Weapons of Mass Seduction: The Art of Propaganda - de Young Museum - 2018.08.09



History of the de Young museum.

The de Young Museum originated as the Fine Arts Building, which was constructed in Golden Gate Park for the California Midwinter International Exposition in 1894. The chair of the exposition organizing committee was Michael H. de Young, co-founder of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Fine Arts Building was designed in a pseudo–Egyptian Revival style and decoratively adorned with images of Hathor, the cow goddess. Following the exposition, the building was designated as a museum for the people of San Francisco. Over the years, the de Young has grown from an attraction originally designed to temporarily house an eclectic collection of exotic oddities and curiosities to the foremost museum in the western United States concentrating on American art, international textile arts and costumes, and art of the ancient Americas, Oceania and Africa.

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Overview of the Exhibit - Weapons of Mass Seduction: The Art of Propaganda

Today a single tweet can reach millions of people instantaneously, but prior to the internet age, the mechanics of shaping public opinion by spreading information and ideas was more regulated, hierarchical, and specialized. For instance, during the First World War, complex military operations were needed to drop propaganda leaflet bombs from airplanes, saturating the landscape with paper messages targeting enemy soldiers and civilians. Ephemeral printed materials, in addition to radio broadcasts and motion pictures, were the primary vehicles of propaganda during the first half of the twentieth century. Among the most powerful tools of psychological warfare, propaganda posters weaponized the art of graphic design.

As international hostilities erupted during the 1910s and again in the 1930s, the American government and its foreign counterparts sought effective channels of communication with the public. Centralized bureaus—like the Committee on Public Information in the United States, the Ministry of Information in Great Britain, and the Reich Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda in Germany—looked to the worlds of art and advertising, recruiting painters, professional illustrators, and filmmakers to tell their stories.

This exhibition features a selection of World War I and II–era posters from the collection of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, shown alongside films, ephemera, and textiles from the 1910s to the 1940s. The design and content of these works demonstrate consistent strategies for selling ideas and manipulating public opinion that persist to the present day.



















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  Charles Walter Buntjer




San Francisco California
Created on: 2018.08.09  




Updated on: 2018.08.09