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Celebrate! Celebrate? The Politics and Tactics of Visualizing a People’s History

December 13, 2009

“Celebrate! Celebrate?” features four different poster series that visualize various people’s history and invites the viewer to contemplate the politics and the tactics of graphically celebrating people and events from the past. Significantly, how do these images operate? Do the images affirm our struggles, inspire, teach, and critique? Do they simplify history and rob struggles of their complexities? Do they accomplish both? The show invites these questions, varied opinions, historical context, and more.


Where: Mess Hall, 6932 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL, Morse CTA Red Line Train Stop
When: Now through January during Mess Hall events. Check Mess Hall website for times when Mess Hall is open. People’s history talk and critique of graphics to take place in mid January. Time tba

Featured work:
“Summoning A New Queer Reality” is a collection of prints featuring queer revolutionaries, tricksters, activists, and troublemakers from the contemporary era and the recent past, all of whom have helped make the world a weirder, more beautiful, and safer place. The series was conceptualized and edited by the organizers of Chances Dances, an LGBTQ DJ crew, artist/activist platform, and microgrant foundation, and was drawn and printed by Aay Preston-Myint at the No Coast Collective studio in Chicago, IL.
“Celebrate People’s History” is an on-going poster series curated by the Brooklyn-based artist/activist Josh MacPhee. The Celebrate People’s History poster project began in 1998 and has produced over 50 two-color posters by different artists that each highlights an historical example of popular struggle and resistance. The posters have been put up in the streets around the world, appeared as postcards, and have been displayed in homes and classrooms as a teaching tool. The series is distributed by the Justseeds Artist’s Cooperative.
“Whacked Ladies: Female Victims of Political Assassination” is a print series by Milwaukee-based artist Makeal Flammini. The 21 woodcuts and papercuts focus on women from around the world who have been assassinated or murdered for various political, social, and religious reasons.
“Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas” are images from an upcoming 2010 book on Microcosm Press by the Justseeds Artist’s Cooperative. The book is aimed at a high school audience and features black-and-white illustrations and short text celebrating various individuals from the Americas who worked for social justice.







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One comment on “Celebrate! Celebrate? The Politics and Tactics of Visualizing a People’s History”

All those posters and cards are very artistic. I am sorry that the “Whacked Ladies: Female Victims of Political Assassination” are not larger, to see them better.