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"Susan O'Malley: You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be" 

Wednesday, Jun 17 2009

Susan O'Malley is upbeat. The artist and curator has an ongoing project, "The Pep Talk Squad," in which she and collaborator Christina Amini "give pep talks when we can, wherever we can." (Sample: "You are appreciated. Your strength and inspiration will help others find their strength. ... Thank you for being here.") In "You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be," O'Malley puts the pep in posters, printing reassuring sayings such as "This is all part of the process" and "Listen to your heart" in block letters and bright colors. The impulse, she writes on her blog, comes in part from how "insane" the world feels, and from remembering Yoko Ono and John Lennon's "War Is Over" poster. Motivational posters are enjoying a moment — witness the resurgence of the World War II–era "Keep Calm and Carry On" reprints and variations. Whether you're cynical about or sweet on the genre, it's pretty hard to disagree with an artist who writes, "I think we need more love in our world right now."

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Traci Vogel


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