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West of CenterArt and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977$
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Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677252

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677252.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Paper Walls: Political Posters in An Age of Mass Media

Paper Walls: Political Posters in An Age of Mass Media

(p.162) Chapter 10 Paper Walls: Political Posters in An Age of Mass Media
West of Center

Tom Wilson

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the political posters that presented a dramatic and eye-catching sight across U.S. West Coast cities during the late 1960s and 1970s. Calling for a new social order and imposing themselves over the consumer advertising of the old order, political posters encapsulated concerns about the growing influence of the mass media at home as well as protesting America’s political actions abroad. The chapter begins by investigating how designers used techniques of remediation in order to practice a rhetoric of expos’. The second section shows how other posters highlight biased or unequal representations of social movements in the mainstream media and challenge the dichotomy between active creator and passive spectator by engendering dialogue between social movements. This is particularly evident in a rich cross-cultural exchange between the Black Panther movement in the United States and revolutionary organizations in Cuba. Lastly, the chapter considers how, when pasted up on the walls of the street, posters demonstrated the potential to become makeshift forums for the distribution of ideas, ripostes, and alternative readings.

Keywords:   political posters, counterculture, countercultural movement, social movements, mass media, remediation, Black Panther, revolutionary organizations, Cuba

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