Screenprint on paper, 9 1/ 2 x 12 1/2 inches. Available in red and purple.
This is both a simple statement about the nature of wage labor, and a complex joke about the history of political graphics.
May and June 1968 saw the biggest political protest in the history of France since the Paris Commune. The majority of workers and students went on strike, and brought the country to—what appeared at the time to be—the brink of revolution. A group of engaged designers and art students occupied the art schools, and converted the print facilities into “People’s Workshops” (Ateliers Populaire). These groups cranked out tens of thousands of screen printed posters within a few short weeks, and the images they created are some of the punchiest and most enduring political graphics of the 20th Century (see HERE).
The protagonists of the Ateliers were extremely workerist in political orientation, and a significant portion of the posters are either solidarity images with workplace occupations or encouragements for workers to take control of the means of production. Funny thing is, that while these images have become a visual stand in for the movement and politics of Paris 68, the vast majority of workers had no interest in occupying their work places. Instead most just decided they had more interesting places to be—their actions didn’t proclaim “Better Work!” but instead, “Fuck Work!”
Move one of the factory roof peaks to the left of the smoke stake, and an oppressive work place becomes a hand holding up a middle finger.
This print is dedicated to all the workers that have ever decided to just stay home. In regards to work, lets recap the immortal words of Bartleby, the Scrivener: “I would prefer not to.”