Social posters, San Francisco style

Opening this weekend at the Oakland Museum of California, All of Us or None is an exhibition of posters that have been used in campaigns for social issues from the 1960s to the present day

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Robert Bechtie, 1969

Opening this weekend at the Oakland Museum of California, All of Us or None is an exhibition of posters that have been used in campaigns for social issues from the 1960s to the present day…

OMCA recently acquired the renowned All Of Us or None poster collection which was started by Free Speech Movement activist Michael Rossman in 1977 to document posters of modern, progressive movements in the US. Rossman, who died in 2008, created an archive of over 24,000 posters amassed over some 30 years (see the AOUON site and

The above poster by artist Robert Bechtie was, according to the account on the OMCA Collections site, “part of the SFSU student strike committee media campaign, and wryly comments on the situation facing students returning for their second semester of the 1968-1969 school year. The artist, then early in his career as an art instructor, went on to become a well-known printmaker and painter.”

Stealworks/John Yates, 1993

A companion exhibition to the Museum’s The 1968 Exhibit, All of Us or None is curated by collection archivist Lincoln Cushing and features 68 original political posters, in addition to a display of digitally printed posters collaged on the gallery walls. An accompanying catalogue is also available from Heyday Press.

East Bay Media, 1971

The posters address a wide range of social issues, including access to healthcare, education reform, environmental activism, and cultural identity. Contributions by well-known artists such as Malaquías Montoya, Rupert Garcia, Nancy Hom, Juan Fuentes, and Jos Sances are shown alongside examples by less recognised and anonymous artists.

Sätty/Wilfred Podreich, 1968

Influential collective workshops such as the Royal Chicano Air Force, Inkworks Press, La Raza Graphics, Japantown Art and Media, and Mission Graphica are also represented.

Unknown artist, 1970

68 posters are also featured in a sister exhibition at Oakland International Airport, until May 4. More details on both exhibitions at

Northern California Alliance, 1978

Jay Belloli, 1970


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  • Very interesting social posters! You can never really suppress the freedom of expression especially to those citizens who have the burning desire to fight for what they think is right. However, some don’t understand that when you just keep silent and watch how things go wrong, it’s also the same as letting people suppress your own freedom.

  • Martin Farrar-Smith

    Wow. Never thought i’d see a John Yates poster on here! Love his stuff (and Winston Smith’s). Crackin’ stuff.

  • The following could be of possible interest:

    Utilità Manifesta based in Italy, runs a yearly poster contest: ‘Design for volunteering, peace and human rights’, aimed at tackling social, economic and environmental issues. Winners for this years competition were announced earlier this month and can be seen here More poster related news can also be found on Rene Wanner’s website