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“Elvis Ain’t King”


  • Image of “Elvis Ain’t King”
  • Image of “Elvis Ain’t King”

This poster protests the 1991 Rodney King beating and subsequent acquittal of the four L.A.P.D. officers responsible. The title is a reference to both Rodney King and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as to the Public Enemy lyric from “Fight the Power”: “Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant shit to me.”

The poster notes the disparities between the black experience and the white one; between heroes who are lauded (like Elvis Presley) and heroes who are murdered (Martin Luther King Jr.); between motorists who are simply arrested and those that are beaten first (Rodney King). The glyph on the left half of the poster signifies division.


• Museum für Gestaltung Zurich
• San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
• United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
• Letterform Archive, San Francisco
• Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), Los Angeles
• Denver Art Museum, AIGA Design Archives


• “BlackDogma: Selections from the Work of Mark Fox in the Permanent Collection of Architecture + Design” (1999)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

• “24 Reasons to Leave L.A.: Propaganda by Mark Fox” (1998)
Doyle/Logan Gallery, Los Angeles

• “WiseGeist Too: Image and Text” (1994)
Doyle/Logan Gallery, Los Angeles

• “WiseGeist: The Art of Gary Baseman, Greg Clarke & Mark Fox” (1992)
Doyle/Logan Gallery, Los Angeles


• “Contemporary Western-American Counterculture” by Denise Urell, published in Affiche, issue No. 6, The Netherlands (6.93)

* * *

EDITION: 45 signed and numbered

DIMENSIONS: 39 x 19.25 inches
MEDIA: Screen printed in black, warm red, and Payne’s grey Nazdar 5500 flat poster inks on archival rag

PRINTING: Jeff Wasserman at Wasserman Silk Screen Co. / Santa Monica
DESIGN: © 1992 Mark Fox, BlackDog / SF

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