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18 Delightfully Artistic Vintage STD Posters

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While sexually transmitted diseases are certainly a serious problem, the taboo topic has led to some amazing Public Safety Announcements, particularly the vintage venereal disease posters. Here are a few classic posters designed to help keep the men and women of America safe.

Post World War I

When the Allies won the war, the U.S. government had one last task for its troops: help fight VD back home. Presumably, the last thing they wanted soldiers to do was to come home and celebrate with a bunch of easy women. Of course, if the number of Depression-Era STD posters printed by the WPA are any indication, the “army’s fight against venereal disease” wasn’t very effective.

By McMennamin

The Great Depression

I’ve talked a bit about the Works Progress Administration’s art projects before, but not all of the artists were hired to help promote travel. Instead, many artists were employed to create PSA-style posters warning about the dangers of venereal disease, encouraging everyone to get tested and for those who have a disease to get treated. For more great WPA VD posters, visit the Library of Congress’ massive photo archives.

By Wheatley

By Richard Halls

World War II

The most famous VD posters come from WWII. The Allies had a hard time keeping young recruits away from women, both away and at home. If you can’t get enough though, take some time to search through the archives of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Artist Unknown

By John Wyeth

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

By Bode

By Bode

By Ferree

As I’m sure you know, STDs didn’t just disappear after WWII. In fact, the government is still printing out tons of the posters, as well as paying for television and radio PSAs. That being said, those modern creations just don’t have the same entertainment value as these vintage posters. That’s why I’ll leave you with one post-WWII VD poster, this one from 1952:

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Art
A Beached Whale Sculpture Popped Up on the Banks of Paris's Seine River
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iStock

In Paris, dozens of fish varieties live in the Seine River. Now, the Associated Press reports that the famous waterway is home to a beached whale.

Rest assured, eco-warriors: The sperm whale is actually a lifelike sculpture, installed on an embankment next to Notre Dame Cathedral by Belgian artists’ collective Captain Boomer. It’s meant to raise environmental awareness, and evoke "the child in everyone who still is puzzled about what is real and what is not,” collective member Bart Van Peel told the Associated Press.

The 65-foot sculpture has reportedly startled and confused many Parisians, thanks in part to a team of fake scientists deployed to “survey” the whale. One collective member even posted a video on social media, warning Parisians that there “may be others in the water” if they opt to take a dip in the river, The Local reported.

The whale sculpture is only temporary—but as for Captain Boomer, this isn’t their first whale-related stunt. Last summer, the collective installed a similar riverside artwork in Rennes, France, and they also once strapped a large-scale whale sculpture to the back of a truck and drove it around France.

[h/t Associated Press]

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Art
Artist Makes Colorful Prints From 1990s VHS Tapes

A collection of old VHS tapes offers endless crafting possibilities. You can use them to make bird houses, shelving units, or, if you’re London-based artist Dieter Ashton, screen prints from the physical tape itself.

As Co.Design reports, the recent London College of Communication graduate was originally intrigued by the art on the cover of old VHS and cassette tapes. He planned to digitally edit them as part of a new art project, but later realized that working with the ribbons of tape inside was much more interesting.

To make a print, Ashton unravels the film from cassettes and VHS tapes collected from his parents' home. He lets the strips fall randomly then presses them into tight, tangled arrangements with the screen. The piece is then brought to life with vibrant patterns and colors.

Ashton has started playing with ways to incorporate themes and motifs from the films he's repurposing into his artwork. If the movie behind one of his creations isn’t immediately obvious, you can always refer to its title. His pieces are named after movies like Backdraft, Under Siege, and that direct-to-video Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Passport to Paris.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Dieter Ashton

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