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Exhibition Guide

1965-1975—years that span the U.S. war in Viet Nam*—was a watershed decade for California and the country as a whole. Through legislation and demonstrations, democracy was both advanced and challenged at the ballot box, in the classroom and in the streets. U.S. democracy embraces free speech, yet California’s students fought for the right to engage in free speech in high schools and college campuses. Our democracy ensures freedom of assembly, yet the police often attacked peaceful demonstrators. The Constitution protects civil liberties and civil rights regardless of race, gender, class or ethnicity, yet African Americans, Asians, Latinos, women, lesbians, gays and others fought—and continue to fight—for their equality.

Whenever people organize and protest, artists are in the forefront of the struggles for greater democracy and justice. This exhibition documents the importance of poster art for developing and promoting the ideas and ideals of democracy in California during a very turbulent decade—not unlike the present. The posters forcefully and graphically demonstrate that democracy includes the obligation to speak-out and struggle for justice. Dissent is patriotic. The exhibition also shows the power of art to recall historical events and views of the world that can create a deeper context for understanding contemporary society.

Press Coverage for Decade of Dissent: Democracy in Action 1965 - 1975

Political Posters Invade Arena 1 Gallery for Santa Monica Art Walk, Santa Monica Mirror, California, USA, March 12, 2013

Seeing Things | Power to the Poster, Brooke Hodge, New York Times, New York, New York, USA, October 11, 2012

Decade of Dissent: Democracy in Action 1965-1975 at the new West Hollywood Library, Art Daily, USA, September 26, 2012

A Decade of Dissent, Tiffany Do, Proofs, Los Angeles, California, USA, June 1, 2012

Historic Protest from 1960s and 1970s California,  An Xiao, Hyperallergic, Brooklyn, New York, USA, March 14, 2012

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