Lester Beall- Cross Out Slums Poster

The United States Housing Authority asked Lester Beall to create a project. The association was also created by President Roosevelt in the 1930’s. The purpose of the United States Housing Authority was created to loan money to states for low cost construction. During this time Beall created the infamous poster titled Cross Out Slums. Beall designed this poster in the year of 1941. This poster uses a photomontage technique. This technique was one used on silk poster designs during this time by Beall and became quite popular. The montage is of two different housing areas, the slums and a newly developed neighborhood, with one shaped into a hand. The Cross Out Slums poster depicts what the USHA wanted to do, replaced the slum areas with newly built low-income housing. A giant red “X” is pictured crossing out the slums area of the poster. The newer housing is pictured in a hand that looks as if it is reaching across the poster. In my opinion, this is to represent the replacement of certain areas during this time period. Beall also used modern design and primary bold colors to really make the poster stand out. The overall design is  very loud and eye-catching. All of his work conveys a large message and this one truly does. A lot of the posters Beall created were for the government. They all represent such pivotal moments. This is one of many of his pieces that have been featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Works Cited 

Beall, Lester. “Lester Beall. Cross Out Slums. 1941: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/collection/works/5014.

“Update.” New-York Historical Society | THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS AN EXHIBITION OF AMERICAN ACTIVIST POSTER ART, 3 June 2015, www.nyhistory.org/press/releases/new-york-historical-society-presents-exhibition-american-activist-poster-art.

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