Politics & Posters

Atelier Populaire, Paris, May 1968. Photograph: Philippe Vermès

Paris, May 1968. Photograph: Marc Riboud

What happens when political posters from the street are then adopted by galleries and fashion houses? Rick Poynor draws the line.

Their rightful place is in the centers of conflict, that is to say in the streets and on the walls of the factories.

To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. . . .

Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an “outside” observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class.


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