"Taking over New York City" is a design work commissioned by the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series, a New York-based literature circle that hosts mont… Read More
"Taking over New York City" is a design work commissioned by the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series, a New York-based literature circle that hosts monthly readings of emerging and established authors in Manhattan's East Village - a neighbourhood widely known as a centre of the counterculture in New York. Recent Guerrilla Lit readers of note have included New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman, critically acclaimed novelist Donald Antrim, the editor at the The New Yorker and writer Ben Greenman, and John Reed - author and member of the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.
The illustration for the poster is based on a vintage Cultural Revolution papercut propaganda collection from the late 1960's China. The original work, which can be found in the collection at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan, is painstakingly cut out of red paper in the tradition of the age-old Chinese handicraft. The papercut shows rallying writers and journalists threatening to stab feudal capitalists with giant fountain pens that look like spears. "Taking over New York City" draws strongly on this theme and the symbolic reference is appropriate, considering the name of the client.
While this is a provocative poster, it is not political in nature. The work is a visual commentary inspired by the new social realities in the United States and the recent protests in New York City instigated by the economic crisis. By juxtaposing Chinese propaganda with a New York theme (note the 'revolutionised' Statue of Liberty in the image), the poster draws a parallel between the two events - the Cultural Revolution and the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement.
Another interesting detail here is that this work is planned to be screen-printed on the back of other posters that have been ripped off a wall. This so-called 'guerrilla semiotics' or 'culture jamming' denotes a tactic that is often used by many anti-consumerist social movements in their effort to disrupt and subvert the corporatisation of the society. Therefore, this poster should be seen as a form of 'subvertising'.
This poster is permanently exhibited at Icograda's Galleria:
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