Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Kinder, Gentler, Carpet Bombing
1990 (Pre-U.S. invasion of Iraq)
Xerox, 11.25 x 10.125
Collections: United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Using an amended quote from George H.W. Bush’s nomination acceptance speech in 1988, this poster predates the first American invasion of Iraq in 1991.

The “GTO” designation in the lower right-hand corner is an abbreviation for Graphic Terrorist Organization, a name suggested by Seattle designer Art Chantry.

This poster is included in the 2013–2015 exhibition “Drawn to Action: Posters from the AIGA Design Archives” at the Denver Art Museum.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

End Pollution: Bomb the Pentagon
1991 (Post-U.S./Iraq War)
Screen print on corrugated cardboard, 24 x 36
Printed at Wasserman Silk Screen and Acme Screen Printing
Collections: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

The pollution in the title is both literal and moral. What degradations to our environment—or our democratic values—are acceptable in the interest of national security?

You can read more about this poster on my blog.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Cover Your Head
1992
Screen print on archival rag, 26 x 31
Printed by Wasserman Silk Screen Co.
Collections: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

I originally designed this safe-sex poster for ACTUP!NY but the design was rejected.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Elvis Ain’t King
1992
Screen print on rag paper, 39 x 19.25
Printed by Wasserman Silk Screen Co.
Collections: United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

A response to the 1991 Rodney King beating and subsequent acquittal of the four L.A.P.D. officers responsible. The title is a reference to both Rodney and Martin Luther King, as well as to the Public Enemy lyric from “Fight the Power:” “Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant shit to me.” The glyph on the left half of the poster signifies division.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Tricky Ollie
1998 (second version)
Screen print on chipboard, 19 x 28.25
Printed by Mick Amaral at Acme Screen Printing
Collections: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. (The original, 1994 xerox version of this design is in the AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum.)

Designed to oppose Oliver North’s U.S. Senate bid in 1994, this poster fuses North with an earlier Republican who considered himself above the law, Richard Nixon. (Nixon was famously known as “Tricky Dick.”)

This poster is included in the 2013–2015 exhibition “Drawn to Action: Posters from the AIGA Design Archives” at the Denver Art Museum.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Shredded Ollie
1998 (second version)
Letterpress, 22.75 x 14.875
Printed by Hatch Show Print
Collection: The original, 1994 xerox version of this design is in the AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum

North is infamous for, among other ethical lapses, shredding documents sought by Congress during their investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Republican Contract on America
1995
Screen print on chipboard, 24 x 24
Printed by Mick Amaral at Acme Screen Printing
Collections: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

A quote by Nazi Hermann Göring is used to highlight the anti-intellectual, anti-cultural stance of the Republican-controlled 104th U.S. Congress.

Ralph Reed (formerly of the Christian Coalition) controls the chamber; Newt Gingrich is the hammer; Bob Packwood—at the time under investigation for sexual misconduct—is the grip; Jesse Helms is the trigger. There is no sight.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Enigma
1997
Screen print on Simpson Starwhite Vicksburg, 24 x 36
Printed by Mick Amaral at Acme Screen Printing
Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

I was invited to design a poster for an AIGA Colorado event with the theme of literacy. The design uses a map with all of the place-names crossed out as a metaphor for illiteracy, the idea being that one is lost without the ability to read.

The word ENIGMA—constructed from both letters and numerals—is an allusion to the mystery of language and our symbol system that attempts to codify it.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

howiloveya
1998
Screen print on various newspapers, approximately 23 x 13.625
Printed by Mick Amaral at Acme Screen Printing
Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in 1928, one year after Al Jolson’s talkie “The Jazz Singer” was released. The similarities between Mickey and white blackface performers such as Jolson are striking.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

The Great Seal (after El Lissitsky)
1998
Screen print on Simpson Starwhite Vicksburg, 20 x 25.5
Printed by Kevin Giffen at Wranch Studios
Collections: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

A mélange of imperial symbols: the bald eagle from the U.S. one dollar bill with the Czarist double-headed eagle, decapitated by El Lissitsky in 1923.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

The Great Sale
1998
Screen print on kraft shopping bag, 16 x 19
Printed by Kevin Giffen at Wranch Studios
Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The Great Seal goes shopping.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Names of the Dead (Vote)
2004
Digital print, 53.875 x 48.75

I was one of six local designers asked to create a poster for an AIGA San Francisco project aimed at increasing voter turnout in November, 2004. Posters in this series were placed in JCDecaux advertising kiosks along Market Street in downtown San Francisco.

The concept is simple: the word VOTE must be read through a soldier’s obituary as listed in the newspaper.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Patriotism
2002
Screen print on dollar bill, approximately 6.125 x 2.625
Printed by Mick Amaral at Acme Screen Printing
Collection: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

A response to George W. Bush’s suggestion that patriotic Americans go shopping after 9/11.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

War For Sale
2002
Epson print, 10 x 14

Displayed in my car, this auto placard notes George W. Bush’s efforts to sell the Iraq war to Americans. “From a marketing point of view,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., White House chief of staff, “you don’t introduce new products in August.” The Bush administration launched the war six months later.

Agitprop, 1990–2014

Agitprop, 1990–2014

1958 (Peace)
2014
Offset lithography, 10 x 10

To celebrate the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ centennial, the AIGA asked 100 designers to create “a piece of artwork that makes a social, political or cultural statement about one year from AIGA’s history.”

I chose the year 1958 so I could work with Gerald Holtom’s timeless symbol for Nuclear Disarmament—what would eventually become known as the “Peace Sign.” As this mark has long been appropriated for commercial purposes—one can buy Baby Gap clothes emblazoned with the symbol—it has lost its primary meaning and urgency as a sign. My intention was to remind folks of the symbol’s original meaning and hopefully reintroduce to it qualities of urgency and even threat.