Peace Press Graphics 1967 — 1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change
University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach through December 11, 2011
Love-ins, teach-ins, sit-ins, demonstrations, and marches: the two decades between 1960 and 1980 saw an explosion of protest and action towards social change. While individuals including Cesar Chavez, Angela Davis, David Harrison, Reverend Troy Perry, and Joan Baez joined together to struggle against nationwide injustices, Peace Press, an independent printing and publishing collective, facilitated their calls to action. Peace Press provided activist groups including the Resistance, Students for a Democratic Society, the Alliance for Survival, the Farm Workers Union, and Act Up the ability to fight inequities on a larger scale. Before the Internet, cell phones, and politically neutral copy shops existed, progressive groups needed a means to communicate ideas and events. Peace Press graphics met those needs; their posters were the predominant tool in spreading the word. Contemporaneously, political posters are seen as true forms of art, and Los Angeles is perceived as an authentic center for progressive politics, much in thanks to Peace Press.
During this volatile period, many commercial printers refused to print posters, pamphlets, or brochures for gay liberation, anti-war activities, or civil rights groups. Peace Press, a print collective in Los Angeles, was born out of the necessity of finding a voice for progressive groups in Southern California. Peace Press Graphics 1967 – 1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change, an exhibition presented by the University Art Museum (UAM), California State University, Long Beach and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) showcases the political posters produced by Peace Press during its twenty year tenure.