Of Us Or None"
000The AOUON Archive project began in 1977 to gather and document the poster-work of modern progressive movements in the United States. Though earlier work is included, its focus is on the domestic political poster renaissance, which began in 1965 and continues to this day. The Archive gathers posters from all streams of progressive activity — from movements of protest, liberation, and affirmative action, trade-union and community struggles, to electoral and environmental organizing, community services, and visionary manifestos. Though strongest in work from the San Francisco Bay Area, its scope is national: one-quarter of its holdings come from out-of-state. These are complemented by an archive of international work.
000The Archive's name comes from a poem by Brecht. "All Of Us Or None" evokes the democratic spirit of the movements represented by these posters, and also the spirit of this collection. Rather than focus only on work of artistic merit or central historical significance, the Archive's mandate has been omnivorous — to gather a broadly-representative sample of a vast, collective work of social art, documenting in detail the history and textures of progressive activism. Since 1965, the domestic political poster renaissance has generated over 400,000 designs in a diverse and decentralized productive process emanating from every focus of progressive activity. By late 2005, the Archive had salvaged over 20,000 designs from this flow; and had long since become, with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in L.A., one of the two major repositories of this work.
000Though the Archive has no space for public
display, its holdings are accessible to scholars, artists, and
activists. Major exhibitions are infrequent, but smaller displays are
mounted on occasion in community and campus locales. A sub-collection
of 5,000 duplicate posters is available for loan to community groups.
The Archive's long-term projects include its cataloging and
photographic documentation, collaborative study with historians and
other scholars, producing slide-sets and digital media for teachers and
researchers, and making its holdings accessible on the Web. It
publishes an irregular journal, Bulletin of the AOUON Archive,
discussing the work it surveys. A website of images and texts,
beginning with some hundreds of African-American posters, will be
000The Archive's curator is Michael Rossman, a Berkeley writer and social historian. His books include a history of the 1960s Movement, critical studies of higher educational reform and of the early New Age movement, and an anthology of translated poetry from the Spanish Civil War. He is preparing a book on the political poster renaissance.
return to Database of American Labor Graphics
Main Holdings as of 12/2005
International political posters
last updated 4/23/2021