The Daily Heller: Lead and Wood in the Public Service
2020 is the year to raise typographic voices for advocacy and dissent. New North Press in London is presenting Reverting to Type 2020, an exhibition of printed work "with something to say"—posters sounding a warning signal about the global climate crisis, fake news and surveillance capitalism, attacking racism and sexism, and fighting for equal opportunities while reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featuring the work of 100 letterpress artists from 16 countries, including such accomplished printers and typographers as Alan Kitching, Erik Spiekermann and Anthony Burrill, the exhibition is what curators Richard Ardagh and Graham Bignell call a "visual riot."
New North Press has also produced collaborative posters with other visual commentators/activists, such as photomontage artist Peter Kennard, graphic designer Malcolm Garrett, Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner, fashion designer Katherine Hamnett, comedian Stewart Lee and Extinction Rebellion Art Group. These works will be displayed alongside those of asylum-seekers and adults with learning disabilities who have been invited to make their own posters. To ensure the exhibition is accessible during pandemic restrictions, New North Press has launched a website showcasing the artworks and allowing visitors to share posters of the causes important to them on social media. Marksing 10 years since the seminal Reverting to Type exhibition, this celebration includes progressive work from letterpress studios globally, with prints from established artists alongside specially invited collaborators.
Established in 1986, New North Press is an artisan letterpress print studio known for its combination of traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design ideas. Held at Standpoint Gallery, the show is located in Shoreditch, East London, from Dec. 4–Jan. 31.