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Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049 - (310) 440-4500


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Skirball Cultural Center presents

Democracy in Action, 1960–1980

October 11, 2012–February 17, 2013

Exhibition of visually striking, often confrontational political posters
form part of campus-wide "Democracy Matters" initiative


LOS ANGELES—As Americans strive to make their voices heard this election season, Decades of Dissent: Democracy in Action, 1960–1980 provides a colorful reminder of how artists in the 1960s and 1970s used protest posters as a vehicle for social change. Organized by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the exhibition displays twenty-eight original posters that address a range of compelling issues and showcase some of the most memorable images and slogans from that time period. Decades of Dissent will be on view at the Skirball October 11, 2012–February 17, 2013.

The collection of posters in Decades of Dissent features many iconic bywords of the 1960s and 1970s, such as “Black is Beautiful,” “Make Love, Not War,” and “Ecology Now.” They commemorate significant historical events, including the first Gay-In and Earth Day (both in 1970), the United Farm Workers grape boycott, and 1969’s People’s Park struggle. Works by noted artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Sister Corita Kent are included, as well as indelible imagery such as the yellow sunflower of “War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things,” in both English and Vietnamese, and the swirly, psychedelic “Peace Now” dove.

Many of the posters in the exhibition illustrate important causes of the era, including the Vietnam War, the environment, and Mexican-American unionism. The posters also reflect emerging identity politics: feminism, the Black Is Beautiful” movement, the American Indian movement, gay rights, and the memorialization of World War II Japanese internment. Artistically, the posters reveal bright, bold pop art, psychedelic stylings, and casual, hand-drawn lettering.

Insightful labels give historical context for each poster and detail the context in which each poster was created and displayed. Many posters are accompanied by quotes from their creators. Quoting James Baldwin, Sister Corita Kent eloquently frames the role of the artist in the political process:

The war of an artist with his society is a lover's war. And he does at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself, and with that revelation, make freedom real.

Decades of Dissent is part of a campus-wide initiative devoted to “Democracy Matters at the Skirball,” which includes the exhibitions Creating the United States and Free to Be U.S.: A First Amendment Experience, and a special “Lincoln Spotlight” on view in the Skirball’s core exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America. All are on view from October 11, 2012 through February 17, 2012. For more information on “Democracy Matters at the Skirball” exhibitions and related programs, please visit

Gay-inAbout the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; and through outreach to the community.

Visiting the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Free on-site parking is available; street parking is strictly prohibited. TheSkirball is also accessible by Metro Rapid Bus 761. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. Museum admission: $10 General; $7 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $5 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball World PeaceMembers and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.

War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things.
Lorraine Schneider. Another Mother for Peace Offset, 1967.
Beverly Hills, California

Peace. Artist Unknown. Silkscreen on computer paper, 1970.
Berkeley, California.

Gay-In. Gay Liberation Front. Silkscreen, 1970. Los Angeles, California.

World Peace. Earl Newman. Silkscreen, 1970. Venice, California.

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