Introduction and Part 1: Partisanship on Overdrive
In October 2012, just before the presidential election, Jeff Gates bought advertising space in the Washington, DC Metro. This ad was at the Farragut West Station on the Orange and Blue lines.
This ad, along with a second at the Gallery Place Metro Station, encouraged dialogue about the issues taking place close by on Capitol Hill. Gates would stand by these posters on a daily basis, listening to comments and engaging the public about the issues.
Designer note: To match the ratio of the horizontal backlighted signs, Gates constructed the rest of the image beyond the original vertical poster.
This Ruined Europe : Never Let It Happen Over Here, C.R. Miller, 1940, Think America Institute. This poster is part of a series of pro-American posters published by the Think America Institute to counter government interference and nationalization during World War II. Source: Bugajski, Jill. “Chapter 2: A Brave New Industry: Liberalism and Design at the American Think Institute, 1939-43.” Conflict, Identity, and Protest in American Art, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015, pp. 16–33.
Stolen Equipment is Cutting Your Lifeline!, Artist Unknown, 1943-1945, Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. Source: National Archives
Closed For the Duration. Loose Talk Can Cost Lives, 1942, Howard Scott, British and American Ambulance Corps, Printed at the bottom of the original poster: DISTRIBUTED IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, AND AS A MEANS OF OBTAINING FUNDS FOR AMBULANCES WHEREVER NEEDED, BRITISH AND AMERICAN AMBULANCE CORPS, INC., 420 LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY' 'ART' 'LITHO IN U.S.A.' Source: Gettysburg College Digital Collections
Let ‘Em Have It : It’s the Republican Way, 2010
After major Democrat victories in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections, the Republican Party was left for dead. It had no strategy and no leader. But, rather than propose its own agenda, the party chose to obstruct almost every proposal put forth by President Obama and the Democrats, even if these proposals were once supported by the GOP. They became The Party of No. And, the filibuster became their "go-to" strategy.
On October 30, 2010, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert hosted The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall. People printed and brought Chamomile Tea Party posters to the event as evidenced by the front page of the Huffington Post on October 31, 2010.
I'm counting on you! : Don't Discuss: Troop Movements, Ship Sailings, War Equipment; 1943; Leon Helguera; United States Office of War Information, Division of Public Inquiries; Source: University of North Texas Digital Library
Report Faulty Wiring : Electrical Fires Are Hard To Control; 1941-1945; Office for Emergency Management, Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch, Bureau of Special Services; Source: National Archives
Chronicles of American Politics: The Posters of the Chamomile Tea Party
Part 1: Partisanship on Overdrive
Part 2: The Electorate
Part 4: The Issues
Download a brief bibliography of topics covered in these exhibits.
Next, Part 2: The Electorate
All Chamomile Tea Party posters are published under a Creative Commons license. You are free to distribute these posters with attribution, providing the purpose is non-commercial and they are not altered. High resolution posters are free and can be downloaded via chamomileteaparty.com.
The Chamomile Tea Party was formed to comment on the bluster of the Tea Party, which began in 2009 as a protest against Barack Obama's social and fiscal agendas. In the intervening eight years, the political landscape has morphed. Tranquility and compromise, which, at the time, seemed merely difficult to obtain, now seems impossible. These posters reflect the conflicts the American political system has been experiencing during this turbulent period. They are meant to encourage an exploration and a dialogue about the cultural minefield we now find ourselves in. The Chamomile Tea Party is affiliated with Artists for a Better Image, Inc.
Jeff Gates is an artist and writer. He has a B.A. in political science from Michigan State University and an M.F.A. in graphic design and photography from UCLA. He is the recipient of two Artist Fellowships for his photographs from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the founder of Artists for a Better Image, where he studies stereotypes of artists in contemporary culture. His art is in the collections of museums such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Huntington Library, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the International Center for Photography. He has written for publications such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, and Smithsonian Magazine.