LA///BEST IN SHOW///EMORY DOUGLAS’ PANTHER POWER…

January 22, 2008  |  Uncategorized

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For the past few months it's been impossible to talk about MoCA without referring to the institution's most high-profile current resident, Takashi Murakami, but of equal importance is the incredible retrospective of revolutionary Black Panther propaganda artist (and inspiration to a generation of modern "street artists") EMORY DOUGLAS also on display at the institution's Pacific Design Center. Emory Douglas worked as minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until its discontinuation in the early 1980s and his powerful visuals helped define the trademark visual style of the group's newspapers, posters, and pamphlets. Douglas's substantial body of work exists as a powerful graphic record of the Black Panthers' legacy, reflecting their development and evolving mission to improve the lives of black Americans by calling for resistance and change, as well providing social services to their communities. With a firm understanding of the need to disseminate information and communicate the party's agenda visually, Douglas's bold illustrations and striking images spoke forcefully to a community ravaged by poverty, police brutality, and poor living conditions. The graphic work that Douglas created for print can also be seen within the context of Bay Area visual production from this period, revealing a kinship at times to work by artists such as Peter Saul or R. Crumb, while also serving as a stark antidote to the hedonism embodied in the posters promoting psychedelic rock across the Bay. HAVE A LOOK:

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