The current exhibition at the Houghton Gallery at 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, New York is worth seeing. Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now is a sampling from a collection of posters and graphic art that came out of social movements in the U.S. and around the world. The complete collection was produced by Exit Art. Ann Welles, the curator at 171 Cedar Arts, brought the exhibit to Corning in conjunction with 171’s Making Real the Dream, an Annual Celebration and Remembrance of Dr. King.
International Women's Day
The exhibit is a visual attempt to situate MLK Day in a historical and global context. That’s what makes it so interesting to me. Often times, the Civil Rights Movement is depicted by mainstream media accounts as devoid of history and unconnected to other social movements. I wanted more text to accompany the images, but the images stand by themselves.
The posters and graphic images come from around the world. They are not always translated, which made them all the more compelling! Viewers stood for long moments trying to translate text and interpret the posters by whatever history we knew of the place where the images were created.
Dutch film of the Attica Prison Riots
Of course, the exhibit was informed by the moral authority of the early Civil Rights Movement. Images of Dr. King are in the exhibit, but they are not emphasized. I found that highlighted the power of all those ordinary citizens engaged in acts of heroism.