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McMullan at NYPL
March 31, 2011

McMullan at NYPL

A new exhibition, McMullan Posters: Gesture as Design, at the Vincent Astor Gallery features the extraordinary theater posters of James McMullan. The exhibition also includes McMullan’s sketches, reference photographs, and original art, providing a view of the transformation from documentary image to McMullan’s trademark narrative expressiveness.

Above is my favorite McMullan poster, created for the 1994 revival of the landmark musical Carousel. The poster is based on reference photos of Michael Hayden, who starred as carousel barker Billy Bigelow. McMullan uses heavily textured gouache to bring out the desperation and sadness of Nicholas Hytner’s production.

The exhibition runs through June 11, 2011.