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APS LACMA Public Symposium “Pressing Politics: Revolutionary Graphics from Mexico and Germany” 

In conjunction with the exhibition "Pressing Politics: Revolutionary Graphics from Mexico and Germany," on view from October 29, 2022 through July 22, 2023, LACMA and the Association of Print Scholars are pleased to convene a one-day symposium exploring the role of graphic art during periods of political transformation. The symposium will bring together scholars, curators, and conservators to examine the exhibition’s themes in a broader geographical and temporal context.

"Pressing Politics: Revolutionary Graphics from Mexico and Germany" explores the shared subjects and visual strategies of two key moments in 20th-century political printmaking: the revival of German Expressionist graphics in response to a nationwide revolution in 1918, and the formation of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (People’s Print Workshop) in Mexico City in the late 1930s. Although rooted in distinct social and historical contexts, artists in both countries responded to their respective upheavals in print to communicate to a mass audience in forceful visual terms.

Examining direct and indirect points of exchange, "Pressing Politics" considers the iconographic precedents for these artists’ political imagery, the range of printed works they produced, and the conditions that gave rise to their art. Drawn primarily from LACMA’s collection, the exhibition underscores the enduring power of the printed image and highlights the contributions of Mexican and German artists to a global iconography of political graphics.

The one-day convening will be held on April 29, 2023, at LACMA’s satellite gallery at Charles White Elementary School and will build on themes presented in "Pressing Politics: Revolutionary Graphics from Mexico and Germany." Expanding beyond Germany and Mexico, the symposium will consider the role of print media during times of revolution and social change from a global perspective in the 20th and 21st centuries. It will also explore questions related to the materials and processes of print production in these contexts. Proposals beyond the exhibition’s geographic scope are encouraged.

Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:
- The role of transnational political networks in the development of political graphics.
- The impact of the materiality of political prints on their meaning and reception.
- How digital technologies have transformed the material character and function of political graphics.
- The role of art collectives in graphic activism.
- The conservation of political graphics and ephemera, in particular the challenges of preserving modern political graphics and other ephemeral works on paper.

Proposed talks can also discuss graphics created in time-based or born-digital media.

Please send a 300-word abstract and a CV to by December 16, 2022. Notifications will be emailed in early to mid-January 2023. Funds for travel assistance will be available.

The exhibition is made possible with support from the Getty Foundation through The Paper Project initiative. Additional support for the symposium is provided by the IFPDA Foundation and the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation.

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