[Bloomington, Illinois, ca. 2010-2018]. 20 signs on card stock measuring 40 x 28 inches; 20 signs on card stock measuring 28 x 20 inches. Additional signs on foam board, cardboard, and an example on corrugated wax box stock with a wooden handle attached. The signs measuring 40 x 28 generally executed in brush-applied black paint; signs measuring 28 x 20 usually executed in wide felt tip black marker. With moderate handling wear and some tears and in a numer of instances holes at the corners and the outer margins (presumably from mounting to overpasses), with some occasional soiling. Light pervasive odor of tobacco smoke. Overall in good to very good condition. Item #20280
A visually-striking and highly charged archive of right-wing political signs, found ca. 2018-2019 at the estate sale of an unidentified Bloomington, Illinois activist affiliated with a grassroots organization since listed in an inventory of antigovernment groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center report, The Year in Hate and Extremism 2019.
The themes included on these placards range across the expected talking points of a Breitbart/Fox News-inflected political consciousness: Benghazi, borders, guns, the supposed threat of Sharia law, Obamacare, etc., as well as a few attacks on the mayor of Bloomington and other matters of local concern.
The signs in several instances provoke strong reactions (as no doubt intended) from those like this cataloger who disagree with their messages, but the collection is ultimately the raw material for the archival long game—a suggestive and ephemeral and coherent historical record of the energy and the anger behind the rise of contemporary American political polarization and extremist movements.