i've read some of this thread on this poster (though not all of it - yeow!) and i had some passing thoughts about it. first, it's a beautiful poster, well exectued, a truly masterful piece. but the controversy is over the image itself (aunt jemima is still used to sell baking goods and nobody seems upset by that).
i've always felt that if you're going to do something that pushes a boundary and risks pissing somebody off, you really should go for broke. the whole point of doing an image like this is to make people stop and think and even make them angry and question the established order of acceptible images and what they mean. in other words, you should EXPECT to piss 'em off and you should scream SUCCESS when they GET pissed off. it's sorta the old punk credo of 'fuckya if you can't take a joke', and 'whatsitoyamutherfuckr?', if you catch my drift.
if you going to use touchy images to piss people off, enjoy pissing them off and revel in the reaction the fools give you. after all, it's what you intended and what you wanted.
so, don't get all misty when they react negatively - expect and use it to your advantage, ya know?
i used to have one for a 1970's talking heads show (grushkin published it in 'art of rock vol. 1" - it's the one with the wheelchair kids shooting guns) and i had a beauty for an old cramps london show (gave it to a mad cramps collector). both were some of the coolest posters i've ever owned. so, i might disagree with a couple of the things you stated, cody. i tend to really like things that were intended for use that have accidently asthetic qualities much more than things that are intended as artistic relections of individual muse.
since we're both here this morning, i think i want to take a moment to clarify what i said (and you seem to have misunderstood). i said that what they europeans do is very interesting and cool looking and it's something we could learn from. i've always felt that the way they use posters is closer to the original source of intent on HOW they were to be used and is something we all should be interested in.
as for making money, rest assured they make money with posters. designers who do posters in europe are very respected as artists and are actually PAID a LOT of $$ to simply design them (not print, distribute and physically hawk door to door via the internet or at shows or whatever). being a bad printer and a VERY bad salesman, but a damn good designer, i think their approach to this stuff sounds pretty good. i would much prefer to paid well to do what i do best (my time and labor and experience really should be worth something) and not reimbursed for what i can hustle selling my output after the fact for what i can get folks to pay.
there's nothing inherently wrong with the gigposter approach, but it's a lot of work that i'm not good at. if i wanted to sell art prints, i would have become a printmaker.
this is old enough that i always thought it was one of those old polaroid instant photos that you could take something pointed and 'smoosh' the pigments around to distort the image. but, really, i don't know anything about how this poster was done.