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Exhibition Guide

Hollywood film advertisements dominate walls, billboards, buses, and even many restaurants and offices. Their familiar glossy presence also inspires many imitations, appropriations and manipulations.  Among the most dramatic transformations—and least subtle—are when the film poster becomes a protest poster. Taking advantage of a look-alike poster and humor, the creator attempts to get the general public to look twice at an issue that needs attention. By targeting a hot button issue and presenting it to the public in the context of familiar Hollywood imagery, political artists attempt to reap the benefits of highly marketed Hollywood images. At first glance, the image attracts the viewer because it appears familiar. Upon looking again, the viewer is enticed to examine more closely and hopefully begin to analyze the content. It is an effective way to bring under-served causes or problems to the forefront.


Reel to Real – A Political Reflection of Hollywood Film Posters features posters that use well-known movie themes and imagery to tackle ongoing struggles for social change at home and abroad. They employ satire, mockery and various devices to draw attention to current issues. Posters often ask rhetorical questions, and political ‘movie’ posters answer lavishly. Some are amusing while others are outrageous, and they are often quite over the top. Whether they are protesting war, affirming women’s rights, lampooning politicians, or drawing our attention to sweatshop labor, these posters provide an critical alternative view of reality. In addition, Los Angeles’ unique relationship to the entertainment world makes this exhibition one of the most unusual in the repertory of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. 


Note: Images appear in the order intended for exhibition display. Please contact us for more information on bringing an exhibition to your institution.



To view the full Reel to Real exhibition with annotations, browse the publication below. Use the toolbar to navigate between pages, view fullscreen, and search annotations for key words and phrases.

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