The newest exhibition of art in Memorial Union?s Class of
1925 Gallery is devoid of still lifes, portraits and landscapes. In fact, it
could hardly be called ?art? by traditional standards, although it may be more
significant to life at the University of Wisconsin than any collection of
paintings and sculptures ever assembled.

The exhibition, which is on display until March 11, is an
assortment of posters, leaflets, broadsides and photographs gathered at the
university during the height of Madison?s lively history as a center of
political activism. The collection belongs to Madison resident Jim Huberty, who
was a UW student during the late ?60s and early ?70s.

Huberty began collecting posters early in his career as a
student here, continuing to follow an interest in politics he had originally
developed in high school forensics. Over the years, he amassed a large
collection that traces both the evolution of different movements on campus and
the development of the posters themselves.

He makes the point that his collection?s bulk is a result of
the number of issues that were being discussed on campus at the time. ?I?m not
just a packrat,? Huberty said with a smile. ?That time involved so many more
issues besides the Vietnam War that the collection had to be huge to capture
them all.?

As the era progressed and more issues rose to prominence,
the posters evolved, as well as Huberty?s collection. Earlier posters are very
informational, emphasizing the time, date and location of campus meetings,
while later ones use more complex imagery. As the 1970s wore on, for example,
poster artists helped Richard Nixon develop a forked tongue and a tendency to
appear in the shape of a swastika.

Such shocking posters are not the only items on display,
however. The exhibition does a fine job of conveying the vibrant print culture
of the period. In addition to The Daily Cardinal and 1969 newcomer The Badger
Herald, Vietnam War-era Madison boasted a number of underground newspapers.

The underground papers ? specifically Free-for-All, Kaleidoscope
and Take-Over ? represented some of the most radical viewpoints held in Madison
at the time. They were collaborative projects between community members and
students that spread the ideas of a wide variety of progressive groups on
campus.

Another newspaper that was very popular during the period
was the California-based Black Panther. Huberty uses the Black Panthers as an
example of a group that was unjustly vilified at the time, supposedly for being
militant. ?It wasn?t like these guys were just a bunch of gunmen,? Huberty
said. ?They had a 10-point program that stressed issues like community food and
community health.?

He feels that, although the groups behind the posters and
newspapers in the collection spanned the full spectrum ? from nonviolent to
militant ? they all fundamentally believed in ?justice, peace and equality.?

When asked to compare the activism at UW in the period of
the exhibition to activism on campus today, Huberty said, ?It isn?t fair to
compare that time to today.? He cited the military draft as one of the many
important differences between the two eras, a difference that had profound
consequences for much of one?s time spent in college during those years.

?Today,? he explained, ?graduation is a time to celebrate
with your family and friends, but I wasn?t happy graduating in ?71 because it
meant I was losing my deferment.?

Although the exhibition has only been open for 10 days,
Huberty has been very happy with the reception the exhibition has received. He
said he has been inspired to see the curiosity of the youth and the enjoyment
of the people who had lived through the era. ?For people who lived in the
?60s,? Huberty explained, ?it is important to see this kind of thing, not
because they want to relive it, but because it helped form who they are today.?

Even though it is impossible to gain a full understanding of
the time period from looking at a room full of posters, Huberty?s exhibition
does a wonderful job contextualizing the city in the late 1960s and early
1970s. Seeing the mention of familiar places and institutions juxtaposed with
the political issues of the era helps viewers who might not have lived through
the events to begin to appreciate their significance.

Huberty said that he hopes to some day teach a semester-long
course about the period represented in the exhibition. With ?Revolution?s
Wallpaper,? he has already gotten a good start.

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