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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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