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Last call: SFMOMA's exhibition on the politics of posters is all the rage


FMOMA's impressive exhibition "Get with the Action" on the art of speaking the truth in the most visually revolutionary way is educating humanity.

Bursting into the public realm in the mid-1960s, the protest poster has been used all over the world to incite change and empower the voice of the people.

The "Get with the Action" exhibition presents the political poster as a powerful tool for organizing and activating communities in response to some of the most pressing issues over the past 50 years, from the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements to social justice, immigration, environmental causes, and more.

The title, taken from a screenprint by the artist and progressive activist nun Corita Kent, explores the medium of the poster as a communication device — one intended to be publically displayed, produced en masse, and often ephemeral — to inform and energize a wide audience. 

“The role of the political poster is to inform a wide audience about a pressing issue. They are made to galvanize an underlying and perhaps latent desire to act on the opportunities within a democracy and incite change where change is needed" notes Joseph Becker, SFMOMA’s associate curator of architecture and design. “The political poster is not an art form that is comfortable with ambiguity — it is a direct call to action, or at least a call to attention, of something specific and of its time. The poignancy of the work is almost explicitly in informing the uninformed, and, by extension, in rallying the informed toward a cause.”

"The art of the political poster is enduring, its origins cloudy, but from its beginning it has meant to inform, to stir an emotional reaction, to call attention to the potential for catastrophe, to elicit empathy and even fear. But at its heart, the political poster has sought to empower and give voice to the marginalized. Today’s political posters can be crass, colorful, and laden with pop culture references, but they also echo the cries of protesters from the 1960s through the 1980s, showing us that the issues of our times aren’t easily resolved and that history has a tendency to repeat itself.

I turned 18 the day after the 2016 election — how ironic, that I could finally exercise my right to vote the day after what could be the most divisive and polarizing presidential election in American history" writes Alexandra Fong

"The political posters hanging in SFMOMA’s galleries are more than works of art; they are catalysts for change. They are reminders of who we can be, of who we are, and when we stand up and fight" she adds. 

The works on view, focused on the creative output of the Bay Area and beyond, highlight the power of applied graphic design and its utility in presenting information while rallying citizens around a cause.

Curated in four rotations over nine months, each presentation of Get with the Action calls attention to SFMOMA’s commitment to graphic design and to the continually relevant, if not urgent, movements of our time.

A medium for public engagement, political posters are on the rise as activism burtsted into the international scene due to Donald Trump and the women who protested across the US last year. 

The impressive power of the poster that speaks volumes when silence is not an option is in full frame until the 17th of June

"Get with the Action: Political Posters from the 1960s to Now", San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA.