Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hipster Propaganda

The Phoenix Hotel is a two-story hipster hangout in a dodgy Tenderloin neighborhood at the corner of Eddy and Larkin (click here for their website).

Over the last couple of decades, famous troupes such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Mark Morris Dance Group have been known to stay at the hotel during their local engagements.

On the Fourth of July, the hotel hosted an art party and barbeque to which the public was freely invited, and I visited the place for the first time.

The afternoon event was the world premiere of a year-long, globe-spanning art show called "Propaganda III."

This is the third and final annual installment of this show, which has been curated by an outfit called "START SOMA" (click here for their website).

It consists of hundreds of political posters from anybody in the world who wants to submit their own work as part of the show, which is slated to travel for one-day installations across the globe.

The installation website states: "There will be no curation and absolutely NO censorship of any sort. Expressed political viewpoints, be they left, right, or center, will be displayed side-by-side, both online AND in the real world. We are currently accepting poster submissions from around the world."

In truth, most of the posters seemed to be anti-Bush pieces displaying him variously as a Nazi...

...or as a Destroyer of The World.

There were a few great posters, such as the ones above and below...

...but oddly enough the show works much better online than it does in person, with better lighting, colors, resolution and selection. (Click here to get to the installation on flickr.)

After the show's year-round tour, all the posters will go into the collection of some outfit in Los Angeles called the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (click here for their website), where they will probably be curated to death.

In any case, the most enjoyable part of the Fourth of July afternoon wasn't the politics or the art...

...but the enjoyable pool party in the heart of the Tenderloin...

...among beautiful young people.

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