Bernie So Punk
Digital print, 2015-2016
CSPG has been mounting exhibitions about satirical presidential posters every four years since 1988. This year CSPG and Arena 1 Gallery are pleased to announce the exhibition, Presidential Rogues Gallery: Satirical Posters 1960s to the Present,
3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Exhibition open: July 16-August 20, 2016. Wed-Sat, 12-6:00pm.
Spanning administrations from Lyndon Johnson’s to the present, the posters in Presidential Rogues Gallery have nothing in common with traditional electoral posters supporting one candidate over another. Whether mobilizing against war, criticizing social policy, or targeting hypocrisy, both Republicans and Democrats are targeted in this exhibition.
Many posters appropriate the visual language of advertising and film promotion. George Bush I becomes the “Marlboro Man,” and George Bush II is depicted as the “Thief of Baghdad.” Others rely on puns and familiar slogans, such as a 1980 poster showing Ronald Reagan as the “Fascist Gun in the West, or Robbie Conal’s “Dough Nation” featuring Bill Clinton. Whether seen as humorous or scathing may depend upon the eye of the beholder.
These posters raise the issues and evoke the passions that inspire protests and protest art. They serve to remind all of us that democracy is based on the right and obligation to dissent, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. We hope that this exhibition will amuse, bemuse, and provoke. As electoral campaigns continue, we may well need laughter and a measure of irreverence to put the political drama in perspective, as we wonder which candidate, and which issue, will be the first to appear on the next set of posters. We promise to bring them to you.