Dark Mode

About Days of Rage

Days of Rage is a web exhibition that enlivens historical activist posters from ONE Archives at the USC Libraries through tactile analysis and storytelling. Grounded in the experiences of activists and graphic designers Alan Bell, Daniel Hyo Kim, Chandi Moore, Silas Munro, Judy Ornelas Sisneros, and Jordan Peimer, the exhibition positions LGBTQ+ graphic design as embodied in community realities and histories, producing subjective reflections on the interdependence of design and activism. In assembling the exhibition, these community experts chose five posters from the recently digitized poster collection at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Over a sequence of stylized videos that emphasize the choreography of their hands, the invited experts reflect on their selections, allowing the posters to guide ruminations on design language, community responsiveness, erasure and history, and the affiliative force of activist politics. Their hands, voices, and memories serve as interpretive guides in transmitting knowledge, thereby queering the mode in which graphic design is displayed–which is so often static and wall-bound. From bold graphic declarations of community activation to explicit safer sex health campaigns, the posters discussed run the affective gamut, bringing up powerful feelings of rage, joy, and sorrow. Days of Rage privileges this associative and sometimes aleatory interpretation of design, and finds profound value in its capacity to serve as a roiling, continuous link to a shared sense of LGBTQ+ ancestry and struggle.

The exhibition is curated by Andy Campbell, Associate Professor Critical Studies at the Roski School of Design, University of Southern California (USC), and co-curated by Tracy Fenix and Austen Villacis, current students in Roski’s Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere graduate program.

This project is organized by One Institute, made possible by a grant from Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. The digitization of over 4200 posters in ONE’s collections was made possible by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Collections program.

About One Institute

Founded in 1952, One Institute is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States, and is dedicated to telling the accurate stories and history of all LGBTQ people and their culture. As an independent nonprofit, One Institute promotes ONE Archives at the USC Libraries — the largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world — and provides innovative educational initiatives, public exhibitions, and community programs. The curatorial and educational choices made by One Institute are guided by our commitment to social equity and justice. We engage with the complexity of LGBTQ history and representation through highlighting the intersectional and authentic narratives of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), women, gender-nonconforming and transgender people, people of various abilities, youth, and elders across all socio-economic classes.


About Protest Sign Font

The Protest Sign Font utilized on the Days of Rage exhibition website is created by GenderFail. GenderFail is a publishing, programing and archiving platform run solely by Be Oakley. The font is licensed for noncommercial usage.


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For inquiries about the exhibit, contact Umi Hsu, Director of Content Strategy at One Institute.

Holy Homophobia!

Designer: Robbie Conal
Year: 1990
Dimesions: 77 x 59 cm

As one of the mainstays of the Los Angeles street art scene in the 1980s and 1990s, Robbie Conal was known for his satirical images calling out hypocrisy and skewering right-leaning political figures. Here he has reproduced the visage of Jesse Helms—a republican senator from North Carolina, and a leading figure in a years-long charge to severely restrict, if not outright eliminate, arts funding for artists addressing LGBTQ themes or stories in their work—creating a damning portrait of the sanctimonious language the legislator used to agitate for his homophobic worldview. As Conal told the L.A. Times: “[Helms is] an icon for the mean spirit that’s sweeping the country. We in the arts community are just getting a dose of it now, but poor people-and people of color-have been suffering through it for the past 10 years.” The image of Helms superimposed on an artist’s palette (where the thumb-hole creates a void in the senator’s head) was also produced as a billboard, which was located in West Hollywood and initially carried the tagline of “Artificial Art Official,” (Conal’s plan was to change the caption multiple times over the course of three months).

Image: Robbie Conal, “Holy Homophobia,” 1990. LGBTQ Poster Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.

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