read: 4 November 2002
I’ve always been fascinated by the look and feel of the WPA poster series that I’ve soemtimes browsed on the Library of Congress website. They have an almost Bauhausian set of lines and fonts and yet the topics they cover are all distinctly American -- tourism posters, hygeine posters, crazy racist WWII posters. This book compiles many of the posters in an attractive volume, sandwiched between commentary by a few of the original WPA artists and some of the people involved in the WPA project. Unlike many other WPA projects [the federal theater project, the federal music project, etc] the posters were intended as ephemeral art, and as a result very few of the original pieces remain, and many of them are just available by accident. The original artists -- who were paid by the federal government to operate a poster shop and make promotional materials for other WPA projects as well as local endeavors -- are all nearing their eighties and nineties, so this book may be the last chance to get firsthand stories about this government project from the Thirties and Forties.
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