If you thought posters were destined to do nothing more than end up being used to decorate indie record store walls or stuffed into the centerfold of Metal Edge magazine, then say hello to their more artistic, socially aware brethren being showcased in this new collection at the Riverside Art Museum. “Posters, Prints and Propaganda” gathers together 70 images from the museum’s permanent collection that span the range of printmaking, from old-school woodcuts and experimental lithographs to more contemporary works that are unabashed attempts to curry partisan support and advocacy—a mass-media crossover example being Shepard Fairey’s Hope posters, digital prints that were used for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and were compared by a New York Times critic to the iconic Uncle Sam “I Want You” posters used during WWW I and II. The collection also features Joseph Mugnaini’s The Hero, which uses a form of screen-printing involving woven mesh and stencils. L.A. is also represented with Homeless by Pedro Rios-Martinez. The work is an etching and a product of Self Help Graphics, a leading Latino arts center that aims to educate the community and cultivate emerging artists. If you thought posters were just slick glossy things to look at, this show highlights their range (art for art’s sake versus political propaganda), their social impact and how the skillful use of rich colors and crisp lines can get the whole world talking.
“Posters, Prints and Propaganda” at the Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7111, www.riversideartmuseum.org. Mon-Sat, 10AM-4PM. Thru Oct. 31. $5 general admission.