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A Well-Timed New Book Examines 'The Art of Protest'

  • December 02, 2019 13:55

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A 1913 poster by Cornelia Cassady Davis for women’s suffrage, in "The Art of Protest."
In "The Art of Protest," a 1938 poster by Stanley Thomas Clough.

Protest art is in the spotlight, both on streets across the globe and in a new book surveying a 100-year history. Civil rights, social activism, pro-environment and other causes have long been the subject matter of public poster art. The world is currently awash with such temporary artworks plastered on streets, buildings and available walls, from pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong to London, where artist Ben Turnbull has just mounted many explicit "MADe in America" images for Donald Trump's arrival at NATO talks this week.


Author Jo Rippon offers an in-depth look at protest art in posters, with details about the movements, artists and designers behind memorable imagery. Her "The Art of Protest: A Visual History of Dissent and Resistance" (published in the US in March 2020) and available now in the UK (Palazzo Editions in partnership with Amnesty International) shows how art has conveyed powerful messages through the last century.

“The images in this book are a compendium of the will to a voice,” writes artist Anish Kapoor in the U.K. edition’s foreword.

Cover of Jo Rippon's "The Art of Protest" (U.K. edition).

Kapoor expounds, “The poster, the banner, and the slogan have a homemade immediacy that is a sign of quotidian consciousness. Their mostly simple means help to ensure availability both as artifact and as message. We are all poster-makers, and through them we all attest to the unrest in our souls and our will to dignity.”

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