Posters from Paris in May 1968

 

In May 1968 there were demonstrations, street protests and the occupation of buildings by students along with major strikes by workers' against capitalism, against consumerism and against American imperialism. It built up to a general strike by over 9 million workers on 23 May 1968 and, as a consequence, President de Gaulle dissolved parliament and called a general election.

The Academy of Art, at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, was occupied by students and the studios there became the Atelier Populaire or 'people's workshop' for the collective production of politically critical posters.

Most of the posters were printed in a single colour and many screen printed, with a quick turnaround as the situation changed or because students had to replace posters that had been torn down. Some newspapers that had been closed down even donated stocks of their paper but, where necessary, a new poster could be printed on the back of an earlier poster.

In 1971, Designmuseum Danmark, with a grant from the New Carlsberg Foundation, purchased 250 of the posters that had been produced by the Atelier in the short period before it was shut down by the police.

A small exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark shows a selection of these posters to mark the 50th anniversary of those events in France.

Designmuseum Danmark