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April 14, 2013

First Look: Seymour Chwast Collection

We recently received a wonderful donation from illustrator and designer Seymour Chwast. He was a founding partner of Push Pin Studios in 1954, along with Milton Glaser, Edward Sorel and Reynold Ruffins. The studio’s name was changed to the Pushpin Group in 1985 and Chwast remains as its director. Here’s a sampling of the 80 posters we received; future posts will highlight original artwork and other printed materials that offer a comprehensive view of Chwast’s influential career.

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April 10, 2013

Push Pin & Pop

Some ephemeral points of comparison between the work of Seymour Chwast and Andy Warhol.

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February 20, 2013

Cameo gallery

In 1995, the Cooper Union celebrated the 40th anniversary of Pushpin Studios with an exhibition and special sale of drawings and paintings by the three founders, pictured above: Seymour Chwast, Edward Sorel, and Milton Glaser; along with works by John Alcorn, Sam Antupit, Michael Aron, Vincent Ceci, Paul Davis, George Leavitt, Tim Lewis, Jim McMullan, Reynold Ruffins, Jerold Smokler, Richard Mantel, “and others.” This reminded me of another similar device that captured a group that is also heavily represented by the Archive.

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September 06, 2011

Bob + Joan

Bob Dylan’s brief relationship with Joan Baez was exhaustively documented, but we get interested when that affair highlighted the work of Push Pin Studios. In 1964, Dylan and Baez were photographed at Newark Airport in front of Seymour Chwast’s poster for Booth’s Gin: an incongruous, but not surprising, image of two icons flanking a countercultural message from a corporate advertiser.

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June 10, 2011

Seymour Chwast keeps it cool

Here in New York we’re struggling through a heatwave. Perhaps a good course of action for those lucky enough to reside in air-conditioned high-rise Soho lofts is to keep it cool by lounging about with bright furniture, like the sporty cat in this illustration by Seymour Chwast (undated, but probably for the Frankfurter Allgemein Zeitung).

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April 29, 2011

A distant mirror

In the late-1950s Seventeen magazine was a clearing house for an incredible stable of graphic talent. Among the contributors were many artists and designers associated with the School of Visual Arts, including Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse and others like Rudolf de Harak.

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August 14, 2009

The Pancake King

In 1971, Phyllis La Farge and Seymour Chwast collaborated on the children’s book The Pancake King, which described the rapid ascent of a young master of the griddle pan. It spoke of the joy of breakfast, the perils of fame, the importance of family and of maple syrup. More spreads from The Pancake King are viewable on Flickr (thanks to Norman Hathaway), and show Chwast’s dexterous use of scale and bleed between spreads, and tidily-set Bodoni. The book was included in AIGA’s Fifty Books of the Year.

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July 10, 2009

Seymour Chwast for McDonald’s

In 1979, McDonald’s hired Seymour Chwast to contribute one version of the packaging for the introduction of their new product, the Happy Meal. The promotion cost one dollar, and comprised a hamburger or cheeseburger, twelve-ounce soft drink, a small order of french fries, and a McDonaldland Cookie Sampler (not pictured). Along with their comestibles, the first customers could look forward to discovering either a McDoodler stencil, puzzle book, a McWrist wallet, an ID bracelet or McDonaldland character erasers.

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June 26, 2009

The Push Pin corporate identity

This label, stuck authoritatively on the back of a mounted board as a bit of corporate identity — complete with the overrule, grotesk “Group Incorporated,” and high-contrast logotype — exploits its context to achieve a kind of reflexive wit, a kind of acknowledgment of what is being put over, that gives it a unifying effect (it is at once more than, and no more than, a “bit of corporate identity”). This is achieved with an unusually unaffected air — a combination that I think has always characterized Chwast’s work.

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