Photo Essays

Political Posters that Defined the 1968 Protests in Mexico City and Paris

An exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the global clash between activist movements and their governments displays posters from Mexico and Paris.

“Capital” (all images ©Dawn Blackman, courtesy kurimanzutto, New York)

The protest movements that began in major cities across the world in the spring of 1968 also marshaled in a wave of graphic design studios inspired by socialist reform. Agitprop by another name, these politically motivated posters intercepted the attention of passersby with brutal imagery and straightforward messages like, “La guerra es la continuación de la política (The war is the continuation of the political).”

Honoring the spirit of 1968, a new exhibition at kurimanzutto in New York includes more than 60 original posters that once covered the streets of Paris and Mexico City that year. The amount of screen-prints, linocuts, stencils, and lithographs that flooded these cities during the protests is staggering. According to the gallery, 500,000 posters covering 400 different topics were produced by students and faculty at Paris’s School of Fine Arts in May alone.

Entitled Posters from ’68. Paris–Mexico, the kurimanzutto exhibition desires to disseminate the radical imagery and ideas of those past revolutionaries through today’s similarly tense political climate, which demands social action in order to rise above political misconduct.

“Fascist vermin – Civic action” (translation)
“Frontiers = Repression” (translation)
“The war is the continuation of the political” (translation)
Organisation de Radiodiffusion et Télévision Française, “The police have the ORTIF – ORTIF is the police in your house” (translation)
“No hospital – Silence” (translation)
CNH: National Strike Council, “Student Movement CNH – Constitution – We demand the solution of the problems of Mexico” (translation)
“A united front against repression – let’s organize our defense” (translation)
“We demand the solution to the 6 points requested. MURDERERS. Town: the government faces you on radio and television while trying to justify their brutality and ineptitude. Wake up!” (translation)
French Broadcasting and Television Organization, “Tuesday the 10th at 19H30 – Counter-Journal. Voice to the works, censored information, prohibited films, critical debate. Strike committee. Law. Action. Autonomy and freedom – ORTF – Faculty of Law – 92 rue d’Assas – Metro: Vavin” (translation)

Posters from ’68. Paris-Mexico continues through October 25 at kurimanzutto new york (22 East 65th Street, 4th floor, Midtown East, Manhattan).

comments (0)