This long-awaited catalog of political posters pays homage to an influential and populist art movement that has created some of the most enduring imagery of our time. In All of Us or None, author Lincoln Cushing examines key selections from a remarkable archive of over 24,000 posters amassed by free speech movement activist, author, and educator Michael Rossman over the course of thirty years. This inspiring collection of Bay Area posters illuminates the history of this ad-hoc and ephemeral art form, celebrating its unique capacity to infuse contemporary issues with the urgency and energy of the eternal fight for justice. Featuring posters on topics as diverse as civil rights, war, poverty, the environment, music, women’s liberation, fine art, and gentrification, All of Us or None shows us why the Bay Area was such fertile breeding ground for the genre and why it arguably produced more independent political posters than anywhere else on earth. Here is an exhilarating history of artists, studios, printshops, distributors, activists, icons, and changemakers--among them R. Crumb, Stanley Mouse, Cesar Chavez, Max Scherr, Emory Douglas, Angela Davis, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Bill Graham, and Pete Seeger--together raising their voices in opposition to the status quo. In spring of 2012, the Oakland Museum of California presented its first comprehensive exhibition of this recently acquired treasure; the show, along with this book, presents an unbroken narrative of passionate social justice printmaking from the mid-1960s to the present.
This engaging catalogue surveys nearly 300 of the late Michael Rossman's enormous collection of over 24,000 San Francisco Bay Area social justice posters. Though the entire archive of the longtime Free Speech movement activist's prints are housed in the permanent collection of the Oakland Museum of California, Cushing discusses highlights spanning the past 50 years. Screenprints like Lewis Suzuki's "No More Hiroshimas, No More War" (1963) set the stage for a "domestic political poster renaissance" that echoed the flowering of a broader protest culture after 1965. With fluid, highly accessible prose, Cushing traces the lineage of images that have now become iconic, such as Frank Cieciorka's often quoted clenched fist, or the Black Panther Party's panther symbol as rendered by Emory Douglas and others. The catalogue also includes posters for countercultural musical and literary events like 1967's Human Be-In, which featured Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Jerry Ruben, and "all San Francisco rock groups," or the many various performances of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. As the more monolithic concerns of the New Left diversified into calls for Women's, Latino, Asian-American, African-American, Disability, LGBT, and Native American rights, so developed a subsequent generation of provocative images. Recent examples, such as Jesus Barraza's "Banging on the System" which proclaims solidarity with Wisconsinite workers show that despite the proliferation of social media and online communication, these tangible artworks "still have a place in this world," so long as the "underlying problems" persist. Illus.