Last year my friend Zoeann Murphy and I organized a show of 40 contemporary labor posters called Graphic Work: Imaging Today’s Labor Movement. The Workforce Development Institute (WDI) in Troy, NY is trying to find more venues to hang this show, as well as distribute copies of six of the posters we did large-scale offset print runs of. Below is a letter from Teri Jones of WDI. Give it a read, and if you can think of any venues that might be interested in displaying the exhibition, drop her a line! If you are at a workers center, community center, union hall, etc., also get in touch with her to get copies of the posters to hang in your space!:
The American labor movement has an amazing history of graphic production, creating some of the most effective political images in the history of this country. However, work and workers, along with the labor movement, are often depicted as experiences of the American past: paintings of Joe Hill, photographs from the early1900s of children working in factories, historic strikes and Rosie the Riveter.
Today’s workforce looks dramatically different from the majority of images used to depict labor. To address this issue we asked innovative artists to create posters that depict contemporary jobs, the people that do them and the issues workers now face.
What we found was startling. Most young politically engaged people don’t realize the American labor movement still exists and, if they do, they have little or no relationship to it. We found that now, more than ever, it is important to create new images of labor.
Graphic Work: Imaging Today’s Labor Movement is an exhibit of poster designs curated by Josh MacPhee and Zoeann Murphy. It was sponsored by the Workforce Development Institute, Bread and Roses Cultural Project ll99SEIU, and JustSeeds.org. The posters comprise a beautiful beginning to a new wave of labor art.
We invite you to participate in the dialogue about today’s workers and the issues they face by displaying Graphic Work posters in public spaces.
There are sets of six 19”x25” posters available free of charge, as well as the opportunity to host an exhibit of all 40 pieces. You can view more posters at http://wdiny.org/unseenamericaposters.html and contact me any time for free poster sets or information on organizing an exhibit.
Cultural Program Assistant
Workforce Development Institute
24 Fourth Street
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 272-3500 x121
[poster above by Art Hazelwood.]