Gallery 98

ART EPHEMERA 1960s – 1990s

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Talk is Cheap: A Street Poster Exhibition, 1984


COLAB, Talk is Cheap, A Portfolio of 26 Street Posters, 1984

In the 1970s and 80s much of downtown New York lay in decay but amidst the economic squalor a surprising art renaissance emerged along the district’s streets and walls.  Most people remember the graffiti from that period but of equal interest was the profusion of street posters.  This was the era when Xerox flyers advertised punk bands and nightclub events; the years of political posters created by the Guerrilla Girls, Group Material and PADD; and the time when Jenny Holzer successfully jump-started her art career by posting her “Truisms” on lampposts and walls.


Talk is Cheap, a short-lived 1984 street poster exhibition comprising 27 collaborative posters by 47 artists is a unique manifestation of this epoch.  The project done under the auspices of the artist group Collaborative Projects Inc. (COLAB) was organized by John Hogan, the founder of the Chicago artist-bookstore Bookspace and later a supervisor for Sol LeWitt wall-drawing installations.  COLAB projects were voted on in open meetings and usually adhered to what one-time president Walter Robinson called “Rule C: collaborative, collective, cooperative, communal projects only.”  The C-word “cheap” was another COLAB principle, and part of the appeal of Talk is Cheap was the frugal way it adopted the paper size and two color offset process used by a printer who specialized in Chinese language newspapers.  The other cost was hiring a professional postering service to hang the posters around the city.


Talk is Cheap was open to all COLAB members who created their own collaborative teams sometimes adding artists from outside the group.  The fact that it was a street exhibition inspired some artists like Hogan, Kiki Smith, Jane Dickson, Charlie Ahearn, Christy Rupp, Lauren Sunstein, Christof Kohlhofer and Dan Asher to make posters directly connected to the politics of the day.   Others like Alan Moore, Seton Smith, Olivia Beens, John Morton, Andrea Callard, Jolie Stahl, Mitch Corber, Bobby G, Joseph Nechvatal, Rhys Chatham, Bradley Eros, Aline Mare, and Janet Stein created works that largely conformed to their customary art concerns.  As a street exhibition Talk is Cheap seems to have made little impression as most of the posters were covered up in a matter of days.  The project survives however through individual posters (each artists was given 50 copies of their own work) and a limited number of complete poster sets that were packaged in a portfolio by Darryl Turner, a designer friend of Hogan’s from Chicago who later became art director for the East Village Eye.  Gallery 98 is offering for sale single copies of each of the posters as well as a complete set.



List of the artists who participated in Talk is Cheap (from the back of the portfolio cover)


Exhibition Items

(Please click individual items for price and full description)

COLAB offset print poster

Janet Stein & Darryl Turner, Portfolio Cover, Offset Poster, 1984

Ulli Rimkus offset poster

Ulli Rimkus & Karen Luna, Beauty Fortitude Justice Faith, Offset Poster, 1984

Agent Orange, Offset Poster, 1984

John Hogan & U.S. Government, Agent Orange, Offset Poster, 1984

The Central Intelligence Agency Destroys, Offset Poster, 1984

Lauren Sunstein, The Central Intelligence Agency Destroys, Offset Poster, 1984

Christof Kohlhoffer offset poster

Christof Kohlhofer & Dan Asher, Double-Cross, Poster, 1984

Post No Bills, Offset Poster, 1984

Daniel Lerner & Darryl Turner, Post No Bills, Offset Poster, 1984

Joseph Nechvatal Rhys Chatam

Joseph Nechvatal & Rhys Chatham, X S, Offset Poster, 1984

Alan Moore poster

Alan Moore, Birth And Death, Offset Poster, 1984

No Mercy?, Offset Poster, 1984

Christine Baczewska & D. Turner, No Mercy?, Offset Poster, 1984

Terminal Currency, Offset Poster, 1984

Caterina Borelli & Janet Stein, Terminal Currency, Offset Poster, 1984

offset poster of two faces kissing

Lee Gordon, Sophie Veille & Marcel Fieve, Untitled, Offset Poster, 1984

Cynics Beware!, Offset Poster, 1984

Bradley Eros & Aline Mare, Cynics Beware!, Offset Poster, 1984

Offset poster by artist Bobby G.

Bobby G & Sur Rodney Sur, Untitled, Offset Poster, 1984

Mammoth Cave, Offset Poster, 1984

Olivia Beens & Claire Seidl, Mammoth Cave, Offset Poster, 1984

Bats At Night, Offset Poster, 1984

Andrea Callard & Kathy High, Bats At Night, Offset Poster, 1984

The Path Of Nicaragua, Offset Poster, 1984

Christy Rupp, The Path Of Nicaragua, Offset Poster, 1984

Offset poster

Steven Wright & John Morton, Meha, Offset Poster, 1984

Untitled, Offset Poster, 1984

Pamela Maiden Turk & Steven Wright, Untitled, Offset Poster, 1984

Offset Poster

Mary McFerran, I. Kolakowski & Village Voice, Changes Cannot, Offset Poster, 1984

Shaving poster with shaving how to diagram

Doug Mulaire & Larry Mulaire, Shaving, Offset Poster, 1984

Ludacer/Davis, 1984: two color offset print poster on newsprint

Randy Ludacer & Debbie Davis, Randy Wearing Debbie Mask, Offset Poster, 1984

Poster offset print corber

Mitch Corber, Johann Gutenberg, Offset Poster, 1984

Poster by Mitch Corber. All text.

Mitch Corber & Sally White, Jean-Paul Sartre, Offset Poster, 1984

Cobal offset print poster with rabbit head on pink

Andrea Evans & Brad Melamed, React To The Madness or Look for the Beauty, Offset Poster, 1984

Jolie Stahl: Christof Kohlhofer offset poster

Christof Kohlhoffer & Jolie Stahl, Untitled, Offset Poster, 1984

Seton Smith offset poster

Orshi Drozdik & Seton Smith, Heart Columns, Offset Poster, 1984

CAUSE DEATH offset poster by COLAB

Jane Dickson, Kiki Smith & Charlie Ahearn, Cause Effect, Offset Poster, 1984