Susan Sontag on Posters

Susan Sontag on posters:
posters (I chose this selection of examples):

part 1:
– A public notice (PSA) is not the same as a poster. Both are for the public but the poster defines primarily the spectator and consumer. It seduces to exhort, to sell, to educate, to convince, and to appeal.
– It is visually aggressive to compete with other posters
– posters are inconceivable before the invention of the printing press
– public notices consist of words, posters often attract with images
– Jules Chéret, born 1836, first big poster maker, designed more than 1000 posters (mostly around the image of a pretty girl)
– archived status of “art” a generation later. They were still considered “applied” art, not to exist as a unique object.
– devoted to communication, artists often devoted to clients to make money, dubious, simplistic.
– posters have been parasitic to art (always copying the trend after it becomes excepted, popularizing what is already agreed on), never a really new style.
– posters are read in a flash
– exaggeration is one of the charms of the poster
Cuban Posters:

part2:
– in capitalist society posters become litter, so revolutionary societies had to inevitably redefine the purpose to make sense.

– not a history of poster art in Cuba (besides American colonialism)
– space, where posters are shown, is not elitist, but public
– artist are isolated individuals, selfish privatism, often a critic of society.
– Uneasy union of artists and revolutionaries and virtually all leaders of revolutions have failed to see. I.e career of revolutionary art in Soviet union was short-lived.
– Cubans took a modest track: one-sided opinions, pure utilitarianism, and pure aestheticism, the self-indulgent abstractness as well as the poverty of banal realism were condemned.
– wanting to make a “bourgeois” culture available to everyone
– the idea of culture changes people, not revolutions
– Cuba is trying to find a middle of vulgar American capitalism, and drap ugliness of soviet realism, without the folkloric naîvité of Chinese political graphics.
– affirmative without sentimental
part 3:

– posters with their mysterious flatness have become popular culture.
– The collecting of posters has become cultural boasting, a display of good taste
– the current vogue of poster collecting in bourgeois society is a desire to scale down the world itself, particularly what is alluring and disturbing in it.
– there is no way out of this trap, it’s has become another object of consumption

How Posters Work Book by Ellen Lupton

Back to Graphic Design Course Material Main

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *