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Contents

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INTRODUCTION

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HISTORY

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COUNTER-CULTURE

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DESIGN & PROTEST

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CONFERENCE AT A GLANCE

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The ‘underground press’ died out more than 40 years ago. Yet it lives on, thanks to a spate of recent books published. There was 200 Trips from the Counterculture  (2006);  On the Ground  (2011); and  Sex Press (reviewed in Eye 84). The latest, Power to the People, is the one with the largest helping of visual material. Yet there is still much more to see. ¶ Omissions are inevitable, since reportedly 800 different underground newspaper titles were published in the US alone, most of them on newsprint, and many of them obscure. Kaplan must be forgiven for missing some key publications, while praised for including

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some very rare important ones, like Ed Sanders’ Fuck You / A Magazine of the Arts, a hand-scrawled mimeographed revue that bridged Beat and hippie generations. Kaplan also has many of the touchstones, such as  Other Scenes,  The Oracle,  Rat,  Berkeley Barb, Good Times, The Realist, The Seed, the Whole Earth Catalog  – and the list goes on. ¶ The inclusion of a few I’d never seen before, such as the lesbian  Amazon Quarterly, the  Screw-like  The Organ, and the  People’s Computer Company  and  Radical Software  (the last two from the early 1970s prefiguring the hacking movement) are very tasty treats.

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counter-culture ¶ By the end of the 1990s, a new phenomenon began to emerge. With the rise of a global movement against neoliberalism, sparked in 1994 by the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico & culminating in massive protests between 1999 and 2001 in Seatde, Genoa, Athens, & others, subcultures stand poised to challenge the status quo & realize an alternative political vision of transformation. Sometimes called a “movement of movements” the anti-glo- ¶ The first, albeit short-lived, theoretical balization movement has produced a sea attempt to understand this phenomechange in the interaction of subcultures. non was through the idea of “post-sub-

“MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS”

They have begun to drop historical feuds cultures.” Post-subcultural theory was

and rigid stylistic barriers to work, and a reaction against the dominant paralearn, together. (Admittedly, this learning digm set by the Birmingham Center for process is not without contradiction, as Contemporary Cultural Studies, and the spontaneity and energy of youth par- was instead influenced far more by the

ticipants continues to be policed by ad- pioneering work of sociologist Pierre vocates of “professional,” that is, bureau- Bourdieu and to some extent post-struccratic, activism.) ¶ This sea change was turalism. ¶ As explained in The Post-Submade possible by the transformation of cultures Reader, these new theorists resubcultures toward a culture and politics jected the CCCS dogma that posited the of fusion and heterogeneity. While stylis- “unfolding and subsequent swift demise tic blockages of social semantic resources of a succession of discrete, clearly identiare still an important part of resistance to fiable youth subcultures” and focused on the global corporate elite and their ideo- the “sheer diversity and plurality of curlogical stranglehold on mass media, sub- rent (sub)cultural styles, forms and praccultures are now a genuine political force. tices” of the modern era.

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PARIS STUDENT RIOTS 1968

May 1968: On that day, students occupied the Sorbonne buildings, converting it into a commune, and striking workers and students protested in the Paris streets. During the next few days, the unrest spread to other French universities, and labor strikes rolled across the country, eventually involving several million workers and paralyzing France. Prime Minister Pompidou negotiated with union leaders, making a num-


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ber of concessions, but failed to end the strike. Radical students openly called for revolution but lost the support of mainstream communist and trade union leaders, who feared that they, like the Gaullist establishment, would be swept away in a revolution led by anarchists and Trotskyites. On May 30, President de Gaulle went on the radio and announced that he was dissolving the National Assembly and calling national elections. In the aftermath of the May events, de


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Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican January 13, 2013

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Much of the attraction of subcultures comes from the possibility they offer for reimagining social landscapes. Far distant from the prevailing norm of society, subcultural practices disrupt its smooth exploitative and demeaning workings. Punks, beats, metalheads, hippies, & others have found on the margins a space of authentic transformation & autonomy, offering to the world a critique of its hypocritical patterns. Hebdige’s analysis of the “noise” produced served as fertile ground for trendspotters by subcultures has deeply influenced the ready to bring the newest style to market. field of cultural studies; yet, it also runs ¶ Stability is also a problem: disobedient the risk of overestimating the value of se- individuals may abandon the difficult projmantic as opposed to social innovation. ect of social transformation for mere sig¶ The signifying behaviors embedded in nifying practices. They all too often glide subcultures have often been sufficiently smoothly back into the dominant culture transparent to make them readily avail- once their years of butting heads with auable for appropriation; subcultures have thority become tiresome.

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pavés, la plage! REBEL/REBEL

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¶ The loss of the conceptual framework of “discrete” and “identifiable” subcultures does not mean that certain general categories aren’t still readily available, so long as we approach them with care. Punk remains the prototypical subculture, with an influential anti-capitalist, do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos that has enabled it to spread throughout the globe, influenced at every step by local cultures, music, and polidcal needs. But the essays included in The Post-Subcultures Reader include: DIY protest cultures, techno tribes. Modern Primitives, Latino gangs, new-wave metallers, net.goths, and many more. Nonetheless, the significance of punk for thinking through the politics of subcultural resistance remains strong. ¶ This can, no doubt, be traced to some extent back not only to Hebdige’s continuing influence, but also to works such as Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces, which connects punk to the theory and practice of the surrealist-inspired Situationist In-

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ternational (remembered for their use of rocks to fend off police in Paris in May 1968, with the slogan, “under thepaving stones, the beach!”), or George McKay’s Senseless Acts of Beauty, which looks closely at the punk band Crass and its impact on British politics. ¶ Post-subcultural studies as a coherent discourse appears to have been a passing fad. Its insights still remain strong. One of today’s tasks is to identify and analyze, in the fluid forms of youth culture and subculture, the basis for a global movement in support of economic, political, and intellectual freedom. After all, the underlying goals of today’s youth are not so different from what they were at the dawn of the 1960s Cultural Revolution.

UNDER THE PAVING STONES, THE BEACH!

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¶ Inspired by Malcolm X’s edict of “self-respect, self-defense, and self-determination,” the Black Panther movement germinated as an arts initiative, the Black Communications Project, which aimed to bring black theater, poetry, and music events to college campuses.The Panthers saw militancy as the sole response to the way the U.S. government ignored or compromised the human and civil rights of the black community. Over time, it moved toward addressing more pragmatic community needs, instituting health care, sages of righteousness, indignation, and education, and food programs while still hope to an audience with varying degrees spreading awareness of government ac- of literacy. ¶ Douglas’ Revolutionary Posttivities. Emory Douglas—the movement’s ers offers a multi-level example of his earMinister of Culture—was responsible ly work: designed by him, this newspaper for the Panthers’ visual communications advertisement functions as a combinaplatform. ¶ Introduced to printing and tion sampler/order form for eight of his design during a teenage stint at a juve- posters, all for sale (“$1.00 each”) to raise nile facility and trained in commercial art money for the party. Douglas used any at City College of San Francisco, Doug- means at hand—rub-on type, typewriter, las worked to unite the Panther mem- pen and ink—to create these images of bership—to align competing objectives Black Panther leaders and the people they and get everyone on the same page via represented. Here, he arranges them not emotionally rousing visual mission state- by a grid but by a what-fits-where strategy. ments. Working with the organization ¶ Continuing his design work with social from 1967 until the end of the seventies, and political vigilance into the seventies, Douglas created hundreds of posters and Douglas went on producing powerful and a weekly newspaper that brought mes- compelling graphic communications for

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the Black Panthers. Throughout his ca- while radicalizing the “brothers and sisreer, the scope of his work reflected the ters” of Oakland into a state of raised conshifting concerns of the Panther move- sciousness that would, in turn, strengthen ment: his subject matter ranged from im- the Panther mandate. ¶ Douglas’s oeuvre ages of police aggression and activists in was that of a “revolutionary artist,” an combat poses to lovingly dignified por- identity the Panther leadership declared for him and one that artist Sam Durant acknowledges in comparing Douglas to the Russian Constructivists, artists and designers committed to social and political reform. With a goal of ending “global capitalism and imperialism,” the Panthers saw themselves as aligned with a worldwide revolutionary movement that equated U.S. government–mandated aggression at home, against its black community, with U.S. aggression overseas in Vietnam. “Peace with honor” quotes a 1968 Richard Nixon campaign promise; once elected president, he intensified American involvement in the war.

traits of people in the black community.

Emory Douglas

¶ Wheat-pasted around the streets, his posters were intended to spread awareness about Black Panther social initiatives

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RESIST RESIST RESIST

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Culture is a form of resistance. REBEL/REBEL

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subvert culture

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“BIG FIVE”

We see uncanny convergences and transitions in the 1960s, leaps from one practice to another and alliances among key players. John Van Hamersveld embodies this sor t of mobilit y, starting with the iconic surf graphics he created early in the decade that fed a national craving for Southern California cool. His surfer, artist buddy Rick Griffin headed north to the Haight-Ashbury scene and became one of the legendary “Big Five” designers of psychedelic posters. ¶ Van Hamersveld would visit Griffin in San Francisco

and there he met Victor Moscoso, an- director Ed Thrasher to design projects other of the “Big Five,” with whom including an album cover for the West he collaborated on a poster advertis- Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. The ing a Who and Fleetwood Mac concert bottom line: California graphic design of arranged by Van Hamersveld’s new, L.A.- the sixties leaped and surged across all based company, Pinnacle Productions. sort of divides. It was produced by every¶ In another tangent, Van Hamersveld one and for everyone, during a decade of initiated the creation of the light-show revolution and revelation, and its influproduction team Single Wing Turquoise ence continues to reverberate across the Bird. And as if that weren’t enough, he rich visual landscape. collaborated with Warner Brothers art

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CHICAGO RIOTS

1968

The 1968 Chicago riots, in the U.S., were sparked in part by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. King was shot while standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, at 6:01 pm. Violence and chaos followed, with blacks flooding out onto the streets of major cities. Soon riots began, primarily in black urban areas. Rioters and police in Chicago were particularly aggressive, and the damage was severe. Of the 39 people who died in the nationwide


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disturbances, 34 were black. Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. experienced some of the worst riots following King’s assassination. In Chicago itself, more than 48 hours of rioting left 11 Chicago citizens dead, 48 wounded by police gunfire, 90 policemen injured, and 2,150 people arrested. Two miles of Austin on West Madison Street were left in a state of rubble.


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Playwright Tony Kushner’s foreword to “The Design of Dissent,” Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic’s book about protest graphics, reads like an adventure novel. Kushner, a master storyteller, quotes another master—Stendhal—to present a fascinating tale of a late-18th century political cartoon that inspired action against an oppressor. ¶ But the history of the protest graphic is even older, they have been used to educate, agitate and inspire every movement for social change since the Protestant Reformation. Issues may change over the years and across continents, but political graphics are still the dissenter’s tool of choice. And despite the many technologically advanced ways to create and distribute images today, protest posters remain a functional and popular form of dissent throughout the world precisely because they are low-cost, low-tech and relatively easy to disseminate. ¶ Kushner’s essay should be read by anyone wanting to understand the power and many countries, cultures and conflicts. In purpose of the political poster. He iden- addition to the traditional poster format, tifies three characteristics of successful the authors have included magazine and graphic dissent: “It is shocking, it is clever book covers, buttons, comic strips, color-- even funny in a grim sort of way -- and ing books, murals, billboards, fliers, stenits meaning is instantly intelligible. And cils, stickers, T-shirts, invitations, logos, perhaps it shares one other characteristic: advertisements, inflatable sculptures and It is, or at least it seems to be, samizsdat, even condom packaging. ¶ Although the dangerous, forbidden.” ¶ While not all graphics span the period from the 1960s the graphics presented in “The Design of to the present, 90% were produced afDissent” possess these qualities, enough ter 1990, and more than half since 2000, do to make it a compelling collection of making this a significant collection of visual protest. More than 350 images by early-21st century political design. 240 artists cover graphic dissent from

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FORM & CONTENT 24

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FORM & CONTENT

Steven Heller, whose interview with Gla- is a distinction made between graphic deser is included in the book, is art director signers and artists, but it is never defined or of the New York Times Book Review and discussed; because the book contains work has written many books on the history of by both, these differences are obfuscated. ¶ graphic design. Heller and Glaser’s discus- Other problematic questions arise, includsion leaves one exhilarated and frustrated: ing how images were selected, as Glaser Ideas are thrown out and interesting tan- and Ilic never explain their criteria. More gents develop, but only one is followed. artists represented here are from the forThe conversation touches on, but never mer Yugoslavia than Africa and the rest of develops, the critical connection between Europe combined, and although more than aesthetics and message, form and content. half the artists are from the U.S., only a few When Glaser points out that the work of from the important tradition of Chicano amateurs is often as powerful as that of printmaking are included. The book is also professionals, Heller asks an important and hard to use as a reference tool: There’s an fascinating question: What does the profes- alphabetical list of contributors, but it has sional designer bring to the party that the no page numbers to facilitate finding their amateur cannot? ¶ Not only is this query work. ¶ Given that this book is by promnever answered, but the two well-known inent graphic designers, it will probably Vietnam War protest posters cited as ex- become a standard reference on protest amples of works produced by “amateurs” graphics. This makes the many errors all — “Q: And Babies? A: And Babies” (by Ir- the more unfortunate. For example, “War Is ving Petlin and Jon Hendricks) and “War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things” was the logo for the organization Things” (by Lorraine Schneider) — were Another Mother for Peace, not Mothers’ in fact designed by art professionals. There Mobilization for Peace.

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silence = death

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That slogan — black and white with a pink triangle — presaged the formation of the radical AIDS advocacy group ACT UP. The slogan helped change the way the world looked at AIDS. At one point, Silence=Death was the most powerful protest slogan around. It became an iconic backdrop to the group’s chant for “ACT UP, FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS!” 26

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PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST

Shortly after Ohio National Guardsmen shot & killed four students at Kent State University in 1970, prompting demonstrations nationwide, activists joined forces in Berkeley, California. Their goal was to use art as a protest weapon. The Berkeley Political Poster Workshop quickly began churning out silkscreen prints that embodied the outrage against the perverse politics of the day, creating an estimated 50,000 posters using 600 individual designs, few of which remain today. It was graphic design that helped shape one of the most influential activist movements of the 20th century. They existed for only a short time, but they made a huge impact.

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WEAPON WEAPON

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¶ “The Workshop was as ephemeral as

lective effort of artists rallying against the

its products and probably lasted only for

injustices of the time. “They are melody,

a month or two,” says Carl Williams, the

not single notes,” Williams says. ¶ And at

rare book dealer and specialist in protest

the time, they were one of the few means

material who purchased the poster collec- protesters had for disseminating information from the late Peter Howard, owner

tion. “I like to think the posters changed

of Serendipity books, Berkeley California. a lot of minds, that they helped end the “It was characterized by a heartfelt out- war,” artist Robin Repp, whose work is in pouring of largely vernacular signs and

the show, told the Guardian. “It’s not like

symbols by amateurs under the guidance

today, where you can post something on

of Malaquias Montoya, the great propa- Facebook and have it go viral. It was much ganda grafista and the founding father of

harder to get our ideas out. So posters

Bay Area Chicano serigraphy who had re- were a really strong way of getting your cently graduated with a B.A. in Art from

message heard.”

Berkeley in 1970.” ¶ While the individual posters feature evocative graphics—like a pixelated gun, a flag composed of bomber plans and rifles, and a nod to a particularly macabre Goya painting—and slogans, their impact is best understood as a colREBEL/REBEL

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STONEWALL RIOTS 1969

June 28, 1969: When police raided Stonewall Inn on the morning of June 28, it came as a surprise—the bar wasn’t tipped off this time. Armed with a warrant, police officers entered the club, roughed up patrons, and, finding bootlegged alcohol, arrested 13 people, including employees and people violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute. Fed up with constant police harassment and social discrimination, angry patrons and neighborhood residents hung around outside of the bar


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rather than disperse, becoming increasingly agitated as the events unfolded and people were aggressively manhandled. At one point, an officer hit a lesbian over the head as he forced her into the paddy wagon — she shouted to onlookers to act, inciting the crowd to begin throw pennies, bottles, cobble stones, and other objects at the police. Within minutes, a full-blown riot involving hundreds of people began.


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A protest graphic must be immediately understood; & as soon as the time or place changes, explanations often become necessary. Nothing in the “Q: And Babies?” poster stated that it was about the My Lai massacre committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam—that wasn’t necessary when the poster came out, because the story was headline news. Thirty-five years later, it needs an explanation. ¶ But in Favianna Rodriguez’s “Hermano Kyung Hae Lee,” only the anti-World Trade Organization statement taken directly from the poster is cited, and there is no date given. To understand this poster, it is important to know that Rodriguez produced it in 2003, one month after a 50-year-old South Korean farmer died of stab wounds to the chest that were self-inflicted as a protest of WTO policies. ¶ Despite its flaws, “The Design of Dis- old issues, such as using the threat of mad sent” reveals the power of political graph- cow disease to promote vegetarianism. ¶ ics. Although the book focuses on con- Transitions are often seamless, with the temporary graphics, by including earlier iconography of the last graphic in a chapexamples the authors make the point that ter frequently paralleling the first image some issues—such as peace and equal- in the next; this illustrates how a single ity—inspire political graphics that span poster can speak to multiple issues and borders and generations. Other topics, as how the same image can be used in more reflected in posters on communism or the than one context. This is especially dragraphic commentaries on the 2000 and matic in the first and second chapters: 2004 U.S. presidential elections, are very The last poster in Chapter 1 (“Commutime- and place-specific. New issues in- nism”) and the first in Chapter 2 (“Palesclude opposition to genetically modified tine and Israel”) both use Michelangelo’s food; there are also fresh approaches to Pieta to make their points.

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truth is power

It is a powerful nonviolent challenge to injustice and unbridled totalitarian forces, often perpetuated by government, sometimes not, Sir Thomas More did it at the cost of his life when he spoke truth to power against King Henry VIII; Martin Luther King Jr. did it at the cost of his freedom when he ended up in the Birmingham jail and eventually at the cost of his life.

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PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST

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In the first poster, “Hommage a Romania” tiques the occupation by and the practicby Peter Pocs (1989), the only alteration es of the Israeli military. Documentary to the sculpture is the Romanian flag photographs are central to Tartakover’s

tied around the elbow of the dead Christ. work, and he combines grainy or pixilated

Rebecca Rapp more dramatically trans- images with text and hand-drawn graphforms the Pieta in “Israeli Law Enforce- ics to criticize Israeli military actions for ment” (2003) by replacing the sculpted audiences at home and elsewhere. ¶ “Pain” Christ with a photograph of a dead Pales- (1989) shows a young Palestinian girl who tinian youth and framing the piece with lost an eye to an Israeli rubber bullet; the blood red paint. ¶ In fact, “Palestine and poster was created for a group of Israelis Israel” is one of the most provocative who refused to perform military service chapters in the book. Although it includes in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian terriworks from the United States, Poland, tories and who appealed to others to do Turkey and Iran, the three Israeli artists the same. In “Childhood Is Not Child’s represented reflect the greatest ideologi- Play!” (1998), Tartakover incorporates cal diversity, and they use their graphics the official statement issued by the Israeli to provide a powerful insight into the Defense Forces, which expresses sadness divisions in Israeli society regarding the over a 6-year-old Palestinian boy’s death, ongoing occupation of Palestinian terri- but goes on to explain that he was killed tories. Half the works in this section were according to regulation. He superimcreated by two prolific and prize-win- posed the statement over a photo of the ning Israeli designers, David Tartakover child, taken while he was alive, and drew and Yossi Lemel, whose hard-hitting, and cross hairs in red—the only color in the often self-produced, posters are in col- poster—across his chest. lections all over Europe but are rarely exhibited in the U.S. ¶ Tartakover won the 2002 Israel Prize Laureate for Design, the most important design award in that country. His work uncompromisingly cri-

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Silence will not protect you.


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RIOT RIOT RIOT

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BLACK CAT PROTEST 1968

The Black Cat Tavern was an LGBT bar located at 3909 West Sunset Boulevard in the Sunset Junction neighborhood of the Silver Lake district in Los Angeles, California. It was the site of one of the first riots in the United States protesting police harassment of LGBT people, and it preceded the Stonewall riots by over two years. Moreover, the police raids and the subsequent protests at the Black Cat Tavern can be understood within the spatial and temporal context of the Sunset Strip curfew riots that


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took place during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Individuals protesting police raids spawned by homophobic sentiment were urged by speakers to make a “[...] unified community stand in Silver Lake against police brutality.�[4] In other words, the riot at the Black Cat Tavern became a platform to discuss intersectional issues relating to the criminal justice system.


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New Norm Type Conference at a glance

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SPEAKERS—Leine Morley, Art Chantry, Jamie Reid

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SPEAKERS—Andrea Dworking, Pru Stevenson

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SPEAKERS—Jonathan Barnbrook, David Carson

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SPEAKERS—Arturo Vega, Neville Brody

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SPEAKERS—Stefan Sagmeister & Jessica Walsh

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MUSEUM TOUR / FILM SHOWING

TRIGGER: GENDER AS A TOOL & A WEAPON

GRAPHIC PROTEST: USING IMAGES & IDEOLOGY

“THE DESIGN OF DISSENT” DISCUSSION

SKY ROOM COCKTAIL SEND-OFF

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E RY

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THE NEW MUSEUM

THE NEW MUSEUM 235 Bowery New York, NY 10002

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f5

Gallery 3

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f4

Gallery 2

Education

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f2

Lobby

Gallery 1

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Theater

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A riot is the language of the unheard. REBEL/REBEL

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DESIGNED Gabby Skinner

TYPEFACES Freight Text Pro Maison Neue Grifo

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PRINTED&BOUND by Gabby Skinner

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REBEL/REBEL


REBEL/REBEL is a New Norm print

piece about the power of type and typography in the modern fringes of society. Post-subcultural studies as a coherent discourse appears to have been a passing fad. Yet, its insights still remain strong. One of today’s tasks is to identify and analyze, in the fluid forms of youth culture and subculture, the basis for a global movement in support of economic, political, and intellectual freedom. After all, the underlying goals of today’s youth are not so different from what they were at the dawn of the 1960s Cultural Revolution. The New Norm Type Conference is a week long event to visualize the new movement of the margin.

NEW NORM TYPE CONFERENCE

THE NEW MUSEUM

MAY 4-8, 2020

235 Bowery New York, NY 10002

INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE OF TICKET

REBEL/REBEL - New Norm Type Conference  
REBEL/REBEL - New Norm Type Conference  
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