Hints of May of '68

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

When our friends at Dog Section Press told us that they wanted a few more photos of Josh MacPhee’s ad takeovers for an upcoming issue of DOPE, how could we say no? For this round, Josh gave us four designs inspired by posters that appeared in Paris during the May of 1968 protests, his contemporary updates on classics that we all know and love. We’l let Josh take it from here:

I first came across the posters of May 1968 and the Atelier Populaire twenty years ago, and they were so bold, clear, and concise that it immediately felt like I had always known them. The ability of these simple, one color flat graphics to punch through the haze of our spectacle-driven lives and speak basic truths—“the boss needs you, you don’t need the boss,” “together we have the power,” “the police speak to you everyday through the media”—feels absolutely timeless. Last year saw the fiftieth anniversary of these posters and the social upheaval in France that they were a part of, and I decided to re-engage with the images and see what it would look like to bring them up to the present. The Fuck Work poster is actually an older attempt at this, I initially scrawled this version of the May 68 factory with the smokestack moved over to become a middle-finger almost a decade ago. The image is a bit of political poster inside joke and commentary, as the students and artists that had participated in the Atelier Populaire were dogmatically workerist, using their posters “in the service of the workers” and to support and promote the worker occupied factories in and around Paris. But the reality of the ’68 upheaval was that very few workers actually wanted to occupy their factories. In fact the last place they wanted to be was on the shop floor, whether it was in their control or not, and most just quit coming to work and fucked off to the beach. So I see my re-working as an attempt to capture a more honest spirit of ’68, and the general truth that few workers simply want higher wages, instead we want freedom from wages altogether.

- Josh MacPhee

Thanks again to Josh and Dog Section Press for this opportunity to work together while referencing some of our activist inspirations. Keep an eye out for more from Josh in the next issue of DOPE.

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for  Art in Ad Places . Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee for Art in Ad Places. Photo by Luna Park.

Unite. Support. Vote.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Tuesday is election day across the United States. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. But also… Organize. Support. Resist. Disrupt. Unite. And vote. Stay active. It’s in that spirit that we’ve installed three posters by the artist/activist/archivist Josh MacPhee.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh says, “Living in New York City, the only thing that happens to me out on the street more than being filmed without my consent is bring barraged with advertisements. ‘Public’ space in our society exists only as a conveyor belt to bring us from one point of purchase to another. It’s fucking exhausting. Participating in AiAP temporarily assuages my guilt for not yet buying a chainsaw and cutting through the struts of every single billboard across the country.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. Well said. That’s where we’re coming from, in a nutshell.

But in addition to that powerful statement, Josh’s posters are particularly fantastic because A. Strong messages, and B. They invite collaboration. A difficulty of this whole campaign has been to see how many people get excited about what we are doing without entering the payphones and install art themselves. These ads, hopefully, encourage participation. Pull out a marker. Draw on the booths. Fill in the blanks.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

Josh MacPhee. Photo by Luna Park.

A Straightforward Message: RESIST

RESIST  by Marilyn Minter. Photo by Luna Park.

RESIST by Marilyn Minter. Photo by Luna Park.

"If you're not upset, you're not paying attention. After the election in 2016 doing protest and resistance work was the only way I could stay sane and feel like I was doing something positive." - Marilyn Minter

Tucked away on a secret spreadsheet, we at Art in Ad Places have a wish list of artists that we dream of working with. Marilyn Minter has been on that list since day one. Already a living legend, her protest work since the 2016 election has exemplified what artists can do in this moment. This week, we’re thrilled to install two of her iconic RESIST posters in Manhattan.

To echo Minter, there are so many ways to resist: voting, donating to campaigns and non-profits, organizing, protesting, volunteering… Find the ways that work for you, get active, stay active, stay strong, and resist.

RESIST  by Marilyn Minter. Photo by Luna Park.

RESIST by Marilyn Minter. Photo by Luna Park.

Choosing Community Rather Than Consumption

Moses , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Moses, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

New York City has more foreign-born residents than any city in the country (and is second worldwide only to London). There are more immigrants living in New York City than the entire population of Chicago, and they make up nearly half of the city's workforce. To celebrate the contribution of immigrants to the city and the country, we spent our Labor Day weekend in Queens, installing work by Blanco in one of the country's most diverse neighborhoods.

Blanco says, "We live in a culture that forces a continuous barrage of marketing, consumption and advertising upon us everywhere we look. This endless and wanton consumption is creating grave outcomes on our planet and the way we perceive ourselves as people and cultures. We also live in a society that is highly stratified, unequal and unjust. Art in Ad Places endeavors to create a respite from the culture of consumption and stratification and gives space to ideas and artwork that challenge the status quo by their mere existence. I am pleased to take part in the Art in Ad Places campaign. It affords the opportunity to subvert the prevailing messaging of consumption and at the same time create support and solidarity in our community with immigrants and refugees who have been the targets of recent xenophobic vitriol from those who would hearken back to a fictional past. Nobody is free until we are all free."

As Blanco highlights, there's a disconnect between the selfish consumption that advertising encourages and the cross-cultural community-building that this political moment requires. Choose community.

Angela , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Angela, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Laith , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Laith, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Aleema , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Aleema, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Sana , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Sana, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Alex Marino. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Alex Marino. Photo by Luna Park.

This month, we had the honor of teaming up with the folks at Amplifier and the Women's March. Never in a million years did we think we would be working with two of the most important activist groups in the USA. They brought some amazing artists on board, and it was humbling to team up with such inspiring guest curators.

One year after the historic Women’s March on Washington, Amplifier and the Women’s March teamed up with partners across the country to shift the culture around voting through public art. They invited female-identifying and gender non-conforming residents of the United States to submit their artwork to #PowerToThePolls - a national voter-registration drive and traveling art exhibition. A twelve-person curatorial team reviewed over 3,000 submissions and selected 50 artworks meant to energize swing-state voters, inspiring them to take to the polls and elect leaders who reflect American majority values.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Johanna Toruño. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Johanna Toruño. Photo by Luna Park.

Amplifier gave us access to their #PowerToThePolls artworks, and together we narrowed that group down to nine favorites that we installed around Manhattan. The artists include Alex Marino, Bo Lee, Erin McAdamsJohanna Toruño, Katy Galvin, Lauren Simkin Berke, Maayan Alper-Swan, Nicolle Whitten, and Yocelyn Rioja.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Lauren Simkin Berke. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Lauren Simkin Berke. Photo by Luna Park.

Sometimes we install artwork because it's beautiful, and we deserve beautiful public spaces (not ad-riddled ones). This is one of those times when our installations serve an additional practical purpose: We need to get out the vote at primaries this summer and in the general election this November. If you're not registered to vote, or you don't know if you're registered, you can fix that at vote.gov.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Erin McAdams. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Erin McAdams. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Nicolle Whitten. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Nicolle Whitten. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Katy Galvin. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Katy Galvin. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Yocelyn Riojas. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Yocelyn Riojas. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Maayan Alper-Swan. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Maayan Alper-Swan. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Bo Lee. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Bo Lee. Photo by Luna Park.