Propaganda

Propaganda can serve multiple means. It can help advance a progressive cause, it can challenge our own beliefs and assumptions or reinforce stereotypes. Photography is a very malleable tool, which, often combined with words, can serve such aims effectively.

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Barbara Kruger, Pope Fetus I, ca. 1990 (6.2001)

Barbara Kruger uses tools of the advertising industry effectively to get across a message, in this case to highlight one of the obstacles to the empowerment of a woman’s control over her body–the Catholic Church and Cardinal O’Connor–at the height of the culture wars in 1990.

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Artists’ Poster Committee of the Art Workers’ Coalition, And Babies?, 1970 (813.2002)

The Artists’ Poster Committee of the Art Workers’ Coalition is most famous for their And Babies? poster

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A.R.T., Hanoi–Its the Same War–Kent, 1970 (2011.68.277)

This poster highlights a pivotal moment of the antiwar movement in the US, after the May 4, 1970 massacre at Kent State.

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fierce pussy, We Just Really Enjoy Each Other, 1991-95 (1155.2000)

fierce pussy is a collective of queer woman artists, who became active in the early 1990s in the context of AIDS activism. Their output of posters find clever ways of celebrating and affirming dykedom.

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Signal, March 1941 (2008.72.7)

Signal was a Nazi propaganda magazine published by the Wehrmacht with a layout similar to LIFE magazine, which promoted a cheerful view of fascist Germany and an anti-bolshevik united Europe under Teutonic hegemony. It was published for neutral, allied, and occupied countries. At one point, it reached a circulation of 2.5 million in twenty-five editions.

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Weegee, [Nikita Khrushchev], ca. 1960 (193.1981)

After retiring as a photojournalist, Weegee started making distortions. He continued using his skills in the darkroom and self-invented distortion lenses to comment irreverently on the famous personalities of his day, thus providing an antidote to propaganda.

Alp Klanten, ICP-Bard 2013

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