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Josh MacPhee

 
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Josh MacPhee is a Brooklyn based street artist, designer, curator, and activist. A street stenciler and poster maker for over a decade, he also runs a radical art distribution project, justseeds.org, as a way to develop and distribute t-shirts, posters, and stickers with revolutionary content. He organizes the Celebrate People's History Poster Project, an ongoing poster series in which different artists create posters to document and remember moments in radical history.

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Signal: 03: Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture
Editors: Josh MacPhee and Alec Dunn
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-362-8
Published: 01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 7x5
Page count: 160 Pages
Subjects: Politics-Social Movements/Art
$14.95

Signal is an ongoing book series dedicated to documenting and sharing compelling graphics, art projects, and cultural movements of international resistance and liberation struggles. Artists and cultural workers have been at the center of upheavals and revolts the world over, from the painters and poets in the Paris Commune to the poster-makers and street-theatre performers of the recent Occupy movement. Signal brings these artists and their work to a new audience, digging deep through our common history to unearth their images and stories.

In the U.S. there is a tendency to focus only on the artworks produced within our shores or from English-speaking producers. Signal reaches beyond those bounds, bringing material produced the world over, translated from dozens of languages and collected from both the present and decades past. Although a full-color printed publication, Signal is not limited to the graphic arts. Within its pages you will find political posters and fine arts, comics and murals, street art, site-specific works, zines, art collectives, documentation of performances, and articles on the often-overlooked but essential roles all of these have played in struggles around the world.

Highlights of the third volume of Signal include:

  • Sonic Internationalism: An Interview with Paredon Records Founder Barbara Dane
  • Game of Destruction: Deltor Stencils the Enemies of Socialism by Stephen Goddard
  • Organized Artists/Reproductive Resistance: Reflecting on the Medu Arts Ensemble
  • Quebec Spring: Striking Culture by David Widgington
  • Memories of Revolution: Yugoslav Partisan Memorials by Robert Burghardt and Gal Kirn
Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Read Reviews | More from Alec "Icky" Dunn

 

Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism
Author: Cindy Milstein
Illustrator: Erik Ruin
Introduction: Josh MacPhee
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-502-8
Published September 2012
Format: Paperback
Size: 8 by 6
Page count: 120 Pages
Subjects: Art-Graphic, Politics
$14.95

Consisting of ten collaborative picture-essays that weave Cindy Milstein’s poetic words within Erik Ruin’s intricate yet bold paper-cut and scratch-board images, Paths toward Utopia suggests some of the here-and-now practices that prefigure, however imperfectly, the self-organization that would be commonplace in an egalitarian society. The book mines what we do in our daily lives for the already-existent gems of a freer future—premised on anarchistic ethics like cooperation and direct democracy. Its pages depict everything from seemingly ordinary activities like using parks as our commons to grandiose occupations of public space that construct do-it-ourselves communities, if only temporarily, including pieces such as “The Gift,” “Borrowing from the Library,” “Solidarity Is a Pizza,” and “Waking to Revolution.” The aim is to supply hints of what it routinely would be like to live, every day, in a world created from below, where coercion and hierarchy are largely vestiges of the past.

Paths toward Utopia is not a rosy-eyed stroll, though. The book retains the tensions in present-day attempts to “model” horizontal institutions and relationships of mutual aid under increasingly vertical, exploitative, and alienated conditions. It tries to walk the line between potholes and potential. Yet if anarchist and other autonomist efforts are to serve as a clarion call to action, they must illuminate how people qualitatively, consensually, and ecologically shape their needs as well as desires. They must offer stepping-stones toward emancipation. This can only happen through experimentation, by us all, with diverse forms of self-determination and self-governance, even if riddled with contradictions in this contemporary moment. As the title piece to this book steadfastly asserts, “The precarious passage itself is our road map to a liberatory society.”

Praise:

"Writing-speaking differently is part of the struggle for the world we want to create and are creating, a world that moves against-and-beyond capitalism. These picture-essay-poems break the existing world both in what they say and how they say it. A fabulous book".
—John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism

"Paths toward Utopia combines beautiful art, crafted insights, and exemplary stories to plant inspiring seeds of a better future. What more could one ask for?"
—Michael Albert, author of Parecon: Life after Capitalism


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Signal: 02: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture
Editors: Josh MacPhee and Alec "Icky" Dunn
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-298-0
Published July 2012
Format: Paperback
Size: 7 by 5
Page count: 160 Pages
Subjects: Art, Politics, History
$14.95

Signal is an ongoing book series dedicated to documenting and sharing compelling graphics, art projects, and cultural movements of international resistance and liberation struggles. Artists and cultural workers have been at the center of upheavals and revolts the world over, from the painters and poets in the Paris Commune to the poster makers and street theatre performers of the recent counter globalization movement. Signal will bring these artists and their work to a new audience, digging deep through our common history to unearth their images and stories. We have no doubt that Signal will come to serve as a unique and irreplaceable resource for activist artists and academic researchers, as well as an active forum for critique of the role of art in revolution. 

In the U.S. there is a tendency to focus only on the artworks produced within our shores or from English speaking producers. Signal reaches beyond those bounds, bringing material produced the world over, translated from dozens of languages and collected from both the present and decades past. Although a full color printed publication, Signal is not limited to the graphic arts. Within its pages you will find political posters and fine arts, comics and murals, street art, site specific works, zines, art collectives, documentation of performances and articles on the often overlooked but essential role all of these have played in struggles around the world.

The second volume of Signal features:

  • Design, Mass-Production, and Social Movements: An Interview with Sandy K. of image-shift
  • Anarchist Posters in Japan
  • Breaking Chains: Political Graphics and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle
  • Selling Freedom: Promotional Posters from the 1910s
  • Street Art, Oaxacan Struggle, and the Mexican Context
  • Covering the Wall: Revolutionary Murals in 1970s Portugal
  • Røde Mor -Danish printmaking, pop music, and politics

Praise for Signal:

"Signal reads like a magazine in that it consists of a number of smaller, independent articles but the loose continuity of subject holds it together as a book. As a series, this is going to be a great resource. Dunn and MacPhee are filling a void in terms of political graphics; there’s a lot of material for them to cover and this is solid start." —Printeresting.org

"Signal is dotted with stunning photography that will certainly reel in many people who are into unusual art. Clocking in at just under 140 glossy pages, Dunn and MacPhee do an impressive job of conveying not only what is new and relevant in political art, but also its history and its presence in the everyday." —Political Media Review

 

Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Read Reviews | More from Alec "Icky" Dunn

Signal 01: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture
Edited by Josh MacPhee and Alec Icky Dunn
Published: July 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60486-091-7
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 128
Dimensions: 8 by 5
Subjects: Art, Politics, History

$14.95

Signal is an ongoing book series dedicated to documenting and sharing compelling graphics, art projects, and cultural movements of international resistance and liberation struggles. Artists and cultural workers have been at the center of upheavals and revolts the world over, from the painters and poets in the Paris Commune to the poster makers and street theatre performers of the recent counter globalization movement. Signal will bring these artists and their work to a new audience, digging deep through our common history to unearth their images and stories. We have no doubt that Signal will come to serve as a unique and irreplaceable resource for activist artists and academic researchers, as well as an active forum for critique of the role of art in revolution.  

In the US there is a tendency to focus only on the artworks produced within our shores or from English speaking producers. Signal reaches beyond those bounds, bringing material produced the world over, translated from dozens of languages and collected from both the present and decades past. Although a full color printed publication, Signal is not limited to the graphic arts. Within its pages you will find political posters and fine arts, comics and murals, street art, site specific works, zines, art collectives, documentation of performance and articles on the often overlooked but essential role all of these have played in struggles around the world.

Signal 01 includes:

  • The Future of Xicana Printmaking: Alec Dunn and Josh MacPhee interview the Taller Tupac Amaru
  • The Adventures of Red Rat: Alec Dunn interviews Johannes van de Weert
  • Hard Travelin’: A photo essay with IMPEACH
  • Early 20th-Century Anarchist Imprints
  • Mexico 68: The Graphic Production of a Movement: Santiago Armengod interviews Felipe Hernandez Moreno
  • Adventure Playgrounds: A photo essay
  • Designing Anarchy: Dan Poyner interviews Rufus Segar

 

Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Read Reviews | More from Alec "Icky" Dunn

 

Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today
by Josh MacPhee
Published: October  2009
ISBN: 978-1-60486-090-0
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 144
Dimensions: 9 by 6
Subjects: Art/Politics

$24.95

Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today is a major collection of contemporary politically and socially engaged printmaking. This full color book showcases print art that uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. Based on an art exhibition which has traveled to a dozen cities in North America, Paper Politics features artwork by over 200 international artists; an eclectic collection of work by both activist and non-activist printmakers who have felt the need to respond to the monumental trends and events of our times.

Paper Politics presents a breathtaking tour of the many modalities of printing by hand: relief, intaglio, lithography, serigraph, collagraph, monotype, and photography. In addition to these techniques, included are more traditional media used to convey political thought, finely crafted stencils and silk-screens intended for wheat pasting in the street. Artists range from the well established (Sue Coe, Swoon, Carlos Cortez) to the up-and-coming (Favianna Rodriguez, Chris Stain, Nicole Schulman), from street artists (BORF, You Are Beautiful) to rock poster makers (EMEK, Bughouse).

For excerpts from the book, click here

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Events

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What others are saying...

Interviews

Reviews


Sending Signals about Political Graphics
by Rick Poynor
Observatory
August 9th, 2012

In outline, though, Signal is already in vigorous shape, with a strong vision of what it wants to know and what it exists to do. To become fully established, it needs to appear regularly once a year; the last gap was too long. I also hope they will update their website with some new material. Take a look at the journal and support an excellent cause.

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Interview with Josh MacPhee
ZNet

Art and culture are always tricky things.

While they have existed as the backbone of many social struggles throughout history, when you actually try to quantify their effects, they often slip through your hands.

I hope Paper Politics further convinces both artists/designers and political-engaged people that the space where these two worlds overlap is not a marginal one, but central to how we understand and interpret our world.

Printmaking as Resistance?
By Eric Triantafillou
Brooklyn Rail
May 2010

Grace à Josh MacPhee. His latest book Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today (PM Press), is a treasure trove of prints expressing a wide range of social and political sentiments from do-it-yourself printmakers in the U.S. and abroad. It is also a window through which one can begin to see, from the standpoint of Left artists, some of the problems that arise when attempting to construct radical politics from everyday art practices.

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Paper Politics
By Jessica Mills
Maximum Rock N Roll

Paper Politics is for those who recognize that both art and politics are about communication and also about community.  As much as it is a collection of individual artists’ prints, the project has proven itself to be a successful exercise in large scale organization.  Josh MacPhee writes about the project’s intent, “…a community of printmakers and a more specific audience for our work than the existing ‘anyone that happens to see it on the street’.”  Proof of that intent’s success is that a couple dozen of the artists involved with the exhibits went on to become members of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, an artist-owned and –run collective and online gallery.  Over the years of the traveling exhibit, artists and audiences have met face to face and wound up building more long-term relationships than a passing glimpse of a wheat pasted poster on the street could ever provide.

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Josh MacPhee and Alec Icky Dunn Interviewed
Red Pepper Magazine

Most of the articles are illustrated interviews with artists and designers, rather than essays. Why did you take this approach?

Josh There is very little politically engaged art writing today that doesn’t exist in rarefied academic or art-world discourses. Unfortunately most critical exchange excludes the vast majority of those who might be interested in the intersections of art and politics.

Alec We wanted to show as much of the work as possible! That’s really one of the big focuses of what we’re doing. And also it was partly about expediency. This was a first issue, and it was hard to solicit longer writing when people didn’t really know what we were about. We are hoping to have more writing – not just interviews, but ideas, criticism, and even (gasp!) theory.

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Printeresting Spotlights Signal: 01
by Jason Urban
Printeresting.org

September 6th, 2010

Signal: 01 reads like a magazine in that it consists of a number of smaller, independent articles but the loose continuity of subject holds it together as a book. Most exciting is the fact that Signal is slated to be a serial effort. As a series, this is going to be a great resource. Dunn and MacPhee are filling a void in terms of political graphics; there’s a lot of material for them to cover and this is solid start.

Read more
| Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top

Signal: 01 - A Review
by Pete Willis
Last Hour
December 10th, 2010

One aspect of anarchist history that has been over-looked in the past is the artwork it’s produced and that which has helped it function. The tides are changing, thanks in no small part to the work of Josh Macphee and others at the Just Seeds artist co-operative. There is a vital, fascinating and relevant history of politically  antagonistic graphics, illustration and printmaking aside from the usual reference points of may 68 and dada,  from Clifford Harper in the UK to the Mexican printmakers of Zapata’s day.

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Signal: 01
by
Five Leaves

September 1st, 2010

The new American "journal of international political graphics and culture", Signal, features many of the covers and a long interview with Rufus by Dan, about the design process primarily. He was sent a postcard (oh, those innocent days) listing the articles and given a free hand to produce the cover. This is the first time I've seen so many of them together, other than on my shelves, making a good start on Dan's bigger project, which is about the art, but also the politics that made Anarchy such essential reading, even for those of us who were more interested in marbles than politics when the mag first started in 1961.

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Signal: 01
By Ernesto Aguilar
Political Media Review
September 4, 2010

Edited by Alex Dunn and Josh MacPhee, Signal: 01 is anchored by a fabulous interview with Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes and Favianna Rodriguez, three artists creating the most important works galvanizing the movements against Arizona’s SB 1070. No doubt those familiar with other upsurges have seen their efforts, though. From Palestine solidarity to urban farming, Barraza, Cervantes and Rodriguez have created the most iconic pieces since Emory Douglas took up the pen for the Black Panther Party. Though the interview was conducted before the Southwest struggle came to full boil, the trio talk about the process of art development, their diverse range of campaigns for which they have created art, and, as Cervantes puts it, the role of the artist as organizer.

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Author Portfolio

MacPhee, Josh and Eric Reuland, eds. Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority. Oakland: AK Press, 2007.

MacPhee, Josh and Favianna Rodriguez, eds. Reproduce and Revolt! New York: Soft Skull Press, 2008.

MacPhee, Josh. Stencil Pirates. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2004.

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