29 May, 2008

May 1968 - Protest Posters

The posters of the Paris uprising of May 1968 comprise some of the most brilliant graphic works ever to have been associated with a movement for social and political change. This selection of original posters coincides with The Hayward’s 40th birthday and celebrates the vibrant activist graphics and revolutionary spirit of summer 1968.

The exhibition is curated by Johan Kugelberg in collaboration with The Hayward curatorial team and Jeff Boardman, Creative Director of Freewheelin’.

Supported by Converse with additional support from the New York Herald Tribune and Time Out.

To complement this exhibition, Magnum Photos present a projection of photographs by Bruno Barbey, whose record of the Paris riots produced some of the most iconic images from that year.

Thursday 1 May 2008 - Sunday 1 June 2008






40 years ago next month, the streets of the French capital saw workers and students protesting against the increasing levels of unemployment and poverty that were all too apparent under Charles de Gaulle’s conservative government. As a reminder of the power of self-initiated protest, May 68: Street Posters from the Paris Rebellion, launches this Thursday at the Hayward Project Space in London and brings together a range of handmade posters that were used to convey the protestors’ grievances during the uprisings. Before the show opens, we talked to the exhibition’s organiser and curator, Johan Kugelberg, about how this vibrant and uncompromising graphic art came about and what it means today…

In Paris, on the 16 May, students and faculty staff took over the Ecole des Beaux Arts to establish the Atelier Populaire (the Popular Workshop). The organisation went on to produce hundreds of silkscreen posters in an unprecedented outpouring of political graphic art. In a statement, the Atelier Populaire declared the posters “weapons in the service of the struggle… an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centres of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the factories.”

Q&A with May 68 curator, Johan Kugelberg:


In May 1968 students in Paris occupied university buildings to launch an avalanche of protests and strikes against the authorities. This was only the beginning of a wide-ranging social and cultural revolution that involved not only students and workers, but public servants, journalists, artists, and youth as well.

Thousands of flyers, posters, bulletins and pamphlets constitute the 'Paris Mai-Juin '68' collection at the IISH. A selection is presented below on the occasion of the fortieth birthday of Paris, May 1968



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