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Art exhibit features posters for social change

Jan. 11, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A poster exhibit depicting the social, political and aesthetic concerns of different cultures will be on display beginning Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts on the campus of Western Michigan University.

"The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Social Justice and the Environment, 1965-2005" will be on display through Friday, Feb. 19, in the center's Monroe-Brown Gallery.

Monroe-Brown Gallery hours

  • Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: noon to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: closed

According to exhibition curators, every movement for social change in the last century has begun with the arts. Theatre, poetry and music all have been central, but political and social posters are particularly tangible reminders of struggles for peace and justice. Whether they communicate, exhort, persuade, instruct, celebrate or warn, graphic posters jar people to action through bold messages and striking iconography. In the words of Cuban poster designer Raul Martinez, they focus the issues of turbulent times by "putting a graphic face on a movement."

The posters in this exhibit have transmitted voices in the ideals, hopes and dreams of millions who dared to raise their protest or concern. They have helped empower and propel important movements for social change. Some have become icons that have changed the way we view our institutions, our world and ourselves.

The exhibit has been traveling throughout the United States since 2006. Curators include: Elizabeth Resnick, associate professor and chair of communication design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, associate professor of communication design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Frank Baseman, associate professor of graphic design communication at Philadelphia University.

Free, public lecture

Resnick will give a public lecture about the exhibit at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in Room 2008 of the Richmond Center for Visual Arts.

For more information, visit WMU's Frostic School of Art online or contact Don Desmett in the RCVA exhibitions office at donald.desmett@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2455.

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Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

WMU News
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Western Michigan University
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