Sunday, 6 April 2008

Ramparts Magazine Volume 7, no 9, December 1968

Counter culture publication Ramparts printed the first article on Cuban posters in 1968. Dugald Stermer, who went on to write the classic book The Art of Revolution: 96 Posters from Cuba, provided six pages of text and images with a short overview and brief outlines of the function of the main poster producing agencies ICAIC, OSPAAAL and Casa de Las Americas.

Dugald is clearly impressed with the vibrant and colourful Cuban style, comparing it favourably to socialist realism. He talks about the artists, at the time in their mid twenties, as a collective working within the confines of government yet displaying artistic freedom that rivals the best of the world's graphic design.

Stermer's overview of the ICAIC's posters, although brief, discusses the technically savvy silkscreen posters that use up to 10 colours and are produced in production runs of up to 500. His enthusiasm for OSPAAAL's work is infectious and he points to rock posters, Czech film posters and pop and op art as sources for their designs. A short piece on Casa de Las Americas focuses on the country's cultural activities.

This is a short article but it covers all the key poster producing agencies and some of their best posters are reproduced in colour. Reese Erlich is cited as the owner of the posters. He is a California-based political author and journalist.

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