Poster House unveils shows focused on imagery of Black Panthers, 20th C. Japan

Left, Free Bobby Seale!, circa 1969, designer unknown, the Merrill C. Berman Collection; Right, The City and Design, 1965, Tadanori Yokoo,the Merrill C. Berman Collection

Left, Free Bobby Seale!, circa 1969, designer unknown, the Merrill C. Berman Collection; Right, The City and Design, 1965, Tadanori Yokoo, the Merrill C. Berman Collection

NEW YORK – Poster House, the first museum in the United States dedicated to the global history of posters, is now presenting its two main exhibitions for the spring season: Black Power to Black People: Branding the Black Panther Party, and Made in Japan: 20th-Century Poster Art. Both will remain on view until September 30.

Black Power to Black People: Branding the Black Panther Party features 37 works dating from 1932 to 1980 that chronicle how the Black Panther Party (BPP), one of the most influential militant groups of the 1960s civil rights movement, devised a specific graphic language to reclaim Black humanity and decommodify Black life. The exhibit includes heroic images of party members, printed materials such as The Black Panther newspaper, and political campaign posters.

‘Revolutionary Mother and Child,’ 1968, Emory Douglas, the Merrill C. Berman Collection

‘Revolutionary Mother and Child,’ 1968, Emory Douglas, the Merrill C. Berman Collection

The BPP branded a new movement that relied heavily on the use of bold language, striking graphics and powerful photographs of its members wearing black-leather jackets and carrying exposed firearms. The BPP’s posters were important for the dissemination of information to the public, widely sharing radical images and slogans that captured a shift in tone in the fight for civil rights. Artists whose posters are exhibited include Emory Douglas, Dorothy Hayes and Danny Lyon.

Made in Japan: 20th-Century Poster Art features 73 works that highlight the cultural and political shifts within modern Japan that influenced the messaging of its iconic advertising and promotional posters. The exhibition showcases posters throughout the 20th century, beginning with the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, with images designed to inspire patriotism, circulate propaganda and encourage consumer restraint in support of the war effort.

Photographic Weekly, circa 1942, the Merrill C. Berman Collection

Photographic Weekly, circa 1942, the Merrill C. Berman Collection

As Japanese corporations became global brands following World War II, Japanese artists conceived new forms of graphic media that mixed aspects of traditional Japanese aesthetics with Western design idioms. The exhibit also highlights how Japanese designers began to address social issues through their art at the end of the 20th century, such as climate change and global peace. The exhibit will include works by artists such as Yusuka Kamekaru, Ikko Tanaka and Tadanori Yokoo.

Both exhibitions come to Poster House through a generous loan from the Merrill C. Berman Collection.

In addition to the main exhibitions, two mini-exhibitions are on view until April 16 – With My Little Eye: Warnings for the Homefront, curated by Tim Medland, and Schoolgirls at War: French Propaganda Posters from World War I. On April 27, two new mini exhibitions will open to the public for the spring season – Advertising Type: Women in Digital Design and The Revolution Will Be Digitized: Typefaces from Emigre & FUSE, both curated by Angelina Lippert.

Visit the website of Poster House and see its dedicated pages for Black Power to Black People: Branding the Black Panther Party and also Made in Japan: 20th-Century Poster Art.