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Spencer Museum of Art Showing International Posters for Peace, Social Justice, and the Environment
Yuri Surkov (Russia), Coexistence, 2000. Courtesy of Massachusetts College of Art & Design.

LAWRENCE, KS.- Why posters? Because they have the power to change our minds. Because they stir our emotions and cause us to reflect. Because they are a call to action. Because they chronicle our attempts to share our beliefs and ideals. The Graphic Imperative provides a select retrospective of 40 years of international sociopolitical posters organized by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston. Themes include dissent, liberation, racism, sexism, human rights, civil rights, environ¬mental and health concerns, AIDS, war, literacy, and tolerance, and collectively provide a glimpse into an age of profound change.

In a single exhibition focusing on the issues of our times, more than 100 posters impart the social, political, and aesthetic preoccupations of several cultures by delineating themes and exploring contrasting political realities. Do posters qualify as art? You decide. Whatever their place, posters clearly have the capacity to rock our world.

The Graphic Imperative was organized in 2005 by curators Elizabeth Resnick, Chaz Maviyane-Davies and Frank Baseman in collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, supported in part by The Massachusetts College of Art and Design Foundation and Philadelphia University. The Spencer Museum of Art venue is supported by Richard and Virginia Nadeau, and John and Nancy Hiebert.

Packed with powerful images from designers such as Grapus, Anthon Beeke, Luba Lukova, and Yusaku Kamekura, The Graphic Imperative presents posters that have empowered and moved forward important sociopolitical movements. Some have become modern icons. In a digital world, can “throwaway” ink and paper continue to influence truth, justice, and the American way? See the exhibition and find your own answer.

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