Thursday, April 4, 2013

Labor's Visual Imprint

In the Spring of 2005, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum opened an exhibit, "At Work: the Art of California Labor". The exhibit featured artworks (Emmy Lou Packard's works among them) from the California Exhibition Resource Alliance (now called "Exhibit Envoy") as well as photographs and paintings from the Museum and from the Harry Bridges Institute in San Pedro, California.

Emmy Lou Packard, "Carpenter", 1950. Woodcut.

You can see a re-cap of the exhibit at the Museum's web page for Past Exhibits.

More recently the work Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters by Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher was published. Its dedication page bears the inscription:

"To the artists who created these posters, the working people and unions whose struggles they illustrate, and the poster archives and collections that preserve them".

Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters by Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher. Published by ILR Press, an Imprint of Cornell University, Ithaca and London, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8014-7427-9. Alkaline paper.

It's all here in one spot! Paper-covered, and at 205 pages with multiple images on each page, the book gives textual background for each of its eleven-chapter themes, and thus you can have a comprehensive educative experience in the labor artwork of the twentieth century.

The confluence of visual media and social consciousness is a hot topic now: we are looking for truth in what our media is capable of conveying. And to celebrate the likelihood that strong and beautiful graphics are not only compelling to behold, but also a major force of change in people's way of thinking, this book gives testament.

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