these techniques, included are more traditional media used to convey political thought, finely crafted stencils and silk-screens intended for wheat pasting in the street. Artists range from the well established (Sue Coe, Swoon, Carlos Cortez) to the up-and-coming (Favianna Rodriguez, Chris Stain, Nicole Schulman), from street artists (BORF, You Are Beautiful) to rock poster makers (EMEK, Bughouse).
“Let’s face it, most collections of activist art suck. Either esthetic concerns are front and center and the politics that motivate such creation are pushed to the margin, or politics prevail and artistic quality is an afterthought. With the heart of an activist and the eye of an artist, Josh MacPhee miraculously manages to do justice to both. Paper Politics is singularly impressive.”
—Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy
“For all of those who claim that poster art is dead in the age of YouTube and Blogs, Paper Politics will wheatpaste another message over your computer monitor. This exhibition and book is a testament to the vibrant trajectory of printmaking in the service of social change, including examples of earlier movements and artists as well as the graphics popping up right now. Obscure and familiar subjects are presented with wit, joy, and searing satire, guaranteed to snap your senses and challenge your opinions. It took a village to make this show, and the world will benefit from seeing it.”
—Lincoln Cushing, author of Revolucion! Cuban Poster Art
About the Editor:
Josh MacPhee is a designer, artist, and archivist. He is a founding member of both the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative and Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements based in Brooklyn, NY (InterferenceArchive.org). MacPhee is the author and editor of numerous publications, including Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now and Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He has organized the Celebrate People’s History poster series since 1998 and has been designing book covers for many publishers for the past decade (AntumbraDesign.org). His most recent book is An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels (Common Notions, 2019), a compendium of information about political music and radical cultural production.
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