"Signs of Change" at EXIT ART

EXIT_ART_No_Border_Camps.jpg
"No Border Camps" members dramatize how goods cross borders freely, people don't (1998)


EXIT_ART_Queen_Mother_Moore.jpg
Queen Mother Moore radicalizing much younger Green Haven Prison inmates in 1973


Barry and I spent almost two hours at the current Exit Art show, "Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now", on what may have been our last beautiful late fall Saturday afternoon. Let me just explain that it was several times more compelling than even this old activist had expected. I'll add this caution: It closes at the end of the week, on December 6th.

There are colorful posters, photographs, broadsheets, banners, sound documentations and videos. In addition to the two images above I can show captures of a small selection of some of the more provocative posters below. I'm including only minimal captions since a proper context for the posters generally requires more information than I can supply here.

The single greatest thing about the show may be less its lavish size than its enormous geographical compass. It covers modern social movements just about everywhere on the planet. The video documentaries are particularly intense.

So I hope this short tease works. If you read this blog with any frequency you probably should see this exhibition, especially if you're the sort who is inclined to muck about in the street, or maybe especially if you're not yet that sort. Tell your friends, in any event.

I suppose it was not part of the project's scope, but I noticed that there were virtually no artifacts in the exhibition which were not printed, that is, there were no hand-made "signs of change". And I'm sure that anyone looking for specific content could find something to say about the curatorial choices, but after I left this rather dense survey of the use of art in social movements I recalled that I had seen very little material devoted to AIDS or homosexuality. That really surprised me, as it's not as if these two issues, AIDS in particular, did not attract artists of all kinds, or that their response had no aesthetic resonance.


EXIT_ART_Today's_PIGS.jpg
anonymous poster from the 1970s


EXIT_ART_homes_for_the_rich.jpg
poster using cover from 1980s UK newspaper, Class War


EXIT_ART_fuck_a_fetus.jpg
poster from Chicago feminist collective, "SisterSerpents" (1989) [blue is a reflection on plexi]


EXIT_ART_Fuck_the_Draft.jpg
poster from "Dirty Linen Corp" (1969)


EXIT_ART_Hunt_A_Car.jpg
1970 poster from Amsterdam absurdist theatrical party, "Kabouterbeweging" [gnome movement]