Ballyhoo: Posters as Portraiture, click for homepage


Politics and Protest

No posters are more concerned with building upon or establishing public images than political campaign advertisments. Although fine artists were sometimes eager to offer their talents, too much of an artistic component could undermine effectiveness. Campaign managers often preferred simple, unadorned photographic imagery to promote their candidates. Massed groupings of these bold, recognizable placards could announce a campaign office or political rally to all passersby.

In the 1960s, the poster became a popular tool for political activism. Posters appeared in college dorm rooms as a signal of one’s affiliations. Mounted posters became part of the ritual of political demonstrations. For example, the photographic image of Huey Newton—the imprisoned Black Panthers “Minister of Defence,” posed with a gun, a spear, and African shields—quickly became an iconic protest image; hundreds of copies were carried in mass “Free Huey” rallies.

  Poster image   Poster image  
  Click to enlarge image I Want You/F.D.R.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
James Montgomery Flagg, 1944
Color photolithographic poster with halftone
53.9 x 42.3 cm (21 1/4 x 16 5/8 in.)
National Portrait Gallery
© Faith Flagg
  Click to enlarge image A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Harry S. Truman, Thomas Dewey
Ben Shahn, 1948
Color lithographic poster
115.7 x 75.7 cm (45 9/16 x 29 13/16 in.)
National Portrait Gallery
© Estate of Ben Shahn/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
  Poster image   Poster image    
  Click to enlarge image Goldwater for President
Barry Goldwater
Amalgamated Lithographers for Tenny Press, 1964
Color photolithographic halftone poster
137.5 x 101.7 cm (54 1/8 x 40 1/16 in.)
National Portrait Gallery
  Click to enlarge image Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defence
Huey Newton
Unidentified artist, 1968
Photolithographic halftone poster
88.9 x 58.4 cm (35 x 23 in.)
National Portrait Gallery
  Poster image   Poster image    
  Click to enlarge image Bring the Troops Home Now
Lyndon B. Johnson
Nancy Coner, c. 1966–68
Color photolithographic poster with halftone
57.1 x 44.5 cm (22 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.)
National Portrait Gallery; gift of Leslie, Judith, and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer
  Click to enlarge image Winner?
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin
L & S Productions, 1970
Color photolithographic halftone poster
92 x 36.1 cm (36 1/4 x 14 3/16 in.)
National Portrait Gallery
© 1970 L & S Productions
  Poster image   Poster image    
  Click to enlarge image America Needs McGovern: He Can Put It Together
George McGovern
Larry Rivers, after Malcolm Varon, 1972
Color photolithographic halftone poster
National Portrait Gallery; gift of Virginia Zabriskie
© Larry Rivers/VAGA New York, NY
  Click to enlarge image We Are Still Here
Leonard Crow Dog 
Paul Davis, 1977
Color halftone poster
National Portrait Gallery; gift of Jack Rennert
© Paul Davis
next section Continue to Postermania of the 1960s