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Dimensions:
250 × 190 × 21 mm
288 pages
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781780233710
Illustrations:
150 illustrations, 100 in colour
Published:
01 Oct 2014

Posters A Global History Elizabeth E. Guffey

Posters are ubiquitous. They hang on office walls, bedroom doors and bus shelters. But what relevance do they have today in our age of image saturation, of prolific social media and electronic devices?



In Posters: A Global History Elizabeth Guffey tells the story of this ephemeral art form, from its birth in the nineteenth century to its place in contemporary culture. She argues that even among today’s burgeoning digital media, few forms of graphic design can rival posters for their tangibility and sheer spatial presence. From London to Ramallah, Los Angeles to Lagos, posters provide new opportunities to communicate across public spaces that are themselves increasingly transformed by digital media.



This book re-examines the roots of the poster, charting its rise from the revolutionary lithographs that papered nineteenth-century London and Paris to twentieth-century works of propaganda, advertising, pop culture and protest. It considers the lives of posters: where and why posters were made, and why and how they endured. It examines posters from today’s world, including posters of Palestinian martyrs and West African examples describing voodoo activities, and offers a rich variety of both familiar and lesser-known examples from the Soviet Union, China, Eastern and Western Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.



Beautifully illustrated, Posters provides a fresh history of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century poster as well as revealing insights into the designs and creative practices of our twenty-first-century world.

‘Guffeys goal is to tell the story of posters as things physical, commodifiable, and transportable objects that materialize the increasingly immaterial nature of visual communication. She traces how posters have moved through the life of the world on their ephemeral paper substrates . . . She grapples admirably with the ambition of her study, uses smart examples, draws on a diverse bibliography, takes her time when the material demands it, and convinces her readers that examining the public lives of posters broadens and enriches our understanding of the medium.’ — Art in Print

‘Elizabeth E. Guffey has captured the magnificent history of the printed art form in Posters: A Global History. Unlike other historical books about posters Guffey also offers an anthropological take. Posters are not just visual artworks but physical objects in a social world . . . Posters re-examines the roots of the poster, charting its rise from the revolutionary lithographs that papered nineteenth-century London and Paris to twentieth-century works of propaganda, advertising, pop culture and protest. Its a global snapshot of how this incredible medium has been used for good and bad. Few forms of graphic design can rival posters for their tangibility and sheer spatial presence and Guffey reveals how artists themselves have ripped down, re-made, and re-defined posters into the artworks theyre sometimes known as today. An intriguing read that will make you look twice at posters.’ — Full Scream

‘This exciting new study of the social life of posters demonstrates the many uses to which they have been put and shows that the ever-popular medium, far from being defunct, continues to be a vital form of communication and expression. Elizabeth Guffeys colourfully written account also benefits from numerous well chosen pictures of posters seen in everyday settings alongside the viewers who admired them, took their cues from them and consumed them as informal art.’ — Rick Poynor, founder of Eye magazine and co-founder of Design Observer

‘Elizabeth Guffey rescues the poster from its well-meaning but largely fetishized history by connoisseurs, curators, and collectors and compellingly chronicles the past, present, and future lives of this staple of communication. Taking an expansive view of the subject, Guffey reaches far and wide and across the ages for her examples and provides a much-needed cultural context to the diverse roles posters perform in a society whether connecting communities, building nationalism, inciting consumption, or raising awareness. Posters: A Global History is an important addition to design history and a timely reminder of the power of print in the age of the Internet.’ — Andrew Blauvelt, Senior Curator, Architecture and Design, Walker Art Center

‘Praise for Retro: [An] enjoyable exploration of retro chic . . . Guffey offers an intriguing investigation of our seduction by the past.’ — The Independent

‘Provides an interesting take on the various rapidly recycling revivals of the late 20th century . . . a thought-provoking read.’ — Building Design


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Elizabeth E. Guffey is Professor of Art and Design History at the State University of New York, Purchase, and founding editor of academic journal Design and Culture. She is the author of Drawing an Elusive Line: The Art and Career of Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (2001) and Retro: The Culture of Revival (Reaktion, 2006). She is also vice-president of the Design Studies Forum.

Introduction
1. Consuming Words on the Street: 1840-1950
2. Trashing Tradition: 1945-1965
3. New Art, New Space: 1960-1980
4. Fetishism and the Global Poster: 1960-1980
5. A New Golden Age—Digital Enhancement: 1980-2014
Epilogue: Post-Posters?
 
References
Select Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
Index