"Public Address" took place in the final weeks and days before the November 2008 election. The storefront space was transformed into a 'headquarters' for political engagement, containing an installation of Rothenberg's large-scale prints and picket signs in conjunction with multiples by colleagues in the Chicago art community.
Rothenberg's prints, which preside over tables displaying campaign buttons and stacks of artists' posters, broadsides, badges, bags and t-shirts, use the language and spectacle of political activism. The focus of the installation are a series of picket signs: "SCREAMING WITH IMPOTENT RAGE," "WHEN ATTACKING THE POLICE," "YOUTH LOOKS LIKE OLD AGE," "DISHEVELLED AFTER FIGHTING," "ADDRESSING THE CROWD," "ECSTASY ON ARREST," all taken from a 1914 British anti-suffrage publication. Facing the signs are enlargements of early 20th century images of suffrage radicals. The images are of women in states of extremity in the process of being arrested, moments before, during and after confrontations with the police. These powerful images and the captions that once accompanied them, transformed through the circumstances of today's politics, place the viewer in a charged zone between image and text.
Rothenberg also invited artists to participate by producing multiples. Artists included Stephanie Brooks, Janet Eckelbarger, Marianne Fairbanks and Jane Palmer, Industry of the Ordinary, Carole Francis Lung and Christine Tarkowski. A campaign button contest solicited an open call for language, images, slogans and ravings of all kinds, texts from artists, activists, students, teachers, writers, and discontents. Proceeds for the sale of multiples went to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.