Graphic Liberation: Perspectives on Image Making and Political Movements

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    Josh MacPhee

    Publisher: Common Notions

    Year: 2024

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 340 pages

    ISBN: 9781942173878

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From the fight against the AIDS crisis to the struggle for Black liberation and international solidarity, Graphic Liberation! digs deep into the history, present, and future of revolutionary political image making.

What is the role of image and aesthetic in revolution? Through a series of interviews with some of the most accomplished designers, Josh MacPhee charts the importance of revolutionary aesthetics from the struggle for abolition by Black Panthers, the agitation during the AIDS crisis from ACT-UP, the fight against apartheid in South Africa and Palestine, as well as everyday organizing against nuclear power, for housing, and international solidarity in Germany, Japan, China, and beyond.

In twelve interviews, political designer and street artist Josh MacPhee talks to decorated graphic designers such as Avram Finkelstein, Emory Douglas, and more, focussing on each of their contributions to the field of political graphics, their relationships to social movements and political organizing, the history of political image making, and issues arising from reproduction and copyright.

About the Author

Josh MacPhee has created a composite work life that merges elements of designer, artist, author, historian, and archivist. He is a founding member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative (Justseeds.org), the author of An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels, and coeditor of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He cofounded and helps run Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements (InterferenceArchive.org). He regularly works with community and social justice organizations building agit-prop and consulting on cultural strategy. work.

Interviewees

Avram Finkelstein is a US designer from Silence=Death Project, Gran Fury, ACT UP.

Alison Alder is an Australia-based printmaker, member of Redback Grafix, and founder of Megalo print studio.

Emory Douglas is former revolutionary artist and designer for the Black Panther Party.

Melanie Cervantes is a Chicanx printmaker in the Bay Area, member of Dignidad Rebelde with Jesus Barraza, and a member of Justseeds Artists Cooperative.

Jesus Barraza is a Chicanx printmaker in the Bay Area, member of Dignidad Rebelde with Melanie Cervantes, and a member of Justseeds Artists Cooperative.

Daniel Drennan ElAwar is founder of Jamaa Al-Yad graphics collective in Beirut, Lebanon.

Tomie Arai is an early member of Basement Workshop, the first political cultural space in NYC Chinatown in the 1970s, and a member of Godzilla, Asian-American arts collective.

Sandy Kaltenborn is cofounder of Kotti & Co. housing initiative in Berlin and image-shift studio.

Judy Seidman is a longtime South African arts organizer, activist, and member of Medu Arts Ensemble.

A3BC Collective is an antinuclear-antimilitarist block making collective in Tokyo, Japan.

Tings Chak is based in China and is the art director of the new Tricontinental.

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