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Archives and Collections
The Center for the Study of Political Graphics is an educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents, and exhibits domestic and international poster art. The Center’s domestic and international collection of more than 90,000 political posters dates from the early 20th century to the present, and includes the largest collection of post World War II political posters in the United States. The posters are produced in a variety of artistic mediums— offset, silk screen, lithography, woodblock, linocut, stencil, photocopy, and computer-generated prints. The collection is focused on international, domestic, and Los Angeles-specific human rights issues, with an emphasis on progressive movements in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Poster topics include the women’s movement, racism, peace, apartheid, labor, liberation theology, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, immigrants’ rights, children’s rights, and ecology. Between one and two thousand posters are acquired annually, primarily through donation. Approximately half of these are given by collectors in Los Angeles and reflect the diverse political interests of the donors. This has yielded a collection that, in part, documents important but often underrepresented aspects of local history and life in the Los Angeles area. The collection contains approximately three thousand human rights and protest posters produced in Los Angeles from 1965 to the present. The earliest of these came out of the Watts Uprising of 1965, while the more recent posters not only reflect prevailing concerns but commemorate older events, such as the U.S. government’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Altogether, the posters illustrate the commitment of many Los Angeles-based artists, organizations, and individuals to a variety of social and political issues over the last five decades.