One of our recent acquisitions is a poster collection created by Occuprint of the Occupy Wall Street Screen Printing Guild. The collection consists of thirty-one posters which were selected from hundreds on the Occuprint website. The materials were produced under creative commons allowing for free copying and usage as well as open submission by artists illustrating the occupy movement world wide. These logos and images are now finding their way onto t-shirts, buttons, flyers and websites. The prints began as sketches and signage made on pizza boxes in Zuccotti Park, New York during the Occupy Wall Street encampment which evolved into the polished and colorful images printed by the guild. Demonstration art and signage is not an original artifact of the Occupy movement, as our Poras Collection of Vietnam War Memorabilia demonstrates; infact the modern poster is often reliant on the influences of previous counter culture and purposefully self-aware. However, this material is a representation of demonstration sign art which was never part of the demonstration itself, thereby creating a digital archive of art in a political vein originating across the globe to both mimic the Occupy Wall Street movement and symbolize the individual geographies of protest. Its appeal for mass reproducibility, as occured in previous eras of resistance and demonstration, is in itself a form of protest to the commodification of art as an industry for profit, a root cause of “the 99%” slogan.
These posters can be viewed by appointment only, please contact the curator of the Alternative Press Collection for details. A great resource of digitized demonstration posters from the 1960s and 1970s can be found at the Oakland Museum of California.