America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide highlights selected works by artists in America Is Hard to See. Curators, scholars, and artists provide additional commentary.

632Milton Glaser, Don’t Eat Grapes, 1969


Milton Glaser (b. 1929), _Don’t Eat Grapes_, 1969. Offset lithograph, 36 1/2 × 26 1/2 in. (92.7 × 67.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 2000.90 © Milton Glaser

MILTON GLASER: I’m Milton Glaser. I’m a graphic designer by profession.

The grape workers’ union approached me and they asked me if I would do a poster for them. 

Well it’s a rather simple-minded image of a bunch of grapes that is also perceived as a skull. 

The farmers in California and elsewhere were being terribly exploited at the time, and it became a national scandal. And there was a significant movement where people stopped eating grapes as a protest to these conditions. 

The idea of making a skull out of grapes was not too difficult to arrive at. It’s a little corny. But in this particular case being popular, and being obvious, and being almost comic in that kind of reference was not inappropriate. I mean you wanted to do something that had the simplicity and impact of a comic image without being funny, and one that would be easily recognized and memorable.