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Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D) Archive: Poster Digitization Project

PAD/D Posters

PAD/D favored posters in their exhibitions and projects for a myriad of reasons. They were cheap, easily reproducible, and able to convey information in a clear and concise way to many people at once. Because of these reasons, over the course of their 7 years as an organization they amassed a collection of over 800 posters. In February 2023, the MoMA Archives began the process of digitizing the entire poster series in an effort to make these posters even more accessible. They are available in their entirety via our MAID database. In the spirit of PAD/D, it is our desire to increase awareness and accessibility for all these materials and to amplify the voices which are so often silenced. Below is a thematic selection of posters to show the diversity of the collection.

Nuclear War

The Cold War was an ever-present shadow to life in the United States in the 1980's. The threat of nuclear warfare was a frequent subject of politically concerned artists at the time.

Tadeusz Trepkowski, Nie!. PAD/D, III.577. MoMA Archives, NY.

Kaboom!, New York Post is Here!. PAD/D, III.248. MoMA Archives, NY.

Douglas Kahn, An Aesthetic. PAD/D, III.249. MoMA Archives, NY.

Robert Huot, No Nukes is Good Nukes. PAD/D, III.231. MoMA Archives, NY.


A large portion of PAD/D artists lived in the Lower East Side, which was in close proximity to PAD/D's headquarters in the East Village, then later in Soho. The Lower East Side started showing signs of gentrification similar to that of the East Village. As rent prices went up and housing became more and more difficult, many PAD/D members began to focus their work and action on the issue.

Crude Art International, "We're Very Into Culture" NYSE Latest Prices. PAD/D, III.702. MoMA Archives, NY.

Day Gleeson and Dennis Thomas, Title Deed Second Ave. PAD/D, III.215. MoMA Archives, NY.

WoW, St. Joan of Avenue C. PAD/D, III.610. MoMA Archives, NY.

Chris Bratton, You're One of a Kind: And So Are Our Luxury Apts. PAD/D, III.78. MoMA Archives, NY.

Unknown, A Challenge to the East Village Art Sensibility. PAD/D, III.673. MoMA Archives, NY.


The AIDS crisis hit New York City extremely hard, and the art community was particularly affected. Many local artists and artist organizations made artwork protesting the lack of action being taken by the government.

Gran Fury, Read My Lips. PAD/D, III.197. MoMA Archives, NY.

AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, Aidsgate. PAD/D, III.36. MoMA Archives, NY.

Silence = Death Project, Silence = Death Vote. PAD/D, III.543. MoMA Archives, NY.

Peg Averill, Demand Your Rights: National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights. PAD/D, III.43. MoMA Archives, NY.


A major focus of political protest in the 80’s was Ronald Reagan, whom PAD/D members felt represented many, if not all, of the economic crises at the time. He became the face of such topics as widespread consumerism and the “trickle down” economic theory, which these artists felt was responsible for the 1980s recession, among many other issues.

Robbie Conal, Men With No Lips. PAD/D, III.115. MoMA Archives, NY.

Museum of the Borough of Brooklyn at Brooklyn College, Politics in Art: The Art of Politics. PAD/D, I.1550. MoMA Archives, NY.

Artists Poster Committee, We Begin Bombing in Five Minutes. PAD/D, III.36. MoMA Archives, NY.

Unknown, America's Desperate Journey With Ronald Reagan. PAD/D, III.620. MoMA Archives, NY.