The Art of Protest

The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics, edited by Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic in conjunction with an exhibition in June at the School of Visual Arts in New York, is meant to assert the importance of dissent to democracy. Indeed a lot of the work included—such as the graphics campaign in Serbia that helped unseat Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 and the courageous work of Iranian designers living under dictatorship—strongly supports the idea. But the largely myopic assortment of anticorporate and anti-Bush “No Blood for Oil” dogma from the United States and Europe leaves the impression that a less ham-fisted approach might be required for designers to adequately address complex issues in free societies. You won’t learn much from this textually deprived collection, but as an annotated survey of work by engaged designers around the world, it is essential reference material.

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