Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples/1960 to Now

Atelier Populaire. CRS. 1968; Atelier Populaire. La Lutte continue (The Fight Continues). 1968

Atelier Populaire
(French poster group, active May–June 1968)
CRS
1968 Screenprint. Sheet: 26 x 18" (66 x 45.7 cm). Publisher and printer: Atelier Populaire, Paris. Edition: unknown. Collection and courtesy of Philippe Vermès La Lutte continue (The Fight Continues)
1968 Screenprint. Sheet: 30 x 23" (76.2 x 58.4 cm). Publisher and printer: Atelier Populaire, Paris. Edition: unknown. Collection and courtesy of Philippe Vermès Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

DEBBY WYE: At the top right of this group of images is a poster showing a looming policeman wielding a baton, and, at the top center, a poster with a raised fist, with a phrase which means The Fight Continues. Both were posters created at the Atelier Populaire. This renegade print shop was set up at a Paris art school during the civic upheaval that swept the city and the rest of France in May of 1968. Art students and other protesters would assemble to discuss the events of the day, and then respond with new poster designs. They would paste them up in the streets under the cover of night. The policeman represents the French riot squad, whose tactics were widely criticized by the protesters.

WENDY WEITMAN: I corresponded with one French screenprinter who helped make some of these posters. He said the police found out where they were being made and went looking for big printing presses, but didn't find anything. They didn’t realize that to make a screenprint, all you need is a screen, some ink and a squeegee.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France — the French National Library — has a wonderful collection of these posters, because the print curator there at the time went into the streets and ripped them off the walls. She knew that these were something special and important to preserve.

DEBBY WYE: Just to the left is a red, green and blue image of Charles DeGaulle, the president of France during those years. This poster is by an Austrian artist named Otto Muehl, who felt a certain antagonism toward world leaders at that time. Below and to the right you can see another of his posters in blue and strident yellow. This one depicts Egyptian president Nasser.

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