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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Paper Tigers: Posters from Sydney's Long 70s

A free exhibition with more than 200 vibrant, retro posters from Sydney's 70s club, dance and protest scene.
By Sarah Ward
August 02, 2019
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Paper Tigers: Posters from Sydney's Long 70s

A free exhibition with more than 200 vibrant, retro posters from Sydney's 70s club, dance and protest scene.
By Sarah Ward
August 02, 2019
  shares

"They don't make 'em like they used to," is the kind of lament you've probably heard your parents utter; however, when it comes to poster art, the complaint might just be true. Promoting bands, gigs, albums, shows, parties, clubs, public protests, social issues and more, a vibrant array of colourful signage filled Sydney's many public spaces back in the 70s — and now the National Art School Gallery has the exhibition to prove it.

Running from Friday, August 30 through till Saturday, October 12, Paper Tigers: Posters from Sydney's Long 70s will display more than 200 pieces of printed visual culture from the era, spanning everything from music, art, film, theatre and cabaret to feminism, gay liberation and politics. Some of the posters on display were created by now-celebrated artists, including Martin Sharp, Marie McMahon, Chris O'Doherty (as Reg Mombassa), Paul Worstead and Garry Shead. Others are credited to anonymous artists and designers. Either way, they're bright, vibrant, experimental and creative.

The retro showcase will particularly hone in on Darlinghurst, giving attendees a lively snapshot of what the area was like four decades ago. Think art school balls, Oxford Street's first queer clubs and Radio Birdman's residency at the Oxford Hotel — all relived in poster form.

Curated by ex-Rolling Stone Editor Toby Creswell and Lesa-Belle Furhagen (who co-founded publishing company Terraplanet with Creswell), the exhibition also forms part of the new Sedition Festival, which is all about arts, politics and how they intersect in issues that are relevant today.

Paper Tigers: Posters from Sydney's Long 70s launches with a party from 6–9pm on Thursday, August 29, and is then open from Monday–Saturday from 11am–5pm.

Images: Cabaret Conspiracy at Maxy's (1979), Karen Hall and Ruth Walker; Get Wet, Cover print for Mental as Anything (1979), Paul Worstead; 3rd Annual Christmas is False Consciousness Eve Party (1978), Chips Mackinolty.

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