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Hardcover, 9 x 11 in. / 272 pgs / 200 color / 100 bw.

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CATALOG: FALL 2011 p. 175   

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Beauty Is in the Street

A Visual Record of the May '68 Paris Uprising

Edited by Johan Kugelberg, Philippe Vermès.

Featured image, a poster from <a href="http://www.artbook.com/9780956192837.html">Beauty Is in the Street: A Visual Record of the May '68 Paris Uprising</a>, reads "Choose our battle field - June 1968 - Beginning of a prolonged struggle".
In May 1968, thousands of workers and students took to the streets of Paris, provoking an unprecedented wave of strikes, walkouts and demonstrations. The confrontations between police and protesters led to a general strike of eleven million workers that brought the country to a virtual standstill and nearly toppled Charles de Gaulle's government. The faculty and student body of the Ecole des Beaux Arts were among the strikers, and a number of the students met spontaneously in the college's lithographic department to produce the first poster of the revolt, which bore the declaration “Usines, Universités, Union” (“Factories and universities unite,” loosely translated). From this initiative was born the Atelier Populaire (or “popular workshop” ), a collective of print shops that produced hundreds of posters to encourage the protestors and to report on police brutality. These posters included many of the often Situationist-inspired mottos for which May '68 is remembered today, such as “Be young and shut up” and “return to normal” (accompanied by a picture of a herd of sheep). Beauty Is in the Street reproduces more than 200 of these posters in full color, which have since become landmarks in political art and graphic design. Also included is a thumbnail index of an additional 411 posters; a wealth of archival documentary photographs and new translations of firsthand accounts of the clashes between the students and strikers and the police, many published in English for the first time; and an introduction by Philippe Vermès, one of the founders of the Atelier Populaire.

Featured image, a poster from Beauty Is in the Street: A Visual Record of the May '68 Paris Uprising, reads "Choose our battle field - June 1968 - Beginning of a prolonged struggle".

Beauty Is in the Street

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FROM THE BOOK
"To the reader:

The posters produced by the Atelier Populaire are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it.

Their rightful place is in the centres of conflict, that is to say in the streets and on the walls of the factories.

To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the Atelier Populaire has always refused to put them on sale.

Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an "outside" observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class.

That is why this book should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, through contact with the masses, new levels of action both on the cultural and the political plane."

This text, the frontispiece of the 1969 Atelier Populaire book Posters from the Revolution, is reproduced from Beauty Is in the Streeet: A Visual Record of the May '68 Paris Uprising.

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