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September 03, 2013

George Tscherny’s brushwork

This detail for a 1956 poster for the Cartoonist & Illustrators School by George Tscherny. Rebranded as the School of Visual Arts later that year, the designer had a long and fruitful relationship with the institution.

George Tscherny’s brushwork Continue Reading Read more
August 06, 2013

Serial production

For large patches of his later career Heinz Edelmann focused on quickly producing posters for arts events and series productions: these typically made use of a fairly regularized typographic template for information, and wild, allusive but enigmatic illustrations. For one season in the mid-1980s, he worked with the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theater, playing off the plays’ angsty plotlines with evocatively deformed bodies.

Serial production Continue Reading Read more
July 23, 2013

Saying good-bye to Heinz Edelmann

Enjoy a few of the acclaimed posters he produced for Germany’s Westdeutscher Rundfunk radio station after the jump. And click here for a characteristically witty and illuminating interview with Edelmann in Graphis.

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July 22, 2013

Layer cake

One of the central features of the Push Pin generation of designers — mainly Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser — was a continued inspiration from, and reliance upon, physically layered compositions (using e.g., cello-tak) and photographic compositing.

Layer cake Continue Reading Read more
July 20, 2013

Inside the Big Apple

One of the main attractions of the archive as a research tool is as a document of artistic process. (The effect of the overwriting of drafts by computers is a subject I have written about elsewhere.) There were several stages to Milton Glaser’s development of a poster for the Visual Arts Gallery exhibition “Inside the Big Apple” (1968) — the above shows his collage of different versions of the figuration, which arrangement ended up contributing the composition that he used in the final version (other versions and the final poster follow).

Inside the Big Apple Continue Reading Read more
July 16, 2013

Milton Glaser’s geometries

Milton Glaser is closely associated with a visual style emphasizing expressive illustrations and resonant cultural symbols, but revisiting different periods in his career one is reminded that he was constantly developing new approaches, and in the Glaser Collection one can find an astonishingly wide range of approaches to design problems.

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July 07, 2013

Glaser for RCA Computers

In 1970, Milton Glaser did a series of three posters for RCA’s Computer Division entitled Memory Unbound. They express the abstract promise of technology that was at least a decade away for most people.

Glaser for RCA Computers Continue Reading Read more
June 17, 2013

Sol LeWitt’s conceptual graphics

In March 1976, Sol Lewitt had his first solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Museum (209 E. 23rd Street). The work exhibited wasn’t the piece itself, but rather the result of instructions he gave to third parties: they assembled a large graphic combination drawn from a vocabulary of white-on-black linear figures provided by the artist. Instead of hiring technicians or specialists to screen the shapes in a particular order, the artist made explicit that the idea or set of instructions for the art was itself the art, rather than the artifact it produced. He continued the process across several similar pieces, some of which used the same graphic forms — one, Wall Drawing #260, was the subject of a recent focus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

Sol LeWitt’s conceptual graphics Continue Reading Read more
June 07, 2013

I can’t see my flag anymore

This detail from an anti-Vietnam war poster is represented only on a slide in the Tony Palladino collection. In serif text above the image, the original includes the complaint “I can’t see my flag anymore”—which has some of the same arch plainness or indirection of Chwast’s anti-war End Bad Breath poster of two years prior. Here’s another of various flags by Palladino, one graphic symbol whose permutations he remained fascinated by throughout his career. Despite its relative lack of exposure today, it is one of two Palladino posters in the Library of Congress.

I can’t see my flag anymore Continue Reading Read more
April 26, 2013

Guessing game

A mystery poster from the making of SVA Gold.

Guessing game Continue Reading Read more
March 31, 2013

The furniture people of Stanley VanDerBeek

Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984) was best known as an experimental filmmaker but he was also a gifted painter and sculptor. This undated issue of the Push Pin Graphic features photographs of VanDerBeek’s whimsical creations.

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February 25, 2013

American-Type Sculpture

Poster for the exhibition American-Type Sculpture, Part 2, which opened at the Visual Arts Gallery in 1973. Curator Phyllis Tuchman brought together a prophetic list of artists for the show, including Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Serra.

American-Type Sculpture Continue Reading Read more
February 04, 2013

First look: Heinz Edelmann Collection

Direct from Stuttgart, we’ve received 151 posters and 9 books from the truly delightful Heinz Edelmann. Edelmann is best known as the influential art director of The Beatles’ film, Yellow Submarine. He’s worked in Germany, England and the Netherlands since the late 1950s, doing design, illustration, advertising and animation.

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February 01, 2013

Inaugural address

A pair of posters announcing the School of Visual Arts’ new location at 209 E 23rd Street.

Inaugural address Continue Reading Read more
January 07, 2013

Foot fetish

The transfigured shoes of Push Pin Studios.

Foot fetish Continue Reading Read more
January 07, 2013

Bob Gill

Designer and illustrator Bob Gill was one of the earliest faculty members at SVA, joining right around the time George Tscherny taught the school’s first design course.

Bob Gill Continue Reading Read more
November 21, 2012

Odd bird

Looks like a regular ocellated fellow, with one significant difference. Cross-reference for flowers sprouting from heads: Utopia Records, and this poster for Push Pin Graphic. (Typeface is Glaser Stencil, which appeared on other Poppy productions as well.)

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October 18, 2012

Fifty-seven varieties of Heinz

Heinz Edelmann, like his contemporary Milton Glaser, had an incredible range of graphic styles, both in his mode of illustration and layout. This 1982 poster for the Westdeutscher Rundfunk broadcaster’s series Reden muß man miteinander (roughly—correct me if I’m wrong—“We need to talk”) enlists an exceptional array of devices recalling the work of Seymour Chwast: there are similarities in the pattern, abstracted period stylization, and a floating quality to the shapes and forms, though imbued here with Edelmann’s more spastic bursts of emphasis. For comparison, see this Chwastian cat or this notable cover of Pushpin Graphic. Click through for the full poster.

Fifty-seven varieties of Heinz Continue Reading Read more
April 27, 2012

Some more tearing

Promotion by George Tscherny for Strathmore paper, 1958. Torn-paper motifs seemed to have been very much the thing for that year (when Tony Palladino contributed this one). Click through for the full image.

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February 15, 2012

Phil Hays for SVA

This is a detail from possibly my all-time favorite SVA poster (click through for the whole image). It was illustrated by Phil Hays in the 1960s while he was chairman of SVA’s illustration department. Hays’ later work, especially his portraits of musicians and Hollywood stars, was markedly more hyperrealistic and decadent than this simple three-pane poster of a woman sitting in a chair, smoking. At first it seems something of a strange ad pitch, yet the subject is serene and satisfied and the work is masterly, somehow making the argument for SVA in its inherent quality.

Phil Hays for SVA Continue Reading Read more
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