Weapons of Mass Seduction exhibition at DeYoung Museum San Francisco


Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience. Login it to any social media outlet today, chances are you will run into some sort of article, or news story. "Nevertheless she persisted", "Resist", "Covfefe", "MeToo". You comment, like, or share it with your friends and it gets passed around.

A single tweet can reach millions of people instantaneously. 
Going back in history, whenever any society had common knowledge and a sense of common interests, it made use of propaganda. 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.


DeYoung Museum in San Francisco today 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.

Current show featuring works by Julius Klinger, August William Hutaf, Seiler and Homer Ansley. 

Exhibition: May 5, 2018 – October 7, 2018