Paper Politics

Socially Engaged Printmaking Today

This major collection of contemporary politically engaged printmaking showcases art that uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in conversation.

Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today is a major collection of contemporary politically and socially engaged printmaking. This full color book showcases print art that uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. Based on an art exhibition which has traveled to a dozen cities in North America, Paper Politics features artwork by over 200 international artists; an eclectic collection of work by both activist and non-activist printmakers who have felt the need to respond to the monumental trends and events of our times.

Paper Politics presents a breathtaking tour of the many modalities of printing by hand: relief, intaglio, lithography, serigraph, collagraph, monotype, and photography. In addition to these techniques, included are more traditional media used to convey political thought, finely crafted stencils and silk-screens intended for wheat pasting in the street. Artists range from the well established (Sue Coe, Swoon, Carlos Cortez) to the up-and-coming (Favianna Rodriguez, Chris Stain, Nicole Schulman), from street artists (BORF, You Are Beautiful) to rock poster makers (EMEK, Bughouse).

Let’s face it, most collections of activist art suck. Either esthetic concerns are front and center and the politics that motivate such creation are pushed to the margin, or politics prevail and artistic quality is an afterthought. With the heart of an activist and the eye of an artist, Josh
MacPhee miraculously manages to do justice to both. Paper Politics is singularly impressive.”
–Stephen Duncombe, author, Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and editor, the Cultural Resistance Reader

“For all of those who claim that poster art is dead in the age of YouTube and Blogs, Paper Politics will wheatpaste another message over your computer monitor. This exhibition and book is a testament to the vibrant trajectory of printmaking in the service of social change, including examples of earlier movements and artists as well as the graphics popping up right now. Obscure and familiar subjects are presented with wit, joy, and searing satire, guaranteed to snap your senses and challenge your opinions. It took a village to make this show, and the world will benefit from seeing it.”
–Lincoln Cushing is the author of Revolucion! Cuban Poster Art, Chronicle Books, 2003; editor of Visions of Peace & Justice: 30 years of political posters from the archives of Inkworks Press; and co-author of Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Josh MacPhee is a Brooklyn-based artist, curator, designer and activist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. His work often revolves around themes of radical politics, privatization and public space. He regularly produces posters and graphics for political groups and events, as well as to sell on Justseeds.org, a political art collective he helped found. He organizes the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series and is often in front of his computer designing books for PM Press.

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