Since the Dada revolution, designers and artists have chopped up glossy magazines in their search for raw materials. To create this poster for a festival of contemporary avant-garde films, the designer cut away the body of Christ from a blown-up of a Renaissance painting. The blank space where the body used to be becomes a table laden with images of mass-market food products clipped from magazines. The poster celebrates the cut-and-paste process and presents a clash of visual cultures.

Poster, Julia’s Simple Method for Stopping a Rapist, 1993. Designed by SisterSerpents (Chicago, Illinois, USA). Photocopy, rubber-stamped ink, photographicreproduction. 34.1 × 21.7 cm (13 7/16 × 8 9/16 in.) Gift of SisterSerpents, 1995-114-2.

Poster, Julia’s Simple Method for Stopping a Rapist, 1993. Designed by SisterSerpents (Chicago, Illinois, USA). Photocopy, rubber-stamped ink, photographicreproduction. 34.1 × 21.7 cm (13 7/16 × 8 9/16 in.) Gift of SisterSerpents, 1995-114-2.

 

The Chicago-based feminist art collective SisterSerpents, founded by Mary Ellen Croteau and Jeramy Turner, was active from 1989 to 1998. In Julia’s Simple Method for Stopping a Rapist from 1993, they used pictures clipped from food magazines to propose a powerful recipe for sexual self defense. The harsh tones of color and the graphic “noise” created by a faulty photocopier drum become part of the aesthetic of this humorous but penetrating poster.

Poster, Silber Reflexe: Kaffeekanne und Design [Silver Reflexes: Coffeepots and Design], 1996. Designed by Claudia Schmauder (Swiss, b. 1969) for Johann Jacobs Museum (Zürich, Switzerland). Screenprint. 128 × 90.5 cm (50 3/8 × 35 5/8 in.). Gift of Sara and Marc Benda, 2010-21-72.

Poster, Silber Reflexe: Kaffeekanne und Design [Silver Reflexes: Coffeepots and Design], 1996. Designed by Claudia Schmauder (Swiss, b. 1969) for Johann Jacobs Museum (Zürich, Switzerland). Screenprint. 128 × 90.5 cm (50 3/8 × 35 5/8 in.). Gift of Sara and Marc Benda, 2010-21-72.


In creating this sophisticated poster for an exhibition about the history of coffeepots, Claudia Schmauder used digital techniques to combine decorative elements from different times and places, generating a fluid whole while acknowledging the disjunctions among components.

Ellen Lupton is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art.

The exhibition How Posters Work is currently on view at Cooper Hewitt through November 15, 2015.  You can learn more at the exhibition homepage  and find the book How Posters Work at SHOP Cooper Hewitt. #HowPostersWork

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