Art, Struggle, Signal

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Political art gets its due. In fact, sometimes the same historic material becomes overexposed and loses its import. Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture (currently two issues are published) is a welcome addition to the scholarship and documentation of this genre. Alec Dunn, an illustrator, and Josh MacPhee, a founder of the Interference Archive, have edited a pocket-size journal that covers important new ground. For instance, the English anarchist broadsheet Freedom, which ran from 1886 through 1927, is a terrific find. Even torn and tattered, it shows the passion and ferocity of the UK group. Taiji Yamaga’s “Yamaga Manga” is a hand-drawn visual autobiography that reveals his anti-government status and travails. And a story on Red Mother (1969–1978) surveys the woodcut graphics of this Danish political movement. Signal is an ongoing series focused on activist artists and academic researchers, as well as an active forum for critique of the role of art in revolution.

The publisher, PM Press, states:

In the U.S. there is a tendency to focus only on the artworks produced within our shores or from English speaking producers. Signal reaches beyond those bounds, bringing material produced the world over, translated from dozens of languages and collected from both the present and decades past. Although a full color printed publication, Signal is not limited to the graphic arts. Within its pages you will find political posters and fine arts, comics and murals, street art, site specific works, zines, art collectives, documentation of performances and articles on the often overlooked but essential role all of these have played in struggles around the world.