Thursday, April 7, 2011


Propaganda art by William Groshelle (C).  All rights reserved.
Back in 2007-2008 there was a massive poster art traveling exhibition called "Propaganda III" that caused quite a stir.  Why am I writing about it in 2011?  Because it is still relevant, and I only started this blog in December of 2010.  Although most of the work could be considered "leftist," the promoters of the exhibit, START SOMA, have stated that all political viewpoints, be they left, right, or center, were displayed side-by-side, both online and in the series of world exhibitions.


None of the art was sold at any of the shows, although copies of the posters may still be available for sale through the websites of many of the participating artists. This was not a commercial art show, but rather a celebration of free speech and freedom of expression.  According to START SOMA, there has been no curation and absolutely no censorship of any sort - every submitted poster was included in the exhibition with no exceptions.

Artist Von Glitschka of Salem, Oregon, whose work was in "Propaganda III," writes in his blog ART BACKWASH, "One thing about propaganda art is that it seemingly never celebrates that which is good. As far as I can tell (and I may be wrong in this assumption) all the art done under the umbrella of propaganda tends to be highlighting the negative in regards to politics, social issues and the like."

"Propaganda III" exhibition opening in San Francisco (2007).
The Shield of Achilles blog writes, "What you have is a bizarre mix of neo-communists, historical revisionists, anti-Semites, Iranian propagandists, anarchists, 9/11 'truthers,' and the 'peace at any price' crowd ...It's ironic that only in a truly free country like ours can so much hatred be openly displayed. Due to various hate-crime laws, even most Western European nations would probably not allow an exhibition like this."

Cam BsAs (C) from Argentina.  All rights reserved.
Nightvibe (San Francisco edition) said, "The bold, striking graphic artworks depict many a struggle for justice, freedom, and peace, and the collection appeals to a diverse set of viewpoints and a wide range of emotions. The journey across time and space found in the collection of posters gives the Fourth of July holiday more context and will broaden your perspective."

Functional Ambivalent writes, "You won't agree with a lot of it. If you're like me, you won't even understand a lot of it. But the visual and graphic palette on display is stunning. It's like a primer in what's going on in the design and art world today."

Nicholas Lampert (C) from USA.  All rights reserved.
Dog Opus Blog writes, "It’s an Islamic terrorist-hugging, free and pluralistic state-hating explosion of impotent useful idiot fury. It’s San Francisco’s special way of celebrating our nation’s independence with an Anti-American July 4th...Incidentally, these clowns somehow don’t see that this sort of spectacle would be shut down with any number of violent, repressive methods in the countries they cheer lead for from here..."

Rhizome writes, "one of the most powerful tools of grassroots communication has remained essentially provincial: Printed on paper and affixed to walls with wheat paste, the propaganda poster is a medium made to stay in place. "Propaganda III" effectively questions this role by proposing a hybrid future for poster art that relies on the global reach of photo-sharing website Flickr and the universal availability of ink-jet printers..."

Art Spiegelman (C) of USA.  All rights reserved.
 Additionally, Dog Opus Blog wrote, "while there is certainly some loony Western civilization-hating subject matter of dubious design value, there is also some truly stunning, and ethically/politically centered, design work to be seen."

Taber Calderon (C) of USA.  All rights reserved.
What's good about "Propaganda III" is that art critical of the U.S. is being created and put on exhibit.  Whether or not you like it, you can see it in public and either criticize it or applaud it publicly without fear of arrest or worse.  Dissent has always been a part of our history and heritage and should never be censored.

Aiden Hughes (C) of United Kingdom.  All rights reserved.
Copyright Eric Brothers (C) 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

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