Signs of Change at PNCA

GUEST POST by Abra Ancliffe.

Not too long after the invention of moveable type in Mainz, Germany in 1453, the printed multiple was used as an act of protest against the ruling class: the Catholic Church. Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing his oft-mentioned 95 Theses to the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) doors in 1546 in protest against the Catholic Church’s use of indulgences. The 95 Theses were subsequently printed by multiple presses and disseminated around Europe.

It is in this tradition of protest and activism that the amazing exhibition now on display at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now must be viewed. Curated by Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee (founder of JustSeeds) as part of Exit Art’s Curatorial Incubator Program, the exhibition brings together hundreds of protest / activist / social justice posters alongside videos, photographs and other printed ephemera from the past 50 years.  As the Exit Now website states:

Organized thematically, the exhibition presents the creative outpourings of social movements, such as those for Civil Rights and Black Power in the United States; democracy in China; anti-apartheid in Africa; squatting in Europe; environmental activism and women’s rights internationally; and the global AIDS crisis, as well as uprisings and protests, such as those for indigenous control of lands; against airport construction in Japan; and student and worker revolution in France. The exhibition also explores the development of powerful counter-cultures that evolve beyond traditional politics and create distinct aesthetics, life-styles, and social organization.

On display are a dizzying array of print processes: from spray paint stencils & relief prints carved on desk rubber-mats to offset lithographs and screenprints. The exhibition will be on view at Feldman Gallery + Project Space of Pacific Northwest College of Art (1241 N.W. Johnson St. Portland, Oregon) until March 17, 2010.

Women’s Liberation Movement, 1960’s – present, including You Should be Cannon Fodder, a lithograph made in Israel, 1990

The Palestinian Intifada, 1987- present including posters made in Israel & Palestine.

Opposition to Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968, artists unknown, relief prints.

Anti-Nuclear Movement, Groundwork: The Anti-Nukeport Stencil Project, 1989. The Stencil Project sprayed the distance to the nuclear naval base on sidewalks around Staten Island. Poster and Project by Ed Eisenberg, spray paint stencil on map.

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Categories: Exhibitions


2 Responses to “Signs of Change at PNCA”

  1. Glenn says:

    This is a pretty exciting collection of work. Also, the invention for which Gutenberg is celebrated was movable type, not the printing press.

  2. Jason Urban says:

    Fair enough, Glenn. Post edited.